Pittsburgh Steelers Grades Week 1: Offense
When does a win feel like a loss? When the Pittsburgh Steelers get gashed by the Cleveland Browns in the second half of a game and almost lose after blowing a 24 point first half lead… that’s when. And, I’m sure that the phrase “I knew this was too goo to be true,” was uttered rather frequently in that second half when it seemed like the Steelers woke from their slumber of awful preseason play and took it to the Browns for five scoring drives.
Time for some grades on offense….
Sep 7, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) is sacked by Cleveland Browns linebacker Chris Kirksey (58) and defensive lineman Armonty Bryant (95) during the second half at Heinz Field. Pittsburgh won the game, 30-27. Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports
The Steelers offensive line showed that they still have some work to do even though Mike Munchak was to rally this group together. I’m holding complete judgement until we get a few weeks into the season, but as of right now it doesn’t look so good for Ben Roethlisberger. The interior line seemed to hold its own over the course of the game and were responsible for opening holes for some of the bigger runs. However, the tackles did not have their best game, and Gilbert looked awful. As Mark Madden put it in his reaction post, “RT Marcus Gilbert appears to have spent his signing bonus on Xanax.” Kelvin Beachum tweeted after the game that it’s “time to go back to the lab” and work out the problems. Let’s hope against the Ravens next week the Steelers linemen have been able to figure things out. But for now, them and their four sacks get a poor grade.
Sep 7, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) looks to pass the ball against the Cleveland Browns during the first half at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports
I admit I was worried about how Ben would perform after coming out of a weird preseason of lots of no huddle to a game that had very little. He answered my trepidation with a career best first half and leading the offense to five scores. Points were left on the table, but that’s not his fault as Todd Haley went back to his aggravating play calling of running the ball down the middle several times in a row once inside the five yard line. Ben ended his day with his 33rd game winning drive which ties him for 9th all time – right there with Joe Montana (but of course Ben’s HOF legitimacy is always in question, right?). His avoid sack, scramble out of the pocket, throw the ball to an open receiver in the end zone, touchdown was typical Ben being Ben. As Mark Kaboly put it there’s not a QB in that’s ever played in this league who can do those things and float a touch pass for the score. He is certainly the solution and not the problem to this Steelers offense and will continue to be so as long as Todd Haley doesn’t get in the way…. which he will.