Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Steelers, Ben Roethlisberger Share Much Blame For Cincinnati Loss

 by Jayden Matthews (@JadyGirl7)

Well, here we are. Who would have thought that the Pittsburgh Steelers would be sitting at 0-2, yet one game down in their division? I know I didn’t.  But, again, here we are. 

I've seen a lot of blame being placed where it doesn't belong. I am sure 93.7 The Fan’s phone lines were lit up again Tuesday with the masses blaming offensive coordinator Todd Haley and head coach Mike Tomlin for this 20-10 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. I am sure these are the same fans that wanted Bruce Arians gone as well. To those who are playing the blame game, again you would be wrong and obviously don’t know a lot about football. 

From what I saw Monday night there is some blame to be placed on Haley's doorstep, yes. But, a lot of the blame is to be placed on our 10-year veteran quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. 

Yes, you read that correctly. I am not afraid to say it because I place the blame where it should be. Sure, like most fans I was scratching my head when we ran three straight times in the first series. But, Big Ben audibled a lot Monday night and the no-huddle offense is strictly on him. He isn't infallible and he proved it Monday night. 

Big Ben completed 20 of 37 passes for 251 yards with a touchdown and a interception for only a 73.1 QB rating. According to ESPN Stats and Information, though, Big Ben overthrew his receivers a record nine times Monday night. Some of the overthrows were to wide open receivers that would have extended drives or could have had game-changing results. Like he said, "the quarterback's got to play better." - http://tinyurl.com/l6raz9t

Don’t get me wrong, I love Big Ben, and I know that this team will only go as far as Ben takes them. But there is much more blame to go around than just that laid at the feet of Haley. It has become painfully obvious that this Steelers team isn't good enough to overcome mistakes. Maybe not even one. 

There were two turnovers, including the aforementioned interception, that cut drives short, and would have resulted in difference-making scores. One was on tight end David Paulson, which wouldn't have happened if he simply had secured the ball. Big Ben's interception was high and behind Jerricho Cotchery, killing the drive deep in Bengals' territory. 

But that is Haley’s fault, right? 

There was some good in the game as well. The signing of Fernando Velasco looks to be solid. He came in and started with only a week of practice and did well. I know the OLine still has some work to do, but they looked better than they did week one and in my opinion will only get better as the season moves along. 

The receivers are showing when they get the ball in their hands they can do something with it. Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders can make plays in space and combined on 11 catches for 135 yards. Cotchery had his moments also, even though he had a few balls that were overthrown as stated before. Paulson, minus the fumble, also looked solid, including in his blocking.

Felix Jones was doing well, having six rushes for 26 yards early (finishing with 10 carries for 37 yards), and may get the nod Sunday night against the Chicago Bears. The Steelers had trouble producing a solid run game otherwise, though, compiling only 44 yards. Having an NFL-low 1.0 yards per carry before contact is possibly the biggest problem. It is more (lack of) execution and personnel than anything. - http://tinyurl.com/onyrkn2

All of this just shows us that one thing that everyone "obviously" knows: we miss Heath Miller and need him back on the field. But, don't listen to Tomlin - Miller's presence would cure a few problems. - http://tinyurl.com/mgh74uo

During the game, ESPN showed a stat chart of what happens he and Big Ben connect. The stats were good, but they still didn't show what last year’s Steelers MVP actually does for the team. Heath Miller is arguably the most underrated tight end in the NFL for all he does for the Steelers. He is not only Big Ben’s security blanket, but he also is one of the best blocking TE’s in the NFL, and that will also help the OLine in the running schemes. 

I know that almost no one is thinking along these lines, but the Steelers are not out of this by any means, even if the mainstream media wants everyone to believe they are. But, there is hope.

The division is a mess right now with no one team standing out. The Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals are in a two-way tie at the top with 1-1 records. They also, though, have the Houston Texans and Green Bay Packers respectively this week, so that could change again. The Steelers have the Bears coming to town, so this could be an interesting week once again in the AFC North.

Could the division see a three-way tie at 1-2? Possibly. The Bears have shown signs that they can be beaten, and if the Steelers can contain Adrian Peterson they can defeat the Minnesota Vikings. So, it isn't all gloom and doom yet. 

But go ahead and blame just one person for the woes so far. Who knows? Maybe he'll be fired by Art Rooney II...er uh...maybe he'll retire. That hasn't happened before...has it?