Sunday, September 08, 2013

"Inexcusable. Not good enough. Unacceptable."

Isaac Redman fumbles.  Photo courtesy of
A safety to open the game.

That was pretty much the highlight of the Steelers' season opener, and it was achieved by virtue of nothing they did.

By the late fourth quarter, with about five minutes left, CBS announcer Ian Eagle pronounced, "This has been a nightmare for the Steelers: injuries, poor execution, lack of execution, no running game."

That sums it up pretty well.  After the game, head coach Mike Tomlin said, "Inexcusable. Not good enough. Unacceptable."

Emmanuel Sanders lets the first pass of the season
go through his hands.
Photo  credit:
On the first offensive play following that gift safety for a two-nothing lead, Ben Roethlisberger launched a perfectly thrown long pass that sailed right through Emmanuel Sanders's hands. Remind us, please, just why did the Steelers match the $2.5 million offer sheet New England offered Sanders? ... who was covered tightly all day and failed to catch another well-thrown long pass later in the game?

After that, Todd Haley's "offense" scored no points in the first half. And no points in the second half until the final two minutes, by which the time the game was lost.

Blame it on the catastrophic knee injury to center Maurkice Pouncey? Maybe, some, but just in part. Pouncey's injury didn't help, that's for sure. About David Decastro's cutblock on Pouncey --why? Pouncey had his man contained. Decastro went to Stanford --he should be smarter than that. It appears both Pouncey and linebacker Larry Foote (biceps) are done for the season. Not good.

DT Jurell Casey tortured Ben Roethlisberger all day.
Not surprisingly, following Pouncey's departure, the offensive line looked disjointed. The Titans mounted solid, steady pressure up the middle, with defensive tackle Sammie Hill hitting Ben Roethlisberger as he released the ball on the second-quarter interception.  Hill and fellow defensive tackles Jurell Casey and Mike Martin tortured Roethlisberger all day and allowed him little time to set up. Kelvin Beachum, Ramon Foster and DeCastro looked overmatched most of the day.

Isaac Redman, bottled up.
Photo courtesy of
No Running Game
Pouncey's departure also presumably hampered the Steelers' running game, as well. Eye-catching stat: eight rushing yards halfway through the second quarter, with Redman laying the ball on the ground twice (one lost). Eleven carries for 13 yards in the first half.

On the other side of the ball, the run defense didn't look so good on Tennessee's scoring drive of 12 plays (11 runs) for 49 yards over seven minutes just before halftime. For a mere 49-yard drive, that's a lot of plays taking a lot of time off the clock. That sort of drive used to be Pittsburgh Steeler football.

On the plus side, Lamarr Woodley had a good-looking sack, and rookie linebacker Jarvis Jones announced his presence in a big way with a huge hit on Chris Johnson. Whoopee.

From a fan's perspective, this game was torture to watch.

Next game: At Cincinnati on Monday night, Sept. 16th.

Links Worth a Read:

Steel City Blitz: Tomlin Must Address a Plethora of Issues

Steelers Depot: Pouncey & Foote Injuries

Behind the Steel Curtain:  Maybe the 2013 Steelers are Who We Feared They Might Be

Gene Collier: No Excuse for This Awful Performance

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