The Pittsburgh Steelers plummeted to rock bottom in Sunday’s embarrassing defeat in Philadelphia, recording the franchise’s worst loss since 1989.
So much for the Battle of Pennsylvania. For the Steelers, week three became the Massacre at Philadelphia.
34-3, Eagles. You don’t need your reading glasses to recognize a score that lopsided.
Truly, it was a loss of historical proportions. Sunday’s defeat now stands as the Steelers’ worst under Mike Tomlin, the worst of the Ben Roethlisberger era, and the worst in nearly 30 years. The last time Pittsburgh lost this terribly, George H.W. Bush was president. That George Bush.
It was as if God hand-picked the Steelers to be the sacrificial lamb to the resurrected Eagles.
This defeat marks the Steelers’ ninth in a row when visiting the Eagles. The black and gold haven’t won a football game in Philadelphia since 1965.
Watching the Eagles decimate the Steelers was the NFL equivalent of Alabama versus Western Kentucky. Mike Tyson versus Little Mac. Drake versus Meek Mill. There’s no mercy rule in professional sports, but one should have been applied.
Sunday’s Massacre at Philadelphia contained all the usual ingredients of a painful Steelers loss.
The secondary chased after their own tails all afternoon. Rookie sensation Carson Wentz tallied 23/31 passes for 301 yards and two touchdowns, completing at least two passes to seven different targets.
Compare Wentz’s stat line to that of Roethlisberger’s – 24/44, 257 yards and an interception – and it’s difficult to tell which numbers came from the arm of a rookie in his third NFL start.
The Steelers defensive front didn’t fare any better. Once again, the pass rush failed to notch a single sack. Through three games, Keith Butler’s defense has one sack, and a measly one at that. This is absolutely pathetic.
Following last week’s victory over the Bengals, I argued that the Steelers secondary was actually good. Perhaps that assessment was premature. The fact remains, though, that no secondary can make up for a pass rush that can’t even get a hand on the opposing quarterback.
Offensively, the running game utterly disappeared. DeAngelo Williams carried a total of eight times for 21 yards. Williams was instrumental to the Steelers success in the first two weeks, and the decision to abandon the run early haunted Pittsburgh.
Roethlisberger failed to find any trace of consistency through the air. Ben’s 244 yards were his lowest of the season, and a significant chunk of his throws were inaccurate. Roethlisberger routinely overthrows the 6’7″ Jesse James, somehow.
In his return from a shoulder injury, Markus Wheaton dropped three passes, one being a would-be touchdown. He should’ve stayed on the bench.
Making sure no stone was left unturned, the offensive line mustered a poor performance as well. Roethlisberger was sacked four times. David DeCastro, fresh off a new contract, was abused all game by Eagles defensive tackle Fletcher Cox. Ramon Foster left the game early with a chest injury and didn’t return.
Foster joined an exhaustive list of injured Steelers, including Lawrence Timmons (shin), Robert Golden (hamstring), Mike Mitchell (knee), and Ryan Shazier (knee).
Pittsburgh’s season can’t be declared doomed this early, but this game did accentuate the Steelers primary issues. Ideally, the Massacre in Philadelphia will serve as a wake-up call.
Mike Tomlin’s Steelers have become notorious for losing to lesser opponents. This starts with coaching, and Sunday served as another reminder that Tomlin doesn’t always take preparation seriously enough.
The Eagles are a quality team – as evidenced on Sunday – but Pittsburgh should’ve won this game. They shouldn’t have lost in such convincing fashion, at the very least.
There’s only so much to analyze in a loss of this caliber. A beatdown is a beatdown. Hopefully, Sunday was one of the annual ‘bad games’, both for the players and coaching staff, getting out of the way early.
On the bright side, things can only go up from here.
This Steelers offense scoring a total of three points is unfathomable going forward. Losing by 31 is about as common as a UFO sighting. This team is simply too talented, with too high of a pedigree, to do any worse.
It would be a statistical anomaly for them to regress from a 34-3 loss.
Take a deep breath, Steelers Nation. Sunday was a cringe fest, but the season is still in its infant stages. This team has rebounded before and will do so again.
Le’Veon Bell returns next week against the Chiefs. Think positive.
All stats via NFL.com.