Steel Curtain Sessions: Defense wins the game (Week 5)

Josh Herzing , Staff blogger

The Pittsburgh Steelers were able to pull off a win over the Jaguars this past Sunday, avoiding consecutive losses to winless teams. The win was not all that impressive but a win is a win. Ben Roethlisberger looked solid and is having a fairly good year despite some of the teams’ struggles clouding what he had been doing. He still is being sacked too many times for my liking and Tomlin’s liking I’m sure. The defense was key in this game and really got things done after some struggles last week.

The game didn’t start out too hot and the Steelers offense looked sluggish. The Jaguars were able to put together a solid time consuming drive on their first possession and put a field goal up on the board, making the score 3-0 and that would remain the score for the rest of the quarter as both offenses continued to punt. The Steelers had a drive they started at the end of the first quarter that would lead to a field goal in the second. However, it was a bit disappointing that they did not get a touchdown seeing how they had the ball first and goal at the four yard-line and did not run the ball once and passed it three downs in a row.

The Steelers defense answered back right after their offense drove for a score and forced a turnover, which is very rare for the Steelers now a days. On second and 28 Cortez Allen, whom I give shit to and will continue to do even after this game, intercepted Blake Bortles’ pass. Sadly the Steelers offense still managed to screw up on a short field and a sack ruined the whole drive. The offense kills themselves and the score would’ve been way different if they stayed consistent and did not give up sacks and take so many penalties. That stuff can make or break a season. Despite the offense stalling, the Steelers were able to get the ball back one more time before the end of the half and Big Ben delivered with a one-yard connection to tight end Michael Palmer to make the score 10-3. However, the Jags wore down the Pittsburgh defense with their hurry up offense in the final minute of the half and they were able to add three to the board and make it 10-6 at halftime.

All and all the second half was nothing special. The biggest play and decider was the 22-yard interception return by Brice McCain in the fourth quarter that made the score 17-9, which ended up being the final. It amazed me that the Steelers had two interceptions in a game let alone a freaking touchdown off one of them by a guy I have never heard of in my life. I must say though I was impressed by the defense as a whole on Sunday. They only had one sack but they really did put some good pressure on the quarterback and the secondary held their own. Despite not scoring a boat load of points, I will give the offense credit for doing what they did not do last week and picking up first downs on the final drive and aloud themselves to kneel down on the ball and end the game. Aside from a sack fumble, the offense stayed pretty efficient and did not turn the ball over. I would like to see them finish more drives though, and again the penalties are killer and they were hurting again in this game. Mike Tomlin needs to get these guys in line with the huge amount of penalties they have committed this season. The Steelers are the second most penalized team in the league so far this season.

Positives & Negatives:

Positives: The defense played a very good game and the secondary did a good job forcing two turnovers and scoring the dagger touchdown. Ben Roethlisberger was pretty efficient in the passing game and with some solid protection on certain plays he made some good throws and picked up key first downs on third downs. The running backs also made good plays and combined went over 100 yards, which is a good sign for the Steelers offense.

Negatives: Penalties. The penalties are still taking a huge toll on this team and they really killed some good drives on offense and they can not afford to let that happen in the future if they want to have a successful season. Also, the sacks need to be cut down. I will admit it is not always the offensive line’s fault, sometimes Ben stands there too long and refuses to throw it away but whatever the case, the sacks need to decrease on the offensive side.

Next Week’s Matchup: The Cleveland Browns at Cleveland. The Steelers must be discipline and consistent if they want to win this game. We saw week one the Steelers almost blew a big lead after playing a very poor second half. The Browns are not the team they once were. They are definitely a better team this year. They are coming off of a huge comeback win, the largest comeback win by a road team in NFL history to be exact. I believe if the Steelers can protect Ben, cut back on the penalties and play consistent ball for all four quarters, they can win this game.