Steelers MMQB: NFL Week 1 Wrap Up

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Speaking of Steeler Nation. We got punched in the gut on Sunday. The Steelers got beat on all 3 phases of the game, offense, defense, and special teams.  The most glaring aspect of the loss was the 7 turnovers committed by the offense while the defense had zero takeaways.  No way is a team going to win with that statistic alone.  The 35-7 beating was the worst opening day performance for the Steelers since 1997 against the Cowboys in Three Rivers Stadium.

The game had 2 distinct milestones for the Ravens.  The first was Joe Flacco’s and John Harbaugh’s first win against the Steelers with Ben Roethlisberger under center.  The second being the Steelers defense allowed the first 100+ yard rushing performance by Ray Rice since he did it last in 2009.  Also, a mini milestone was I believe Flacco was finally held down with a pair of tweezers because for the first time I distinctly saw 2 separate eyebrows on him.

The game had the usual chippiness that usually comes during a Steelers vs. Ravens game.  Hines Ward was getting mugged on nearly every play, the defense was being held constantly without any flags, and there was a 4th quarter scuffle, which actually included Polomalu getting into it and throwing a punch.  Unfortunately for the Steelers, Roger Goodell was present at this game and will no doubt be hitting the Steelers in their checkbooks this week.  On top of the chippiness was some running up of the score by Baltimore, with a gratuitous fake extra point for a 2 point conversion and throwing to the endzone late in the 4th quarter when the Ravens clearly had the game in hand.  No doubt those plays will be in the Steelers memory when the teams meet again in Week 9. 

It’s hard not to overreact to a game like this.  Ravens fans are acting as if they just won the Super Bowl and Steelers fans are acting as if the coaching staff needs fired and the defense really is too old. We must remember that this is a loss to the Ravens in Week 1, not 15 or in the divisional round of the playoffs. While it would have been great to go into Baltimore and knock the Ravens down a peg or two, we didn’t lose the season or the division to them on Sunday.  If the Steelers can regroup and correct their mistakes next week at home against Seattle, Steeler Nation can calm down a little bit with the overreacting.

The keys to Steeler victories will lie in the battle of the turnovers.  It’s just not acceptable for our defense to not take the ball away while our offense is handing it over 7 times.  It seemed like every time the Steelers got into a rhythm of a few good plays, the drive would end in a turnover.  On top of that, there was virtually little to know pressure on Flacco the entire day.  The Steelers recorded their first sack of the game in the 4th quarter.

I would like all of Steeler Nation to collectively take a deep breath and shake this one off.  Sure it stings because it’s the Ravens, but it’s still just the first game and only means they will be chomping at the bit to pay them back when they come to Heinz Field in November.  Now bring it on Week 2!

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