Stop me if you’ve heard this before. The Steelers were decimated by injuries on the offensive line, waste red zone opportunities to score touchdowns rather than field goals, and gave up a 4th quarter lead. 2009 anyone? Almost everything that could have gone wrong did. A blocked punt, costly penalties, injuries, and Ben throwing his first interception since Week 1. Maurkice Pouncey was injured on the first offensive play of the game for the Steelers. The Titans were able to drive down the field on their first possession to score a field goal after having only reached the red zone 10 times in their previous five games. The Steelers are now 0-3 on the road for only the second time in the last 20 years. Yeah, let that sink in for a moment.
Before we get into the bad, let’s take some time to recognize the positives that game from last night’s disaster. Ben Roethlisberger passed Terry Bradshaw as the all time passing yards leader for the Steelers with 28,066 career passing yards and counting. Isaac Redman became the first Steelers RB since Frenchy Fuqua to catch for over 100 yards with 105 receiving yards. Second year RB Baron Batch scored his first NFL touchdown on a 1 yard run in the 4th quarter. Other than that and the fact that it’s only Week 6 and not Week 12, there ain’t much to be smiling about this morning for Steeler Nation.
I’d really like to know who put the voodoo curse on the Steelers offensive line. It’s almost comical how quickly injuries occur. I mean, Maurkice Pouncey was injured on the very first offensive play. Seriously, I’m not even kidding. Then the O-line started dropping like flies. Four out of the seven linemen that dressed last night missed at least part of the game due to injuries. Towards the end of the game, the only available running backs were Baron Batch and Chris Rainey after both Mendenhall and Redman were sidelined by injuries. The Steelers were already suffering with the absence of LaMarr Woodley and Troy Polamalu, who were injured in Sunday’s game vs. the Eagles and unable to return given the short week.
There’s got to be nothing more infuriating as a fan than watching your team miss opportunities and lose to an inferior team. Make no mistake for you Titan fan trollers that might have found your way to this article, your team is bad. That’s not me speaking out of spite or bitterness, that’s speaking from the statistics and record going into this game that says the Titans were by far the inferior team. Last night, however, the Steelers played like the inferior team. The Steelers came into this game as the #5 ranked defense in the NFL, but Steeler Nation knows that ranking is misleading. This defense hasn’t looked like itself at all this season. Possibly even going back to last season. The loss of Polamalu cannot be overlooked. Numbers don’t lie and the Steelers are 7-9 in the 16 games the Steelers have played without Polamalu in the lineup since 2009. The Titans had barely sniffed the red zone prior to last night’s game, and the Steelers paved their way all night long through blown coverages and costly penalties. The Titans defense was ranked #32 in the league and the Steelers mustered 11 rushing yards in the first half.
It’s not quite time to panic, I mean it still is only Week 6, there is plenty of time to right this ship but the opportunities could diminish fairly quickly if the Steelers continue to play this sloppy, undisciplined, inconsistent football. They’re on pace to break their own record for most penalties in one season. The Steelers now get 10 days off to get healthy and prepare for their first divisional game in Cincy next Sunday night. If the Steelers are going to turn their road woes around, next week is as good of a time as any.
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