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#pounditSunday, March 7, 2021

Steelers give away game to Saints with ugly mistakes

Steelers

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ playoff hopes are dwindling, and the way they finished their game with the New Orleans Saints is a terrible reminder of that.

Pittsburgh came out firing in the second half at New Orleans on Sunday. Down 17-14 at the half, they allowed a touchdown to the Saints to fall behind by 10, but then responded with two straight scores and two straight forced punts. They then moved to the New Orleans 34 and had a good chance to extend their lead to seven potentially, but their first bad mistake occurred. Stevan Ridley lost a fumble on third down to give the ball to the Saints.

That was the start of costly errors by Pittsburgh.

Despite blocking a Saints field goal on the next series, Pittsburgh called for a fake punt and was stopped short. The Saints then got to work with a short field and took the 31-28 lead on a touchdown.

The Steelers still had a good shot to tie the game with a field goal and were getting close to field goal range with under 40 seconds left. Ben Roethlisberger completed a pass to JuJu Smith-Schuster, who lost a fumble at the 34 that sealed the win for the Saints.

Despite forcing a pair of punts and blocking a field goal, the Steelers came up short due to their terrible ending. They went fumble, turnover on downs with fake punt, and fumble on their final three possessions.

Now 8-6-1 on the season, the Steelers will finish with a worse record than the AFC West’s second place team and the winner of the Titans-Colts Week 17 game, which eliminates the possibility of snagging a wild card spot. Their only hope of reaching the postseason is through winning the division. They need to beat the Bengals at home and hope the Browns win in Baltimore otherwise their season is done.

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