My Mid-Way Thoughts @ 5-3 (Long)
The following is just my thoughts about the first 8 games of the season --- and to point out my perspective on where the team has failed and where they've succeeded.
The Denver Loss --
4th quarter the score is 19-22 the Pittsburgh Offense takes the field AND....they go three and out.
The Pittsburgh Defense holds the Broncos to a FG (19-25) and still gives the Steelers a chance to win.
I see many of you write that you'd prefer the Steelers Offense be given the chance to win the game, as opposed to the Steelers Defense --- so "what" did the Steelers do to win this game??? They threw a pick 6 --- 19-31 game over.
This is not the Defense's fault in my opinion -- the offense had two chances to win this game and failed on both occassions. However (now 7 games later) I think installing a new offense is most to blame here. Ben missed a few opportunities and in the end I think it has more to do with understanding the offense -- the offensive line also struggled, and that could be due to the linemen figuring out their assignments and Haley getting used to their strengths and weaknesses.
The Jets Victory
At the mid-way point of the 2nd quarter the Jets score a FG and then are shut down for the rest of the game - Defense plays very well.
Ben hits 10 different receivers.
In the 4th Quarter they use a 10:13 possession to seal the game -- Offense plays well.
I don't take anything away from this victory - because I think the Steelers played well, however the Jets seem to be completely lost this season -- just falling apart at the seams....somebody tell me again why Tebow was so important to sign???
(Again) Ben impressively uses 10 different receivers, however the running game is awful -- 40 combined rushing yards from Redman and Batch.
Defense gets a Turnover on the first play -- turned into an Offensive TD
Defense gives up a big play to McFadden --- however, I think what made that play so big is how poorly Ryan Mundy played the angle --- he seemed to get swept up inside and just forget to tackle the runner --- in my opinion Ryan Mundy is simply not solid enough to be used as a Steelers starter. Polamalu either needs to find a way to stay healthy -- or both he and Mundy need to be replaced by someone who can play at a Steelers level on defense. Keep in mind Polamalu will go down as one of my all time favorites for Pittsburgh -- but he's one of four first round guys we're not getting much production out of.
Another First Rounder who hasn't been healthy is Mendenhall --- I would love to know how Haley could have used a healthy Mendenhall, but again if he can't stay healthy -- he's got to go. Dwyer fumbles on the Pitt 30 giving Oakland the ball and an easy score.
At 11:40 in the 3rd Quarter Pittsburgh is up 24-14, the Special Teams allows the Raiders to get to the Pitt. 48 and eventually score.
At 1:31 in the 3rd Quarter the Steelers Defense gives up a length of the field TD to the Raiders - 31-28.
The Steelers offense drives the field and Antonio Brown fumbles on the Oak. 36....Steelers Defense holds the Raiders to a FG -- 31-31.
Yet another chance for the Steelers Offense to "win" the game with 6:40 on the clock....they punt.
Oakland gets a game winning FG.
In my opinion this isn't a "defensive meltdown" or the defense's fault. Two Costly fumbles, a Special Teams mistake, and the Offense fails to win the game when given another chance.
That being said I appreciate the hustle that Antonio Brown and Dwyer are showing -- I think both guys are earnestly trying to showcase their talents and play at their highest levels. The Antonio Brown fumble was a killer....but I think Antonio is having a great season so far, and playing (for the most part) smart football.
The Eagles just looked awful, and the Steelers (both the offense and defense) got lucky that the Eagles are playing so poorly.
Suisham comes in and nails a game winner -- in Pittsburgh in bad weather -- a win is a win.
Pittsburgh is up 10-6 and then the following -
Blocked Punt sets the Titans up at the 1 yard line -- 10-13 Titans
Ben throws an INT -- in the Titans Red Zone -- Tenn. drives the field for a FG 10-16 Titans.
Those two plays by the Special Teams and Offense "could" have been a 10 point swing in favor of the Titans instead of the Steelers.
Pittsburgh goes up 20-16, Steelers Defense Holds/ Pittsburgh goes up 23-16, Steelers Defense allows TD 23-23
Steelers offense gets to the Titans side of the field and attempt a 54 yard FG -- Suisham has the direction but not the length -- Titans hit a 40 yard FG for the win.
For the 5th time in 5 games the Pittsburgh Offense is in a position to win the game for the Steelers with either a tied game or down by 3 or 6 points.
And for the 4th time they fail (twice against Denver)