Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Steelers Give a 'Tomlin' Effort, Lose in 'Tomlin-like' Fashion in Trap Game


I was hoping against all hope that Pittsburgh’s recent two-game winning streak was not a glorious mirage. All week I tried to find things to be positive about regarding the Pittsburgh Steelers, and I figured that they could ride high into today’s game in Oakland.

Then I remembered that Mike Tomlin is still the head coach of this team, and nobody in the NFL can send a group of players more unprepared, unfocused, and over-confident into a game against an inferior opponent quite like he can.

Unfortunately for “Steeler Nation,” we were treated to yet another “disaster show” against the Raiders this afternoon. While the offense tried to mount a late comeback, it was too little, too late, and Pittsburgh’s 2013 postseason dreams were dashed with the 21-18 loss to Oakland.

Pittsburgh’s defense crapped the bed on the opening play of the game when Terrelle Pryor dashed for 93 yards and a touchdown. LaMarr Woodley, who was out of position and missing tackles all afternoon, bit hard on the fake by Pryor who dashed to the outside and ran to daylight for an early 7-0 lead. To their credit, Oakland’s offense capitalized on Pittsburgh’s early mistakes to score all of their points in the first half.

The Raiders went up 14-0 after they got “cake” field position after a partially blocked Zoltan Mesko punt. Darren McFadden capped off the 26 yard drive with a touchdown run, and the Raiders extended their lead to 21-3 later in the second quarter on another McFadden run courtesy of a Woodley missed tackle.

Pittsburgh’s offense was non-existent for the first three quarters, and they could not capitalize on either of Pryor’s two first half interceptions. Shaun Suisham’s first missed field goal as time wound down in the first half was a killer, but his second missed one on the team’s first drive of the second half was even more crucial.

After they ate almost 10 minutes off the clock, Pittsburgh had to settle for what appeared to be another chip-shot field goal. Unfortunately, Suisham missed and the game remained 21-3 into the fourth quarter after the offense failed to move the ball due to a combination of turnovers, poor play-calling, an over-reliance on the run game led by the “slow as molasses” Le’Veon Bell, and Oakland’s stout defense.

To their credit, the defense pitched a shutout in the second half and forced a big turnover, a fumble forced by Lawrence Timmons, to help set up a touchdown pass by Ben Roethlisberger to Emmanuel Sanders with just over 13 minutes left. Of course, Pittsburgh was unable to draw any closer, and a botched catch by Antonio Brown deep in Oakland territory two possessions later which led to an interception all but sealed the game for the Raiders.

While Pittsburgh got back on the board with a touchdown rush by Bell and a two point conversion by Sanders with just over a minute and a half remaining, the 21-18 score stood after the Steelers were unable to recover the ensuing onside kick.


Final Thoughts

First of all, kudos must go to the Raiders for taking advantage of their opportunities and keeping the Steelers off of the scoreboard and capitalizing too much off of their three giveaways. Although Pryor didn’t have a great day throwing the ball (88 yards), his athleticism and running ability (103 yards and touchdown) kept drives alive for his team.

As far as Pittsburgh’s offense was concerned, the five sacks they allowed were bad enough. Yet the fact that they only turned three turnovers into 10 points was a bleeping joke. The red zone play-calling and execution are garbage, and Suisham’s two missed field goals could have made the difference as well.

Of course, none of this shocks me at all. This team has drastically underperformed under Mike Tomlin in games like these, and how vastly under-prepared they looked for the first three quarters was utterly pathetic.  “All sizzle and no steak” Tomlin will probably get yet another “pass” for this lackluster performance, but these “trap game” losses are becoming far too much of the norm.

At 2-5, this team is all but eliminated from postseason contention, and things will not look any brighter next weekend when they head up to Foxborough.




Stats & Contract Info. Provided By: , Spotrac, and Pro Football Reference


Follow me as well as “NPC” on Twitter: @DominicDiTolla and @NicePickCowherC

Like “NPC” on Facebook: Nice Pick, Cowher

Next Steelers Game View full schedule »
Sunday, Sep 77 Sep1:00Cleveland BrownsBuy Tickets
Dick's Sporting Goods presents "Hell Week":

Tags: Ben Roethlisberger Lamarr Woodley Mike Tomlin Oakland Raiders Pittsburgh Steelers

  • scott sinclair

    I too was hoping the Steelers would not fall into what we all knew was a trap game but they did. Sadly I do think they are now eliminated, especially with the Pats, Packers, and Bengals still to come. Sadly still we all know Idiot Tomlin will be back again next year to prove how useless of a coach he is. What will it take for the Steelers brass to wake up to this guy??

    • Dom DiTolla

      I’m honestly impartial to how the rest of the season shakes out when it comes to “Wins and Losses.” I just want to see the rookies and younger guys turn corners. This team has been so vastly under-prepared to play inferior opponents under Tomlin’s watch it’s sickening. I honestly thought those days were over when Cowher left, but Tomlin “obviously” set the standard lower. Lol.

      I freaking hope that Brady, Dalton, Stafford and Rodgers just obliterate this defense to show how antiquated it actually is in today’s NFL. Also, how completely ineffective and pathetic were Ryan Clark and LaMarr Woodley today?

  • Redd Mahoney

    Whatever you write to crucify the Steelers this week, I will have to eat it…and like it! This team lost to Matt Cassel and the Vikings?! Have you seen the Vikes play the last 2 weeks? SMH. Probably everyone’s gonna kill Suisham,but he was due for a couple of misses. Here’s my issue….Troy gets an interception and sets the offense up in the red zone and again…THEY CAN’T SCORE A TOUCHDOWN! Isn’t this supposed to be a passing league? Then why in the world down 21-3 in the 3rd quarter is Haley calling a 1st down run…then a 2nd down run…YAWWWWN! One more thing, did you see Heath Miller covered 1 on 1 looking like he was stuck in the mud while Ben is holding the ball waiting for him to break open in the red zone? He just couldn’t do it….that was just sad to watch. ):

    • Dom DiTolla

      Dude, you’re going to love my newest post because I was just as enraged with the inability to capitalize off of turnovers, the overall play-calling, and the fact they stuck with the run in the second half as well.

      Also, I hate to pile on, but Beachum’s performance highlighted why I think he’s better suited at guard or center than as a blind-side protector as well.

      • Redd Mahoney

        Go ahead and pile on brother,you earned it. You made fun of me because I mentioned that I yell at my T.V….well I can guarantee you my friend….all of Steeler Nation was screaming at the T.V yesterday! The thing that concerns me really isn’t the losing(you win some…you lose some) it’s the fact that this team is dull to watch. Tomlin is right for one thing…where are all of the “splash plays”? Think about it…there isn’t one player on offense that commands a double team.

        Last year it was Wallace that always required at least two defenders on him(when outside the red zone that is) and this year that is GLARINGLY missing. Opposing team are just giddy to be playing against the Steelers. It seems like opposing defenses jump for joy after every pass play. The Steelers used to be the intimidators and now that just is not the case. The Steelers can’t hit the end zone and they can’t hit the QB. These are very simple dynamics as to why they are losing.

  • Gregg Brennan

    This was less a “trap game” for the Steelers than another confirmation that they’re not a good football team.

  • bk

    How in the world can the coaches for the Steelers be employed by Monday afternoon?
    Tomlin is a joke.

  • Bubba W

    A trap game? that would mean you honestly believe the Steelers are better than the Raiders. I am not calling the Raiders over talented by any means just that the Steelers are not that talented, at least not to much talent difference from the Raiders. Good Luck with the the Patriots Next week!