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In victory, Steelers raise more concerns

Mike Tomlin,  Ben Roethlisberger AP

The Steelers are 2-1 on the young season, a record that doesn’t indicate how poorly they have played in two road games.

Getting a win at Lucas Oil Field Sunday was big, but the victory left more questions for Pittsburgh than answers:

1. Rashard Mendenhall has only 148 yards in three games with a 3.0 yards-per-carry average. The team went to Mewelde Moore to close the game out last night.   The line can’t seem to power run block.

2. Oh, that line. It was already struggling before Marcus Gilbert (shoulder), guard Doug Legursky (shoulder), and tackle Johnathan Scott (ankle?) were hurt Sunday night.  Scott looked like the worst injury of the group.

3. The offense has committed 10 turnovers. We expected a big leap forward from Ben Roethlisberger this year, but he hasn’t been able to overcome his surroundings.

4. The Steelers defense is still a work in progress. A shutout against the Seahawks didn’t solve everything.  We’ll learn a lot when Pittsburgh heads to Houston this week. Before Sunday night’s game Mike Tomlin was asked by Bob Costas about Pittsburgh’s opening week blowout loss.

“Good teams don’t have performances like that,” was included in Tomlin’s reply.

It’s very early, but the Steelers haven’t looked like a good team just yet.

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49 Responses to “In victory, Steelers raise more concerns”
  1. joetoronto says: Sep 26, 2011 10:48 AM

    Mike Tomlin is going to unleash the fountain of youth on his team in October.

    I hate to agree with the fatboy, but Sapp is obviously right this time, the Steelers have gotten old.

  2. claydefayette says: Sep 26, 2011 10:51 AM

    Maybe Pittsburgh is too old like Warren Sapp thinks.

    However Mr. Sapp, I don’t see that sled Troy Polamalu is supposedly running around with.

    NFL Network, please get better analysts because I don’t want to turn to ESPN.

  3. rangersleadtheway says: Sep 26, 2011 10:53 AM

    I would love to see how that Offensive Line and Defense held up against a tough power team like the Raiders.. who seem a bit more like how the Steelers used to play

  4. peytonwantsaflag says: Sep 26, 2011 10:54 AM

    The refs, the announcers and half the stands rooting for them and they can only beat the 2nd to worst team in the league by 3. Wow.

  5. duanethomas says: Sep 26, 2011 10:56 AM

    Warren Sapp onThe Pittsburgh Steelers : I have three things: old, slow and it’s over. It’s just that simple.

    He’s brutal toward the once-dominating Steelers defense:

    James Harrison told us that he was 70-to-75%. It looked more like 40% to me if you are looking at the ballgame I was looking at. And Hines Ward, Mercedes Sapp can cover Hines Ward right now. You have to be kidding me…Mercedes is my 13-year-old daughter. She will cover Hines Ward in a heartbeat. And Troy Polamalu, Ed Dixon runs this crossing route. Troy Polamalu is trying to grab him to have a pass interference and he can’t even get close enough to grab him. (It) looked like he was dragging a wagon behind him.

    He’s right!

  6. ottomanismydog says: Sep 26, 2011 10:57 AM

    The team definitely has issues – an issue of key match ups and turnovers. Going on the road in the NFL, in prime time, is a difficult task. The Colts generated very little offense, but with their qb any positive gain is seen as a victory for that team. Freeney and Mathis have the ability to do that to any team in the NFL. Seahawks are just an awful product of the NFC west. Baltimore blasted the Steelers and is a distant memory at this point.

    The black and gold will be tested all the way up to their bye week – at Houston, Tennessee (who isn’t a terrible team), Jacksonville, at Arizona, New England, Baltimore and at Cincinnati.

    Each week in the NFL is a test, but if they continue to turn the ball over and get exploited in miss matches it will be a 10-6, 9-7 type year for the Steelers.

  7. jdandcoke says: Sep 26, 2011 10:58 AM

    as all real nfl fans know, its almost impossible to properly analyze most teams after only 3 games. sure…we all know that GB and NO are very good teams, and that SEA and KC are very bad teams….but for the most part we have very little idea what most teams are made of right now.

    its way too early to start writing off teams like the steelers.

  8. jimbobobjr says: Sep 26, 2011 11:00 AM

    They have been able to get away with a subpar oline for a few years now. Not anymore. Hopefully this will be the wake up call they need to actually improve it, because right now they have a noline.

  9. jimbobobjr says: Sep 26, 2011 11:02 AM

    At least Polamalu ditched the wagon. He looked like the old Troy.

