Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Live Together, Die Alone: Steelers Lose


Bad times in the Steelers fanbase. The Steelers came out with another wholly uninspiring performance. Twitter was...atwitter with criticism. Media members were chirping at each other.

Well, then.

Times like these, we have to stick together. The Steelers might be bad, and we might each want to assign blame somewhere, but let's remember:


Cincinnati wins the toss and defers. Probably a good decision considering our offensive ineptitude.

If you thought Todd Haley, with a week to gameplan, was going to come out with something creative and try to get an early edge, you were wrong. After two runs, Haley calls another run on 3rd and long and it's punting time.

The Bengals do nothing and a big return by AB sets us up in field goal range.

After another run, Ben finally attempts a pass and gets sacked, knocking us out of field goal range. Apparently Haley missed the memo that running on 3rd and long is a bad idea.

Jones' run did get us back into field goal range. Suisham connects.


Cincinnati starts working it to AJ Green on short outs and gets out to midfield. A false start turns a 3rd and 5 into a 3rd and 10 and Dalton misses Gresham. A good punt pins the Steelers inside the 10.

We finally pick up a first down on a quick-hitter to Antonio Brown. Ben runs a little read-option around the corner and picks up more yards than Redman did all game. Might have been a broken play, either way it was nuts. The Steelers get their biggest gain of the season when Ben takes a shot deep for AB and gets a pass interference call.

Two plays later, Ben hits Paulson running down the seam and he rumbles down into the red zone where he is brought down from behind. The ball pops out at the end of the play and Paulson ignores it. It looked like a fumble in real time and Ben tries to rush the troops to the line. The coaches decide to change personnel rather than get a play off and Marvin Lewis challenges. The replay shows it's a clear fumble.

The Bengals take over on the 13 and Dalton goes to work. He hits Eifert wide open down the middle of the field. Ike runs him down from behind in the red zone. Two plays later, Bernard takes a draw play up the middle and plows through the defense for the score.


The Steelers finally throw a pass on third down but can't hook up with Cotchery and it's another 3-and-out. The Steelers got the ball with 57 seconds left and had to punt before the end of the quarter. Ugh.

Roger Goodell gets to roll in some more cash when the Bengals get the ball with a second left after the punt and ESPN can roll the commercial-one play-commercial.

Second Quarter

The Bengals keep working their way down the field and the Steelers get the benefit of a few lucky bounces. LeBeau dials up a blitz on third down and forces a bad pass by Dalton. The Bengals settle for three.

The offense craps all over itself again with two passes by Ben not even close to the receivers.

Jarvis Jones makes another tackle for loss. That's two in two games. He needs to play more. Dalton converts a 3rd down. Troy jumps a WR screen and tips the ball away, inches from a pick-6. The Bengals can't do anything else, but having the ball near midfield is enough to pin the Steelers back inside the 20.

The Steelers are able to pick up a first down with Felix Jones grinding it out on second and short. AB gets us out to midfield making some moves on a WR screen that Adams and Foster get out in front of. My high school English teach just stopped reading because I ended a sentence with a preposition. Todd Haley apparently stopped reading because he calls an end around to Cotchery, the slowest receiver on the team. Seriously, when you have AB, Sanders and Wheaton on the roster, you call an end-around to Cotchery? Todd Haley is calling plays like he doesn't want to work here any more.

After another punt, Andy Dalton continues to suck, keeping the Steelers in the game.

Todd Haley continues his brilliant play-calling with a screen pass to Redman, the slowest back on the roster. In a span of 3 plays that makes an end-around to Cotchery and a screen to Redman.

Sanders bails out the offense by climbing the ladder to come down with a pass on third down. The next play, Haley FINALLY calls a pass with a receiver cutting across the middle of the field and Sanders cuts it up through the middle of the Bengals defense and takes it all the way down to the 1. On first down, Ben throws a perfect fade to Derek Moye who makes the grab over Leon Hall for the score.

Derek Moye

of Rochester High School

Penn State,

and the Steelers.


Jarvis Jones makes a huge hit on the kick return and buries the returner. The Bengals work their way to midfield in the two minute offense. They don't get much further and try a hail mary as the half expires. Ike makes a leaping play to knock the ball away from  Sanu in the end zone. Whew.


Somehow, Todd Haley keeps his job at halftime. Also, somehow, the Steelers were tied.

