View Full Version : Per Don Banks at SI.com

09-27-2011, 01:20 PM
Not like we didn't know this, but I found the comment on Mendy interesting...

Pittsburgh (2-1, tied for first, AFC North) -- This has to be the least comforting 2-1 start to a Steelers season in a very long time. Head coach Mike Tomlin refuses to let go of the Week 1 debacle at Baltimore, and then Pittsburgh on Sunday night very nearly lost to a Manning-less Colts team that looks so bad at quarterback you couldn't blame them if they installed the single wing at practice this week.
The Steelers don't really do panic, but it's time for whatever stage comes just before some serious hand-wringing. Their offensive line was nearly wiped out against the Colts, with three of five starters going down with injuries: left tackle Jonathan Scott (ankle), tackle Marcus Gilbert (shoulder) and right guard Doug Legursky (shoulder). Scott's injury was the most serious, but the line's play has already been shaky, and the health issues aren't going to help in the least.
Pittsburgh's running game has been anything but a late-game hammer to bring down on an opponent's hopes. The Steelers rank 23rd in rushing, with just 85.7 yards per game and a paltry 3.3-yard average gain. Some of that is the line's fault for no ability to create openings, and some of it is the underachievement of lead running back Rashard Mendenhall, who is averaging just 3.0 yards per rush, with just 103 yards on 37 attempts (2.8) in Pittsburgh's most recent two games.
This year, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger hasn't been able to make up for all that ails the Steelers offense with his typical late-game magic. He has thrown four picks and lost four fumbles, and the Steelers have 10 turnovers in their games. The result is Pittsburgh's margin of error is tighter than any time in recent memory, especially since the Steelers defense has been lacking in terms of big plays, with just one fumble forced and recovered, and no interceptions.
This week's trip to Houston poses a tough assignment for a Pittsburgh team that has not looked crisp on the road thus far. The Texans can score against anyone, and Houston desperately needs a bounce-back game on defense after giving up 40 points in a loss at New Orleans. The Steelers aren't the Steelers yet, and that's how you know it's a very different kind of year in the NFL.

Read more: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2011/writers/don_banks/09/27/flawed/index.html#ixzz1ZAsGjSHE