  10. jimbobobjr says: Sep 26, 2011 11:07 AM

    What’s really scary is how terrible Woodley and Timmons are playing after getting those HUGE contracts.

  11. favreforever says: Sep 26, 2011 11:07 AM

    Steelers win ugly. But they also lose ugly. Along with waking up in the morning ugly. Getting showered, shaved, and dressed ugly. Going out ugly. Coming back home ugly. There is no relief.

  12. cup1981 says: Sep 26, 2011 11:08 AM

    People are failing to realize that this is the NFL, meaning it is PROFESSIONAL football. The guys on the other side are getting paid too! Even Ryan Fitzpatrick is looking like a pro-bowler this year.

    The Steelers first game was a plain-and-simple blow out. They stunk. The second game was a good team pummeling a bad one. The third game was a good offense vs. a good defense vs. its own offense vs. a good defense.

    The defense looked good in this game, but not great like they should have. Yeah, they got a few lucky breaks (i.e. Painter overthrowing a wide open WR after Taylor bit on a fake). That overthrow, however, was brought about by the confusion caused by the defense, so it wasn’t necessarily “lucky.”

    The defense looked old against the Ravens, yes, but I think it was more apprehension than age. The guys were second guessing themselves, causing the illusion of slow play. They were flying around today, especially Polamalu.

    The Steelers will be fine, they will make it to the playoffs, and a SB rematch with the Pack is a possibility. You have to remember, as a life-long Steelers fan, I am used to seeing the Steelers eek out wins against even the lowliest of teams.

  13. occamssabre says: Sep 26, 2011 11:11 AM

    I’d like to have seen Painter get more reps under center as he settled in pretty good late in that game.

    Roethlisberger will be lucky to make it through the whole season with his Express Lane offensive line. You can’t exploit the speed of Wallace when Big Ben is on his ass immediately!

  14. cmich2006 says: Sep 26, 2011 11:14 AM

    The Colts had 241 total yards and were handed 10 points..the defense isn’t a big concern(although the were able to run at Aaron Smith who seems to have lost it and should be benched at this point)…the OL is the worst group ever put together by an NFL team and that is where the concern should be.

  15. steelerdynasty2010 says: Sep 26, 2011 11:17 AM

    @joetoronto and everyone else about to post something about old and slow:

    would you all stop with the “getting old” mantra?! it’s getting OLD. of all teams in the league, the steelers have had a track record of getting rid of “old” players before their age becomes a detriment to the product on the field. we dont sentimentally keep people around just for the hell of it….ever..ask Rod Woodson and Alan Faneca. stating the obvious doesnt make you the greatest analyst in the room. pretty much everyone’s defense is one year older than it was last year, hell they’re all one week older than they were last week. since when was our defense known for its’ speed??? it’s known for toughness, stoutness against the run, and applying pressure to the qb. this “old” defense was in the SB 7 months ago, not 1950. they didnt get that old and slow between then and now.
    The defense looks like a bunch of guys who havent been together for as long as in past off seasons. it looks like guys have had trouble recovering from some nagging injuries due to the limited time in the offseason to address the rehab of those injuries with the team medical staff. it looks like teams are finally able to figure out how to exploit the holes in the defense (EVERY team/defense has holes) because it’s been the same for almost ever. it’s a zone/blitz scheme and isnt hard to figure out and exploit when you have protection. it’s an offensive league now so the scheme needs to adjust, and it doesnt seem to be adjusting on par with the speed of offensive philosophies. BTW, teams are putting more speed on the field and getting the ball to those guys.

  16. steelerstom says: Sep 26, 2011 11:22 AM

    As a Steelers fan my biggest concern is O line(please call Flozell), past that next up is Bruce Arians. The play calling was pathetic and predictable. I was watching the game with friends b!t@hing about it for half an hour, asking for one, just one, play action pass on first down. Finally in the third quarter we play action on first down and Ben hits Heath for about a 27 yard gain into Colts territory. That was the last time we did it until we were in a tie game. If that’s the best he can do from a game plan stand point and making adjustments during the course of a game I would have to say the biggest mistake of the off season was not letting BA retire. Time to go!

  17. rmm1984 says: Sep 26, 2011 11:25 AM

    I don’t know how Roethlisberger threw for over 300 yards plying behind that line. That was possibly the worst O-line performance I’ve ever seen.

  18. citizenstrange says: Sep 26, 2011 11:34 AM

    All I hear about is how Roethisberger “extends” plays but God in Heaven it doesn’t show up on the scoreboard.

    Roethlisberger hangs another sweet, sweet 16 point performance plus three turnovers leading to 13 Colts points … one of which was a direct fumble 6.

