The Steelers locker room was as subdued Sunday night as it was after they lost the Super Bowl in February.
There were no what ifs or questioning of officials calls. There was only shock that the vaunted Pittsburgh defense had allowed Joe Flacco and the Ravens to drive 92 yards in the closing moments to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat in a 23-20 win over the Steelers.
Pittsburgh's defense did a much better job of bottling up Ray Rice Sunday night, limiting him to 43 yards on 18 carries and five catches for 43 yards.
But at what cost.
While the concern about not allowing Rice to beat them as he did in a 35-7 win in Baltimore earlier this season was understandable, the Steelers, for whatever reason, couldn't seem to get off the field on third downs.
Baltimore was a ridiculous 14 of 21 on third down and converted its only fourth-down attempt.
That allowed the Ravens to run 77 plays, compared to 58 for the Steelers.
© The main culprits were the secondary.
While William Gay will get tortured because he's everybody's favorite whipping boy and he gave up the game-winning score, Ike Taylor may have been worse in this game.
If not for Torrey Smith's poor hands, it would have been Taylor, not Gay, who allowed the go-ahead score.
© If Ryan Clark had hit Hines Ward the way Ray Lewis did in the first quarter, a penalty flag would have been thrown.
That hit on Ward was clearly helmet to helmet and should have resulted in a penalty.
Clark was flagged for a hit on Smith later in the game that, while a penalty under the letter of the (new) law, wasn't nearly as vicious as the hit Lewis put on Ward.
© While we're on the subject of Ward, I apparently no longer know what constitutes a catch in the NFL.
Ward caught the ball, got hit in the head by Lewis, yet went to the ground with the ball in his possession. Once he landed, the ball was knocked loose by a defender's behind.
Ward was already flat on his back when the ball finally came loose, or at least that's the way I saw it from the replays I viewed.
© I've been a pretty harsh critic of Joe Flacco over the years. But the Steelers have seemed to bring the best out in him this season.
I still don't think Flacco is a championship-caliber quarterback. But he seems to be getting the hang of playing against the Steelers defense.
© I understand Mike Tomlin's hesitation to send Shaun Suisham onto the field to kick what would have been a 47-yard field goal into the open end of Heinz Field late in the game with the Steelers up 20-16.
With a new holder and kicking into that end, it was probably about a 50-50 proposition that Suisham would have made the kick.
But how about using a timeout? How about keeping the offense on the field and just going for it, driving a dagger into the Ravens?
Instad, Tomlin hesitated, the Steelers took a delay of game penalty and gave the ball back to the Ravens.
That said, the defense still could have come up with a stop.