Pittsburgh Steelers’ Week 8 Report Card
Week 8 Report Card
Just when everyone thought that the Pittsburgh Steelers had everything figured out, catastrophe hits and they find themselves back at square one. In Week 8, the Steelers reverted back to their losing ways and suffered their fifth defeat of the NFL regular season when they loss to the Oakland Raiders by the score of 21-18.
I could close my eyes, spin around and point to just about anyone to put the blame on for this devastating loss. Every phase of Pittsburgh’s team had a hand in this calamity. On offense, balls were dropped, which lead to turnovers. Furthermore, the running game disappeared once again, while five sacks were surrendered in a single game for the third time this year.
Despite coming away with three turnovers, the defense couldn’t stop the Raiders from running the ball right down their throat, allowing 197 yards and all three of the team’s touchdowns on the ground. This was by far the worst performance by Pittsburgh’s special teams all season long.
As of right now, the Steelers’ 2-5 record has them at the bottom of the AFC North, and are tied for having the second-worst record in the entire conference. Honestly, I don’t know if anything can help this team now. Even if things do turnaround in the second half of the season, Pittsburgh will need a lot of help along the way if they even want to sniff the postseason.
As poorly as the team played this past Sunday, there really isn’t any need to show you their report card for Week 8, (sigh) but here it is anyway.
Clyde A. Speller is an NFL writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @ClydeASpeller, or add him to your network on Google+
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger did what he could as usual in the waning moments of the game. Unfortunately, Roethlisberger’s 275 passing yards and one touchdown pass wasn’t enough. In addition, the two interceptions he threw didn’t help either (even though one of them wasn’t his fault).
You really can’t blame Pittsburgh’s running backs for the lack of carries in the game. The Steelers only ran the ball 19 times throughout the entire contest. However, the team averaged less than one yard per carry. Rookie running back Le’Veon Bell scored the team’s lone rushing touchdown, but had only 24 of the team’s 35 rushing yards.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Wide receivers Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders had a hand in the team’s near comeback against the Raiders. Sanders had a game-high 88 receiving yards. His touchdown early in the fourth quarter, and the two-point conversion he scored late in the game helped the Steelers get within three points of tying the game. Brown’s nine receptions (a game-high) for 82 yards also helped. However, his dropped pass that resulted in an interception didn’t help at all midway through the fourth quarter.
The offensive line couldn’t get things going in either the passing or the running game. As mentioned before, only 35 yards was accumulated on the ground, and Roethlisberger was harassed all day by getting sacked five times, and hit an additional five times.
The starters on the defensive line combined for 15 tackles, but still couldn’t set the tone on the line of scrimmage. Oakland’s running game amassed 197 yards and three touchdowns. As consolation, defensive end Brett Keisel had a sack and a fumble recovery.
As a whole, Pittsburgh’s corps of linebackers were horrible. The worst of the bunch was LaMarr Woodely. On the first play from scrimmage, Woodley bit on a fake handoff like a person who hasn’t eaten a meal in a month. As a result, Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor ran for a 93-yard touchdown. Later, the veteran linebacker over pursued on Raiders running back Darren McFadden in the backfield, which resulted in another touchdown. Woodley finished the game with zero tackles.
The secondary didn’t have much to defend Sunday. The Raiders only attempted 19 passes all game, and had a total of 88 yards in the air. Cornerback Cortez Allen and safety Troy Polamalu did take advantage of the rare passing opportunities with each player coming away with an interception.
Kicker Shaun Suisham, who was the Steelers’ “Mr. Automatic,” missed two chip-shot field goals. Those two misses were the difference in Pittsburgh losing this game. In addition, punter Zoltan Mesko had a punt blocked, and had a net average of just 35.0. The special teams also missed an opportunity to recover a muffed punt by the Raiders.
It appears that head coach Mike Tomlin and company still hasn’t found the answer to the Steelers’ woes. Although the team played from behind most of the game, the abandonment of the running game didn’t help the offense.