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Hard Count: Steelers defense shining while offense sputters

Cincinnati+Bengals+v+Pittsburgh+Steelers+2015Hard Count

Another week, another game where the offense could not convert defensive takeaways into points.  It was a bit of a sad affair watching the return of Ben Roethlisberger turn into a Cincinnati Bengals win.  First, the Bengals were killing themselves.  Penalties.  Bad snaps.  Andy Dalton not as sharp as he could be due to a Pittsburgh Steelers defense that kept up the pressure.  This Steelers team may have had a ballyhooed offense at the beginning of the season, but their defense is what is keeping them in games in 2015.

.500.  That is where the Steelers are after the 16-10 loss at Heinz Field.  Just average.  Take away the offense, the stupid penalties and the dropped balls and you’d have to look at one thing.  Defense.

The Steelers defense has not only steadily improved as the season has gone forward, but have overshadowed their teammates on offense.  You can say, ‘well, Le’Veon Bell got hurt’ or ‘Ben was rusty’, but all of that does not explain why Pittsburgh can not take advantage of defensive stands or takeaways.

When you have Mike Mitchell snaring a Dalton pass after Antwon Blake did one of the previous possession and you get zero return, pretty soon your defense is going to be let down.  After watching Roethlisberger throw his third interception, the defense did just that.  The Bengals went into a hurry-up situation, started targeting tight end Tyler Eifert and then found A.J. Green within arm’s reach of the goal line.  Green simply had to push the ball away from his body to score.  By then, all the air had been taken out of the Steelers D.

There were a lot of things that went right in this game.  Time management, reducing penalties, effective offense were not positives this week.  Mike Tomlin, Keith Butler and their staff have no room for excuses.  The offense fell apart.  With Roethlisberger struggling, you didn’t see any player step up to give him much aid.  Meanwhile, the defense could almost have played this game and won it on their own if they’d been given placekicker Chris Boswell and punter Jordan Berry.  Just take the ball away, block Bengals field goals, return interceptions, jump on bad snaps and get Boswell close enough to kick a field goal.

Exaggeration? Maybe.  You have to wonder if it isn’t way past time to have hope that this Steelers offense is going to look anything near championship caliber.  No points equals losses.  Letting the defense carry your team very often leads to a non-winning season and no playoff hopes, either.



  1. DaveB

    November 1, 2015 at 7:22 pm

    The Steelers offense , with the exception of the opening drive , was DOA , Dead on arrival . Losing Leveon Bell didnt help , but they’re is still far to much talent with Roethlisberger , Brown , Bryant and Heath Miller for the offense to have played the way it did . No excuses . As far as the defense , they more than held they’re own , but with no support from the offense they were fighting an uphill battle . Bottom line , going forward , winning the division is gone and most likely the 2015 season is over as well . Between the major injuries and the poor play , 2015 has turned into a season of , What ifs ?

  2. DrGeorge

    November 1, 2015 at 7:23 pm

    Brady and Loede (see below) have correctly analyzed this game: the defense played with lots of heart and deserved a win, but the offense let them down. Before the game, I argued that the Steelers would only win if Cincy gave the game away. Cincy tried to give it away. The Steelers could not capitalize on Cincy’s several major mistakes. After the Cardinals game a week ago, I wrote here that there were more things wrong with this offense than can be fairly heaped on the head of Landry Jones. Today’s game confirms that point, too. Even with Ben R. under center, we had more interceptions and fewer points than under L. Jones. Why? What’s wrong with the offense?

    At the start of the game, when Ben stayed in the pocket and threw quickly, the team scored a TD in one of the best series of the season. But as Ben warmed up, and his knee felt a little better, he began holding the ball and throwing longer passes, resulting in three picks. Two of the picks are attributable to Ben’s injury: he isn’t throwing with the same follow through and the ball lacks his usual accuracy and velocity. The third picks and several passes that should have been intercepted were caused by faulty judgment when Ben was heavily rushed because Foster and Gilbert do not pass block well. In other words, when Ben is injured and pressured, his efficiency falls off. And the coaching staff, as they did with L. Jones a week ago, asked Ben to do too much. Tomlin likes “splash plays,” but with the talent we have, a patient steady approach is needed.

    Consider New England, where half their O-line is inexperienced and their receivers don’t compare with ours. Yet, Belichick has them winning consistently with short accurate passes and a power running game. Now consider the converse. If Belichick were coaching this team, would it look like this?

  3. Troy

    November 1, 2015 at 8:51 pm

    When will m weaton earn his job he hasn’t done anything latrly.

  4. Austin

    November 1, 2015 at 9:19 pm

    Dr George hit it on the head! All summer long I had to listen to blowhards tunch ilkin and Craig wolfley suck the collective you know what’s of the steelers “explosive” offense. My ass! This offensive line is garbage and it starts with coaching and front office decisions to not protect Ben! Ben also needs to be culpable, because, unlike Brady who buys into winning more so than Ben does, he seems to, as doc outlined, always revert back to big play or nothing instead of taking higher percentage short stuff! You can’t tell me cincy took away ALL the short underneath stuff. The big picture is this team has been transformed, before our unbelieving eyes, into a consistency of mediocrity: no longer instilling fear into opponents but rather being the intimidates, no longer making big plays but rather being expected to by the fan base to screw it All up somehow, and, ultimately, to no longer be an organization of winning culture but rather one of inconsistency and losing culture. This falls squarely on the HC! Who, by my estimation, has single handedly taken this organization into the shitter! Bad clock management, never taking the blame for a loss, and intangibles such as the aforementioned inability to have his team ready in ALL aspects of the game and always finding a way to lose. I hope, since the Rooneys lack the political spine to shit can him, he takes the job at USC where he can become surfing buddies with his players who will become average and before long the trojans will be a template of mediocrity!

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