Steel Curtain Sessions: An Explosive Fourth (Week 14)

Josh Herzing, Contributor

After another disappointing loss to a sub .500 team a week ago, the Steelers did not disappoint in confusing the hell out of everybody after a 42-21 win on the road over their AFC North rival Bengals. It was a close game for a majority of the game until the fourth quarter when the Steelers exploded and outscored the Bengals 25-0. The Steelers have been the models of inconsistency this year and this game just makes them even harder to figure out. Three of their five losses are to opponents that are currently under .500, but still they have managed to beat playoff caliber teams such as the Colts, Ravens, Texans, Browns, and the Bengals. This team really knows how to scare you and I’ve been through a rollercoaster of emotions watching them this season.


Without a question the offense can bang with any top offense in the league. Ben is having his best year statistically by far and when that offense is clicking he is almost unstoppable. Both Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant went over 100 yards receiving and Bryant caught a 96-yard bomb from Big Ben on a play-action pass that went for six. Once again, Le’Veon Bell was fantastic. It was his third straight game with 200 plus yards from scrimmage. The only other player to do that goes by the name Walter Payton. Bell is a special player and I believe he will be a really great player in this league. His ability to run and catch the ball is incredible and he is just a nightmare matchup for defenses.


Having said all of that about the offense, the problems on the defense must be addressed. I will give it to them they shut the Bengals out in the fourth quarter but they played terrible the rest of the game. A lot of big plays were given up by this untalented secondary. Ike Taylor was just out there getting burned and after two weeks like this it may be apparent that his days are numbered. I hate to say this but the same goes for Troy Polamalu. He just looks old out there and he doesn’t make any plays anymore. Troy just looks lost out there most of the time and it’s no help when the other safety out there with him is just terrible. The secondary needs upgrades and needs them soon. The Steelers can’t expect to win by keeping old players around until they literally turn into dust on the field. They gave up 224 yards to A.J. Green and Andy Dalton threw for 302 yards total. Two of Dalton’s passes were bombs for over 65 plus yards. The defense did start to get pressure in the fourth and Antwon Blake mad a nice play down field one on one covering A.J. Green but aside from all of that, the defense was not stellar.


Positives & Negatives:


Positives: Ben, Bell, Brown… and Bryant! The offense was incredible and did its thing in the fourth quarter. I will also give props to the offensive line that looks better and better each week. Fourth quarter defense came up big too.


Negatives: The Secondary is just a problem. There is no denying it and if it does not get better soon, it will fail the Steelers and ruin any chance at contending in this league.


Next Week’s Matchup: In Atlanta against the Falcons. The Falcons are currently 5-7 and could possibly 5-8 after tonight as I am watching them play the Packers now. This has been the Steelers’ flaw all year. They have not been able to beat teams under .500 and it has killed them and with a secondary like the one they have now… I really don’t know about their chances in this game but we will see what happens!


PS: Mike Mitchell finally got his hands on a ball… after it was beautifully played and tipped by Antwon Blake and still could’ve been picked by Mitchell if he didn’t drop it. However, I will give him his props!