Third Quarter

Woodley and Jones come within inches of a sack on third down but Dalton gets it away to no one over the middle. Good three and out by the defense to start the half.

David Paulson misses a block on a WR screen, forcing a third and long. That's the second time he's missed the same block in two weeks. Probably time to stop calling plays that are contingent on Paulson blocking. Ben is Ben and hits Brown for a big gain but it gets called back on a weak tripping call on Mike Adams.

Ben is sacked on 3rd and 20 trying to run around. Punt.

Dalton hits Gresham across the middle and he breaks a few tackles to get across midfield. The Bengals keep moving it, converting a third and short then Dalton narrowly avoiding a sack and hitting Gresham for another first down. On the next play, Dalton finds Bernard across the middle and he cuts it upfield and takes it untouched down the sideline for the score.


After a WR screen gets blown up, Ben goes back to AB to get into third and short. Redman can't pick it up on a shotgun run. The offense certainly isn't doing the defense any favors with two 3-and-outs to start the half.

A holding penalty sets the Bengals back. Woodley almost comes up with another sack and gets a piece of Dalton, forcing him to scramble. Clark brings him down and forces a punt. Dalton throws a fit about something.

Ben narrowly avoids two sacks but throws two incompletions as the quarter ends. No first downs in the third quarter. Ugh.

Fourth Quarter

Ben actually gets some time to throw but misses Sanders. Third straight 3-and-out in the second half.

The Bengals pick their way down the field, converting a 3rd down on a pass to Sanu then another one on short-yardage with the Law Firm to get into the red zone. The Steelers seem to come up with a 3rd down stop but Woodley is called for being offsides that gives the Bengals new life. The defense steps up and Ike defends Green on a fade then Keisel deflects a pass on 3rd down to hold the Bengals to 3.


Cotchery finally comes down with one when Ben pump fakes the WR screen and hits Cotch down the sideline. Cotch makes another grab to move the chains again. Ben hits Sanders on a slant to get to 3rd and short in field goal range. Down by 10, needing points, Ben throws high to Cotchery who gets a hand on the ball and tips it into the air where Reggie Nelson makes the interception.

The Bengals run it twice to get to 3rd and 6. They run the ball right up the middle and get 7 yards. What the hell? The Bengals get another first down when Woodley and Troy try to fight half the Bengals team. The defense finally makes a stop and forces a punt with 2 minutes left.

Ben takes over with no sense of urgency and dumps it down to Redman on first down then hits AB two plays later to move the chains. Ben hits Cotch downfield with under 40 seconds left but he can't get out of bounds and more time runs off before a spike. Ben hits AB over the middle and can't even get a spike off before time runs out. Not even a throw to the end zone.

Another uninspiring performance.


This about says it all:

Final Thoughts
  • Not even worth doing "Players of the Game" or "Mr Yuck Sticker of the Game" for this one. No one stood out. The play-calling and coaching was once again terrible.
  • The Steelers offense needs playmakers. It's a shame they spent a 3rd round pick on a 6-foot receiver with 4.35 speed and all he's doing is holding clipboards on the bench. #FreeMarkusWheaton
  • Let's take a look at Haley's play-calling tonight: a reverse to Jerricho Cotchery and a screen pass to Redman. That's not "getting the ball in the hands of your playmakers," that's giving the ball to your slowest players and hoping the opposing team trips over themselves laughing.
  • For the second week in a row, the Steelers came out in the second half and looked clueless on offense. Three straight 3-and-outs to start the second half (after two to start the first half, for that matter).
  • Ben was not sharp in this game. He made some bad throws and tried to force some balls. The biggest problem was that his bad throws were high. He was lucky only one was intercepted.
  • The defense has to come up with a turnover at some point. They had chances at Dalton tonight but didn't even record a sack.
  • Jason Worlids has been on the field for all 3 touchdown drives the defense has allowed this season. Also, Jarvis Jones needs to play more.
  • Not sure if Le'Veon Bell can improve this running game, the O-line is playing terrible. 
  • People want to blame the loss on the phantom tripping call on Marcus Gilbert that took away a first down, but the offense went 3-and-out two more times after that in the third quarter. 
  • The best thing that happened tonight was Ike Taylor holding AJ Green under 50 yards. Solid work from Ike.
  • I'll let Christian and Jack take us out...

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