Sunday, November 03, 2013

What We Learned We Already Knew

Ben fumbles.
The 2013 Steelers aren't nearly talented enough to play mistake-prone football. The Steelers are a bad football team, but we knew that. 

Against New England, they were non-competitive.
Penalties, interceptions, sacks allowed, a sack-fumble, dropped passes, sloppy tackling, missed assignments, lousy blocking, blown coverage, crummy punting, inability to get off blocks, general confusion, ad nauseum ... the Steelers put it all on ugly display in Sunday's embarrassing 55-31 fiasco in Massachusetts.   
They were steamrollered.

Rob Gronkowski: Wide open, romping and running free.
This game marked a new low. The 55 points allowed were the most in franchise history, and the game wasn't even as close as the lopsided score indicated. 

More than 600 yards allowed; three Patriots' receivers with more than 100 yards each; 198 yards rushing allowed -- it all added up, and the Steelers allowed Tom Brady to complete 29 of 33 passes to compile a perfect passer rating.

The defense was manhandled. Yet again, the Steelers' linebackers were virtually invisible, and their play worsened after rookie Vince Williams left the game with a concussion, not that he had played well beforehand. The Patriots ran play after play to their left side, and the Steelers' defensive players were not up to the job. 

Stevenson Sylvester couldn't get off blocks, Steve McClendon was run over, Lawrence Timmons was spun around, Jarvis Jones looked lost, and LaMarr Woodley was absent. 

They're not good enough.

Danny Amendola: Wide open.
The secondary was run past, through, around and over. Every one of them. Ike Taylor got burnt, William Gay couldn't cover, Troy Polamalu was consistently out of position, Shamarko Thomas was over-matched, and Ryan Clark was slow. 

This game made painfully clear what we suspected: Ryan Clark can't run anymore. He just can't run. He can talk, though.

The offensive line can't block, but we knew that, too. Emmanuel Sanders dropped a pass that hit him between the numbers. Le'Veon Bell dropped two passes, including one that clanged right off his hands, and he clearly missed assignments. 

Jericho Cotchery showed up. Good for him. Antonio Brown made some plays. Cameron Heyward showed some flashes. Heath Miller tried.  

To our untrained eyes, it seemed all the players tried ... mostly, however, they're just not good enough.

Can it get any worse?  Yes. It can always get worse.

Game Day 8: Steelers at New England

What are the chinks in the Patriots' armor? The 6-2 Patriots have had injuries on both lines and are starting a group of young receivers whose productivity has been uneven.

One stat catches the eye: Tom Brady has been sacked 23 times in eight games. That's an unusually high number for Brady. The Steelers' defense, however, has collected just 10 sacks; by comparison, the Patriots' defense has 24 sacks.

The Steelers also don't take the ball away. The Steelers have intercepted just four passes vs. 10 by New England's defense.

The Patriots rarely lose at home to AFC opponents. With Brady at quarterback, the Patriots have 34 consecutive home games vs. AFC opponents.

All of the above doesn't bode well for a Steelers team that desperately needs a win.

For what it's worth, here's a bit of history:
  • A win today by the Steelers would mark the second consecutive and the third in the last four games against the Patriots.
  • Since 2000, Pittsburgh is 3-4 vs. the Patriots.
  • The Steelers are 14-8 vs. against New England in the regular season, including 4-2 on the road (1-2 at Gilette Stadium).
  • Ben Roethlisberger is 3-3 vs. the Patriots in the regular season, including a win at Gilette Stadium in 2008.