Sunday, September 28, 2014

There's no way to sugarcoat this one

Ben Roethlisberger's lost fumble on the first series.
Losing a fumble on the first possession inside your own 10-yard line. Spotting the opponent a 10-0 lead. Committing 13 penalties for 125 yards. And letting an 0-3 team that's lost six straight games come into your stadium and win a game on a fourth-quarter comeback keyed by a 41-yard catch-and-run by a wide receiver signed off the street during the week on a pass thrown by a second-year quarterback making his first start of the season?

That's bad football.  And losing (once again) to an inferior football team is becoming a hallmark of Mike Tomlin's Steelers.

There's no way to sugarcoat this one. The Steelers are a bad football team. They're averaging 11 penalties a game! That's not a good football team.

Where were the linebackers?  Except for Lawrence Timmons (10 tackles), the linebackers were nowhere.

Where was Jason Worids (one tackle)? Where was Arthur Moats (one tackle)? Sean Spence (three tackles) had trouble keeping up in pass coverage. James Harrison had no tackles in limited action.

Mike Evans beating Cortez Allen
In the secondary, where was safety Mike Mitchell all day? ... especially on that last drive? Cortez Allen is coming up short time and again.

The defense allowed Tampa Bay, of all teams, to convert seven of nine third downs in the second half.

Where was the pass rush? Cam Thomas is a fat slob. The Steelers sacked Mike Glennon once for 15 yards?

Meanwhile, Ben Roethlisberger got taken down five times for 26 yards. Maurkice Pouncey is over-rated. An illegal snap penalty? Come on, man.

Pouncey said the official told him he moved the ball too much before snapping it. Pouncey does that all the time -- we noticed it earlier in the game and in fact consciously thought, "We thought you weren't supposed to move the ball like that before the snap -- aren't you supposed to be set?" Unfortunately, the zebras called it at the worst possible moment.

Pouncey's ill-timed final-possession gaffe cost a crucial first down that would have allowed the Steelers to kneel on the ball and end the game (ahead). But, no, that penalty led to the next critical mistake, a lousy punt ...

Louis Murphy kills the Steelers, again.
(Photo courtesy of USA Today)
Brad Wing's last punt, a 29-yarder, was a killer, coming up way short of where it needed to be and giving the Bucs excellent field position on the Steelers side of the 50. That did not help.

And then the defense collapsed, which brings us back to the questions, where was the pass rush? ... Where were the safeties? Mike Mitchell? Troy?

Speaking of the kicking game, Tampa's Patrick Murray kicked a 50-yard field goal.  Sean Suisham missed a 50-yard attempt.

This loss stinks, and it looks like it's going to be a long season the rest of way (12 games).

They can beat Jacksonville next week, can't they? Maybe. More worrisome, we're not at all confident the Steelers can beat the Browns in Cleveland the following week. The Browns will be coming off a bye week, playing at home, buoyed by the confidence of their second-half performance against the Steelers in the opener and what they saw the Steelers do on Sunday.

"The bottom line is that we are an undisciplined group." Mike Tomlin said. "We are too highly penalized. Obviously we are not coaching it. We are allowing it to happen. So I take responsibility for that. We are not going to win close football games being penalized in the manner in which we’ve been penalized over the first month of the season. It’s unacceptable. It’s inexcusable."

Well, that's one thing Tomlin got right. "It's inexcusable."

No comments: