In what many would call a classic “let down game” the Pittsburgh Steelers indeed let down. In a game that displayed a lot of negatives for Pittsburgh, there is certainly cause for concern. The Steelers let rookie running back Leonard Fournette run for 181 yards and two touchdowns en route to a 30-9 Jacksonville Jaguars win. The defeat saw a Steelers team playing a lot worse than they did last week against the Baltimore Ravens. The lack of adequate play calling and quarterback play made the game look a lot worse than it needed to be. However, not all hope is lost moving forward.
Week Five Pittsburgh Steelers Takeaways
The elephant in the room this week after week five is going to be the status of Ben Roethlisberger. Roethlisberger was 33-55 with no touchdowns and a career high five interceptions. Paired with a 22.2 Quarterback Rating and 37.8 Passer Rating makes Roethlisberger’s career low day. Outside the statistics, Roethlisberger looked lost and defeated for most of Sunday’s contest. Many of his interceptions were just missed or ill-advised throws that could have been avoided. Roethlisberger was not a victim of circumstance on Sunday, his disastrous day was his own doing.
Roethlisberger’s Bad Day
The implications of Roethlisberger’s bad day are difficult to gauge. Roethlisberger has had bad games over the course of his career. Possibly, this is just another of those bad games and he will bounce back next week. However, there is also the looming thought of age. Roethlisberger contemplated retirement this off-season; this may be seeing age catch up to him. “What will the Steelers do next year if Roethlisberger retires?” cannot be the thought. The thought needs to be how the Steelers will gameplan around a deteriorating Roethlisberger the rest of this season.
Haley Also to Blame
Roethlisberger’s performance can find equal blame in the poor gameplan and play calling from offensive coordinator Todd Haley. Coming into the game, the Jaguars had the worst run defense in the NFL. Additionally, Le’Veon Bell was coming off his best performance of the year. While Mike Tomlin was to blame for the loss to the Chicago Bears, Todd Haley deserves the blame for this week’s loss. Instead of letting Bell’s momentum carry into this week, Haley decided to rely on Roethlisberger’s arm 55 times. Not only did Jacksonville control the tempo, but the pass heavy game plan lead to bad interceptions.
Not all was doom and gloom for the Steelers in week five, however. The offense overall failed to move the ball effectively in large part to Ben’s poor performance. However, Antonio Brown had an impressive game, catching 10 passes for 157 yards.
Defensively, this was not Pittsburgh’s best game. However, Ryan Shazier played well, recording eight tackles and a very forceful and opportunistic interception. While the majority of the game looked bad, these players shined through. They will need to continue their heightened play to help the team bounce back next week.
Speaking of next week, there is a perfect opportunity for the Steelers to respond in a big way. They will travel to Kansas City to face the undefeated Kansas City Chiefs. The typical Pittsburgh Steelers would bounce back from this loss and respond with a resounding win next week. However, the issues displayed this week seem to be deeply rooted. It will be very interesting to see if a week’s time is enough turnaround to correct the issues of week five.