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Pittsburgh Steelers: 2013 Midseason Report Card Grades for Defense, Special Teams

You thought the Pittsburgh Steelers’ offense and coaches had bad midseason grades?

Wait ’til you see these.

If the first half of the 2013 season was a term paper, the one written by the Steelers’ defense would be laced with red ink.

DEFENSIVE LINE

The Steelers have yielded 131.2 rushing yards per game, 31st in the league. Looking at it another way, opponents have attempted 248 runs on the Steelers defense, tied for sixth in the league. That high yardage total is partly because teams are running a lot on the Steelers. The Steelers are 17th with 4.2 yards allowed per carry, which still isn’t up to snuff even if Pro Football Focus (subscription required) gives nose tackle Steve McLendon a positive grade for his run defense. Casey Hampton has left a big void.

Cameron Heyward is becoming a disruptive force, beating out Ziggy Hood as the starter at left defensive end. He has a sack, two batted passes and is tied for eighth among NFL defensive ends with 15 quarterback hurries.

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Pittsburgh Steelers: 2013 Midseason Report Card Grades for Offense, Coaching

It’s mid-term time for the Pittsburgh Steelers offense and coaching staff.

Time to send them home with their report cards for their performance through the first half of the season.

Considering the Steelers’ 2-6 record, don’t expect these report cards to hang on their refrigerators. There are some bright spots, however.

QUARTERBACK

Ben Roethlisberger has thrown for 2,330 yards this season, which puts him on pace for a career high. Part of the reason for that is the Steelers have been behind so often. His nine interceptions put him on pace for 18, which would be the most he’s thrown in a season since he threw 23 in 2006. Roethlisberger is also well on his way to surpassing the career-high 50 sacks he absorbed in 2009. He’s been sacked 31 times through the halfway point.  While he can’t be blamed for the offensive line’s performance, he still has a tendency to hold on to the ball too long, which causes a few of those sacks. Roethlisberger’s 64.9 completion percentage is eighth in the league.

Grade: B-minus

RUNNING BACKS

After missing the first three games with a foot injury, rookie Le’Veon Bell has gained a team-high 282 yards at a rate of 3.5 yards per carry. His three touchdowns are more than any Steelers running back had last season, but he’s been inconsistent so far. His 93 rushing yards helped the Steelers defeat the Ravens, but he had just 24 yards on 13 carries in the loss at Oakland. Bell gained 74 yards on 16 carries at New England, but his performance was a mixed bag. He dropped a pass, committed a chop block penalty and missed an assignment on a handoff, which forced Roethlisberger to scramble for no gain on a play in the second half.

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The Steelers Cannot Be Satisfied With Beachum At Left Tackle

The Pittsburgh Steelers are in the midst of a terrible season and it’s made worse because of the talent that they do have on the roster. This team should not be this bad and it’s been tough to watch as a Steelers’ fan. Though blame has to be spread around to everyone, players and coaches alike, a huge reason of the struggles has to be pointed to the offensive line. Losing Maurkice Pouncey in week one crushed the team mentally but Fernando Velasco has actually been pretty solid filling in. Marcus Gilbert seems to have settled in at RT but Mike Adams completely flamed out at LT. That has left the team to start Kelvin Beachum at LT for the foreseeable future this season.
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Steelers Mid-Season Analysis (Or, Holy Crap, We Still Have Eight More Games of This?!)

Gen. Colin Powell likes to say that things are usually not as bad as they seem, and that things always look better in the morning.

It was with this thought in mind that I didn’t write last night when my frustration was at a level I had seldom known concerning our beloved Pittsburgh Steelers.

Respectfully, General, things do not look better some 16 hours after the once-mighty Black and Gold got their asses handed to them by Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.

In fact, the more I read about the game, the more frustrated I get. Read the rest of this entry »

New England Patriots Conquer Pittsburgh Steelers, End Rivalry

It’s over.

The Pittsburgh Steelers season?

Well, we knew that was over. We knew that before Sunday’s pitiful 55-31 loss to the New England Patriots.

There will be plenty of time to write a eulogy for the 2013 Steelers.

For now, it’s time to wave the white Terrible Towel and surrender to the Patriots. They have ultimately prevailed in a rivalry that was sparked a dozen years ago.

The Patriots lit up the Gillette Stadium scoreboard like Las Vegas at night, scoring 55 points, all by the offense. It was the most points allowed by the Steelers in franchise history. Get ready to hear “Speed Limit 55, Steelers 31″ jokes.

New England’s Big XII-like 629 yards of offense is the most ever allowed by the Steelers, a Patriots franchise record and the 10th most for a single game in NFL history, according to Pro Football Reference.

Perhaps it’s appropriate that one of the darkest days in Steelers history came Sunday in a stadium with men dressed in Revolutionary War attire known as the “End Zone Militia.”

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A Letter To Mr. Antonio Brown From One Steelers’ Fan

Dear Mr. Antonio Brown,

I just want to start this letter by saying that I really am a big fan of yours and was really happy the Pittsburgh Steelers decided to lock you up long term. I also want to recognize the fact that you are having a great statistical season as the teams’ number one receiver leading the league with 56 receptions and ninth in yards with 630. When you were drafted by the Steelers I honestly underestimated you and didn’t think you would have a good chance at making the team. It’s great to see a guy work as hard as you did in your rookie camp and that work ethic is what has endeared you to most Steelers’ fans to this point.
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Pittsburgh Steelers: Ranking Shaun Suisham’s Five Walk-Off Field Goals

With last year’s 34-31 loss at Oakland seared into their memory, the Pittsburgh Steelers visit the Raiders again Sunday.

Sebastian Janikowski kicked a 43-yard field goal as time ran out to give the Raiders the win in Week 3 last season.

The 6’1”, 258-pound Janikowski has a leg like a sequoia and has kicked field goals of 63 and 61 yards in his career.

This season, however, the Steelers have the edge over Raiders in terms of kicking accuracy.

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Steelers Primer – Week 8 – At Oakland Raiders

Two wins in a row, and win against a hated foe. That’s better.

Moreover, the running game actually looked good against the ravens.

I’m not saying the Steelers’s problems are solved and they are on the way to a seventh Super Bowl, but at least it looks like they are not on their way to a top five draft pick, either.

This week, the Steelers visit their historical cross-country rivals in the once-feared “black hole.” Let’s see how things stack up against the Raiders. Read the rest of this entry »

William Gay Proving Critics Wrong In 2013

When William Gay signed with the Arizona Cardinals following the 2011 season, there wasn’t a happier fan than me. I don’t disagree that Gay had a decent final season with the Steelers, I could never get image of him being repeatedly burned against the Green Bay Packers in the Super Bowl. That entire 2010 season it seemed like if the opposing team had a big play you would see Gay somewhere nearby. Was it a little unfair to completely look past Gay’s decent 2011 because of a poor 2010? Probably. That being said I was not thrilled to find out that the Steelers decided to bring Gay back for the 2013 season.
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Pittsburgh Steelers: Raiders Are a Fitting Halloween Opponent

The Pittsburgh Steelers sure are getting into the spirit of Halloween.

First they hosted the Baltimore Ravens, a team named for a foreboding bird in American literature.

The Steelers tricked the Ravens with the wildcat, and treated their fans to a win at Heinz Field.

On Sunday, the Steelers visit the Oakland Raiders. What better setting than the Black Hole for a game played four days before Halloween?

The Steelers haven’t won at Oakland since 1995. Somehow a black cat must have crossed their path on their last two flights out there.

Losses to lowly Raiders teams have come back to haunt the Steelers in their last three non-playoff seasons.

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