PITTSBURGH - Sifting through the leftovers of a bad Pittsburgh Steelers loss:
n Mike Tomlin's decision to punt was correct.
The Steelers had a 20-16 lead with 2:34 left in the fourth quarter and the ball on the Ravens' 29 on fourth-and-5.
Three choices: Try a 47-yard field goal, punt or go for it.
Tomlin elected to eschew the field goal attempt. But while deciding, the play clock expired, and the Steelers picked up a 5-yard penalty for delay of game.
Jeremy Kapinos punted, and the Ravens took over at their own 8, needing 92 yards for a touchdown with just one timeout remaining (aside from the 2-minute warning).
The field goal attempt was not a viable option. Shaun Suisham hasn't been consistent, and the kick would have been at the open end of Heinz Field.
A miss would have given the Ravens the ball at the 35.
Going for it might have been a better option if the Steelers had been able to run the ball.
Punting was the correct choice. The Ravens were trapped inside their 10.
They converted a fourth-and-1, third-and-8 and third-and-10 on the winning drive.
The fault wasn't with Tomlin's fourth down choice, the issue was the defense's inability to stop the Ravens.
Baltimore didn't even need that timeout.
There's been evidence all season that the Steelers' defense isn't what it used to be, but this was the most blatant example.
n Hines Ward checked out early.
Ward was directly involved in one play. He appeared to catch a pass but lost the ball when he was hit helmet-to-helmet by Ray Lewis.
Ward has made a career of bouncing up smiling after hard hits, but he didn't this time.
He couldn't get up. The Steelers said he had a "stinger," but at Tuesday's news conference, Tomlin referenced Ward's "concussion-like symptoms."
Ward spent the rest of the night on the sideline, wearing a dazed expression.
Ward has always been a key player in Ravens-Steelers games. This time he was just a spectator.
n The Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals lead the AFC North.
The numbers say the Steelers can still win the division.
Don't count on that happening.
Mehno can be reached at email@example.com.