What are we Steeler fans to make of this? Two road games in two weeks result in two sloppy losses. In Cincinnati as in Chicago, the Steelers dominate the first portion of the game only to see halftime leads fall to lackluster offensive play and a defensive effort that simply wasn’t good enough.
For the second week in a row the Steelers’ defense dominated a game only to yield the game winning score with only seconds remaining. And, for the second week in a row, the offense looked productive in the first half only to sputter in the second.
Was it a mistake to return 9 of 11 defensive starters? Are fourth quarter collapses revealing old legs? The head may be willing but it appears the body simply cannot deliver.
Of course, these late afternoon start times aren’t helping. The defensive line is likely considering a nice nap before a discount supper at the cafeteria.
What are we to think? In a game that appeared to be dominated by the Steelers from the start, the offense underwhelmed in the red zone. In a game that displayed a running game apparently back on track, the offense eventually couldn’t get out of it’s own way. The offensive line provided great protection but Big Ben tossed another horrific interception that was returned for 6 points. Limas Sweed’s demons returned in stunning fashion as a great catch in the back of the end zone became a gut-wrenching drop. Jeff Reed missed another field goal and a Hines Ward penalty canceled another first-down play.
The only positive to take back to Pittsburgh is the excellent play of rookie wide receiver Mike Wallace. Unfortunately, he plays for the offense and will be rendered ineffective over the long run by the schemes of Bruce Arians.
Just as there are team victories, this game must be categorized as a team defeat. Let’s hope that Coach Tomlin can right this train before it careens off the track.