Steelers’ short-week preparations were boosted by Ravens going for two

NFL: DEC 05 Ravens at Steelers
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The Steelers got a second win when the Ravens went for two and failed to make it. Pittsburgh avoided playing overtime football only four days before a Thursday night game against the Vikings.

Already a hard-fought rivalry even when the game is confined to 60 minutes, the Steelers could have played up to 10 more minutes in a game that started in the late-afternoon window on Sunday. Which would have left them with little more than 96 hours to regroup and regather and regenerate for Thursday night.

The preservation and promotion of short-week football, frankly, fueled the reduction in regular-season overtime from 15 minutes to 10. In Week Eight of the 2016 season, the Raiders and the Buccaneers went 13 minutes and 15 seconds into overtime on an 86-degree day in Tampa, with the Bucs turning around and playing on Thursday night against the Falcons. The Bucs lost, 43-28. The following March, overtime shrunk by 33 percent, ostensibly in the name of player safety but more pragmatically in the name of eliminating another basis for criticizing playing on Thursday after playing on Sunday.

It also would make sense to consider putting the teams that play on Thursday night in the early Sunday window, whenever possible. Obviously, Ravens-Steelers became a marquee matchup for CBS. It made sense for it to start at 4:25 p.m. ET. Perhaps a team like Pittsburgh should be playing a less compelling foe the Sunday before a Thursday night game.

At a minimum, both teams playing on Thursday night should play at the same time the preceding Sunday, in order to ensure that they have the same amount of time from the end of one game to the start of the other, barring an overtime period.

And that’s another intriguing twist. Should the team that faces a division rival that plays next on Thursday night consider that factor when making the decision to play for overtime or play for the win? Ravens coach John Harbaugh said he went for two because he was out of cornerbacks. Was the possibility of making it harder for the Steelers to win on Thursday night part of the analysis?

We’re told it wasn’t. Maybe it should be. While the primary goal for the Ravens was to win, helping grease the skids toward another loss for Pittsburgh would have been an added benefit to taking the game beyond sixty minutes. Fortunately for the Steelers, they got the win over Baltimore, and they didn’t have to take extra reps to get there.

11 responses to “Steelers’ short-week preparations were boosted by Ravens going for two

  1. I’m not sure a 3 hour time difference really matter for the start of those games. Yes, another 10 minutes of play could have mattered, especially if the Steelers lost a key player to injury. But, that didn’t happen. And, as always, the players voted yes to the Thursday night games and more money.

  2. Short week preparations were also helped by going up against the team that lost to the Lions.

  3. NFL should eliminate Thursday night football except for opening night and Thanksgiving, with the teams playing on Thanksgiving having their bye week the week before.

  4. Didn’t the Steelers barely beat the lions a couple weeks. I see the Vikings scoring a lot on the Steelers and making them 6-6-1

  5. The vagaries of the schedule dynamics are also governed by injuries that affect teams in spurts of games and by the pandemic.

    Ben missed the Lions tie that would have probably been a win.

    Every team can point to untimely outages.

    Friday games would be better given an extra day to prep and for viewing because the lateness wouldn’t matter so much but I guess the league wants to protect high school football attendance?

  6. There were 41 total plays in the 4th quarter of that game. Cut it down by 1/3 for a 10 minute OT and that would have been 25-30 plays assuming OT went the full time. And those would have been roughly split 50/50 between offense and defense. Are we really going to pretend that an extra 15 plays for a professional athlete would make a huge difference in preparing for the next game that is several days away?

  7. betterlookingthanbatman3 says:
    December 9, 2021 at 10:36 am
    Didn’t the Steelers barely beat the lions a couple weeks. I see the Vikings scoring a lot on the Steelers and making them 6-6-1


    No, the Steelers – Lions game was a tie.

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