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Monday, November 25, 2013
Gordon's big game a cause for concern

By Scott Brown

PITTSBURGH -- Mike Tomlin doesn't seem to care about style points following a win, As such his response to the show Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon put on in front of a lot of vacated seats Sunday at FirstEnergy Stadium came as a bit of a surprise.

Gordon caught 14 passes for 237 yards and a touchdown, but he didn't go off until the fourth quarter. And by then the Steelers had slapped a stranglehold on the game on the way to a 27-11 win.

Josh Gordon
The Steelers shut down the Browns offense Sunday -- with the exception of Josh Gordon, who had 14 catches for 237 yards.
Gordon had nine catches for 165 yards and a touchdown in the fourth quarter. Eight of those grabs and 118 receiving yards came after the Steelers had built an insurmountable 24-point lead.

Still, after reviewing film of the Steelers' fifth win of the season Tomlin did not give his defensive backs a pass for the obscene numbers Gordon piled up in a losing cause.

“The emphasis is to win the game but the emphasis is to also play well. In some instances in the latter part of the game we didn't,” Tomlin said Tuesday at his weekly news conference.

What is disconcerting about Gordon's numbers are they came a week after Calvin Johnson caught six passes for 179 yards and two scores against the Steelers -- with most of that production coming in one quarter.

Next up is Joe Flacco, whom the Steelers have a lot of respect for as far as throwing the deep ball. Flacco and Torrey Smith connected for just one big play in the Ravens' 19-16 loss at Heinz Field last month but both have history against the Steelers.

And the outcome in the Steelers-Ravens' first meeting may have been different had Flacco not put too much air under a ball after Jacoby Jones had flashed open in the middle of the field. William Gay was able to knock the pass away but Jones would have scored had Flacco led him with the pass.

Keeping Flacco's long pass plays to a minimum will be key to the Steelers' bid for a fourth consecutive victory. And maybe that's why Tomlin took the opportunity to challenge his defensive backs a bit when asked about his displeasure in what Gordon did against them.

“I would expect that competitors would be hacked off about things such as yardage totals and things of that nature,” Tomlin said.