One week into the 2012 season, and Steeler fans already have the script written to how this season is headed.
1. The offense line still stinks and is badly banged up
2. The running game – what running game?
3. The defense is old and can’t stop a team that can run a no-huddle
4. Injuries on both sides of the ball are already too much to overcome
At least that’s how I took it after three and a half painful hours Sunday night of listening to Cris Collinsworth suck off on Petyon Manning as if he’s the second coming, and watching the black and gold do some things right, but a lot more wrong in losing to the Broncos 31-19.
The storyline seemed to be playing out well for the first 45 minutes. The offense was controlling the time of possession, the defense had allowed 14 points but for the most part was okay, and the game seemed to be lining up for a Steelers win.
That’s when it all went wrong.
It started with a Steelers touchdown early in the fourth when Ben Roethlisberger hit Mike Wallace from three yards out to make it 19-14. The Steelers went for two, but the conversion failed, and it gave the Broncos an opening.
That’s all they needed, as Manning took them right down the field against a defense that should have been rested, but seemed gassed, and within 5 minutes he hit TE Jacob Tamme to put the Broncos up 20-19.
Then Denver converted a critical two-point conversion, making it a 22-19 game. The Steelers next possession? Try a 7-yard run, two incomplete passes, and a punt.
Denver then kicked a short field goal, setting up the Steelers for one more shot with two minutes left to go for the win down 25-19. They score a TD and an extra point – they win.
Roethlisberger on the 3rd play of the drive threw his worst pass of the night, and Tracey Porter took it back for a Broncos TD. Game. Set. Match. Broncos 31-19.
The Steelers ended the night with the ball for 35:05 to 24:55 for the Broncos, but were outgained 334 to 284. Roethlisberger was 22-for-40 for 245 yards with two TD’s and the pick.
Manning was 19-for-26 for 253 yards with two TD’s for the Broncos.
The Steelers run game was a joke, and new OC Todd Haley kept trying to go back to it to control the clock. On the night, the Steelers ran for 75 yards on 29 carries, a poor 2.9 yards per carry.
Issac Redman rushed 11 times for just 20 yards, and the leading rusher was Jonathan Dwyer with 43 yards on 9 carries.
In the end, I felt this was a game they would lose, it’s just frustrating the way they lost it.