Steelers starting offense has rough night in Washington

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Things got off to an ominous start when running back Le’Veon Bell left with an injured foot after the first series of the game and they only went downhill from there for the Steelers starting offense.

The unit, which remained on the field for the entire first half except for a change from Ben Roethlisberger to Bruce Gradkowski at quarterback, turned the ball over three times and saw Redskins linebacker Ryan Kerrigan wreak havoc along the line of scrimmage. Kerrigan pressured Roethlisberger a few times, scored a touchdown after picking off an attempted pass to the flat and then stripped Gradkowski on a later sack.

Running back Jonathan Dwyer also fumbled for the Steelers after running into tight end David Paulson and getting stripped of the ball as he tried to regain his footing. They also lost fullback Will Johnson to a rib injury when he was hit by safety DeJon Gomes on a play that was flagged for a hit on a defenseless receiver.

While there were mistakes on several fronts, the play of the offensive line should be the most concerning to the Steelers moving forward. Dwyer had a few strong runs, but the biggest pass plays while Roethlisberger was in the game came as the quarterback did his trademark job of extending the play despite pressure seeping through the protection. There were also four penalties on offensive linemen to round out a performance that is sure to make for an uncomfortable film session later this week.

93 responses to “Steelers starting offense has rough night in Washington

  1. The Steelers roster has decayed. They need a serious overhaul before they become annual contenders again. Long gone are the days of prime Ike Taylor, Troy Polamalu, Casey Hampton, Brett Keisel, Aaron Smith, Joey Porter, Clark Haggans, etc.

  2. What has been passed over in your fair and
    unbiased coverage is the fact the former # 1
    team sucks !! Big Ben is a has been !! Get over
    it !!

  3. On second thought , i am wrong , never was is
    more accurate !! BB is a product of ” Dick’s
    great defense ” !! It is over !!

  4. Super Bowl! Lol…

    How in the world will the Pittsburgh O-line deal with the Browns’ defense, if they’re getting smacked around by the Redskins? Ain’t gonna be pretty for the Steelers…

  5. Rut row! Stillers’ 1st team O’line looks really bad!
    And they just got a ton of love about winning the AFCN??
    C’mon man!

  6. From my 3-4 games I watched the Steelers last year, they seemed like a team that was aging and no longer elite. Their O-Line struggled and Big Ben suffered consequently. The lack of a physical run game, in my opinion, affected them.

    Their defense also meandered along being good at times but mediocre on a lot of downs.

    It will be interesting to see whether they can snap out of it when the season starts to maintain their feared status in the league. I personally think they can do it, as Mike Tomin is an excellent motivator when need be and probably preached plenty of humbling remarks about their record last year during this off season.

  7. If only the ghosts from the great past ‘6 championships’ could save this team…oh wait, they can’t bcuz the past is dead just like the steelers future..

    Have fun competing with the browns for the right to be acknowledged as the 3rd best team in the division.

    Memories are fun to live in. Remember the days when the steelers didn’t suck? Me either.


    Ps – Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco approves this message.

  8. Don’t feel bad Stealers, it was the Redskins and they will be doing that to a lot of other teams this season as well.

  9. There is some work to do on the offensive line(to many penalties) Gilbert is going to have to do better. Overall, not overly concerned, its the 2nd week of preseason and these things can be corrected.

  10. Ugly game for the Steelers starters, can’t see how they will turn it around when regular season starts. I’m afraid until they realize the O line, and Big Ben are a liability, and move on with a new starting Qb, the steelers will dwell in the basement of the AFC North for the foreseeable future.

  11. The seven-year head coach still can’t motivate; the young, inexperienced offensive line can’t block; the fresh, new feature back can’t stay on the field; the wide receivers can’t get open; and the 10-year, $100 million veteran quarterback is still mistake prone. Other than that, how was the play, Mrs. Lincoln?
    This might end up being the worst offensive unit in Steelers history, which, when considering the recent past, would be no small feat.
    Don’t worry.
    The blame will be placed on Todd Haley.

  12. I’m a Steelers fan and I gotta say I know it’s pre season…but they looked BAD… I thought Leveon Bell was a “workhorse” he loos like a china doll to me,also Adams needs to go back to pop Warner football maybe a coach there can teach him where to line up

  13. I’m telling you again, Mike Tomlin has a knack for choosing players in the draft that are china dolls, ready to be broken. I doubt Bell will ever play a complete season, when he can’t even make it through his first training camp.

