Welcome to a new format for our Good, Bad, and Ugly series. Our newly revamped weekly feature will highlight three instances that were “good”, “bad”, and “ugly” in the Steelers most recent game.
In a game where the Steelers were up 16 points and somehow lost (something that has never happened in their team history while playing at home) there were a number of positives and negatives that stood out.
Let’s have a look at what I believe fits into the infamous categories of “Good”, “Bad”, and “Ugly” from the Steelers Sunday Night Football clash with the Los Angeles Chargers.
12th of the season for 🆎. pic.twitter.com/rlZQ6RlhX6
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) December 3, 2018
Good: Points before half
Believe it or not, there were plenty of good spots in this game despite the final score. I feel like the brightest of those positive moments occurred with Ben Roethlisberger getting the ball with 1:35 left on the clock before halftime.
I joked during the game that teams shouldn’t give Big Ben any time to work with…
— Joe Kuz✖a (SCU & DisContent) (@joe_kuzma) December 3, 2018
Looks like that attempt at humor was valid, as the Steelers offense drove 74 yards in a total of six plays… when we were only asking for them to get some points before the end of the quarter!
The final drive of the half finished with a spectacular Roethlisberger touchdown pass to his trusty target Antonio Brown, and put the Steelers up 23-7 as they headed for the locker room.
Bad: Sean Davis knocking out Joe Haden
As if the Steelers needed any more bad luck on an evening filled with a lot of it. The football would once again bounce in the Chargers favor, literally, as Joe Haden has a would-be interception during a third quarter LA drive which ate up eight minutes.
Rather than forcing a turnover, Haden’s teammate, S Sean Davis, launches himself in Haden’s direction, missing his intended target (Keenan Allen) and dislodging the ball from Joe’s hands instead.
The ball would bounce up in the air and into Allen’s hands for another of the Chargers’ wild scores Sunday night.
Had Davis done anything differently, the Steelers defense may have held the Chargers to less points or even made a game-changing splash play. Instead, Los Angeles ends up with eight points as Davis knocks Haden temporarily out of the game, and his replacement, Artie Burns, gets beat on the following two-point try, getting the Chargers within eight points of tying the game.
A missed false start on a play which led to a touchdown, several missed blocks in the back during a Chargers punt return (which also ended in a touchdown) and controversial offside calls that game LA three attempts at a game-winning field goal at the end highlight a rough night at the office for the officiating team in charge of this game.
Aside from those calls (which are dissected here) the referees also made several ticky-tack holding calls that stalled large James Conner gains and took the Steelers offense off of the field.
Another egregious decision came on a spot of the football where WR JuJu Smith-Schuster clearly catches a pass at the down marker, but the near official spots the ball short… then the replay booth upholds their decision, costing the Steelers a timeout for challenging the ruling.
For anyone observing this primetime game it was clear that the referees were not watching the same game.