View Full Version : Mistakes magnify secondary's shortcomings

12-07-2009, 07:46 AM
Mistakes magnify secondary's shortcomings

Monday, December 7, 2009
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsbu ... 56558.html (http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_656558.html)

More befuddled than the miscommunication that left Louis Murphy alone in the end zone for the winning touchdown was Steelers safety Ryan Mundy's reaction to the personal-foul penalty that preceded it.

Mundy was stunned to learn that the flag thrown for unnecessary roughness was directed at his hit on Johnnie Lee Higgins at the 2 in the final minute Sunday of the Oakland Raiders' 27-24 victory over the Steelers.

"That was me? They called that on me?" Mundy said. "I mean, I don't understand. It's football. I made a play on the guy, I thought, in the proper manner of time. It was a bad call, I think. That's not my place to say whether it was a bad call or a good call. They made the call.

"We've got to adjust and play."

Mundy was one of two seldom-used young defensive backs on the field in the dime formation with the game on the line. Each made a costly mistake for the Steelers on the game-winning drive. The Raiders marched 88 yards in 10 plays to score the winning points on Murphy's 11-yard reception with nine seconds remaining.

The other was Joe Burnett. The rookie cornerback replaced William Gay, who sustained a concussion after taking the brunt of a helmet-to-helmet collision with Mundy on a 19-yard pass to Murphy to the Steelers 40. On the next play, Burnett dropped a Bruce Gradkowski pass that hit Burnett in the numbers at the 15 with 41 seconds left.

An interception could have sealed a victory.

"It's kind of been like that all season for us," Burnett said. "The ball is not dropping our way. If I could have that opportunity back, I'm sure five times out of five I'd catch that. I shot myself in the foot."

Not that Burnett and Mundy were entirely to blame.

Veteran corner Ike Taylor gave up a 75-yard touchdown pass to Murphy earlier in the fourth quarter. Gradkowski also threw a pass under pressure off his back foot, and Murphy jumped over Taylor and Deshea Townsend for a 23-yard gain. And Taylor appeared to blitz on the final play when he was supposed to be in coverage, leaving Mundy trailing Murphy in the far left corner of the end zone.

Those mistakes magnified the growing list of gaffes that have cost the Steelers in blowing fourth-quarter leads in five of the past six games.

"It's a different issue every week," Mundy said. "We're going to stick together as a unit. We know that we're more than capable. We've just got to finish the game. It's not always about how you start. It's about how you finish. We haven't been finishing good but we've got to keep our heads up and keep playing."