Crushed. Spanked. Stomped. Beat. Annihilated. Destroyed. Arses kicked. You pick the best description for what happened to the Steelers today. No matter how you describe it, it wasn’t pretty.
The Steelers lost to the Baltimore Ravens 35-7. But it felt more like 135-7.
The Ravens seemed to be much hungrier, and much better prepared, than the Steelers. As a result, they dominated the Steelers in every phase of the game.
On defense, the Ravens seemed to spend the entire game in the Steelers’ backfield. It was so bad that I started to wonder if Terrell Suggs was actually a running back for the Steelers. Suggs accumulated 3 sacks on Ben Roethlisberger, and seemed to be chasing him anytime he wasn’t sacking him.
Meanwhile, the Steelers’ defense didn’t seem to want to tackle anybody. They certainly didn’t try to tackle Ray Rice. Rice had over 100 yards of total offense by halftime, and ended the game with 107 rushing yards, and 149 total yards.
Not only did the Steelers’ defense let Rice run amok, but they also got almost no pressure on Ravens’ quarterback Joe Flacco. Flacco seemed to have an eternity to complete pass after pass.
The Steelers’ defensive backs didn’t provide much help either. They appeared to be more than willing to allow Flacco to complete as many TD passes as he desired (Flacco only threw 3 TD passes, but it certainly seemed like more than that).
But the defense can’t take all of the blame for the loss. The offense certainly deserves their fair share of the blame too.
It’s generally understood that in the NFL, the team that turns over the ball most often tends to lose the game. And the Steelers turned over the ball early and often.
The Steelers ended the game with 7 turnovers. That’s right, 7! They had as many turnovers as points scored. That’s not a good thing.
I hate to say it, but I felt like the Steelers were back in Super Bowl XLV. When Big Ben wasn’t throwing interceptions (he threw 3 of them), the running backs were fumbling the ball. Isn’t that essentially how they lost the Super Bowl?
Not only did Roethlisberger throw 3 interceptions, but he was also sacked 4 times. He ended the game with a QB rating of only 52.9. With statistics like that, somebody might think that the Steelers started JaMarcus Russell at quarterback rather than Ben Roethlisberger.
The Steelers’ offense was so impotent that kicker Shaun Suisham didn’t even get to attempt a field goal. That’s right, he was 0/0. The Steelers couldn’t even generate enough offense to allow Suisham to try to put 3 points on the board. That’s almost unheard of.
Part of the problem was that the Steelers played without any offensive linemen. Well, technically they did have offensive linemen. They just didn’t try to block any of the guys in purple.
I do have to give Willie Colon credit. He tried to hold the Ravens’ defenders at every possible opportunity (and drew the flags to prove it). But believe it or not, that was actually better than what Jonathan Scott and Doug Legursky did. They both repeatedly let defenders run by them while barely getting a hand on them.
Fortunately, this was only the first game of the season. The Steelers still have 15 more games to turn things around. But hopefully, this game will serve as a wake-up call.
The other 31 NFL teams are not going to surrender just because the Steelers were in the Super Bowl last year. So the Steelers have to enter every game with intensity and solid preparation. If not, they can lose 35-7.
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