Dec 9, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; San Diego Chargers wide receiver Danario Alexander (84) catches a touchdown pass in front of Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Josh Victorian (35) during the second half of the game at Heinz Field. The Chargers won the game, 34-24. Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

Steelers: An Unfortunate Poor Performance

December 9, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Mike Wallace (17) runs with the ball after a pass reception against the San Diego Chargers during the first quarter at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

To quote Mike Tomlin from his post-game press conference, the Steelers had “An Unfortunate Poor Performance.” It sounds familiar. Tomlin has said those words far more often this season than Steelers fans would like. When I looked at the match-up on Friday, I was concerned that the teams looked fairly close on paper. I thought that Steelers fans would think this was an easy win when it might not be. It was another painful loss. While watching the game, I thought that Roethlisberger did not look comfortable during the first half. He seemed to get back in the rhythm during the last quarter but it was a little too late.

Maybe it was me, but the defense really didn’t play to the same level that they had in the last couple of games. Perhaps I’m not giving the Chargers enough credit, but they certainly did not have a fourth quarter collapse as I had predicted.

We all know that Ben is tough and he plays through pain that would keep most people heavily medicated. However, there could have been a bit of rust between he and the offense after three weeks. The offense has had to adjust for both Byron Leftwich and Charlie Batch, so I can’t say that it was terribly surprising. The Steelers really needed to keep the Chargers to a low score to have a chance for the offense to gain some momentum. The stats for the defense don’t look good: 1 sack (Hood), 0 interceptions and 0 forced fumbles. Philip Rivers has been a turnover machine but not against the Steelers.

I noticed that the Steelers cut Brian Hoyer to make room for the new cornerback Josh Victorian. I understand that Hoyer’s value is

probably lower because he was signed late in the year and really doesn’t know the system, but after this season is over, I think the Steelers really need to look at how they stack the quarterback position. This will be the third year in a row (maybe more) that a back-up quarterback has started games. Roethlisberger’s injury rate is likely to climb as his age does. I think the Steelers really need to evaluate who is in the back-up position and when they work with the first team. It might be prudent for that to happen more often. Roethlisberger has stayed upright more this season, but it’s a violent game. There’s no way around it.

So, another disappointing loss. We’ll move on, but playing both the Bengals and the Browns aren’t sure wins. Those teams could have the worst seasons and save it up to beat the Steelers. I think Tomlin was shielding Roethlisberger from direct criticism after the game by commenting that everyone played poorly. I agree that Roethlisberger shouldn’t shoulder the loss alone. However, I do think there was some rust. But if the defense had been more effective, this would have been a different blog.

At least the Ravens lost.

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