The Steelers not only lost their grip on the AFC North lead with yesterday’s loss to New Orleans, but now they are on the outside of the playoffs with one game left, and they’ll need the Cleveland Browns’ help to get in as a Wild Card.
The Steelers fumbled the ball away in New Orleans territory twice in the fourth quarter and failed on a fake punt in their own territory while holding a lead in the final period, as they fell to New Orleans, 31-28. Drew Brees found Michael Thomas for the go-ahead touchdown with 1:25 left in the fourth quarter, then JuJu Smith-Schuster fumbled on the Steelers’ final drive to secure the victory for the Saints.
Steelers fans are bewildered and cornerback Joe Haden incensed at two pass interference penalties called against him. The first came on a fourth down in the first quarter when he barely placed a hand on Saints receiver Alvin Kamara on an uncatchable pass. It gave New Orleans the ball on the Steeler’s one yard line, which led to an easy score. The second was also a fourth down play, on the Saints winning touchdown drive in the fourth quarter. Haden did interfere, but the Steelers claimed the ball was tipped at the line of scrimmage, which would negate a penalty.
In order to make the playoffs, the Steelers need to beat the Bengals at home on Sunday and hope for an unlikely win by the Browns over the Ravens in Baltimore.