I guess Tom Brady didn’t see any ghosts this afternoon. Am I right, Ryan Clark?
In what could very well go down as one of the most pathetic defensive games in franchise history, Pittsburgh fell to 2-6 this evening against the Patriots by a score of 55-31 in Foxborough.
While the 55 points they surrendered was bad enough, the fact that the Steelers’ defense allowed 610 yards to New England’s struggling offense was nothing short of a joke.
Of course, like he has so many times during his career, Tom Brady carved Dick LeBeau’s soft zone with success through the air (432 yards and four touchdowns). Three players, Rob Gronkowski, Danny Amendola, and Aaron Dobson, had 100 receiving yards, and Brady averaged 13.1 yards per completion.
Not to be outdone though, New England’s offensive line paved the way for Stevan Ridley, LaGarrette Blount, and Brandon Bolden to tally 198 yards on the ground and three touchdowns as well. Pittsburgh’s defense, which has struggled mightily against the run all year long, looked hapless at the point of attack for much of the game when the Patriots went to their ground game.
Whether it was the 9 play 77 yard touchdown drive which the Steelers allowed at the end of the first half, the fact that they surrendered 17 straight points after tying the game at 24-24 in the fourth quarter, the fact that Cortez Allen was not matched up on Gronkowski for the entirety of the game, or the fact that the unit essentially “gave up” on Blount’s final touchdown run of the game, the Steelers’ defense and LeBeau illustrated how pathetic they were.
The garbage effort by the defense put a damper on the fact that the offense finally appeared to look competent during extended stretches against New England’s hobbled defense. Ben Roethlisberger notched 400 yards passing and four touchdowns, Jerricho Cotchery caught three of those scoring throws, and the unit overcame a 14-point deficit in the second half with some solid play-calling and execution.
Of course, pass-protection problems plagued the Steelers once again (five sacks), Marcus Gilbert left the game with what looked like an ankle injury, and Le’Veon Bell illustrated his hands of stone and inability to break away from linebackers on passing plays.
Overall, I am not displeased with the fact that Pittsburgh lost this game. In fact, I figured that it would happen. I am however livid over the fact that this team played uninspired and unprepared football for the “umpteenth” time since Tomlin became the head coach. In addition, I am disgusted that Dick LeBeau failed to scheme against obvious matchup nightmares in the passing game. The most depressing thing to watch though was how the defense allowed the franchise record for points in a single game.
At 2-6, the postseason is not an option for the Steelers. After their most recent performance, the only option for this team is to play the back-end of their roster down the stretch and hope that their youngsters can show some signs of development.
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