Steelers make questionable decision to defer after winning coin toss in overtime

The Pittsburgh Steelers do not fear Lamar Jackson. The team felt so confident it could stymie Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens offense Sunday that the Steelers actually deferred after winning the coin toss in overtime.

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That put a lot of pressure on the Steelers’ defense. If Jackson and the Ravens scored a touchdown on the opening drive in overtime, they would win the game.

While many questioned the Steelers’ decision, it paid off ... initially. The team forced the Ravens to punt after just three plays in overtime. That meant the Steelers just needed to score to win the game.

That didn’t happen. On the team’s second play in overtime, JuJu Smith-Schuster lost a fumble. Ravens cornerback Marlon Humphrey recovered the fumble, setting the Ravens up in excellent field goal position.

After three running plays, the Ravens lined up for the game-winning field goal. Justin Tucker delivered, making the kick from 46 yards out. The Ravens won the contest 26-23.

While the Steelers lost, their decision to let Jackson try to beat them speaks volumes about how they feel about the Baltimore offense. Jackson has been a breakout player early in the season, but was held in check by the Steelers throughout the contest. Jackson completed 19 passes for just 161 yards. Jackson threw one touchdown, but was picked off by the Steelers three times.

It’s also possible the Steelers deferred because they couldn’t trust their offense. Mason Rudolph left the contest after he was knocked out cold after a brutal hit. The Steelers turned to undrafted rookie Devlin Hodges with Rudolph and Ben Roethlisberger sidelined.

The Steelers lost, but other teams might benefit. Pittsburgh may have created the blueprint on how to defend against Jackson and the Ravens’ offense. The Ravens may have walked away from this game with a victory, but the team clearly has some work to do on offense.


Chris Cwik is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik

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