If you play a game, know the rules.
That goes double if you play that game professionally.
For the Steelers to mangle that third-quarter free kick yesterday is inexcusable. If a mistake like that happens against a good team, it could easily lose the game.
But it happened against Cleveland.
Free kick = free ball. The operative word is “free.” Take it literally.
Antonio Brown, Roosevelt Nix and Ryan Switzer simply have to know better. Danny Smith, the Steelers' loudmouth special-teams coach, has to make sure they know better.
The Steelers got a safety, the ball, a 10-point lead and immeasurable momentum. But suddenly the Browns had the ball, great field position and, ultimately, a touchdown. (They missed the extra point. They are the Browns, after all.) That Browns drive was aided by Cam Heyward’s penalty for roughing the passer, and Terrell Edmunds’ flag for pass interference. The Steelers turned stupid.
But, on their next possession, the Steelers went 75 yards in five plays to get the touchdown right back. (They made the extra point, too – because they’re not the Browns.)
No real harm done.
But don’t do it again. It was embarrassing.