View Full Version : Pittsburgh Steelers fall flat on road again

10-12-2012, 10:14 PM
Pittsburgh Steelers fall flat on road again vs. Titans


Five games into their season, the Pittsburgh Steelers we know still haven't shown up.

Pittsburgh's 26-23 loss to the Tennessee Titans on Thursday night in Nashville, dropping the team's road record to 0-3, was a humbling reminder that the Steelers are not the Steelers this season. Not yet.

The Steelers we know wouldn't give up 10 points in the final five minutes against a 1-4 team. The Steelers we know would have been able to run the ball for more than 56 yards against a defense that was giving up more points (by far) than any team in the NFL.

Make no mistake: The Titans were an awful team before Thursday. They lost four games by an average of 24 points. Their one win was the definition of fluky -- including multiple return touchdowns and insane long scores. Tennessee gave great effort Thursday night, but the Ttians don't have a lot of weapons on either side of the ball that scare you.

The Steelers have lost to the Titans , the Oakland Raiders and the Denver Broncos on the road. The combined record of those teams when they aren't facing the Steelers : 2-10.

Injuries continue to be a major problem for Pittsburgh. Rashard Mendenhall and Isaac Redman were lost in the backfield. Offensive linemen Maurkice Pouncey and Marcus Gilbert also were hurt . The offensive line and running game have struggled all season, requiring Ben Roethlisberger to play at a superhuman level.

For four games, Big Ben was up to the challenge. His play sparkled even when the numbers didn't show it. His performance Thursday was more uneven. There were great moments -- like his 82-yard bomb to Mike Wallace -- but there also were a lot of missed throws and short drives against a lackluster opponent. Roethlisberger threw 40 times for 363 yards; ideally, he wouldn't have to throw that much.

Normally in these spots, the Steelers ' defense would pick up the slack. But it is lacking difference makers with LaMarr Woodley and Troy Polamalu hurt. Casey Hampton looks like a shell of his former self. James Harrison doesn't look all the way back yet. The pass rush is so-so, and the run defense woke up Chris Johnson for a night. (He had 91 yards on 19 carries.)

The Steelers are a team searching for itself at 2-3. There still is plenty of time to recover, but this Steelers team does not look familiar.

Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal

10-13-2012, 03:50 AM
Road struggles a concern

by F. Dale Lolley

ASHVILLE, Tenn. – Perhaps these Steelers just lack a killer instinct.

Don’t get me wrong; we’ve seen it at times, particularly in the friendly confines of Heinz Field.

On the road, however, things have been quite different.

This team just doesn’t seem to have moxie on the road, something that separates average teams from good ones and good ones from great ones.

The Steelers aren’t likely to find many road venues more accommodating than LP Field was Thursday night yet they still lost, 26- 23. Half of the crowd here was wearing black and gold.

But these Steelers stumbled and bumbled their way through a game against what should have been a far inferior team, one that had given up 30 or more points in each of its first five games en route to a 1-4 start.

When you consider the Titans came into this game averaging 17 points per game and scored 16 in the first half against the Steelers, you can see the issue.

This was a team the Steelers of previous seasons would have come out and put away in the first half before locking things into cruise control in the second half. For whatever reason, this group only does that at home, if at all.

Perhaps the leadership the Steelers lost in the offseason with the retirements of Aaron Smith, Hines Ward and James Farrior was a bigger loss than anyone imagined.

Certainly, the Steelers have competently replaced those three on the field.

Smith hadn’t played much in recent seasons, and Larry Foote and Antonio Brown split time with Farrior and Ward, respectively, last season.

Where’s the grit on this team?

Who’s the guy who is going to get in the face of others when they aren’t pulling their weight?

James Harrison is gritty and has the ability to speak out when somebody’s not getting the job done, but last night was just his second game of the year after he underwent knee surgery in August.

On offense, however, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has the team’s complete attention as a leader, but there’s a seeming lack of the fire that Ward brought to each game, even at the end of his career when he wasn’t used as much.

This team also lacks discipline, as can be seen from the fact it entered Thursday night’s game leading the NFL in penalties per game.

The Steelers did a better job in that regard against the Titans, but some of the penalties assessed against them were big, including a 25-yard pass interference call against cornerback Ike Taylor in the first quarter that put the ball at the Pittsburgh 2-yard line.

The Steelers forced a field goal in that situation, but those are simply the type of plays that must be cleaned up, particularly if you hope to win on the road – even against a below-average team such as the Titans.

If it only happened last night at Tennessee, it could have been chalked up to playing on the road on a short week.

Considering we’ve seen the Steelers muddle their way through all three of their road games, a trend has certainly developed. It doesn’t bode well for this team in the long term unless the Steelers figure out a way to solve some of the issues that confront it on the road.


10-13-2012, 06:45 AM
These road problems are really nothing new. Last season TS were 5-3 SU on the road. However, they were only a not so good 2-6 ATS [against the spread] during the season. Their backers were probably not too thrilled with that.

So far this season 0-3 both SU[straight up] and ATS. I guess that makes it 5-6 SU and 2-9 ATS. Whew! This does not include the PO loss to GB ending the 2010 season or the 2011 season ending PO loss to Denver.

Nonetheless , I would still pick TS [the steelers] to come on and go deep into the PO's except I just can't see a team with a 23 on it really getting it done. Nah! I don't think so. Probably no #7 this year.

10-14-2012, 09:53 AM
plenty of time left, all it takes is to beat cincinatti and to have the ravens lose a game or two and we are right back in it. I think Dallas beats Baltimore today!!!!

10-14-2012, 12:05 PM
plenty of time left, all it takes is to beat cincinatti and to have the ravens lose a game or two and we are right back in it. I think Dallas beats Baltimore today!!!!

That would be nice, but you have to just get a growing sense that this is going to be one of those seasons where events conspire to make it seem like it is two steps back for every one step forward. First we have key injuries, then when Troy comes back he doesn't last a quarter, Harrison comes back and Pouncey, Gilbert, Mendy and Redman go down, Ta'amu gets busted for drunk driving...and who know what is next.