As dynamic as the Steelers offense is, Sunday night’s game versus the Colts will end badly if turnovers continue to be an issue.
Last week in Seattle, the Steelers secondary was victimized. Pittsburgh was bombarded through the air as they surrendered 345 yards and 5 touchdowns in a 39-30 defeat. The Brandon Boykin-less pass defense wasn’t the lone problem, however.
The Steelers committed four total turnovers a week ago, each one giving the Seahawks a killer advantage in field position. Those weren’t just limited to Ben Roethlisberger‘s interceptions from the pocket – backup Landry Jones tossed a pick on the now-infamous fake field goal, as well as the INT that ended the game after Roethlisberger exited.
Multiple turnovers against any team is a recipe for disaster, especially when the defense isn’t generating any takeaways of their own. Per Jason Mackey of DKPittsburghSports.com:
Truth be told, Roethlisberger has made a considerable amount of turnovers this season. His 11:9 touchdown-to-interception ratio is much more narrow than 2014’s, but that’s partially to be expected. A hurried pass that results in a turnover is better than Ben absorbing a hit that would injure him further.
Speaking of which… why didn’t Michael Bennett get fined? Anyone?
Still, Roethlisberger has tossed a handful of inaccurate deep balls. He’ll need to be sharp against Colts safeties Dwight Lowery and Mike Adams, who have combined for 9 interceptions on the year. Both have taken one back to the end zone as well.
The world has seen what Pittsburgh’s offense is capable of doing to Indianapolis. While another six touchdown eruption from Big Ben is unlikely, an encore performance could be needed if the secondary continues to sleepwalk.
Quick fantasy tip: start any Colts receiver you can find. Indy’s strong cast of receivers is headlined by receivers T.Y. Hilton (95 receiving yards and 2 touchdowns a week ago) and Donte Moncrief (114 receiving yards). Antwon Blake and Ross Cockrell had better bring a lot of Aspirin.
In relief of Andrew Luck, the ageless Matt Hasselbeck has gone 4-0 in his four games as the Colts starter. In those games, he’s averaged 65% completion percentage with a 7:2 TD/INT ratio. The one positive for Pittsburgh is that Hasselbeck hasn’t thrown more than two touchdowns in any of his starts, although the imploding Steelers secondary loves nothing more than to give opposing quarterbacks career days.
Big Ben and the Steelers offense have a responsibility to cut down on their giveaways. The defense must make plays as well, though, if the rampant scoring is to cease. As many yards as the offense racks up, the unit’s abysmal red zone efforts don’t always produce enough points to match.
Sunday night’s potential AFC Wild Card preview is shaping up to be another shootout. In a back-and-forth game, the biggest momentum swings come from turnovers. The Steelers had better make them swing in their favor.