Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) is sacked by Buffalo Bills outside linebacker Jerry Hughes (55) and Buffalo Bills free safety Jim Leonhard (35) during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
It might just be me and maybe I see the glass as half empty but after the Steelers beat the Bills 23-10 on Sunday, I wasn’t left impressed.
Sure, the game really wasn’t in question after the 2nd quarter but this victory was hollow. The Steelers beat a team who was just as bad as they are. The Bills are 3-6, so are the Steelers. If anyone expected the Bills to put on a display like the Patriots did a week prior, they don’t understand football.
Yes, the defense looked far better than they did last week but how could they look worse? Anything was an improvement when you come off the worst defensive performance in the history of the franchise.
Don’t discount the fact the Bills were starting a rookie quarterback who hadn’t played in five weeks. One would hope a veteran laced team would be able to stop a rookie who hadn’t played in over a month.
I’ve seen many writers discuss the Steelers run defense on Sunday and how great it was. Sure, they stopped Fred Jackson, he was held to 55 yards but he did that on a mere 12 carries. In fact the Bills only ran the ball a total of 22 times and they still managed 95 yards. They had to throw it 39 times since they were playing from behind in the second half. Obviously the number of rushing yards would be diminished.
Being the bearer of bad news is no fun but facts are facts, this wasn’t as impressive of a defensive performance as many would like it be. The three sacks and the interception are the flashy items here that many will point to but the game was well in hand when all of those occurred, they didn’t come in the clutch, which is what top notch defenses will do.
Further complicating the matter is the offense. They did enough to win against a bad football team. They once again found a way to turn sure touchdown opportunities into field goals and managed to get Big Ben sacked another four times. This line is destined to get Roethlisberger killed one of these days but when you win, people overlook the flaws.
All game long we were told of how great LeVeon Bell is. He does have talent, and he may one day be a true feature back but at this point, I’m not seeing him as ‘great’. He managed 57 yards on 22 carries. Remember, the Bills had 22 carries for 95 yards.
The best back on this team at this juncture is Jonathan Dwyer, he has the best YPC average and runs the ball hard and is deceptively fast. Mike Tomlin is too stubborn to let Dwyer out of the dog house because he came into camp out of shape in 2011. Get over yourself Mike, do what’s right here, play the best man.
Tomlin can’t preach ‘changes’ and ‘the best men will play’ when he can’t get over a grudge going on for over two years. Hypocrisy thy name is Coach Tomlin.
Additionally, he needs to find the best man to run this offense because the current man, Todd Haley, is not it. Haley’s play calls are just not getting it done. The Wildcat they have implemented is a joke. Welcome to the NFL of 2008 Steelers fans. It’s the best way to get your QB killed too. Do you think the Pats, Saints or Broncos would EVER line up Brady, Brees or Manning out wide? It’s giving the opposing defense a free shot at the franchise man. Why do the Steelers try it? One, the play calling is awful and two, the play calling is ineffective so they try to throw in a wrinkle. Neither reason is good and Haley must go.
In the end, the Steelers were better than the Bills and they came out with a win. I hate to be the Debbie Downer but there was nothing to be impressed about in this particular game. To me it just means the team will no longer have a shot at finishing 2-14 but could still go 3-13. They need to improve dramatically if they want to change my mind at this point.
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 email@example.com.
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