The Pittsburgh Steelers played host to the 0-2 Chicago Bears this past Sunday, and lost in what I consider to be one of the most frustrating games in recent memory. There will be a lot of finger pointing to go around after such a disappointing loss, but one thing we can all agree upon is that the Steelers looked terrible in week 3 against the Chicago Bears.
The Steelers opened as heavy favorites despite playing in Chicago, but as they seem to do every year, Pittsburgh managed to blow another road game to a bad team. I had a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach before the game even started. Apparently, my Jedi intuition served me well. Here are my Steelers winners and losers from week 3 against the Bears:
Even in such a grotesque game, Brown was the lone shining player on offense. Despite poor quarterback play and a run game that couldn’t get much going, Brown still snagged 10 catches for 110 yards and a touchdown on 14 targets – proving once again that he is the only skill player on offense with any sort of consistency from game to game.
McDonald was only noticeable on one special teams play. After the blocked field goal attempt, he chased down the ball carrier and forced a fumble about a foot away from Chicago scoring a touchdown. This play could have (and by all means should have) changed the fortunes for Pittsburgh, but it wasn’t meant to be.
Rogers is normally quite reliable, but after his game-changing fumble early against the Bears, it’s going to be hard not to want Antonio Brown back there returning punts. There were many things that went wrong, but Eli’s muffed punt was a major blow to the team.
It’s probably safe to assume that Roethlisberger is going to look sub-par in most games on the road (especially when it comes to playing bad opponents). Though his stat line was nothing to vomit over (235 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT), he just made way too many erred throws (22 of 39) against such a poor team. I said before the season that with the cast he has, there should be no excuses for poor play this year.
Chris Hubbard normally does a pretty decent job as a fill-in swing tackle, but yesterday he had a rough game. Hubbard gave up multiple pressures on the right side, filling in for the injured Marcus Gilbert. He was also responsible for the strip-sack allowed on Roethlisberger, which resulted in the Steelers turning the ball over in the red zone.
Chickillo had his moments (including a sack and drawing a blatant holding penalty on a beautiful counter move), but it was a rough day for him stopping the run. Chickillo did a very poor job containing the edge on wide zone runs, and it cost the Steelers dearly. There is lots of blame to go around on the defensive side of the ball, but it certainly wasn’t Chickillo’s best day.
I grouped these two players together because their performance and effort trying to tackle the ball carrier was nonexistent. Though Mitchell racked up 9 total tackles, his angles to the ball carrier were horrible and he dropped a game-changing interception. The secondary didn’t allow hardly anything through the air (just 28 yards combined between WRs and TEs), but Artie Burns was terrible in run support and played quite possibly the worst game of his short career in that department.
I can’t remember the last time I saw such poor tackling by the Steelers. The Chicago Bears (who put up a goose egg on the scoreboard last week) racked up 23 points in a win over Pittsburgh. They rushed for 220 yards and 2 touchdowns as a team (5.8 per carry). The Steelers knew the run was coming, and they still couldn’t do anything about it. Let’s hope we don’t see another tackling performance this bad again by the Steelers.
Say what you want about Mike Tomlin and his crew, but he simply doesn’t get his team ready on the road. There is a lot of blame that needs to be passed to many members of the team, but the Steelers are far too talented to play the way they did this past Sunday. Pittsburgh is now 5-13 on the road in their last 18 games against teams with losing records. Sure some of these teams may start the season off with a losing record and improve as the season goes on, but there is no excuse for a game like this. It’s incredibly frustrating that some of Pittsburgh’s most challenging games come against what should be some of the NFL’s easiest opponents.
Fans can always point the finger at officials after a game, but there were three blatant missed calls that I can’t get out of my mind: the no-call on a pass interference deep down the field to Martavis before the end of the first half, and two obvious missed holding calls on the last drive in over time. If the refs catch any one of these calls, it’s possible the Steelers could be sitting at a perfect 3-0 right now. Good teams can overcome bad officiating in most cases, but they certainly could have used a call or two their way on Sunday.