Well maybe the winless preseason should’ve been taken a bit more seriously. The Steelers opened their season on Sunday against the Tennessee Titans and their performance was an absolute train wreck. If there were any questions surrounding the Steelers during the offseason, those questions have doubled after the team lost to the Titans 16-9.
The Steelers’ offense couldn’t spark anything the entire game. Ben Roethlisberger and crew could only muscle up a touchdown in the very last minute of the fourth quarter when the game was already out of reach. Roethlisberger finished the day 21-of-33 for 191 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
Protecting Roethlisberger is always a concern and this season’s no different. In fact , things got even more complicated as center Maurkice Pouncey was carted off the field and taken to the hospital. The heart of the Steelers offensive line suffered damage to both his MCL and ACL. The Steelers will play the rest of this season without their Pro-Bowl center.
The Steelers running game will continue to be concern all season long. Isaac Redman didn’t turn any heads and certainly didn’t make a compelling argument to be the Steelers’ steady running back. He coughed up the ball in the red zone during a drive where it would appear the Steelers were going to come away with some points. Overall, Redman carried the ball eight times for nine yards.
The team’s total rushing yards were a mere 32 on the day. LaRod Stephens-Howling led the team with 19 rushing yards. Stephens-Howling also suffered a torn ACL during the game, that’ll do it for him this season as well. With Stephen-Howling’s injury, the Steelers will now resign their recent release, Jonathan Dwyer.
The Steelers special teams needs to continue to improve. The team acquired punter, Zoltan Mesko from the Patriots and he didn’t exactly dazzle in his debut. The Steelers lacked any decent field position all game and on several occasions handed the Titans great field position. If the special teams doesn’t see improvement, the battle for good field position in games will not be in the Steelers’ favor.
The Steleers defense was the only decent looking aspect of the game. The defense did well containing the rushing attack and only allowed the Titian’s to have 117 passing yards. Troy Polamalu looked good and seems to have his edge back. The Steelers lost linebacker Larry Foote during the game due to a ruptured bicep. Foote is now another player gone for the year due to an injury sustained in the season opener.
Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin recognized the poor effort given on Sunday.
“Unacceptable performance. I won’t accept it. This team better not accept it. We’ve got some work to do” Tomlin said.
Indeed the Steelers have a lot of work to do if they wish to make this season a successful one. If the Steelers can’t turn things around early the black and gold may be headed toward a repeat of last year.