3 biggest problems the Steelers had in their playoff loss

Maurkice Pouncey #53 of the Pittsburgh Steelers. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Maurkice Pouncey #53 of the Pittsburgh Steelers. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /
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Maurkice Pouncey #53 of the Pittsburgh Steelers. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /

When I say the largest problem for the Steelers I mean that quite literally.

The Steelers offensive line dished out it’s the worst performance it has had in the last 5 years. I already made my thoughts known about Matt Feiler being in for Dotson.  We saw him miss assignments, get blown up in pass protection a few times, and he had a one or two key drive stalling penalties in the first half when Pittsburgh was trying to find their groove.  It’s not all on Feiler, but he should not have been in that game period. I had toyed with the idea of starting him at right tackle, yet Chukwuma Okorafor played the game of his life against Myles Garrett and he had by far the best performance of any offensive linemen in the playoffs.

Alejandro Villanueva had a key holding penalty that brought Steelers back on a key first down conversion in the first quarter and he looked weak on the outside during run plays. He was getting bullied in pass protection and even with getting help from Feiler in pass protection looked like he didn’t belong going up against the Browns backup to Olivier Vernon. The Brown lost Vernon, who is their second-best pass-rusher, for the rest of the year in Week 17 and we still couldn’t handle their 4 man rush throughout the game.

The worst offensive lineman last night was Maurkice Pouncey. That isn’t up for debate, His first snap sailed 2 feet over Ben’s head into our own endzone for a Cleveland recovery and touchdown. just two drives later he gets pushed back into Derek Watt on a 3rd and 1 all but killing the play. He snapped poorly the entire game and Ben deserves credit for handling that.

Ben did make some mistakes I am not going to act like he didn’t. Yet, he threw for over 500 yards and threw 4 touchdowns against a defense that had everybody and their mom in coverage Sunday night. All of this while still dealing with more pressure from this 4 man rush than he had dealt with all season against teams who were blitzing 5 or 6. If your quarterback is throwing it over 60 times, against a defense that is chasing him, while having 7 or 8 in coverage, there will be interceptions.

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Ben’s miscues came from the offensive line more than anything else and there isn’t a quarterback in the league, not named Russell Wilson, or Pat Maholmes who would have a shot of dealing with that situation better. He was under pressure the entire game and dealt with a field covered completely and he still generated 37 points. The offensive line is losing Villanueva and Feiler, while possibly losing Pouncey. Normally losing 3 of your 5 starting lineman in one season is a bad thing, yet after Sunday night I am unsure whether the Steelers would want them back anyway.