Sunday, September 29, 2013

Steelers Game 4 Recap - Vikings 34, Steelers 27

Third down and goal from the six yard line down by seven with under 20 seconds left in the game. Everson Griffen sacks Ben Roethlisberger and he fumbles. Game over. 0-4. Another loss, this one to Matt Cassel and the Minnesota Vikings. I would say that this is unfortunate but this is pretty typical for the Steelers so far this year. The defense wasn't good, the offense was average, they turned the ball over multiple times, and they weren't able to create any turnovers. So, perfect.

There are a lot of things wrong with the Steelers now. The offensive line, especially Mike Adams, was bad as Ben was sacked five times and was generally running all over the place when he didn't get the ball out in under two seconds. I am not sure what the Steelers can do about the offensive line but reports after the game were that Ben was pretty banged up and most of that is due to the fact that he is getting pounded on nearly every drop back. Some of that is on Ben for holding the ball too long but I would say most comes on the head of the offensive line. It's not going to get better and you just have to hope that Ben stays healthy as long as possible because the thought of Bruce Gradkowski as the starter is...yikes...

The defense went bad fairly quickly. A staple for this defense has always been the ability to tackle and not give up the extra yards after the catch or after first contact. Today it almost seemed like they didn't want to be bothered with tackling. I mean there are a ton of times that this came into play from the long touchdown pass to Greg Jennings to the long touchdown run from Adrian Peterson to tackles that weren't made that turned into first downs. Just bad all the way around.

Cortez Allen was particularly bad today as it seemed as if this was his first game ever. He was getting worked consistently and literally wasn't making anything close to resembling a football play. He looked lost and when playing against Matt Cassel and a group of marginally average receivers couldn't get the job done.

The defense against didn't cause a turnover and were only able to get one sack. That one sack nearly led to the first turnover of the season but it was not to be thanks to some bad luck. LaMarr Woodley had a really nice strip sack of Cassel and the ball bounced forward and as Jarvis Jones went to cover the ball it squirted away and it was picked up by a Viking for a first down. The strip sack happened on third down and would have forced a punt. It happened with 2:20 left in the first half. If that play happened under the two minute warning the ball goes back to where it was fumbled as it couldn't be advanced. Instead the Vikings get a first down and no turnover. Just typical.

There were some good things about today. Le'Veon Bell showed us why he was the second round pick. While his numbers aren't going to jump out at you he was elusive and just showed you a little bit more than anyone else on this Pittsburgh roster has done in the last few years. He had that little shake and the ability to get through tackles and make people miss and that really showed up on his first touchdown run. Yes, I said first touchdown run because he had two of them. I know, right? Turns out you are allowed to rush for touchdowns. It was very good to see him be productive and look ready to play in his first game. Hopefully this continues.

Ike Taylor was also good. While the secondary has been pretty bad with Ryan Clark, William Gay, Allen all having pretty dreadful years it is nice to always have that rock back there with Taylor. He probably could have had a pair of interceptions today but he had one knocked away by a DB and another one he probably should have had but lets not kid ourselves, he can't catch. Anyways, Taylor is going to give you his best every game and that is also reassuring.

Aside from one kickoff return the special teams were good again. So, there's that.

Not much more to say. This is a really bad football team and anything more than four or five years is a real stretch at this point. At least the Steelers can't lose next week.

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