Steelers Blow It Against Buccaneers: Instant Reaction
Sep 28, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Vincent Jackson (83) catches a five yard game winning touchdown pass with seven seconds left against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the fourth quarter at Heinz Field. The Bucaneers won 27-24. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
When the Pittsburgh Steelers stopped the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and took the ball back with under two minutes left, I had started typing up this post with a win in mind. One 3 and out and a very short field for the Bucs later, and the Steelers end up on the wrong side of the scoreboard for the second time this season. I should have been surprised. But I wasn’t.
The opening plays of the game were probably just a foreshadow of the kind of game this would be for our Black & Gold. A turnover and Tampa Bay TD had the Steelers down 7-0 early. The penalties plagued this game. That with the combination of bad officiating made this game longer than reading War & Peace. Reading that book might have been more enjoyable this afternoon. The penalties stalled drives and allowed TD’s for both teams.
Personal achievements were the only positive things to come out of this game. Big Ben has now thrown for over 35,000 yards for his career. Big landmark there. Antonio Brown set an NFL record with making at least five catches in 20 consecutive games. Brown ended the day with 7 catches for 131 yards and 2 TD’s. Brown should have had a third but instead dropped a late 4th quarter bomb from Big Ben that hit him right in the hands. Aside from that blunder, Brown was nothing but spectacular, and if anyone argues that he’s not a Top 3 or Top 5 receiver need their head checked. Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell went for over 100 yards from scrimmage for the fourth consecutive game. That is the first time for that to happen for a Steeler running back. Bell ended the day with 63 yards rushing and 43 yards receiving. He now has 567 all purpose yards so far this season.
Despite these personal achievements, the offense lacked the execution and play calling to seal the game when they had the ball with under two minutes to go. The offense ran the ball on first down and lost 3 yards. On 2nd down, a surprising pass play went for eight yards. On 3rd down, when the team needed a first down to seal it because the Bucs were out of timeouts, Haley called another off tackle run that went no where.
In a game when the offensive line struggled to run block, pass block, and keep from getting penalties, offensive coordinator Todd Haley called an off tackle run with Bell instead of throwing it. In a game when the defense struggled in the second half and could not stop the Bucs on numerous occasions, Haley called an off tackle run with Bell on 3rd down. This is a Bucs team that allowed 56 points last week, and the Steelers could not get a first down. It’s as if Ben knew the result – if you watched the game closely enough, you could actually see him shaking his head as Haley called the play in.
It’s all nauseatingly irritating.
The defense was shredded by a backup QB with an offense that did not have its #1 WR. Once again, the opposing team’s offense has time to make adjustments during halftime, and DLB, the Steelers D, and the entire team and fans pay the price for DLB. It’s hard not to be unabashed about how awful this is really getting with him and his defensive plans. His reputation no longer precedes him, and the team is paying the price.
It was an improbable win by the Bucs – that is if you are any other team in the NFL. But for the Steelers, they have a tendency to struggle against the “easy” teams. It’s becoming a chronic problem. I tweeted earlier, and I will whole heartedly stand by this conviction – as long as DLB and Todd Haley are on this coaching staff (especially DLB), you can expect this kind of game and more 8-8 seasons for the next five years. Tomlin’s no longer safe either….
Whelp. Onward and hopefully upward next week when they go up against Jacksonville… another “easy” game.