Just when we thought the Steelers were poised to make a push into the playoffs, partially controlling their own destiny, they completely fell apart. The debacle in Cleveland a few weeks back was awful, but this loss against the Chargers is even worse. The Steelers never showed up for this one. Now, they will be clawing to stay in the hunt of things, even with both the Ravens and Bengals losing on Sunday. The big question now is, even if we make it to the playoffs, will we be any good to compete?
The Chargers came into Pittsburgh having never won a regular season game here, holding onto one of the worst records in the AFC and on the verge of firing their coach and possibly their GM. The Steelers however, allowed them to look like an elite team. Again, many players could not hold onto the ball, WR Mike Wallace dropped a pass early in the game which immediately drew a round of Boo’s from the already irritated home crowd. Antonio Brown had a big drop and was also the victim of what could be considered a bad call by the officials. Roethlisberger threw the ball over to Brown, the ball bounced into the end zone and Brown was unable to reel it in before a Charger fell on it for the score. It appeared that Roethlisberger was in the motion of throwing but the officials who reviewed the play disagreed, the touchdown stood. No-one seems to understand why these men are plagued with not being able to pull in passes. Not even the players themselves are sure what is happening. There is some talk by other members of the team that there is a lack of focus with some of the younger guys. Maybe it is time for the coaching staff to ensure these men know what they are there to do.
The Steelers defense was at their absolute worst. CB Ike Taylor, who is always under fire by media and fans alike, is out for several weeks with a broken foot. This game showed just how valuable he is to the secondary. Curtis Brown filled his spot on the nickel packages and was beat up all day, so much so that he was benched in the second half for CB Josh Victorian, who was just signed off the practice squad a few days before. Collectively, the defense could not get off the field. They allowed 11 first downs to a Chargers team that has only converted 10 in their past three games. The defense also allowed the Chargers to eat up over 9 minutes on their opening drive of the second half.
An early fourth quarter interception thrown by Roethlisberger was followed by what just might be the biggest walkout by Steeler Nation. All at once, it appeared that literally half, maybe even more, of the stadium got up and left. A sight rarely seen at Heinz Field but the team did not give anyone a reason to stick around, except the Chargers. While Roethlisberger did manage to add some points for the Steelers late in the fourth quarter, 2 touchdowns to Wallace and one to Antonio Brown, the damage was already done. The final score does not reflect at all the way the game was played. Let’s hope that Coach Tomlin can find a way to plan for the remainder of the season better than he has recently, let’s also hope he can find a way to pull this team back together before it really is too late and they are sitting at home watching the playoffs.