Thursday, November 29, 2012

Rock Bottom: Steelers Lose


Rock bottom.

That's about all there is to say about this game. The Steelers played a game in Cleveland without Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown, Troy Polamalu, and LaMarr Woodley was injured on the first series. The Steelers turned the ball over eight times. Eight. How does that even happen to a professional team?

Trying to analyze this game would be a worthless endeavor because the offense had no rhythm the whole day. Any time something seemed to be going right, the ball would be back in the hands of the Browns. The defense got the Steelers on the board with an early pick-six by Lawrence Timmons that was clearly the play of the game. The only other points came from Plaxico drawing a pass interference call in the end zone and Chris Rainey bouncing one to the outside and scampering in. Why was Chris Rainey is as the goal line back? Because all the other running backs had fumbled up until that point. Charlie Batch played terrible, but he also got minimal help from his receivers. Plaxico ran the laziest out-route since your uncle at the family reunion last summer. Mike Wallace once again displayed a sheer lack of effort on plays he wasn't involved in and refused to come back for the ball when it was thrown his way, which led to an interception.

On the offensive line, Doug Legursky was forced into starting duty after Willie Colon injured himself in practice and Mike Adams went down with an ankle injury which led to Kelvin Beachum playing most of the second half at right tackle. The curse of number 68 lives on with Beachum and he was called for holding on his first play. The Steelers second half was just vomit-inducing. No drive longer than 5 plays. Three punts, three interceptions and two fumbles. The Browns had excellent field position all day, starting on the Steelers side of the field five times.

It is really a testament to how well the defense is playing right now that the Browns only scored 20 points. Their two touchdowns came off of turnovers when they took over at the Steelers 10 and Steelers 31. The defense only allowed two drives of longer than 5 plays (which led to the Browns two field goals) and had four drives where the Browns actually lost yardage. James Harrison looks like he is starting to return to form after ringing up a sack and giving Brandon Weeden a concussion (unintentionally, Weeden's head hit Harrison's knee as Weeden was falling down). Jason Worlids played well in relief of LaMarr Woodley, recording two sacks to give him a team-high 5.0 on the season.

All in all, no team since the AFL-NFL merger has turned the ball over 8 times and won. Since 1940 there have been 165 teams that have had 8+ turnovers in a game and only 13 have come out winners. The last team to do it was Green Bay in 1967. Since the merger, teams with 8+ turnovers are 0-53. Shockingly, the Steelers 6 point loss was the 6th closest game by an 8+ turnover team in the Post-Merger era.

If losing to the Ravens and the Browns back-to-back isn't rock bottom for the Pittsburgh Steelers, the team will probably approach absolute zero next week when they travel to Baltimore.

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