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Week 4 Recap: Down And Out In Houston

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The [intlink id=”21″ type=”category”]Pittsburgh Steelers[/intlink] ain’t drinkin’ wine.  They’re still stompin’ grapes.

The Black and Gold shook off a first half grape-stomping by the Houston Texans to make it a game before ultimately falling short 17-10. I feel like a broken record saying this but the final score does not accurately reflect what happened in the game. The Texans had not one but two touchdowns wiped off the scoreboard because of boneheaded penalties. Shaun Suisham’s Miss of the Week was of the blocked variety but Daniael Manning blocked Dan Sepulveda in the back nullifying the TD. Well, despite Dierdorf’s asinine hollering, the Dreamy One did play linebacker at Baylor. Late in the fourth, a pick six was wiped out for roughing [intlink id=”14″ type=”category”]Ben Roethlisberger[/intlink].

If not for the Texans self-inflicted wounds and a gallant defensive effort in the second half, this would have been one of the most one-sided ass-whuppins’ in recent memory. I’ve seldom seen the Steelers dominated in all three phases of the game like they were yesterday. Arian Foster had 90 rushing yards in the first quarter. The Texans began the game by driving 114 yards for a touchdown. ONE HUNDRED FOURTEEN YARDS. How is this possible? Houston started at their own 5 and took two 10 yard holding penalties along the way.

The Steelers caught their first break when superstar receiver Andre Johnson’s skinny little legs couldn’t support his massive upper body and he collapsed in a heap mid-way through the 2nd quarter. This allowed the Steelers to effectively neutralize Houston’s passing game as [intlink id=”101″ type=”category”]Ike Taylor[/intlink] and [intlink id=”96″ type=”category”] Gay[/intlink] were able to limit their other three receivers to a total of one catch. Even Kennan Lewis had a nice pass break-up in the fourth quarter.

Unfortunately, they couldn’t stop Arian Foster, who ended up rushing for a whopping 155 yards on the day. Aaron Smith injured his foot (Smith hurt? I NEVER SAW THAT COMING!) which pressed rookie [intlink id=”39″ type=”category”]Cam Heyward[/intlink] into duty. The d-line got pushed all over the field and the linebackers simply couldn’t keep up. The game winning touchdown occurred on a 42 yard run by Foster where [intlink id=”70″ type=”category”]LaMarr Woodley[/intlink], who played like trash yet again, wiped out [intlink id=”57″ type=”category”]Troy Polamalu[/intlink] while Foster ran by them both. Look for Woodley and[intlink id=”114″ type=”category”] Lawrence Timmons[/intlink] on the back of milk cartons in the very near future.

Once again, Blitzburgh, perhaps the most feared defense in the NFL, didn’t register a single sack nor did they create a single turnover.

Now, where to begin with this offense. I’m gonna just lay it out there: Big Ben is gonna die. ESPN is reporting Roethlisberger boarded the team plane in a walking boot and Steeler trainers are hoping and praying his foot isn’t broken. If it is, I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised after letting your franchise quarterback take 5 sacks and 8 knockdowns. Like him or not, you have to respect Ben’s almost superhuman ability to absorb the kind of punishment he took yesterday. At this point, a trip to a Chinese prison camp would probably seem like a vacation.

Trai Essex was a complete disaster at left tackle. When he wasn’t getting run over, they were running around him like he was wearing cement britches. When he wasn’t getting beaten physically, he would lose mentally by blocking the wrong man. [intlink id=”85″ type=”category”]Marcus Gilbert[/intlink] has exactly one move: push the oncoming rusher like a girl at a playground and hope Ben delivers the ball before he comes back around. Most distressingly, though, is the play of [intlink id=”129″ type=”category”]Maurkice Pouncey[/intlink]. I counted at least three plays where he got blown up at the line of scrimmage which either resulted in a sack or a hit on Ben.

The running game did nothing save for one drive late in the third quarter. Tellingly, it was Mewelde Moore and Issac Redman who enabled the Steelers to get in position for a game-tying field goal. Redman, in particular, should get more carries because he understands you need to just plow straight ahead. [intlink id=”88″ type=”category”]Rashard Mendenhall[/intlink] and his tippy toey pansy-ass running style was utterly ineffective. It’s like he’s trying out for Dancing With The Stars.

Speaking of DWTS, Kym Johnson’s not gonna be happy with Ben this week either. [intlink id=”34″ type=”category”]Hines Ward[/intlink] had one catch for 19 yards. Yes, it was a key catch as it kept the Steelers lone TD drive alive but ONE CATCH? Stick a fork in Hines, he’s done. Meanwhile, like last week, [intlink id=”82″ type=”category”]Mike Wallace[/intlink] looked great catching 4 balls for 77 yards in the first half but disappeared in the second. Does [intlink id=”31″ type=”category”]Bruce Arians[/intlink] forget he’s on the field after halftime? [intlink id=”97″ type=”category”]Antonio Brown[/intlink] was the team’s lone receiving threat, catching 5 passes for 67 yards.

After the game, [intlink id=”52″ type=”category”]James Harrison[/intlink] (who missed time when a piece of helmet lining went into his eye, although he’s fine) told reporters, “We played like garbage. Period. We stink right now.” I concur, Silverback. Can’t run the ball, can’t stop the run, can’t pressure the quarterback, can’t keep your own quarterback upright. The 2-2 record is smoke-and-mirrors, folks. This team is an utter mess right now and I fear things are about to get a lot uglier before they get better.