  14. Rough Night? I would say looked like crap, they played like crap, and what the hell, they are crap.

  15. That headline is an understatement. They have no weapons to speak of, little speed, and O line is just brutal. The defense is still good and will keep them in games but I would be surprised if the Steelers win more the 8 games with that putrid offense.

  16. aaroncurryisbust says: Aug 19, 2013 9:44 PM

    The Steelers roster has decayed. They need a serious overhaul before they become annual contenders again. Long gone are the days of prime Ike Taylor, Troy Polamalu, Casey Hampton, Brett Keisel, Aaron Smith, Joey Porter, Clark Haggans, etc.


    Nice comment McFly. The last 3 names are retired, and Casey isnt on the team.

  17. When Joe Flacco starts lighting things up this preseason, let me know.

    Hypocrisy at its worse.

    THe Steelers oline struggled, not going to hide from that. The Ravens got kicked up and down the field on both sides of the ball.

  18. After the Ravens/Falcons preseason game:

    crownofthehelmet says: Aug 16, 2013 1:23 AM

    This team will need to improve just to get to pathetic.

    After last night it felt appropriate to just reuse that comment.

  19. You guys are loving this stuff. No worries, the season starts at 0-0 and everything will be just fine. Until then, predict their demise after one half of preseason football haha.

  20. “This is going to be a long year for the Steelers.”

    Actually, it’s going to be a short year. No OT games. No post season. Nobody going to the Pro Bowl.

  21. Steelers have 3 issues..Penalties From O-linemen..Lack of pass protection (Still) And William Gay. I’m not worried about The Defence at all. Saw some good gettin Batch involved in the passing game instead of running him up the middle 5 times for 3 yards..Dwyer runnin really hard like he wants that starting spot..Sanders.. Brown & Wheaton making plays..Bell lookd OK his 1st few carries..UNFORTUNATELY the O-Line ruined every play with penalties for the second week in a row..Ben looks OK..minus that bone head int he was 5-6 60+ yards being chased around for dear life.Drove um into scoring distance..converted 3rd & 8 inside the 15 but yet another Drive killin penalty turnd that into ANOTHER FG! Only thing I’m lookin for is consistent O-Line play and TDs not FGs in the RedZone. They’ll be better next game

  22. so when the steelers struggle jb comes up with ” i will admit the o line struggled.” when the ravens struggle its a laundry list of reasons. you are the hypocrite jb.

  23. Just watched First Take, and this what Jamelle Hill took from last night’s game: “Troy Polamalu looks old.” And these people are actually paid to analyze?
    It’s time to trade Roethlisberger, while he’s still under contract and there’s a market for him. Trade him for a couple of firsts and seconds and maybe also a quality veteran.
    The Steelers need to fix the mistakes they’ve made within the O-line. Mike Adams stinks … with no end in sight. Pouncey is grossly overrated, and Marcus Gilbert is overwhelmingly unremarkable. There’s no veteran depth there, either.
    Tomlin has dismantled a pretty good O-line. Max Starks starts in San Diego, Willie Colon starts with the Jets, and Doug Legursky starts in Buffalo. Getting rid of seasoned veterans is never a good idea, at least not without having suitable replacements.
    It’s time for the Steelers to put their only marketable player on the market.

  24. Mike Adams looked totally lost, Foster blew some assignments, Pouncey was being overwhelmed by Cofield, Decastro was flagged for a stupid hold and Gilbert looked out of shape.

    Granted this is only the second preseason game and these guys haven’t played together as a unit very much, but the miscues on that line are going to be an issue if they don’t gel quickly.

    As far as a lack of weapons? Paulson looked good. Nice hands, good feet, quick and good vertical. Sanders and Brown both made plays when the ball came their way, which the line didn’t give much time to allow.

    Bell could be good if he can stay out of the training room but it is hard to tell with two preseason games in the bag and two injuries. Dwyer is in decent shape this year, but has butter fingers. Batch lacks the size to be an every down player.

    With an offense designed to run first and then get the big play off of play action, the lack of a cohesive line and consistent threat from the backfield could turn this into a long season. I’m holding out hope that the offensive unit improves over the course of the year and the defense can carry them through the first three or four games.

  25. Typical, typical, typical Roethlisberger performance. Three points scored and a pick seven given up. Can we all agree that he just SUCKS?

    After three years in a row without a playoff win does Tomlin finally get on the hot seat or is he bullet proof?

    When LeBeau retires the Steelers will fall down an elevator shaft. Guaranteed.

  26. Scooby Do,

    Like I said before I don’t have black and gold glasses on, you drink the Ozzie kool-aid.