    Per usual …. If the Steeler defense doesn’t hold the other team to 10 points or get a defensive score the Steelers lose.

  19. grilledjesus says: Sep 26, 2011 11:39 AM

    Ben may be “tough”, but I don’t see anyone being able to out “tough” that offensive line.

  20. polishrod says: Sep 26, 2011 11:43 AM

    Maybe Ben can hire a few of his bodyguards to play on the O-line

  21. sophiethegreatdane says: Sep 26, 2011 11:55 AM

    Unleash hell? More like, unleash heck.

  22. dickroy says: Sep 26, 2011 11:58 AM

    My Steelers are in for a long year, because they ignored the offensive line for too long. Can’t run, can’t pass protect.

  23. originalsteelcurtain says: Sep 26, 2011 12:07 PM

    Steeler-hater Sapp is hoping that the D is getting old. He’s just tired of the Steeler D being Top 3 year after year.

    This old Steeler D is still good enough to compete in the playoffs.

    The real Steeler problems are with the O. The skill players are top-notch, although Ben has been a turnover machine lately.

    Unfortunately, the O-Line can’t run or pass block. Not sure where the fix is there…but it is he absolute key to the Steelers 2011 success.

  24. flabtreesports says: Sep 26, 2011 12:52 PM

    Damn right, Deb. I’ll read whatever you have to say about football, anytime. Roll Tide (but go ravens…)

  25. holeinone09 says: Sep 26, 2011 12:53 PM

    Ben isn’t perfect but anyone criticizing him for lack of scoring more points is a dummy. Did you watch the game? Absolutely no running game. Absolutely no blocking. Sanders drops a perfect pass at the 5. Suisham misses a FG. Scott gets yet another penalty then misses a block, pushing them out of FG range.

    If Ben had his receivers with Brady’s line he would throw for 400 yards per game and they would score 40 a game.

    Be honest about what you saw.

    And still he took them down the field at the end to win. I will take Ben.

  26. peytonwantsaflag says: Sep 26, 2011 1:05 PM

    “Ben isn’t perfect but anyone criticizing him for lack of scoring more points is a dummy”

    Once again he made a rookie mistake of holding the ball and costing his team a chance at a field goal. (even his biggest fan Collinsworth said so)EVERY game Ben personally creates a situation that hurts his team. The primary reason they tend to have to come back at the end of games is him.

  27. Deb says: Sep 26, 2011 1:07 PM

    Was trying to post that Sapp is just attention-seeking. James (33) & Troy (30) had a good game. Timmons (25) & Woodley (26) did not. It’s not all about age.

  28. Deb says: Sep 26, 2011 1:09 PM

    And Jonathan Scott (28) is horrible. He is going to get Ben killed. God forgive me, but when he went down, I sighed in relief. He has no business being a starting tackle.

  29. Deb says: Sep 26, 2011 1:12 PM

    @flabtreesports … Thank you so much!!!

  30. dickroy says: Sep 26, 2011 1:14 PM

    @ Deb

    I agree with flabtreesport. I acually look for your post, and read them all. You make very intelligent comments on here. You should be able to say anything and as much as you want.
    Go Deb!
    Go Steelers!

  31. sinjin65 says: Sep 26, 2011 1:15 PM

    I love my Steelers and I’m a proud member of the Nation, but man, are you kidding me! This team has some serious issues. The O line, the play calling. I mean whats up with that quick pass to the sideline play? Why not use the play action? Ben’s gonna get killed with this line. And for real, the Defense isn’t scaring anyone either. I for one am concerned. Lets see if Tomlin can light a fire. If he can’t it’s going to be a long year!!

  32. steelerfan999 says: Sep 26, 2011 1:26 PM

    BIG BEN WAS RUNNING FOR HIS LIFE,WAS 25 OUT OF 37 WITH 364 YARDS PASSING,JUST IMAGINE WHAT HE COULD DO WITH AN O-LINE.

  33. supashug says: Sep 26, 2011 1:34 PM

    Now that the Ravens have Torrey Smith at full speed they are the team to beat in the AFC North hands down. Torrey Smith on one side and Lee Evans on the other. Boldin in the middle and Ray Rice, very good team that the Steelers dont currently have an answer for.

  34. slammincamnewton says: Sep 26, 2011 1:43 PM

    All I can say is BEWARE OF THE BROWNS

  35. jimbobobjr says: Sep 26, 2011 2:10 PM

    slammincamnewton says:
    Sep 26, 2011 1:43 PM
    All I can say is BEWARE OF THE BROWNS

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

  36. Deb says: Sep 26, 2011 2:13 PM

    Well, I see they’ve lifted the cap now. Thank you guys for your support.

