Steel Curtain Sessions: Answering the negativity (Week 7)

Steel Curtain Sessions: Answering the negativity (Week 7)

MGN Online

Josh Herzing, Contributor

The Steelers responded big this week after many people, including Hines Ward and Bill Cower questioned their identity as a football team. The Steelers have shown a pattern of winning after a loss this year and it appeared again on Monday night. That pattern must change. However, give credit to the Steelers, who looked good on both sides of the ball for most of the game in their 30-23 win over Houston. Aside from an early sack and fumble recovery, J.J. Watt was pretty well contained and did not do too much after the first half. I will admit Houston shot themselves in the foot at times in this loss but credit the Steelers for coming up big.

The Texans up until the last three minutes of the half dominated the beginning of the game and pretty much all of the first half. The last three minutes were dominated by an outburst of 24 unanswered points by the Steelers, including an Arian Foster fumble at the 3-yard line and an interception by Brett Keisel that was retuned to the Texans’ 8-yard line. The Texans really hurt themselves at the end of that half with those turnovers and ended up having their 13-0 lead evaporate and head to the locker room down 24-13 with all the momentum on the Steelers’ side.

The second half ended up being taken over by the Steelers’ defense for the most part as they maintained the gap between them and the Texans. It got scary at the end and I felt the defense was playing a little too conservative due to the Texans having no time-outs in the last 90 seconds, but they were able to score in a blink of an eye and then almost recover a wild onside kick. Thankfully, it did not play out in their favor and the Steelers were able to recover and kneel down on the ball. I must admit I liked how the defense turned it around after going down 13-0 and forced three turnovers total in the game. The thing about these turnovers is that the offense was able to capitalize off of them and score not just field goals, but TOUCHDOWNSSSSSSSS.

I will admit the pass defense looked pretty solid and the guys up front started to get pressure on Fitzpatrick, who I admit is no trip to Hollywood with that beard and is no hall of famer by any means. Mike Mitchell, the free agent who I’ve been bitching about all year finally made a play and forced a key fumble after he stripped wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins of the ball after a substantially large gain on the catch that led to the Steelers chewing up some clock and adding three more to the board to make it 30-16 at that point. Brice McCain looked solid to me. He played the entire game and started and not once did I see him give up any big plays or screw up at all. He covered his assignments well and really looked like the Steelers’ be cornerback last night.

Now time to talk about Cortez Allen. Despite his time being cut back a little due to lack of play, he still was out there for a majority of the game and once again he was the worst part of the defense. I hate ripping this guy. I really do, but he just has not shown the skill set to be put out on that field every single week. Of the Steelers’ three penalties, (two being intentional delay of game penalties) Cortez Allen had a pass interference call made against him on a play were he looked like he had no shot, so he just hugged the receiver. All throughout the game his assignments were wide open and getting big pickups in yardage at times. I hate to bust on the organization but giving this guy an extension made absolutely no sense. I hate to say that because over this past weekend I got to meet the GM, Kevin Colbert and he is a great guy. He is also responsible for putting together two Super Bowl winning teams. However, I think that move on Allen was a little sudden and is now looking worse by the minute. I feel as if to save themselves form embarrassment and looking like they wasted all that money, the Steelers are continuing to play Allen despite his woes this season.

At the end of the day though, it is about winning. The Steelers just need to win. They need to come together as a team and strive because after my meltdown last week, I will admit I may have been a rush to judgment and the Steelers still may have a shot at the division. The defense I understand is not as good talent wise but when you have Dick LeBeau as your coordinator, anything is possible. Also, I believe the offense has the weapons to win if they just keep scoring, stay consistent and keep Ben off of his ass. Bell is proving to be an extraordinary talent who can destroy defenses running and catching the ball and Brown is a beast. I also liked the rookie Martavis Bryant’s ability and hopefully he can play more and open up as a big physical receiver down the road here. With all of that being said, these next two home games now are make or break time for the Steelers. They must capitalize at home and keep this momentum.

Positives & Negatives:

Positives: Defense got pressure and forced turnovers that led to scores. Offense put it in the end zone when they got deep into Houston territory and they committed no penalties on that side of the ball, which was amazing. Ben and Bell played their games; Brown was a beast and the new rookie Bryant stepped up. The Four B’s.

Slow stars could hurt them in the future and they cannot afford to fall asleep like they did in the last two minutes of the game. Also, Cortez Allen… and that’s all I’m going to say about that.

Next Week’s Matchup: The Indianapolis Colts. This will be their toughest game this year up to this point. The Steelers need to take advantage of this home field and the offense needs to keep scoring touchdowns. The defense must continue to get pressure on Luck and stop that stretch run play that teams have been running on them. If the Steelers can pull this one out, I believe it will really boost their confidence and give them a ton of momentum.

PS: Amazing crouch catch by Antonio Brown in the fourth quarter. You the real MVP. I wish I could show it to you guys but unfortunately, RMU wont let me. Sorry.