    THe Ravens STILL don’t have a # 2 WR and Torrey Smith isnt a #1. That’s a fantasy. The Steelers defense is better than the Ravens.

    Ravens have no room to gloat with the way their 1st teamers have looked. Thing is your offense might have some potential but your defense is going to put Flacco in a position to throw more than he or Harbaugh wants to.

    Because of their defense the Steelers will always have a chance until the offense comes around. If it comes around…

  27. Now that we all got that out of our system…

    It is preseason. It is a very vanilla playbook, none of the best plays are run in preseason for a reason. Teams put players into uncomfortable situations, they try new formations, QBs will be told to force more throws to test receivers.

    If Steelers and the Ravens play this way week 1, then its time to be concerned.

  28. “The sky is falling the sky is falling…. Not really just preseason ladies”

    No. The sky has FALLEN. All that remains are the ruins of a desperate team clinging to the days when cheap shot hits, desperation jump balls and bad officiating could be turned into trophies.

  29. These comments are freaking hilarious! If a meaningless pre-season game draws this much negativity, I can only imagine wha it will be like when they actually lose a real game. Probably won’t be until 2014, but the comment board will be out of control.

    Shows how worried all other 31 team fans really are about the Steelers.

  30. I still love Big Ben, and he’s still amazing. That said, Haley will/has ruined this offense. The guy is clueless.

    I also understand that the team is getting old, but Ike Taylor is the worst CB in the league, bar none.

    Let the rebuild begin.

  31. It’s only preseason?
    I’ve got news for ya: There’s no “on” or “off” switch. Because it’s “only preseason,” that’s what makes it all the more disturbing…
    If a first-team offense can’t score a TD against vanilla defenses that haven’t game planned, that’s cause for concern. Preseason is when bad offenses DO score.
    I’m a firm believer that it’s possible to look like world-beaters in the preseason but then stink in the regular season. But not vise versa. It doesn’t work that way.
    And for a Steelers fan to be worried about just the Ravens, you people are in for a rude awakening. I don’t see the 2013 Steelers winning more than five games. This decline started in 2011.

  32. Man, Pittsburgh’s O-Line is awful! I knew Mike Adams would be terrible, but I’m genuinely shocked at how bad David DeCastro has been. I really thought he would be dominant, but he’s not even close!

  33. crown so what did it mean when there was so much negativity on the Ravens article after the Falcons game? Are we hearing a bunch of fans who can dish it out but can’t take it?

    I’m not going to draw conclusions from the game. I’m going to draw conclusions on the basis there isn’t anyone in a skilled position who has a consistent history of showing skill in that position at the level the team needs. QB aside. Its all “potential”. That is scary.

    Before you all jump on me with A. Brown he hasn’t played like a #1 before. Now he is being asked to produce like a #1.

  34. To all of you NFL “Newbies”:

    This was the 2nd preseason game.

    It means absolutely nothing. ZERO, nada, zilch!

    Steelers lost several games last year by less than 3 points. They will have a Top 5 D as always, and Ben gives them a chance to win every week.

    Do they need the O-line to gel (installed a new ZBS scheme) and skill-players to step-up? Yes, they do.

    Do they have time to make that happen? Yes, they do.

    As long a s Ben stays healthy, Steelers will contend for a playoff spot as usual.

  35. The Steelers looked rough on offense last night. Defensively, they didnt look as bad but still needs some work. Sooner or later Coach Lebeau is going to have to unleash Jarvis Jones. The guy is always around the ball and in the two preseason games he has caused a fumble and blocked a pass i believe. He is better than Worilds right now. It looks like a rebuilding year so might as well get the new defensive guys some experience. The Shark and Jarvis and Hawthorne and V Williams should get some playing time. Offensive line is in serious disarray. Could not block anyone Adams and Gilbert i dont think either one will be around in a few years unless they show serious improvements

  36. Contrary to some comments, it IS only the preseason. They have played 2 games, with the watered down practices they can have. To me, the biggest issues are the OL and RB. The OL is troublesome yet again. While they are still young and have not really played a lot together (prior year injuries, change of positions, etc), they need to really step it up. The penalties are dumb things and have to stop, they killed drives yesterday. If some of these guys can’t block, then hard decisions have to be made, but I am not ready to bail on them yet. Pouncey had a poor game but we’ve seen him play at an extremely high level so I am not worried about that. And Ben will be fine, he is Ben and everyone knows what he is capable of, especially if he ever gets time to throw before his career is done. I like what I see in Wheaton and in Paulsen. I really hope 1 RB rises to the top. I don’t really like the committee approach, and right now there is no apparent workhorse. I miss the days of the Bus.

