Pittsburgh Steelers: 5 Things We Learned From Week 9

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5 Things We Learned from Week 9

Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

If someone would have told me that the Pittsburgh Steelers were going to score 31 points against the New England Patriots in the 2013 NFL regular season, I probably would have thought that the Steelers would come away with a victory. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case.

The Week 9 loss that Pittsburgh suffered at the hands of the Patriots was probably the team’s last chance at salvaging a disastrous season. The Steelers tasted defeat for the sixth time this year, and haven’t given Steeler Nation any reason to believe that a much-needed turnaround will be coming anytime soon.

Currently, Pittsburgh is at the bottom of the AFC North standings, and second-to-last in the AFC. Only a miracle will get the Steelers into the postseason.

Looking back at this past Sunday’s bloodbath, there are more things that we’ve realized other than the inevitable end of Pittsburgh’s 2013 season. We’ve learned that there is absolutely no way that the offensive line is going to improve their pass protection. The Steelers yet again surrendered five sacks in a single game, but did manage to open some holes for their now 28th ranked running game.

I believe the most obvious thing learned from Week 9 is that this was the worst defensive performance in franchise history. The 55 points and 610 total yards allowed by Pittsburgh was the most in the team’s 81 years of existence. The Patriots’ offense thrived on Pittsburgh’s hapless defense. New England had a 400-yard passer, a 100-yard rusher, three 100-yard receivers and scored seven touchdowns.

In addition to all of that, there are some other things that was learned from this past Sunday’s loss. Let’s take a look.

Clyde A. Speller is an NFL writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @ClydeASpeller, or add him to your network on Google+

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5. Cameron Heyward Has Earned Starting Spot

Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

Third-year defensive end Cameron Heyward had a pretty solid game for Pittsburgh, and was one of the very few bright spots on the team this past week. Heyward finished the contest with five tackles and a sack, along with numerous pressures on New England’s quarterback. It appears that Heyward is settling into his role as starting defensive end.

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4. Jerricho Cotchery is Forgotten Man on Team

Bob Martin-USA TODAY Sports

In the passing game, all the attention is put on wide receivers Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders, but many overlook fellow receiver Jerricho Cotchery. Against New England, Cotchery hauled in seven catches for 96 yards and a career-high three touchdowns. The 10-year veteran also leads the team in touchdowns (five) and is averaging 14.6 yards per reception (first among Steelers receivers).

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3. Run Defense Didn’t Learn from Previous Week

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You would have thought that Pittsburgh would have learned after getting ran over by the Oakland Raiders a week ago. Apparently that didn’t happen because the Patriots did the exact same thing that the Raiders did to them in Week 8; they rushed for 197 yards against the Steelers’ soft run defense.

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2. Troy Polamalu Has Lost a Step in Coverage

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The aggressiveness that we’ve seen from safety Troy Polamalu this season has been great. The 11-year veteran forced a fumble against the Patriots, which led to a Steelers touchdown. However, Polamalu was beaten on a lot of passing plays, and found himself out of position numerous times.

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1. It’s Time to Rebuild the Team

Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

All in all, arguably the franchise’s worst game ever has probably marked the end of the road for the Steelers this season. Whatever moves that will be made from this point on should more than likely be for the benefit of next year, because nothing can save this season.

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