* Only the most cynical would see what Saturday night's loss as merely a one-and-done for the Steelers. In the bigger picture, it's likely one of the first of many for a young group that came together pretty quickly over the final half of the season. No play better exemplified that then in the fourth quarter when LB Ryan Shazier forced a Justin Forsett fumble (though not officially credited with one) that Stephon Tuitt recovered. Three players later, the Steelers were in the end zone for their only touchdown of the game. "It was great experience," Tuitt said. "But I just wanted to win." With the arrival of Tuitt as a force and a healthy Shazier (and, yes, Jarvis Jones), the Steelers might be on to something bigger next season.
* One of the more interesting off-season decisions will be the future of LB Jason Worilds, who was signed to the transition tag last March. Worilds didn't quite live up to his steep $9.75 million price tag but he wasn't bad either. He finished with 7.5 sacks (a half sack less than 2013). It's assumed that Worilds could be gone, paving the way for James Harrison, who'll be 37, to stick around for another year. "I'm not looking at it at all," Worilds said. "I'm just dealing with the fact we just lost a game we felt capable of winning. The rest of the stuff will come."
* If Le'Veon Bell plays, the Steelers still don't win that game. If the Steelers had scored a touchdown or two, instead of settling for those three first-half field goals, maybe, just maybe, the outcome may have been different.
* For the second game in a row, Dri Archer's line read the same: One carry for minus-1 yard. That's not going to quell any suggestions that it may have been a reach to draft the 5-8, 173-pounder in the third round. Bigger question: How did Archer get a helmet ahead of Lance Moore?
* Few players seemed to take the loss harder than NT Steve McLendon. Fewer linemen were more effective than McLendon, who dominated Ravens G Jeremy Zuttah. "We have to make teams one dimensional," McLendon said. "It is what it is. That's life, you have to move on. It hurt. It hurt. It hurt."
* Torn groin or not, S Mike Mitchell didn't win over many fans in his first season in Pittsburgh. He probably didn't gain many new ones in the league office either for his post-game comments when asked about his first-quarter unnecessary roughness penalty for a hit to the head of Jacoby Jones. "I' m going to hit every single guy in the knee from here on out," he said. "I'm just tired of it. It's ridiculous. You can't change the way you're aiming at a guy once you've already shot your shot. This is full-speed, tackle football. But I will hit everyone in the knee from here on out."
* By the way, Mitchell was the lowest-rated defender (minus 4.2), according to Pro Football Focus, while Harrison was the highest (5.5). Know who posted his best rating of the season? DE Cam Thomas (1.4). On an absolutely brutal night for the offensive line, PFF favorite Kelvin Beachum was the only player not in the red. Beachum graded out at a modest 1.0, the highest rating of any player on the offensive side of the ball.
* For what it's worth, Bruce Gradkowski completed two of three passes for 22 yards in the South Hills native's first action as a Steeler.
* In hindsight, I think I'd take my chances on a road playoff game at Indianapolis or Cincinnati over a home game against Baltimore. Not only do the Ravens know how to win in January, they wanted it more than the Steelers. That was obvious on the field Saturday night and afterward in the voice of coach John Harbaugh.
* The atmosphere was tremendous for the first home playoff game at Heinz Field in four years, at least from the 62,780 who actually showed up. How does "Steeler Nation" still have 2,720 empty seats for a postseason game? On a Saturday night?
* That said, the game drew a whopping 46.5 share in the Pittsburgh market and was the second-most watched AFC Wildcard game on a Saturday in the last 20 years, according to Nielsen. Jets-Colts in 2011 still leads the way.
* The Steelers will meet with the media for the final time this season Monday on the South Side.
* Dan Rooney went over to the Ravens locker room to congratulate them on their win. Anyone see Jerry Jones doing that?
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