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Steelers-Bucs Recap

Steelers play another sloppy one, eventually losing to probably the worst team in the NFL, the Buccaneers, 27-24 in the final seconds of the game. At home. I’d like to say I’m shocked but that is not the case.

The Good – The offense looked good at times. Ben had a solid game although he did miss some open players.

– Antonio Brown and Heath Miller, the two most reliable players, were unsurprisingly money throughout although Brown did drop a huge deep pass late in the game off a flea flicker play that probably would’ve sealed the victory for the Steelers. Probably but even then who knows. Miller and Brown did both drop consecutive passes early on in the game.

– Markus Wheaton continues to be a very reliable #2 WR, snagging a terrific over the middle pass on a 3rd down early in the game after the offense had started off poorly.

– Lawrence Timmons had an active game, amassing 7 tackles and 3 assists. Cam Heyward had some nice pressure at times, including getting sack and deflecting a kick on a Bucs FG (it still went in, but barely), as well as some nice run stops including a tackle for a loss after the Steelers closed the gap, 10-3 in the first half. Arthur Moats filling in at outside LB had a couple plays where he got pressure on the QB including one play where he timed his rush perfectly off the snap. James Harrison, in his first game back as a Steeler, actually drew a holding call, I think that might be the first time that’s ever happened.

– Troy Polamalu had a really active day near the line of scrimmage, including forcing a wobbly pass after hitting the QB as well as helping out against the run. I don’t buy that Troy is done as a safety, he still has great acceleration. After today everyone should be questioning the defensive gameplan and scheme if they weren’t already. I have to question how effectively the defensive players are being used under Lebeau at this point. I really don’t think a lot time players are being put in positions to succeed with this stale defense.

– The Bucs defense was clearly focused on stopping Le’Veon Bell and the Steelers run game. The run game did struggle at first but eventually the O-line did open some holes for Bell and he had some nice runs. At times though Bell did a little too much dancing and came away with less. Blount spelled Bell at times and did a good job. Dri Archer came back after injury but was barely used in the offense. I believe he had one run for -1 yard.

The Bad – The Steelers, like in so many games under Tomlin and especially following a big win, looked like they all had just rolled out of bed to start the game. This included 2 offensive series ending in 3 plays, the first series Ben was sacked and fumbled with the Buccaneers recovering the ball which lead to their first TD. The Bucs returned the punt after the second Steeler offensive series (which was the dreaded run, run, pass, punt combo) to midfield which lead to a FG (Bucs up 10-0 in the 1st quarter). The first quarter was filled with sloppy play, a ton of penalties and a just all around shitshow until the Steelers 3rd offensive series. Got to ease into the game and boy did they.

– Ben was sacked 5 times in the first half, mostly due to poor tackle protection from Beachum “the bum” and Gilbert “the sloth”. On one play Ben injured his hand as he hit it on Gilbert’s helmet as Giblert was pushed all the way back into Ben on the play. The tackle play on this team is a huge weakness and it’s clear that it’s holding back the offensive potential. Beachum was called for holding inside the redzone nullifying a Heath Miller TD grab. The Steelers won’t but the coaches should consider playing Adams in place of Beachum.

– All the penalties. 13 for 125 yards (!) that were accepted. All the sloppy, undisciplined play. Inexcusable and amazing that this kind of play continues under Tomlin without any sign of it changing.

– Lebeau’s softee defense in the 4th quarter, which helped the Buccaneers win it in the final seconds of the game. The Steelers defense actually stopped the Bucs inside the redzone with less than 2 minutes left in the game after routinely giving up easy passes on the drive. If the Steelers were playing a competent offense this would’ve been a game winning TD drive. But it wasn’t over because the Steelers offense can’t get a first down and of course the ensuing punt is horribly short with the Bucs getting the ball at midfield and then driving back down with one huge pass play over the middle to set up the final seconds TD pass. We’ve seen this one before haven’t we? Lebeau should be replaced but the head coach that accepts this kind of gameplan needs to take the blame for allowing it to happen.

Summary – As I noted in the season preview, the schedule simply DOES NOT MATTER with this team under Tomlin. They are a true original in finding new ways to choke to bad teams. This team can literally lose to anyone, regardless of talent difference and today was just more evidence of that. In the 1st quarter a stat showed up showing Tampa Bay with just 15 yards of offense and the Steelers with 145 but yet the Steelers were losing 10-3. How does that happen? It happens when a team is sloppy and undisciplined. Which means they are coached poorly. Tomlin needs to go, I’m not sure what other evidence is needed at this point. The Steelers play another bad team next week going down to Jacksonville, I’m predicting the typical bounce back win but a loss should not surprise anyone at this point. I think the dam is finally breaking.

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