More than a fluke loss


After last nights debacle one thing is clear: the Steelers are no longer the older, dominant brother of the hated Ravens.  Last nights game showed that the problems run much deeper on this team than injuries.  The most glaring issue that sticks out to me is the coaching.  Where to even begin with Magic Mike and his bag of tricks?  How about the phantom delay of game penalty that occurred at the worst of times? With two timeouts left that is the most indefensible coaching gaffe that could have possibly happened.  It is one thing to be unsure about whether or not that field goal is makeable but it is not alright to be unsure with 20 seconds left on the play clock.  If Tomlin does not have faith in Suisham to make that game and give the defense a security blanket then why is he on the team?  Either cut him now or commit to drafting a new kicker in the offseason because not being able to kick out of the endzone after the rule change and not being able to make a field goal over 40 yards is not the way to win a game. 

The defense though is one of the more troubling issues on this team.  The freefall that the defense had this week was greater than what Bryant McFadden has had all year.  How do you go from dominating the Pats and Brady on every level to simply folding against a below average quarterback in Flacco?  Coaching that's how.  Go back and watch highlights or what not and you can see that the corners played at least 5 yards off on every single play.  I'm no John Madden but I think any Henne or Edwards out there can complete a pass to a receiver that has nobody 5 yards around them.  If you leave a receiver that much space then all you have to do is simply throw it to the guy and let him pick up an easy 5.  The defense never adjusted to it.  But this isn't a new problem this is just the same formula that it takes to beat the Steelers the past few years.  Whether it falls on Tomlin, Lebeau, or Farrior (now Foote) is beyond me but one of them needs to recognize that. 

The last glaring issue is the goal line problem.  Obama has a better chance of being reelected than the Steelers have of scoring on the goal line.  Now it wasn't much of a problem in the Ravens game but it has been a glaring problem all year.  A high school team can score on the Seahawks but not Rashard Mendenhall.  There are only so many chances a team can get to put the ball in the end zone and coming away with three is simply not a good answer.  On the other side of the ball the defense seems intent on shooting themselves in the foot.  The goal line stand was impressive but a team is only going to stop that so many times as evident by Ray Rice basically walking into the end zone.  Ball games are won at the line of scrimmage and so far the Steelers aren't winning many battles.  It truly is a miracle that they have 6 wins based on the putrid football they've played week in and week out.

Now I can't bash the whole team.  Ben is playing out of his mind and Antonio Brown looks like the next Marvin Harrison (jokes, jokes, jokes...?).  Harrison and Woodley are hands down the best outside linebackers in the league I don't know how that can be disputed.  The offensive line has improved by miles and Isaac Redman continues to impress in short yardage.  Cam Heyward looks like the next great lineman for the Steelers and Ziggy Hood is already there.  But if this team is going to go anywhere this season they need to take a long hard look at the tape.  After all Baltimore doesn't seem like being at the kids table anymore.

A Few Good Notes

1. Bryant McFadden is that you??

2.  It's a shame Polamalu's car broke down on the way to the game.  Really seemed like he could have made an impact.

3.  Max Starks: 2011 Steelers MVP

4.  William Gay and Shaun Suisham are in a close race for LVP.

5.  Antonio please stop dancing around on punt returns and just run straight damnit.

Something To Think About

At this point in the season who should the Steelers be thinking about drafting: offensive line or corner?  After Max Starks was brought in it seems like corner is now by far the most glaring need.  But that's up for debate like everything else so take it away.

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