Yesterday could arguably be considered the worst day in Pittsburgh Steelers history. First, news came down that one of the members of the storied Steel Curtain, L.C. Greenwood, had passed away at 67. Shortly thereafter, the Black and Gold blew a golden opportunity to send the game to overtime, falling to the Minnesota Vikings 34-27. The Steelers are now 0-4 for the first time in 45 years, the year before Mr. Greenwood was drafted by a rookie head coach named Chuck Noll.
Mike Tomlin is no Chuck Noll.
In fact, the only way he deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as the Emperor is to point out it’s become apparent our current Emperor has no clothes. No answers, either, for a season that has tragically spiraled out of control. Every week brings some fresh hell to Steeler Nation. It’s amazing how this team constantly finds new ways to lose.
We have literally become the Cleveland Browns.
This week it was the defense’s turn to completely shit the bed. I’ve seen the Steelers D get torched before but with the exception of the infamous playoff Tebowing, it’s always been at the hands of an offensive juggernaut like the Patriots. Yesterday, they got their asses handed to them by Matt Freakin’ Cassel.
The Vikings have one player, ONE, you have to stop. He is not named Jerome Simpson or Greg Jennings. Yet both receivers repeatedly carved up a secondary that looked completely lost. Cortez Allen was totally inept while Ryan Clark spent more time lunging at air than my blind dog. Part of the problem was Troy Polamalu wasn’t able to play centerfield because he was primarily being used to stack the box against the run.
And Adrian Peterson still got loose for 140 yards and two touchdowns!
Put the entire defense in a sack, smack it repeatedly with a ballpeen hammer, and whoever gets hit deserved it for playing like crap.
AP shrugged off tackles from LaMarr Woodley and Lawrence Timmons en route to a 60 yard touchdown. His second TD was only 7 yards but no less embarrassing as Minnesota literally blew the entire team off the line of scrimmage. That TD was set up by a 51 yard bomb to Simpson where Allen apparently had no idea which way to turn. Meanwhile, fellow wideout Greg Jennings caught a short pass in the flat and zig-zagged past seven Steelers on his way to a 70 yard touchdown.
I can’t think of a single Steeler I could say played a good game. Woodley and Timmons both missed a bunch of tackles. Did Jarvis Jones even play? I like Steve McClendon but he’s nowhere near the run-stopper Big Snack was. With Brett Kiesel more injured than Tomlin let on (SHOCKER), the young line of McClendon, Hood/Heyward, and Woods are terrible against the run. The secondary was no better against the pass with Cortez Allen being abysmal while Willie Gay is still Willie Gay. Clark looks old, slow, and done.
And then we have Ike Taylor. The Steelers defense has yet to force a single turnover and with the offensive struggles, it would be nice for them to come up with a big play or two. Woodley managed to pop loose a fumble but of course the Vikings recovered it. However, the best chance to alter the outcome of the game hinged on Ike’s legendary stone hands. Twice, TWICE, he had poor Cassel passes literally in his grasp only for them to fall harmlessly to the turf. I’ve always preached that you can’t scheme for turnovers but this has gotten beyond ridiculous.
The Steelers now possess a -11 turnover margin, an epically bad number that is unmatched in Black and Gold history.
Once again, the offense did their part by contributing two turnovers to Minnesota’s cause. Ben Roethlisberger didn’t play a terrible game – although even if you excuse his third quarter interception where Manny Sanders gave up on his route, there is no excuse for taking a sack on 3rd and 6 from the Vikings 6 with no timeouts and less than 20 seconds remaining. Sanders aside, the receivers certainly came to play. Last week, Antonio Brown posted a career game yardage wise, yesterday he did his part by grabbing everything in sight to the tune of 12 catches for 88 yards. Jerricho Cotchery also snapped out of his funk, catching 5 of 6 balls for a game-high 103 yards and a nice red zone touchdown.
Then we have Le’Veon Bell. The rookie showed flashes of ability, scoring two sweet rushing touchdowns where the blocking wasn’t all that great. At the same time, his final stat line of 16 carries for 57 yards isn’t anything to write home about. He definitely gives us more than our other backs although how much more is a matter of debate.
Of course, it’d help if the Steelers had a line that could block someone. For the second week in a row, LT Mike Adams was a human turnstile. Ben was sacked five times and under constant duress, primarily from the left side. Marcus Gilbert may have started the season badly but while he’s improved, Adams has fallen off the map. It was possibly the worst game by a LT I’ve ever seen. At this point, somebody should steal his truck just so he won’t show up to the game.
I don’t know what else to say. I’ve harped on playing youngsters but that doesn’t seem to be the answer. Jones did nothing and while Markus Wheaton got more looks, he also couldn’t come up with a big catch at the goal line. We used to be able to count on Ben coming up big in clutch situations, now we can count on him making one or two bonehead mistakes per game. The defense had been playing bend-but-don’t-break and this week they broke. No turnovers, no sacks (only 1 this week), it’s just a bad bad situation.
And it doesn’t look like it will get better anytime soon.