From week to week, many of us here on NPC break down what it will take for the Steelers to walk away with a victory each and every Sunday. For the past several weeks, it’s been the same strategy/game plan – protect Ben Roethlisberger, minimize the miscues, and get solid pressure on the quarterback. That’s all they’ve ever needed to do practically this entire season, and the plan is no different going into this Sunday’s game against the Bengals. But can they do something they haven’t done half the time this season and struggled with greatly during the last four weeks?
The plan seems so simple. Yet, each of these points of the victory triangle has evaporated at one time or another during games this season.
Protect Ben Roethlisberger
This is by far the thing the Steelers struggle with on a regular basis. And by ‘protect,’ I don’t mean keep the entire defense away from him. By all means they should let a guy or two through from time to time. Roethlisberger scrambling is what he does best and is deadly when he has time to look down the field for an open receiver. Just don’t let a defender come in completely untouched or unchecked so that they blast off on Big Ben. Not only does that serve the team well in keeping them from getting in trouble with 2nd/3rd and long yardage, but also it sustains the longevity of the Steelers’ franchise quarterback.
Protect Big Ben this Sunday against the Bengals, and he will shred that secondary all day long.
Solid pressure on the quarterback
The pass rush is so key for a defense, especially the Steelers. It enables them so much in the way of what they can do during a series. Pressure causes a quarterback to become inaccurate with their throws. Pressure causes plays to break down and raises the chances of causing a turnover. Pressure causes coaches to begin adjusting blocking schemes, plans, and play calling. All of these benefit the defense in so many ways. The Steelers have the least amount of sacks and turnovers than they’ve had in quite some time. They are near the bottom basement in both of those categories in the league.
Put pressure on Ginger Spice Dalton, and the Steelers will dominate in time of possession, yardage, and turnovers. Three things that will guarantee a victory.
Minimize the miscues
Oh sweet Baby Jesus. This is by far the most damning and aggravating part of the 2012 Pittsburgh Steelers. The penalties. The turnovers. The blown assignments. It’s kept them out of games, and it’s contributed to blown leads time and time again. It is a plague upon this team – both the young’ins and veterans. Proper game preparation is highly suspect under Coach Tomlin these days – what else could attribute for all the dumb crap that happens on game day?
If the Steelers can minimize or completely eliminate these miscues, then they exponentially increase their chances in winning the game against the Bengals.
By far the miscues are what’s killing the Steelers the most and the thing that needs to go away immediately. If they continue to screw themselves in this manner, you can kiss beating the Bengals and making the playoffs goodbye. Can they execute the easiest of game plans? Stay tuned on Sunday and let’s see some immediate returns of growth from this team.