Here we go...again. The Steelers’ schizophrenic season continues, and the fans are left wondering just which team will show up from week to week. Despite the terms “let down game” and “trap game” being thrown around all week by several writers and media outlets, including yours truly, this was neither.
The Miami Dolphins played like an inspired team on Sunday, and the Steelers came out flat. This wasn’t the Steelers playing down to the competition. This was the Steelers having no answers for a team that suddenly looked far better than their record indicates. Miami won the line of scrimmage, won the turnover battle and won just about every individual match-up throughout the 60 minutes of football played at South Beach yesterday afternoon.
What worked: Very little from the Steelers’ sideline could be qualified as functional and working, other than the medical staff, but there were a couple small bright spots to an otherwise dreadful afternoon. Le’Veon Bell seemed to be running well, but the Steelers didn’t take advantage of that fact. Eli Rogers looks healthy and ready to be a factor going forward. Newly signed Cobi Hamilton also looked ready to face the challenges of game day. DHB showed the world he still has crazy speed. Some of Jordan Berry’s punts were excellent. That there is what is often referred to as putting lipstick on a pig.
What didn’t work: The game plan, execution, coaching, the players focus and preparedness, the next man up, Ben Roethlisberger’s accuracy, pass protection, pass rush...you get the idea. After Heyward-Bey’s touchdown and the subsequent 2-point conversion, there was nothing else positive about Sunday’s performance by the heavily favored Steelers. Ben missed throws before his injury, and plenty more afterward. Defenders were out of position and incapable of making tackles on a running back who’s previous one-game rushing high was 48-yards and finished yesterday with over 200-yards. Jarvis Landry made plays all over the field. The Miami defense had Ben’s number all day. The Steelers were outplayed and out-coached for most of the 60 minutes.
Steelers fans across the nation held their breath once again as the catalyst of this prolific offense went down with a knee injury that now has him out at least 1-3 weeks. He made a few plays after returning for the second half, but his accuracy was way off. His receivers had to make some acrobatic catches and were surely thankful for gloves the league allows them to wear to make one-handed grabs, but it wasn’t enough to bring them back to a competitive level in this game.
Now the Steelers have to play host to a red-hot Patriots team with what amounts to half their starting roster on the sidelines. Hopefully a few starters are healthy enough to compete, but don’t count me as confident in the Steelers’ chances for week seven.
At least they can’t lose during the bye-week, can they...?