If you want a recap of a 17-10 loss that should have been 35-10, read the newspaper. We're going straight to the analysis. And the emotion. Here, in no particular order, are 9 things wrong with the men convening in the locker room of the Pittsburgh Steelers football team:
9. They're playing August football.
Not October football. And certainly not De-cember football. In far too many instances, you get the impression certain guys are still learning how to read a blitz (Antonio Brown), are unsure if they have contain on basic running plays (Troy Polamalu), or are just hoping to earn a spot on the practice squad (the whole offensive line). Blame it on the lockout if you like, but we're 4 games into the season, and the signs are almost all bad.
7. They can't stop the run.
Arian Foster has made a lot of defenses look bad in the last calendar year, and that Texans offensive line is every bit as good as advertised. I can't remember seeing the Steelers getting blown off the ball like that. But this was no anomaly; Ray Rice dominated them in Week 1. It doesn't matter that Foster and Rice are stars; nobody runs on Pittsburgh. Until lately. Foster's 42-yard-run was the longest Dick Lebeau's defense has given up since like 2006, per the insufferable Dan Dierdorf. And the defense was most exposed on Foster's patented cutback runs. You know, the times when he had no blockers, and the Steelers still couldn't tackle him. I'm looking at you Troy Polamalu. Is Lamarr Woodley even playing? You know, the Steelers might not be able to stop the pass either. We're pretty sure they can't, but Matt Schaub never really had to find out.
More after the jump...
6. James Farrior is old and slow, in addition to undersized.
The tone was set on the very first drive of the game. You remember. The one that lasted like 20 minutes. Arian Foster went mano a mano with Farrior on 3rd and 1 and just destroyed him. Later, he got smoked in pass coverage by Owen Daniels and owned on the Foster touchdown run. Next time someone in the Pittsburgh media makes a stink about Farrior ceding some of his playing time to Larry Foote, just show this tape.
5. Shaun Suisham needs to be more of a leader.
Tear out a paper towel dispenser in the locker room or something. The men are looking to you.
|Irreplaceable locker room presence.|
When the Texans sacked Ben Roethlisberger - and they sacked him, oh how they sacked him - they converged on him in a pack. Like the time when the Steelers had 7 men "protecting" the quarterback, the Texans rushed 4, it was no problem for them at all, and they may have actually appreciated the challenge. Trai Essex and Marcus Gilbert are possibly less qualified to start at tackle in the National Football League than Ben Flajnik is to carry a network drama in prime time. Even the golden child Maurkice Pouncey cost the Steelers a touchdown with a ridiculous late hit. Everything happening on the offensive side of the ball - i.e. very bad things - traces back to this linepocalypse.
Another MRI. A possible broken foot. A week of "will he or won't he play?" Willing his team to a near miracle finish, even as his battered legs buckle beneath his massive frame. He grimaces. He shakes his throwing hand. And after a gut wrenching loss, in the postgame presser, he comes through with the money quote:
“I’ve still got to make plays. I’ve got to make it easier on my guys and I didn’t do that today.”
That Ben is a hell of a player. If he had Brady's offensive line, maybe he'd have 4 rings. But let's be clear. He loves playing this role. The humble warrior rides again. The offensive line just made that way too easy for him, didn't they?
|Leave no soldier behind.|
It's hard to fault Bruce Arians for dialing up a play for Mike Wallace 10 times a game, but what happened to the juggernaut offense? You know, with the 4 dangerous wideouts. And the 1,500 yard running back. It doesn't seem like Arians and Roethlisberger have much confidence in anyone but Wallace. Mendenhall hasn't done much lately, but he's running behind the same line that's putting Roethlisberger's limbs on a shish kabob and feeding them to Mario Williams. What's that? You say Mewelde Moore looks like the better player? OK, you win.
1. My Dad and Brother [Ed. Note: And Finesse's Dad]
Everyone knows fans like my dad and brother. They sit in front of the television for 3 straight hours and say things like, "This is terrible", "This is the end of an era", and "This is terrible." The litany of pessimism is interrupted only by Steeler touchdowns, after which they will whoop, holler, pump their fists, then settle back on the couch and say something like, "That was too little, too late. The season's over." I'm not saying that the two of them had any impact on the game. But it's possible. The Force is strong with them.
|Need more of this.|