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That, however, is not the primary issue on this defensive unit. The secondary is weak, even weaker without Joe Haden out there. Time will tell when he returns, but I doubt we’ll see him this week against New England, Dec. 17. I like Artie Burns and the upside that he has, but he’s not showing me that he’s a number one corner yet. Coty Sensabaugh looks downright awful filling in for Haden and I don’t even know where to begin on Sean Davis, whom I’m souring on quickly. This unit gets burned on the regular by guys like Brett Hundley and Jacoby Brissett. Tom Brady doesn’t just burn this team when he plays them, he torches those lesser teams and brings the whole thing down.

I fear that if the Steelers don’t control the ball and the clock along with it, keeping Brady off the field and other opposing offenses in the playoffs like the San Diego (I mean…Los Angeles) Chargers, whom I think are going to make it in, could pose a real problem for the Steelers in the postseason. They could be in for the 39-38 type of games that make everyone watching sweat until the end.

It’s all fine and good when the Steelers eke out a victory, like they have been recently. But how many times can Ben throw for 500 yards? How many times can Brown go over 200? They shouldn’t have to drop nearly 40 points to win, especially against a dismal Ravens offense. But they had to on this night and that may continue down the stretch without Shazier.

The offense must control the clock, this week in particular, to keep guys like Brady off the field. The Patriots offense always finds your weakness and in this case, the Steelers now have two layers of weaknesses. The middle linebacker position is a mess and the secondary is just plain bad.

Yet, the offense is as good as it gets and can score with anyone. The key, however, is scoring enough points while keeping the other guys off the field. Enter Bell, the man in charge of controlling the tempo of the game. If the Steelers can give him the ball enough times for him to move the sticks and take time off the clock, I think they’ll have a better opportunity for long term success. It would be fantastic to see the Black and Gold dropping 40 points a game, but when you go up against a team like the Patriots or potentially the Chargers, if you’re scoring 40, they’re probably right there with you, making it a game of who has the ball last.

The best defense in these big games, from here on out, is the offense. Control the clock, maintain possession and put up points after a methodical, time consuming drive.

 

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