By Michael K. Reynolds
The Pittsburgh Steelers were outcoached and outplayed and completely embarrassed against the Baltimore Ravens, their most hated rivals in a critical game.
Sorry folks, but not much joy in your rapid fire conclusions:
It’s Not Gap Integrity…The Defense is Soft
One of the biggest mysteries of the Raven’s offensive strategy is why they didn’t run the ball every play as they dominated the trenches. It’s probably because their receivers were so wide open. Daniel McCullers may not be much of an answer. He may not be ready. But there were countless short yardage situations where he could have given the Steelers much needed push. James Harrison must have had a serious medical concern for the team not to consider using him this year for a stopgap infusion of defensive toughness. Dick LeBeau appears to be out of magic tricks and it’s not looking as if he’ll be able to pull a top defense out of this hat.
Why Can’t The Defense Cover Tight Ends?
How many times in the past few years have the Steelers been torched by tight ends? Ravens tight end Owen Daniels looked like he was granted immunity from defensive coverage last night.
The Offseason Revisited
Last week against the Cleveland Browns the Steelers defense was out of breath and lacking proper communication and in both games no one seems capable of tackling. This week against the Ravens, Ben Roethlisberger and his receivers seemed completely out of synch. How is it the Steelers seem so unprepared to start the season?
The Rooneys May Never Sign A Contract Again
Free agent signings of Mike Mitchell and Cam Thomas? A major one year contract with Jason Worilds? Then long-term deals with Marcus Gilbert and Cortez Allen? Based on the disappointing play of these players do you think the Rooneys are happy signing those checks? The next time general manager Kevin Colbert suggests a big signing he might be forced to co-sign the loan.
The Attorneys Have Ruined The Sport
The most exciting play in football? The kick off return. So why is it gone? “Player safety”. The decision to move the kickoff five yards forward was one of the worse in NFL history. What about all of those Unnecessary Softness Penalties? Courtney Upshaw’s sack of Roethlisberger was a great football play. No says the refs? Roughing the passer. Then great tackles by Troy Polamalu and Mike Mitchell are flagged as well. NFL…we know you’re afraid of being sued, but can we please have our sport back? Maybe Art Rooney and John Mara ought to be assigned to that inquisition.
Offense Holds All Of The Answers
If there is any hope of the Steelers rising above mediocrity this season it will have to be on the shoulders of Roethlisberger. Which is why his performance was so disappointing. He and his receivers have to generate precision and timing in the passing game, and quickly. There will be enough life in the running game with Le’Veon Bell to mix things up, but the downfield air attack, which has the ability to be sensational, needs to reach its potential.