  37. rudegger says: Sep 26, 2011 2:26 PM

    Beware of the Browns? Did you just eat cheese fries from Taco Bell or something?
    The only thing brown in Cleveland that you should be wary of is the tap water.

  38. gregjennings85 says: Sep 26, 2011 2:27 PM

    No one says it, but part of the problem is that Roethlisberger holds the ball too long, every play. Olinemen are conditioned over the years to eventually expect the ball to be gone.

  39. madisonave99 says: Sep 26, 2011 2:36 PM

    Not only is far too early to know what most teams are made of, this isn’t college football–teams shouldn’t be judged on what their margin of victory over an opponent is. A win is a win in the NFL, and nobody cares by how much it’s by. YPC is the most inane stat other than QB rating

  40. Deb says: Sep 26, 2011 2:37 PM

    @gregjennings85 …

    I disagree. Most of us acknowledge that Roethlisberger holds the ball too long. It’s a Catch-22. Sometimes that works to our advantage when he magically slips out of the grasp and makes a great seat-of-the-pants play. It’s frustrating when he takes a sack he should never have taken that puts us out of field-goal range.

    But too many people excuse poor o-line execution by saying Ben holds the ball too long. When the pocket collapses before he can step back from center, that’s not his fault. When Jonathan Scott misses his block–or worse, is standing there looking as though he’s completely confused about his role, that’s on the line. Sean Kugler is a good offensive-line coach, but he’s got to have some base talent to work with.

  41. raqaiw says: Sep 26, 2011 2:39 PM

    History says this isn’t the Steelers’ year. No SB loser goes back to the playoffs and wins anymore, and the Steelers have suffered sub-par seasons after the last 2 times they went to the SB. This’ll be 3. But hey, at least you won 2/3(the refs helped out against Seattle though)

  42. dickroy says: Sep 26, 2011 3:11 PM

    But hey, at least you won 2/3(the refs helped out against Seattle though)

    The crying never ends!

  43. steelnucs says: Sep 26, 2011 3:19 PM

    @ sinjin65 –

    Man, you read my mind about the play calling – if they had run that idiotic quick WR screen play one more time I was going to punch my tv. It didn’t get more than 2 yards each time they ran it. Someone should tell Arians that it is OK to run play action on first down now and then. Even Collinsworth mentioned that on first downs the Colts D was bringing guys up to stop the run.
    It did seem like that in the beginning ben was making an effort to get rid of the ball quicker. He better keep working on that the way this crappy OL is shaping up.

  44. chazzmon says: Sep 26, 2011 4:03 PM

    Old or not one thing’s for sure they are not a very good team right now. They look out sync on offense, running game is flat and Ben is not consistent yet.

  45. mitchitized says: Sep 26, 2011 4:32 PM

    On every first down I started chanting:

    “Hey diddle diddle,
    Rogel up the middle”

    And since I was in a bar in NYC nobody got the reference.

    Part of being an Offensive Coordinator is playcalling, and making adjustments as the game unfolds. Bruce Arians might be a genius on all other counts, but he’s an #EPICFAIL and #FACEPALM on these two, which are not only costing us games but slowly eating my soul.

  46. timmons94 says: Sep 26, 2011 4:34 PM

    calm down folks..

    yes, the OLINE is awful, guess what, so is the New England defense…

    our d will be fine, look around most defenses are getting killed early on…

    if we can beat Houston who has their own issues on defense, we will be fine….

    defense has allowed 1 turnover….very Cleveland like..
    still get 4 byes with games vs Cincy and Believeland- lamest thing I have ever heard…Believeland…hahahaha

  47. rwjk says: Sep 27, 2011 12:45 AM

    2 words: CURTIS PAINTER(Ker-tis Pay-nter)

  48. sinjin65 says: Sep 27, 2011 1:10 AM

    @ steelnucs

    I know right, that stupid play has worked once this year I think. Play action killed em though but almost got Ben killed too. It time to call both Max and Flozell back and quit dickin around.

  49. antibenapalooza says: Sep 27, 2011 6:56 AM

    You know me, I want Pig Ben taken out with a career ending injury. Looks to me like the “Stillers” offensive line is going to help make it happen this season.

    Born in West Penn Hospital, graduated from Pitt, married by wife in Heinz Chapel, and, yes, I hate Pig Ben. He is an insult to the fine people of “Picksburg”. That finger pointing thing after a touchdown is so phony. I bet his mother in Heaven is wagging her finger back at him.

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