The Steelers need to start letting their play do the talking

Quarterback Kenny Pickett #8 of the Pittsburgh Steelers in action against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on January 1, 2023 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Quarterback Kenny Pickett #8 of the Pittsburgh Steelers in action against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on January 1, 2023 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /

The Pittsburgh Steelers just got a huge road win over the Baltimore Ravens, but the team’s immaturity made it harder to enjoy.

The Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday night, and the victory can end up having a colossal impact on how the remainder of their season unfolds. Said impact can include helping secure another winning record and perhaps even another playoff appearance.

After some of the dark moments that this season has given yinzers so far this change of fortune makes for a feeling too wonderful to describe, and that is especially the case when it comes by beating Baltimore, of all teams.

But while the win was great for both the team and fans, there was one thing that stood out as the game unfolded, something that can come back to bite the Steelers in humiliating fashion if it ever gets too far out of hand—players running their mouths.

This is a touchy subject to bring up, mainly because of how players talking trash can be taken; while some may see it as problematic behavior, others may applaud and encourage it. This is why talents like Shannon Sharpe and Steve Smith are widely glorified for having regularly done so.

Something that goes unnoticed when looking back on “uninhibited” players is the harm they can do to their team in the moment. Hope should not be lost for those that haven’t learned this lesson, though, as Steelers defensive tackle Cameron Heyward did a tremendous job teaching it against the Ravens.

In the final seconds of the game’s first half, Baltimore was held to a 4th down with the score tied 3-3. At worst, Pittsburgh should have entered halftime with a 6-3 deficit—something that the Ravens were clearly playing for, considering that they had just decided to run the ball up the middle on 3rd and 16.

What soon followed was an unnecessary roughness penalty on Heyward that not only resulted in Baltimore receiving a fresh set of downs but also paved the way for them to score a touchdown instead. The turn of events went on to play a sizable role in the lead that the Ravens held for the majority of the second half, a lead that stood until the final minute of the game.

Now yes, there is a difference between what I’m primarily talking about and what Heyward was involved in. However, both are consequences of the inability to contain one’s emotions, and that makes them equally unacceptable.

But hey, one penalty isn’t the end of the world, right? Mistakes are made, you push past them, and that’s the end of it. Oh, if only it were that simple.

What other foolishness did we see from the Steelers?

Heyward’s actions stood out the most because of what immediately followed them, but there is much more to my whining than that.

For starters, Heyward is one of Pittsburgh’s largest figures, seen not only as a dominant defender, but also as an admirable leader. In short, leaders are supposed to keep a level head for the best interest of the team, not be self-destructive and put the team in worse condition.

Heyward betraying that image is concerning enough, but he was not the only one to let his emotions run wild. Najee Harris did the same after making a play well into the game, standing up and talking into a Baltimore defender’s facemask. Harris was one of Pittsburgh’s top offensive talents on Sunday night; the last thing he should do with that newfound excellence is soil it with nonsense.

Heck, there was even an altercation between linemen halfway through the game’s final quarter, with Pittsburgh’s Mason Cole being seen pushing down on the head of Baltimore’s Broderick Washington. The dirty move resulted in a bickering match between the two.

The Steelers need to remember where they stand today: once again needing the stars to align for them to stumble into the playoffs. No team deserves the right to get carried away with trash talk/foul play, but especially one in such a mediocre position.

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Emotions are high on the gridiron, and they don’t die down for a crucial rivalry game. But, that does not change the fact that Pittsburgh needs to cut this ridiculousness out. Especially with next Sunday’s battle having a lot riding on it, the last thing the Steelers need to do is develop a habit of making stupid decisions.