Though it’s never a good thing to tie with the Cleveland Browns, the Pittsburgh Steelers were lucky to do just that in week one. Despite taking horrible care of the ball, and getting penalized left and right, the Steelers still didn’t lose a game. Sure, the result is fine given how the team played. But, the fact that the team played so terribly is a huge concern moving forward. Ben Roethlisberger is just one of the several Steelers players that will need to see a strong turn around heading into week two, when a Kansas City Chiefs team that is much better than Cleveland comes to town.
Negative Takeaways From Pittsburgh Steelers Week One Action
Roethlisberger’s Poor Play
Big Ben has been horrible on the road for the past couple of seasons. It was mentioned here that the team would have to establish a strong run game to help Roethlisberger. The run game was fine, it was great, but Roethlisberger was far from great. “Road Big Ben’ showed up once again, turning the ball over five times in the game. One of his three interceptions went right through Jesse James‘s hands, no fault to Big Ben there. But, a miscommunication on a deep ball with Antonio Brown and trying to force the ball to Brown in triple coverage caused his other two interceptions. Those kinds of plays and bad decision making just can’t be made by a 15th-year hall of fame quarterback.
Too Many Penalties
There were far too many penalties called on the Steelers. It will be hard for any team to win a game when they get penalized 12 times for 116 yards. In particular, stupid mental penalties just can’t happen and don’t happen often on successful teams. One play that really sticks out is the play that Artie Burns lost his cool on in the early part of the second half. Burns was blocked hard by Jarvis Landry. Burns didn’t like the block, as he got up and threw Landry to the ground, which was obviously a penalty. Then, to make matters worse, Burns took his helmet off on the field. A three-yard gain turned into 31 yards for the Browns. Later that drive, they would go on to score their first touchdown of the game, too.
The other infuriating penalty on the Steelers came on the Browns last drive of regulation. After Cleveland moved into Pittsburgh territory with just under a minute left, they were looking to spike the ball to stop the clock. Instead of that, they had the clock stopped and five yards rewarded to them due to the Steelers having too many men on the field. Luckily on the next play, Cameron Sutton intercepted Tyrod Taylor‘s pass. If the Browns took a different route, and just looked to gain some yards and kick a potential game-winning field goal, the penalty on the Steelers would undoubtedly be the biggest talking point from the game. Elite quarterbacks love to take advantage of the defense having too many men on the field, so it’s an issue that the Steelers will have to straighten out.
Offensive Line Struggles
Though the offensive line was very solid in the run game, they were very bad in pass protection. Yes, Roethlisberger struggled, but his big guys up front didn’t do much to help him. In particular, both Marcus Gilbert and Alejandro Villanueva struggled. Any time both offensive tackles struggle, it will be tough for a quarterback to succeed. Both guys were called for multiple penalties throughout the game. Maurkice Pouncey didn’t have the best day, either. He had a few bad snaps, one of which resulted in a turnover. To go with that, he also had a holding call that brought back a touchdown. Roethlisberger was under constant pressure throughout the game. He was sacked four times and hit five times. For a unit that is supposed to be top five in football, the line will need to improve in the passing game for the Steelers to find success.