The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same.
Roethlisberger’s 4 TDs and 400 yards wasn’t enough against the Patriots. Photo Courtesy: Keith Nordstrom/Patriots.com
The Pittsburgh Steelers – New England Patriots rivalry goes back farther than the early 2000s. You can go back to Bill Parcells v. Bill Cower in the Mid-90s. It even spans Kordell Stewart v. Drew Bledsoe in the late 90s. Then of course Tom Brady/Bill Belichick v. Roethlisberger early 2000s till now. Regardless of which era you choose, the results have been the same, the Pats own the Steelers, and Sunday was no different.
Coming into Sundays matchup, the Steelers had won two of the last three against New England. Key note here, one of those was without Tom Brady as he was recovering from an ACL injury during the 2008 Season.
During Sundays 55-31 embarrassment, the Steelers defense allow the Pats offense 610 yards—a franchise record given up by a Steelers team—432 in passing to Brady. The 55 points given up was also a franchise record.
Sunday Brady looked like the same QB that torched Anthony Smith and the Steelers during their historic run in 2007. The Pats won that game 34-13 and Brady threw for 399 yards and 4 TDs while taunting Smith who guaranteed the Steelers would hand them their first loss of the season.
So we’ve seen this story before, but this year is different because of how inept Pittsburgh has been in 2013. After watching this game I only have two takeaways to help the Steelers going further in 2013 and hopefully 2014.
One: It’s time to start drafting younger defensive backs, it’s a passing league now. You can’t stop offense by smashing the QB anymore.
Danny Amendola broke out for 122 yards and a touchdown with 4 catches. Phot Courtesy: Keith Nordstrom/Patriots.com
The core of Ryan Clark, William Gay, Ike Taylor and Troy Polamalu are showing their age. Truthfully, William Gay has looked like a washed uped veteran when he was a rookie. He constantly has three or four games a year where he gets torched. I don’t even know why the organization brought him back after letting him go a few years ago. He’s even rubbed off on the “Great Troy.” Brady picked on the future Hall Of Famer turning him around in circles several times as he chased Danny Amendola and Rob Gronkowski.
The Steelers decision makers have spent several high draft picks in recent years on offensive line help to protect their $100+ million investment in Roethlisberger. While the moves haven’t paid off entirely–except for Maurkice Pouncey, when he’s healthy—one can hope after some time gelling together, the O-Line will become a strength.
So it’s time to start rebuilding that secondary while the front seven, led by Lawrence Timnons and Lamar Woodley are still at or near their primes.
You can bank on the 2013 season final result leading to a top 10 pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. It’d be wise to use it on the best defensive back available in this season’s draft class, and probably draft another with the second round pick.
Two. Ease up on letting Roethlisberger throw so much. Early in the season I wrote that letting Big Ben throw 35-40 times was the Steelers only chance at winning—he threw it 48 times against New England. It doesn’t matter now. This season is over! No amount of winning will lead to a playoff birth, so protect him for the future.
Roethlisberger was sacked 5 times against the Patriots. Photo Courtesy: Keith Nordstrom/Patriots.com
He’s only 31 years old. Don’t let him sit back their and be a target while this young O-Line continues to improve and make mistakes. Takes this time to give the running game valuable work, including 2013 pick Le’Veon Bell.
This is valuable experience for all the young guys. Use it wisely, so this disaster of a season doesn’t happen again.
Next Four Games:
11/10 Vs. Buffalo Bills
11/17 Vs. Detroit Lions
11/24 @ Cleveland Browns
11/28 @ Baltimore Ravens