    On defense, very happy with Jones and Thomas as potential big impact players.

    My expectation for this year is to see some “improvement” from last year, so right now I am hoping for better than 8-8, and we’ll go from there. If anyone thinks the season is over already, then they are not true knowledgeable football fans. Anything can happen, including to other teams. And it likely will as the season goes on.

  37. Hmmmm, if that O-line plays anything like they did on Monday night in the regular season, then big Ben will be going out with career ending injuries.

  38. I just wanna see Big Ben and Todd Haley throw down… can’t stand ’em.

    Jarvis Jones looked alright thou – I have no clue how these Steeler outside linebackers always have 8+ sack seasons… one of ’em is fat and lazy.

  39. The offensive did look disturbing and im confident they could get sum things corrected and for sure they need to get some more reps together but realistically its going to be a weakness this year in pass protection. IMO more in the beginning of the season, but should be a little stronger later. Ive seen bad preseasons where the Steelers 1st team scored no TD’s & the 1st game of the season get 5 or more. I think more of the individual players performances than the overall offense and defense.

  40. Like holeinone09, I miss that big bruising back we had in Bettis. I’m not wild about the committee approach either–although that seems the most likely way for teams to build a successful running attack. It’s hard to imagine any back standing up to 16 games of punishment. But then you look at what Adrian Peterson did last year and … sigh.

    Our first team’s performance in the preseason opener was okay. But last night … good grief. I hope holeinone09 is right that the offensive line just needs to gel together and in the new zone-blocking scheme. They’re too talented a group to look so sloppy. But I have a horrific migraine today and can’t help wondering if it’s a black-and-gold hangover.

  41. jb….when all you can do is down talk a rival and have nothing positive to say about your own team it proves my point. i can readily admit that the ravens have issues and i have faith in my team to address these issues? why..because his history bears it out. if you honestly think ozzie doesnt know what he is doing then you have zero credibility. have they done a good job drafting wr. no they havent. but look at the record…it includes t worlds titles and his first 2 draft picks are hall of famers. plus countless probowlers and all pros. so make a decent arguement. i would be happy to listen

  42. same old same old….o line cannot block. they are unathletic and have terrible footwork. throw in William gay and it’s a sub-.500 team. man, it was only 2 years ago when I looked forward to the season. now, I look forward to mike tomlin getting the hell out of pit. please, please let that happen next January. I can’t take any more press conferences.

  43. No. The sky has FALLEN. All that remains are the ruins of a desperate team clinging to the days when cheap shot hits, desperation jump balls and bad officiating could be turned into trophies.

    Very stupid comment coming from someone who championed Ray Lewis…yes pile on Ray Lewis. But hey it’s what I expect from a troll with an alias for every season.

  44. The ONLY thing MEANINGLESS about preseason games is who wins or who loses. But it most certainly does matter if a team can neither block or tackle. That’s basic football 101.
    Tim Tebow will be sure glad to know that throwing a football with any degree of accuracy really doesn’t matter in the preseason.
    I’m a new to this football stuff. I’ve only been watching for 50 years. And I realize that I don’t know nearly as much about the sport as someone named “holeinone,” but I’m pretty sure when a team is incapable of performing the basic task of BLOCKING, that might not be a good thing.
    However, I’m sure by the time the Titans roll into town, Tomlin will give one of his magical motivational speeches and, WAAA LAAAA, everything will be fixed.

  45. Players that play on a regular basis for the Steelers had two turnovers. Players that play on a regular basis for the Redskins had zero turnovers.

    The Steelers don’t cause enough turnovers and they turn the ball over too much. This is a bad team on both sides of the ball because they don’t do the things that really lead to winning football games.

    From 2002-2011, turnover margins resulted in the following:
    -3 a team wins less than 10% of the time.
    -2 a team wins roughly 15% of the time.
    -1 a team wins roughly 30% of the time.
    Even (0) a team wins 50% of the time.
    +1 a team wins 69% of the time.
    +2 a team wins 84% of the time.
    +3 a team wins 93% of the time.

    Last year, the Steelers averaged -.625 turnover margin per game. Had they played a better schedule, they would have easily finished below .500.

    I’m hard pressed to remember a Steelers that, in the words of Myron Cope, is this “feh”. There is absolutely nothing going on with them.

    I hope this helps. Some of you can go back to arguing about offensive and defensive rankings…Or the expertise you have gained from watching football from your living room. I’ll follow the turnover stats and be more able to predict the Steelers outcomes than you experts. On neither side of the ball do the Steelers impact winning in a meaningful way.

