Pittsburgh Steelers strong safety Will Allen sits on the bench during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game against the Oakland Raiders in Oakland, Calif., Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013. The Raiders won 21-18. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
Just when you felt that there was some momentum with the Steelers, a thought that they may get back in the 2013 mix, they go out west and lay a dud, with a thud. The Steelers looked horrific in their game at Oakland from the get go.
On the very first play from scrimmage; Terrelle Pryor faked the entire black and gold defense left as he went right for a 93 yard TD scamper. The Raiders never looked back as they led the entire game and finished it off with a 21-18 victory.
The score makes it seem close, it wasn’t. The Steelers were flat, sluggish and mistake prone all game long. To top it off, Shuan Suisham, the teams’ most consistent and reliable player missed two field goals, his first two of the season. You can look at the score and say there’s your ball game, that’s where the team lost it, but that would only be partially true.
The team lost it in all facets.
First, the offense failed once again to score touchdowns when they needed to. They turned the ball over three more times. They failed to generate any kind of a ground game as they only picked up 35 yards on 19 carries and they once again failed to protect their franchise quarterback.
Big Ben was sacked 5 more times. Roethlisberger was hurried and hit all game long as well. Additionally he was off target on throws he typically makes in his sleep. The O line looked like it did to start the season, unable to protect Big Ben under any circumstance.
To add to Roethlisbergers woe’s were the drops by the usually sure handed Heath Miller and Antonio Brown. It was a sure fire recipe for punts and field goal attempts. That’s not a recipe that spells success very often. Frustration was written on the face of the QB, rightfully so. By the time the offense decided to show up and move the ball downfield, it was too late. The team was down 18 points, which proved far too many to overcome.
The defense didn’t help either. While they buckled down in the second half; for the game they gave up 197 rushing yards and three touchdowns on the ground. They only sacked Pryor twice and hit him a mere three more times. A defense predicated on pressure must be able to apply it. Ryan Clark led the way with 12 tackles but isn’t that telling? Your free safety led the way in tackles. That’s generally an issue, specifically when the opposing team only throws the ball 19 times.
Special teams weren’t an innocent party in this comedy of errors. With two missed field goals and a blocked punt to set up a short field, what chance did the team have?
Lastly the coaching should get a big fat F for the performance the team put on. While they don’t play, they motivate, game plan and lead and it’s hard to say any of that occurred on Sunday let alone in the week leading up to the putrid display. This staff has turned a team of winners into a team that lacks the ability to beat the league doormats. It’s a week to week league and what a difference a week makes.
If this team responds next week and goes into New England and wins, perhaps a performance like this may be forgotten or at least forgiven. If they don’t, we’ll truly understand who these 2013 Steelers really are. A team of aging veterans, young players who lack direction and a coaching staff who’s lost the ability to formulate winning results.
Mike Pelaia hosts the website Steel Nation Association www.steelnationassociation.com- Covering the Steelers and helping Children’s Hospital All Day Everyday. You can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.