A disgusting loss to the Jets Sunday has Steeler Nation up in arms after the team looked to be running on all cylinders after their three straight home wins over the Texans, Colts and Ravens.
Now at 6-4, the team has another prime time game, this time against the Tennessee Titans on Monday night in Nashville.
The teams inability to beat bad teams on the road is mind boggling, and the club needs to find a way to put bad teams away, something they didn’t come close to doing Sunday.
Today we take a look at five things we took away from the loss Sunday night, and a brief look ahead to the Titans on the road Monday night.
1. James Harrison on Offense, Seriously?! – As if this entire game wasn’t a complete cluster you know what, with the Steelers trying to get back in it in the fourth quarter deep in Jets territory, for some reason linebacker James Harrison found his way into the game on offense, running a package that coach Mike Tomlin said they had been running in practice for a few weeks. That’s odd, because on first down Harrison found himself in the flat on a route he looked totally lost on, and Ben Roethlisberger actually looked to throw it to him in an incomplete pass. Then on second down he lined up again at fullback, and ran the wrong way on a run that netted little. I don’t care what this team was trying to do with Harrison in the game, but it was a total disaster, and Tomlin seemed to be caught in a lie when he said Harrison had been working with the offense, and then Ben after the game said that wasn’t the case, at least on that first down play. Why Harrison was on offense at all is a mystery, and this team needs to stop trying that cute crap with the game still alive. Leave Harrison on defense where he belongs.
2. Run Defense Falls Flat – The offensive game plan of the Jets was fairly simple, run right at the heart of the Steelers, and it worked like a charm. The Jets three-headed run game of Chris Ivory, Michael Vick and Percy Harvin ran for 123 yards on 28 carries, and on the day they ran for a total of 150 yards on 36 carries, a 4.2 yards per carry average. The defensive line and linebackers were blown off the ball all day, and the Jets made it look easy. In wins over the Colts and Ravens the Steelers held both teams to 63 yards each on the ground. It seems that when this team loses, they give up a lot of yards on the ground, and Sunday it was like that again.
3. Catch the Flipping Football!!! – It may have been just one play, but it’s just maddening when a cornerback who is paid more money than most in society is paid to do something, and he fails. That’s just what William Gay did Sunday, as he could have easily made a play that could have turned the tide with the Steelers already down big. Gay dropped what would have been an interception in the end zone on the play before Nick Folk kicked a 30-yard field goal to put the Jets ahead 20-3 in the third quarter with 4:34 to play. “We had an opportunity, dropped an interception there,” Tomlin said. No kidding coach. Gay isn’t the only one who seems great at dropping picks, Ike Taylor seems to do it 3-4 times a year, and Cortez Allen has done it also. Gay is making $1.5 million this year, and he simply has to make that play.
4. The Losses To Bad Teams On The Road Is Unacceptable – Tomlin’s record on the road to bad teams is just downright disgusting. The Raiders, Browns, Vikings, Titans and now the Jets. This team has to do whatever they can to break this streak of losing to bad teams on the road when they are reeling. Considering that two of their losses in 2014 are against a pair of teams with a combined record of 3-16, this team has to find whatever they can to get better against bad teams. It comes down to Tomlin to motivate more, or for these players to stop overlooking teams. It’s inexcusable.
5. This Division Looks Like It’s Going Down to Week 18 – The four AFC North teams do battle the last week of the season, as the Steelers host the Bengals and the Ravens host Cleveland. If things are lining up as they seem, it looks as if this division will come down to the final week, and if the Steelers overcome this latest setback and are in line for a division title, they may just flex that game at Heinz Field to Sunday night. I realize that is looking ahead, but after the loss to the Jets, this team has to get back to work, recover fast, and realize that still just 1/2 game out of first they have a great shot to still win 10-11 games and an AFC North Division Title.
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