Roethlisberger already looks and probably feels like it’s already week 16. Signs the worst is coming?
The Pittsburgh Steelers are 0-1, and in a tie for 1st place of the AFC North, but it already feels like they’re farther behind their three other foes. I know what you’re saying, “it’s one game out of 16”, but it’s not that they lost, it is how they lost. The signs are pointing to a less than Steeler-like season.
First, this team had a very unimpressive preseason. They were 0-4. I know, you’re saying “IT’S PRESEASON!” Still, you’d like to win a game or two, plus they were dominated in every phase throughout every game. The offensive line still struggles after several early draft picks and “upgrades.” They gave up 13 sacks in those 4 games, and their opponents out gained them on the ground and air, plus scored more touchdowns. That continued against Tennessee. What we are seeing are trends, worrisome trends at that.
Roethlisberger was sacked 5 times and the rushing game managed a measly 32 yards.
I don’t care what the scoreboard says, they were shutout Sunday. If it weren’t for a brain fart play by the Titans return game and prevent defense to protect the lead in the 4th quarter, it would have been a 16-0 loss.
The Steelers lost the turnover battle with a interception and a fumble. Roethlisberger was sacked 5 times, the offense was 4 of 13 on 3rd down and they were never close to attempt a field goal to get any points. Finally they lost the time of possession battle (34:01 to 25:59). The Titans finished last season at 6-10 in the AFC South and the defense gave up a NFL high, 471 points last season. Revamped unit or not, these aren’t juggernauts!
Sure the AFC North went 0-4 in week 1, but at least the Baltimore Ravens showed they can score points against the Denver Broncos. The Cincinnati Bengals shot themselves in the foot at the ends of both halves to GIVE the Chicago Bears a victory and the Cleveland Browns hung with an upgraded Miami Dolphins team. If it had not been for unforced turnovers they would be 1-0. Still, they had a chance to win. Can’t say that about the Steelers. They showed NOTHING.
To make matters worse, they are going to be without aging starting linebacker Larry Foote (33) with a ruptured bicep – I bet they wished they had resigned James Harrison – back up running back LaRod Stephens-Howling with a torn ACL and their most consistent offensive player Maurkice Pouncey with a ACL and MCL injury for the season. Oh, you read that correctly, the Steelers most consistent offensive player is their All-Pro center. I hear the chuckles, but it’s true. Ask any Steeler fan.
Pouncey, the best offensive lineman Pittsburgh has, is likely lost for the season.
Every team that sustains a long period of excellence goes through a rebuilding stage. The Steelers have been able to stave it off longer than most expected. Unfortunately for Black & Gold fans, you might not be able to fight it off any longer. Stick with your team through the rough patch though, if any organization can recover quickly, this one can.
Just be thankful the Black & Gold plays the Browns twice, the Oakland Raiders (10/27), New York Mess, I mean Jets (10/13) and you expect them on pride alone to split the season series with the Ravens and Bengals. Throw in two probable wins against the NFC North – The AFC North plays NFC North this season – and that should get them to 8-8 and a respectable season. Because after what I saw Sunday afternoon, you could win some cash if you bet on that as their final record.
NEXT FOUR GAMES:
@ Cincinnati Bengals (9/16) – Monday Night Football
VS. Chicago Bears (9/22)
VS. Minnesota Vikings (9/29) – in London, England
@ New York Jets (10/13)