  46. southcarolinamike:
    I agree with everything you’ve posted, especially the part about had the Steelers played a tougher schedule they would’ve had a worse record. But I don’t need a stat sheet to know that the Steelers are a poorly coached team, one that has an average quarterback of a below average scoring offense. I can see all of that right from my living room.
    Secondly, in 2011, the Steelers compiled a 12-4 record and qualified for the postseason. They did so with an offense that ranked No. 22 in scoring and with a defense that ranked No. 1 in scoring. The turnover ratio and the strength of schedule in 2011 weren’t much different than 2012. The difference was having the No. 1 scoring defense, which carried the team to the playoffs.

  47. Bobz, we both been watching for about 50 years, but you must be the one that needs glasses since I said the OL was troublesome and criticized them. But since the season has not started yet the last time I checkdd, I won’t be a bandwagon fan like you and call it quits already. Stick to giving your opinion versus making errors in criticizing other’s comments. Go back and read my comments with glasses on. Thanks.

  48. Thanks for your post Bob. Lets keep in mind that the Steelers defense feasted, two years in a row, on some really bad teams. Not an excuse for poor offensive performance, but they had the easiest strength of schedule for any playoff team in 2011. The team lived an illusion in 2011 and the illusion became reality in 2012. I love the Steelers, but the facts are the facts. With a better division now, this team is sub .500. It isn’t outside the world of reality to see this team going sub .500 in their division.

    Go Steelers!

  49. Hole intone, Ben threw a pick while being well protected. A fumble happened five yards downfield. The line did their job on those plays. The steelers have a huge turnover problem and not the team, coaching or management to solve the problem. The owner goes away to Ireland for a couple of years and his son runs it into the ground.

  50. Well I cant understand how they can suck? They have 6 rings right? Oh wait that doesnt mean anything. You see just like last year it doesnt matter how many rings your team has from prior seasons!! This is this year and none of that matters to other NFL teams.

  51. southcarolinamike:
    You and I agree. Weak schedules inflated the Steelers’ D stats. You are correct. Facts are facts.

    I apologize. My comments were actually intended for “originalsteelcurtain.” Please accept my apologies.
    But you did make me smile about calling me a bandwagoner. I only wish I could be oblivious to the organization’s problems as those who believe Roethlisberger is a savior. Roethlisberger is actually part of the problem!!!!

  52. Poor Bobzilla,

    Still with the anti-Ben garbage. I guess that dating service ad ain’t going to well for you is it?

  53. @southcarolinamike …

    You touched on my biggest concern about the Steelers going forward: that Art Rooney simply doesn’t have his dad’s touch. Much as we loved the Chief, he didn’t have a green thumb for producing winning football teams. Dan was the magic for this franchise. And although Art II has been running the team for years on paper, Dan was still overseeing the operation until he took the ambassadorship. Things have deteriorated since Art II has been completely in charge. Then again, things deteriorated in the 80s with both Dan and Chuck Noll at the helm. Teams go through ups and downs. Time will tell whether the Steelers are suffering growing pains … or a real slump.

  54. Deb, I agree and disagree. The reasons for the Steelers “deterioration” in the 1980s was different than the current crop of Steelers.

    First, the facts. The Steelers division in the 1980s was one of the best, if not the best, division in the NFL. Many Steelers fans were spoiled by the Cowher years when the Bengals and Browns simply didn’t have a pulse and the team was guaranteed four wins a year.

    Playing in a strong division from 1980 to 1991, the Steelers had eight .500 or better seasons in those 12 years. They made the playoffs four times. Those were the days when it was hard to make the playoffs. In at least one of those seasons, the Steelers made the AFC Championship game with a very average team. Looking back, the 1980s were a normal period, if not a good period, for NFL teams. The 1970s were an abnormal period for the Steelers and just about any NFL team. Noll did a great job for a long time with the Steelers. At the end, it was just time for a change. This doesn’t mean Noll was doing a bad job. In fact, I would say he did a good job in the 80s with what he had. A change was needed though as the game was changing.

    Today, the Steelers are in a similar position. They are in a stronger division, top to bottom, and their talent level has deteriorated. There is still enough talent on the team to finish .500 or better in the modern NFL; however, they turn the ball over too much and don’t get enough turnovers on defense. Some blame the coach. Some blame the owner. Some blame the GM. Some blame the players. I blame all of them. The lack of professionalism on this team is appalling.

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