Pittsburgh Steelers: Week 4 Report Card
Week 5 Report Card
Apparently, the same bad luck that the Pittsburgh Steelers have in the United States followed them to an entirely different continent. For the fourth time this regular season, the Steelers left the football field on the wrong side of the scoreboard, this time losing to the Minnesota Vikings by the score of 34-27.
For the second consecutive week, Pittsburgh failed to take the lead at any point in the game. Offensively, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger put up big numbers yardage-wise, and had some much-needed help from the running game’s ability to find the end zone multiple times. In addition, the Steelers’ receivers proved to be reliable for some big plays. Unfortunately, the one thing that has plagued the offense remained the same, which is the offensive line.
On the other side of the ball, numerous missed tackles, a lack of pressure put on the quarterback and the inability to force turnovers once again played a big part in the team’s disappointing loss in London.
There could be a lot of things to put the blame on for Pittsburgh’s failed attempt to turn things around in this Week 4 battle. One could fault the O-line, one could point the finger at the defense’s inability to make game-changing plays, or one could even say that the decision to leave for England so late in the week is the reason for this loss. Well, whatever the reason, the Steelers will need to spend every second of their Week 5 bye to figure it out. If that doesn’t happen, they can kiss their season goodbye.
Take a look at Pittsburgh’s report card for Week 4 (if you dare).
Clyde A. Speller is an NFL writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @ClydeASpeller, or add him to your network on Google+
For the second week in a row, Roethlisberger did everything that he could to bring a victory to the Steel City for 2013. Big Ben completed 36-of-51 pass attempts for 383 yards and one touchdown. However, just like last week, Roethlisberger committed some costly turnovers. One being an interception (which I don’t think was his fault) and the other being a lost fumble on what could have been the game-tying drive with 0:19 left in regulation on Minnesota’s six-yard line.
Although the numbers weren’t astounding, rookie running back Le’Veon Bell gave Steeler Nation something to look forward to for the remainder of the season. Bell finished his NFL debut with 57 yards on 16 carries and two touchdowns (the team’s first two rushing touchdowns of the season). In addition, the second-round draft pick had four receptions for 27 yards. Not much can be said about the four carries for 10 yards that Felix Jones and Jonathan Dwyer combined for.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Big Ben seems to be getting some assistance in the passing game. Wide receivers Jerricho Cotchery and Antonio Brown ended the game with solid performances. Cotchery finished with five receptions for a team-high 105 yards and a touchdown. Brown snagged a career-high 12 catches for 88 yards. Even tight end Heath Miller showed that he’s gradually returning to his Pro Bowl form with six catches for 70 yards. Wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders showed some flash with a spectacular over-the-shoulder catch for 36 yards. However, Sanders seemed to be the cause for Roethlisberger’s interception, which resulted in a Vikings touchdown two plays later.
Vikings defensive end Jared Allen registered 2.5 sacks on offensive tackle Mike Adams. On Pittsburgh’s final offensive play of the game, Kelvin Beachum, who was in for the injured Ramon Foster, surrendered the sack that caused Roethlisberger to fumble the game away. Overall, the offensive line allowed five sacks and left Big Ben vulnerable in the backfield all game.
Controlling the line of scrimmage hasn’t been a problem for only the offensive line. Pittsburgh’s defensive front failed to do the same in attempts to contain Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, who ran for 140 yards and two touchdowns. I wonder if Casey Hampton is still available.
The Steelers’ corps of linebackers were unable to make tackles against the run and allowed a 60-yard touchdown run by Peterson. To make matters worse, the pressure on Vikings quarterback Matt Cassel was virtually nonexistent, tallying just one sack on the game.
Just like the linebackers, Pittsburgh’s secondary missed a boatload of tackles on Minnesota’s receivers. Two of the three receptions by Vikings receiver Greg Jennings were for touchdowns, one of which was on a 70-yard catch-and-run in the first quarter where five Steelers whiffed at Jennings. Furthermore, Vikings receiver Jerome Simpson had seven receptions for a game-high 124 yards.
Kicker Shaun Suisham delivered when his number was called by connecting on both of his field goal attempts. Unfortunately, punter Zoltan Mesko had yet another subpar punting performance, which didn’t help in field position for the offense. The Steelers’ coverage on kickoffs wasn’t too impressive either, allowing an average of over 28 yards per return.
I already expressed my dislike for Mike Tomlin’s decision to have the team leave for London so late into the week. Now I question his reasoning for not having enough offensive linemen dressed for the game to help the struggling offensive front. In Week 3, Tomlin saw it fit to shuffle in Beachum in attempts to help guard the pass rush. When Foster went down, Tomlin was forced to plug in Beachum at left guard. This left the team no other choice but to stick with Adams at left tackle, who was getting abused by Allen on the pass rush.