The Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens took part in a prime time affair at Heinz Field on Sunday night, and the Steelers presented their loyal fan base with another dud for the second loss at home for the regular season. The 26-14 loss was as inconsistent as ever, and there were some good, and bad, performances worthy of recognition.
During the game, some perform well, while others fall short of the standard. This is where the Winners and Losers column comes in. After the game, when the dust settles, we decipher who falls into which category.
As always, feel free to comment on the list in the comment section below. Be part of the conversation!
Stat Line: 2/2 FGs
Chris Boswell at least got on the right track on Sunday night by making his two field goal attempts. His kicks were not of ridiculous length, but progress is progress.
Ben Roethlisberger to Antonio Brown Connection
Stat Line: 5 receptions on 11 targets, 62 yards, 1 TD
It has been a long time since we have seen the Roethlisberger-Brown connection look this out of wack. We can all agree it was a bad game for Roethlisberger, but the tandem hasn’t been in cohesion since the start of the season. Yes, Brown missed all of the preseason due to a quadriceps injury, but after a quarter of the season the production needs to increase.
3rd down Offense
Stat Line: Steelers were 2-for-12
Without looking up the minutia, the Steelers’ third down woes came in a variety of ways, but most of the failures seemed to come on manageable down and distances. Under Todd Haley, fans were used to seeing the team go deep on 3rd and 1, but the trend has continued under Randy Fichtner — except the team is converting even less than before. The play calling, and sequences, are mind numbing. The Steelers losing the battle on third down is a direct cause to a lot of their frustrations as a team.
3rd down Defense
Stat Line: Ravens were 8-for-17
The Steelers’ offense couldn’t convert a third down, and the defense couldn’t stop the Ravens on third down. On 17 conversions, the Ravens converted nearly half of them. You can talk personnel, injuries or coaching — but it just isn’t good enough. Flacco was sacked just twice, and was rarely under duress at any point during the game. The result to this inability to get off the field on third downs is a tired, and sloppy, defense.
Stat Line: 11 rushes, 19 yards, 1.7 yards per carry
I can’t blame this stat line on the offensive line, but more on game planning. I know you were down 14-0 heading into the 2nd quarter, but after tying the game up 14-14 at halftime, the entire game plan moved away from the ground game. Becoming one dimensional plays right into the defense’s hands, especially one like the Ravens defense.
Opening Half Scripts
Stat Line: No first downs in opening series of games this season
When the Steelers possessed the football for the first time in their first four games, they have failed to get a first down. Not a touchdown — a first down. 4 games, 4 three-and-outs to start the contest. Not a good look for Randy Fichtner’s new offense, and if Ben Roethlisberger is the one drawing up these scripts, it might be time to bring No. 7 back to earth and take some of the free lancing away from the quarterback.
Stat Line: 7 total tackles, 4 solo, 1 fumble recovery
Edmunds did recover the fumble caused by Sean Davis which turned the tide in the second quarter, but otherwise didn’t have his best showing as a member of the black-and-gold. Edmunds was burned on more than one occasion, and flattened in the running game on others. The future might be bright for the rookie out of Virginia Tech, but Sunday night’s performance was rather bleak.
Cameron Heyward and Stephon Tuitt
Stat Line: 9 total tackles, 6 solo, 0 QB hits, 0 sacks
Anyone seen Heyward and Tuitt? This tandem, which was supposed to be one of the best in the league, has yet to do anything on the field of any significance. In fact, the entire defensive front as a unit has been MIA the first quarter of the season. If Keith Butler wants to get pressure with just three or four, Heyward and Tuitt have to be dominant, and they haven’t been as of late.
Stat Line: This team is in a downward spiral
Here we are again, with the coaching staff on the losers list. It seems as if it is every other week where the play on the field can somehow, someway, be directly linked to poor coaching. Whether this is in the game planning phase, teaching or just overall approach to their craft — the Steelers’ staff needs to be better. Period.