Who would have thought that a Steeler team could be outgained 320-212 by practice squad QB Thaddeus Lewis and the rest of the Browns? Pittsburgh managed to win 24-10 in this meaningless game, although they spent the first quarter in complete zombie mode. Perhaps that’s because Pittsburgh had three consecutive losses prior to Sunday. Perhaps it’s the fact that over 10,000 empty seats were evident with many fans opting to avoid Heinz Field after being ousted from playoff contention last week. Whatever the case may be, the Steelers sleepwalked through the majority of the first half. The offense didn’t achieve a first down until the 2nd quarter. Fortunately, the defense played its typical bend, but don’t break style. For a change, the D caused four turnovers, including two forced fumbles by Cortez Allen and an interception from Troy Polamalu (his first on the season).
You Win Some, You Lose Some
Cortez Allen – With two interceptions and three forced fumbles over the past two weeks, Allen has made a name for himself. He played very well, with Keenan Lewis unable to go more than a quarter and Ike Taylor out. It will be interesting to see what Steelers management decides to do with contracts in the secondary. Lewis can become a free agent and Polamalu has a huge salary cap hit in 2013.
Plaxico Burress – Many remember Burress as a sulky receiver in 2004, but he showed a great deal of veteran savvy and can still make great catches using his tall frame. His 12-yard TD reception with follow-on bows and salute to the crowd was a touch of class.
Holy Turnovers, Batman – Four takeaways and zero giveaways is a good recipe for victory. (Just ask Cleveland – they turned over the Steelers eight times this season) Unfortunately, the team only intercepted 10 passes all season.
Lawrence Timmons – the young MLB had two sacks, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery. Not a bad day at the office…
More injuries – Rookies right guard David DeCastro had a stinger and right tackle Kelvin Beachum experienced head issues, which shuffled the O-line again. Mike Wallace also did not play…so his last potential target as a Steeler was Ben’s costly interception last week. Heath Miller, of course missed the game after undergoing knee surgery earlier in the week.
Anemic running – Jonathan Dwyer had a team best 52 rushing yards for a total of 623 yards on the season. Only 3.3 yards per rush today? That reflects the need for more of a lead dog at RB, and a better run blocking scheme.
Special teams – They’re not so special. A 35-yard fake punt run by Ray Ventrone allowed the Browns to continue a drive to tie Pittsburgh 10-10 in the third quarter. At least this resulted in a wake-up call for the offense.
Run defense – 138 rushing yards allowed with no Trent Richardson? Pathetic.
Total offense – 212 total yards. Who was Pittsburgh playing, the 1985 Bears?
Draft selection – The Steelers hollow win dropped their draft position from #14 to #17. It may not mean much because of how the Steelers draft (picking “their guy”), but a team like St. Louis may take “their guy” before he falls to Pittsburgh.
Postseason / Offseason
If you are interested in knowing my playoff predictions, feel free to post a comment. I will post information as we proceed through the offseason regarding prominent roster moves and opinions regarding Pittsburgh Steeler decisions.
About the Author
Written by Rob Stroup
I grew up in western Pennsylvania, so I have followed the Pittsburgh sports teams (Steelers, Penguins, Pirates) since the womb. It has become a tradition to make the yearly trek to a Steelers and Penguins game each year despite the distance. I hope to make writing a profession because I thoroughly enjoy attempting to paint a picture with words.