(Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
The Ravens outperformed the Steelers in almost every important statistical category in Sunday's 28-24 loss to Pittsburgh. They got the better of the Steelers in total yards 457-221, total plays 79-50, time of possession 35:22-24:38, thanks to the Ravens 265 yards rushing in the game. However, the Ravens were penalized nine times for 110 yards compared to the three penalties for 30 yards called on the Steelers, and most importantly, they were minus-3 in the turnover battle, turning it over four times.
The reigning MVP in Lamar Jackson was responsible for all four turnovers, throwing two interceptions (one was a pick-six) and fumbling twice in the red zone (the last fumble he was short of the first down marker anyway on fourth-and-3). The Ravens simply gave the game away to the Steelers. Instead of focusing on that aspect, Ravens' head coach John Harbaugh was more interested in complaining about the officials.
The Ravens had the ball on the Steelers' 23-yard line with 5 seconds remaining and were trailing 28-24. Jackson threw a pass intended for Willie Snead IV and the pass was broken up by Minkah Fitzpatrick to secure the win for the Steelers. Harbaugh thought Fitzpatrick made an illegal hit to the head on Snead.
"I feel for (Snead) a little bit because I feel like that play would have been made in the end zone, also to win the game and it would have been historic, it would have been that kind of play," Harbaugh said in his post-game interview when asked about the final play of the game." You just want to see your players protected. And you want to see them protected just like the rules say they should be."
The CBS broadcast team caught Harbaugh pointing to his head after the play and a Baltimore reported asked Harbaugh whether that was directed at anybody in particular.
"Yeah, I was talking to the official, the back judge, coming off there saying I was asking him about the hit to the head on the pass in the end zone,” Harbaugh said.
Snead was also asked about the hit that Fitzpatrick delivered to him and he wasn't really sure if it was an illegal hit.
“It could have (gone) either way, to be honest,” Snead said after the game via Daniel Oyefusi of the Baltimore Sun. “When I got hit, it just happened so (quickly). As soon as the ball touched my hands, I got hit. I didn’t know how he hit me, seriously, but I got hit in the head. So I’ll just leave it at that.”
Harbaugh also wasn't thrilled with the officials on the final drive for not adding more time to the clock after Cam Heyward was down with an injury following Jackson's 32-yard completion to Snead. The Steelers were forced to call a timeout on the play as the Ravens hurried to the line of scrimmage to spike the ball and stop the clock.
"I asked about the time, I got no answer on that. I think they said the time was fine," Harbaugh said. "As far as the last play – the shoulder to the helmet – no. They didn’t say a word about it. They just ran off the field.”
CBS Sports rules analyst and former NFL referee Gene Steratore had this to say about the play on Twitter. ... “Minkah Fitzpatrick is making a play on the ball so the contact to the receiver is not a foul. Any incidental contact by an opponent’s hands, arms, or body when both players are competing for the ball isn’t a penalty.”