As far as postgame rants are concerned, this wasn’t a full-scale volcanic eruption. It was more of a slow boil as veteran wide receiver Derrick Mason expressed his frustrations with a faltering offense that proved costly.
The Ravens generated a meager total of three points and 96 yards in the second half.
"You wonder why you come back and play after stuff like this, because there ain’t no way, I mean, Pittsburgh’s a good team, can’t take it away from them, but there’s no way we should have lost this game," Mason said. "Seriously. This just makes me personally wonder why I came back. To play in a game like this and to lose a game like this, it hurts worse than any other game.
"It’s sad to say, but we’re not a good offense at times. We’re really aren’t. For whatever reason it is, I don’t know. But we’re not a good offense at times. I’m not pointing any fingers at anybody, because I’m a part of the equation, but we’re just not a good offense at times, and it showed up today."
The Ravens feature a Pro Bowl player at virtually every skill position, including Mason and fellow wide receivers Anquan Boldin and T.J. Houshmandzadeh, tight end Todd Heap, running back Ray Rice and fullback Le’Ron McClain.
"All these people that we’ve got on offense, I’ll get crucified for this one, but all the people that we’ve got on offense, we’re not a good offense at times, we’re really not," Mason said. "You just call it how you see it. Call a spade a spade. If we were a good offense, we’d be moving the ball up and down the field, especially with the people that we have and the quarterback that we have. I have a lot of confidence in our personnel, but we’re just not a good offense at times."
Quarterback Joe Flacco completed 17 of 33 passes for 266 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions for an 88.7 passer rating. However, he was sacked four times and lost a fumble on a Troy Polamalu blitz that led to the Steelers’ game-winning touchdown.
In the second half, Flacco was held to 87 passing yards and no scores on 8 of 19 accuracy.
In the first half, he completed 9 of 14 passes for 179 yards and a touchdown.
The offense hit a lull after halftime.
So, what’s the solution?
"I don’t know, I really don’t know," Mason said. "We’ve just got to put this behind us and move forward. We can’t allow games to get away from us like this. We make games tough for ourselves for some strange reason. I don’t know if we like playing the tough games. Is that the model of the Ravens? I don’t know. I’m tired of playing the tough games, man.
"Let’s just go blow somebody out, because we’re capable of doing it, and we just don’t do it. Nobody says that we shouldn’t be able to come out and put up 30 points against a very good team, especially with the personnel we’ve got. Heard it from me: We’re not a good offense at times."
The Ravens’ defense sacked Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger three times and held Pittsburgh to 288 yards of total offense.
"Defense played lights out," Mason said. "They came to play. That defense came to play, man. They were buzzing around the ball, getting to Roethlisberger, making big hits. Offense didn’t help them in the second half. I know it gets frustrating for those guys.
"I know it has to, because you could see their faces coming off the sideline. But, we’re in it as a team, and we’re going to fight. But, those guys get frustrated, and rightfully so, because we’re not doing the job in the second half."
The Ravens have been falling into a pattern of squandering leads this season, much to Mason’s frustration.
"It’s the same old stuff every week," Mason said. It builds character that you’re able to fight through some things, and I understand that you’ve got to go through some things to be able to come out of it and know how to win, but it’s got to come to a point where we stop all the [expletive] and just play football. Just put some points on the board and not allow teams to be able to come back in the second half. Not put the pressure on our defense to have to stop somebody in the last minute of the game. Let’s just [expletive] put some points on the board and move forward.
"We’re all in this together. I’ve never been one to point a finger, and I’m not going to do it now. All of us, collectively, all 11 guys on offense, plus the guys on the side, the backups, all of us. We’ve got to make up our mind – do we want to be a good offense or a great offense? We’re neither right now at times. So, we’ve just got to make up our mind which one do we want to be? Because good offenses make it to the playoffs. Great offenses make it to the Super Bowl."
It’s gotten to a point where Mason is wondering if the offense will ever become consistent.
"It has to come to a point where after, what 10, 12, 13 weeks now, we have to be able to consistently be effective," Mason said. "We’re not. We look great at times, and then other times, man, we look like the Bad News Bears sometimes. Honestly. I’m speaking. We do. And I’m a part of it. So, we’ve got to be able to, each and every down, each and every quarter, each and every half, be a great offense, and we’re not there yet."