Sep 16, 2013; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) is sacked by defensive end Wallace Gilberry (95), defensive end Carlos Dunlap (96) and defensive end Michael Johnson (93) during the third quarter at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
As if last weekend’s performance was not pathetic enough, the Steelers laid another egg in a winnable game this evening against the Bengals. Sadly, Pittsburgh’s offense and offensive play-calling remain complete and total jokes despite some solid efforts by the likes of Fernando Velasco, Emmanuel Sanders, and Derek Moye. I for one had problems with the following things:
- How or why Isaac Redman received any carries and work in the running game is beyond me. Moreover, why Haley went to him with a draw in the shotgun on third and two in the third quarter when that play never worked last year was ridiculous. Redman offers nothing to the Steelers in terms of explosiveness on offense, and I hope that he is released soon.
- Roethlisberger never looked to be completely “in sync” with his receivers. I counted at least five times there were mixups on the routes and throws, and those plays cost the Steelers dearly in terms of keeping possession and moving the football.
- Todd Haley and Mike Tomlin both need to be on the “hot seat.” 19 points in two games is not going to cut it at the N.F.L.-level, and there are teams in this league that can score that many points in one quarter! The lack of imagination with the play-calling is also ridiculous, and starting the game with three straight runs was like waving a “white flag” to Cincinnati’s defense.
- The fact that Pittsburgh’s offensive players looked so unprepared makes me question how much Tomlin got on their cases throughout the week. At this point, I question whether Tomlin could run and motivate the staff of a Lemonade stand at a local mall, let alone a professional football team.
- How or why Markus Wheaton and Derek Moye aren’t incorporated into the offense more with the stable of running backs the Steelers have is a joke. Putting David Johnson, Will Johnson, and David Paulson on the field at the same time on passing downs accomplishes nothing, and both Moye and Wheaton could add explosiveness to the passing game. Let me also add that Paulson should be shunned from the passing game for his pathetic fumble in the red zone. His inability to put two hands on the ball in that critical situation led to a “seven-point swing” in the game.
While the hobbled and make-shift defense did their best to keep Cincinnati in check, that unit had their fair share of issues as well:
- Like Redman, Ryan Clark needs to be released. He missed at least four tackles in this game, displayed his terrible ball-skills, should have been flagged for a helmet-to-helmet hit across the middle, and took a horrible angle on Giovani Bernard’s touchdown catch in the third quarter. Shamarko Thomas and Robert Golden are better options at the free safety position right now, and the 34 year-old deserves to ride the pine for the rest of the final year of his contract with Pittsburgh.
- While there was more pocket-collapse on display tonight, the Steelers still failed to record a sack. Although they came close many times, the fact that this defense only has one sack is almost as bad as the fact that they have forced ZERO turnovers to this point in the season!
- That’s right readers, another turnover-less game for the Steelers is in the books. This defense cannot make “splash plays” and their stone-handed cornerbacks certainly did not help. It would not shock me in the least if this defense failed to record eight takeaways for the entire 2013 campaign
To Danny Smith’s credit, the Steelers actually played solid on special teams this evening, and I really have nothing more to say on the matter other than “solid effort” by those on the coverage units. Despite the positives though, the Steelers still lost a winnable game once again and looked unprepared to take the game over in the second half. The offense did not seem to make any adjustments, and “Big Ben’s” final pick was a cherry on top of their crap-laden sundae.
I am not sure how this team will crawl out of their 0-2 hole. But judging by the way that they (specifically the offense led by Haley) responded after their Week 1 loss, this team’s fanbase will be singing “Downey For Clowney” when they enter their bye week with an 0-4 record.
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