The Steelers are taking the week off and one has to wonder if it can get any worse for the mighty Black and Gold. The bad-dream season that was last year has turned into a year-long nightmare as the Steelers have gone 7-14 in the last calendar year, counting pre-season games. If you only look at the last 16 regular season games, or one season’s worth, they are 6-10.
In my humble opinion, they will be lucky to attain that record during this season.
In places like Cleveland and Jacksonville, this has to be old hat to them. A 6-10 record is actually something to build on. In the Steel City, however, 6-10 is abysmally bad.
The next four games on the slate are not easy games. There are three road games (New York Jets, Oakland, New England), and a home game against the defending Super Bowl Champion Ravens.
It sounds weird and horrible to say, but the Steelers might not win any of those games. They are all games they could win, but will they play well enough and make few enough mistakes to win? Who knows. It is not too much of stretch to say this team could split those four games, or could lose all four. I just can’t bring myself to think they will win all four.
The problems are varied, but a few things are glaringly obvious.
The play of the offensive line has been less than bad. It has been downright atrocious. I don’t think it would matter if we had Emmitt Smith, Jim Brown, and Walter Payton in the backfield. This line seems unable to run block.
And don’t even get me started on pass blocking. Jarrett Allen of the Vikings owned Mike Adams on Sunday, and that was only the most obvious broken part of this machine. To be fair, Allen is an excellent football player, but Mike Adams literally begged the Steelers to draft him. He wanted to play for this team. He has to play much, much better.
Speaking of Big Ben Roethlisberger, is it just me, or are a lot of his passes…off? He seems to be overthrowing a lot of receivers, and his the timing between him and the receivers just isn’t there. The interception in the Chicago game that was intended for Jericho Cotchery is a perfect example. Not only was the pass thrown when Cotchery was seemingly unprepared for the pass – or unaware the pass would be thrown to him – it was thrown over his head, right into the waiting arms of a Bears player.
The Steelers made a move to shore up the O line, trading a conditional draft pick for Levi Brown from Arizona, but let’s be honest here. If Brown were that good, would the Cardinals, who also need offensive line help, have let him him go for such a low price? This is a man who was once cut by the Cardinals.
Bringing in Brown might help, or it might not, but one thing is certain, Big Ben needs to take better care of the football both when he throws it and when defenders are around him. The interceptions and fumbles have to stop!
On the defensive side of the ball, things are not as horrific, but there is one thing that is more sinister in its own way. The Pittsburgh Steelers defense has not forced a turnover in 2013.
That has to be some kind of Steelers record in the Super Bowl era. Four games without a single turnover? I have no doubt that Dick LeBeau is beside himself with the play of the defense, especially when you add the fact that this team is generating absolutely no pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Matt Cassell is the backup quarterback for the Vikings, and he took the Steelers apart as he casually surveyed the field and found open receiver after open receiver.
No turnovers and one sack per game is not what the Steelers and their fans are accustomed to. We are used to a ball-hawking, punishing defense against which gain first downs is difficult, and sustained drives are practically impossible.
This season is more depressing than any season I can remember for one simple reason: We have nothing to look forward to. For all intents and purposes, this Steelers team is already eliminated from the playoffs. They are two games behind the entire division, and four games back of teams like Denver and New England.
Is it possible this team could rattle off four, five, six wins and get back into this thing? Sure, it’s possible. The question is, how probable is it?
In my humble opinion, the probability is very, very low because this team is simply not good enough.