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.
[U]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 -- [U]the offense had two chances to win this game and failed on both occassions[/U]. 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.
[U]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???
[/U](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.
[/U]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.
[/U]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.
[U]And for the 4th time they fail (twice against Denver)