Going into week six, four games deep plus a bye week, the Steelers are sitting at a 2 – 2 record. It’s not the most comfortable position to be in, but to battle back out of a losing record, they had to take down a talented Philadelphia Eagles team. It couldn’t be more obvious to state, there are some positives and negatives to the play and situations surrounding the Steelers this season. Despite the difficulties and the early season concerns, the Steelers are showing they still have plenty of fight left in them.
Getting it out of the way immediately, the Steelers are constantly riddled with injuries. Year after year. Not only have they been constant, they’ve also been chronic and/or repetitive in major players. One very notably, Troy Polamalu, who is currently back out with a calf injury. Troy just can’t manage to keep himself healthy for any extended amount of time, anymore. With such an aggressive, high-impact style game that he plays, maybe after 10 seasons in the NFL, his body just can’t handle it anymore? He’s been such a big part of the Steelers defense since day one, that’s a thought one would hope isn’t actually the case. Also on this year’s list of injuries are names you know and know well: James Harrison, Rashard Mendenhall, Stevenson Sylvester, and the recently added, LaMarr Woodley. Harrison, Sylvester, and Mendenhall all came back to face the Eagles and are still in playing shape for week six.
A big-time, honorable mention this week goes out to the Pittsburgh defense. The word “veteran” has been used CONSTANTLY to describe the Steelers defense. For the most part, it’s not been a term used in a context that screams faith and positivity in their ability to perform and match up well against the offenses they have or will face. This past Sunday, they put the pressure on the Eagles, holding McCoy to 53 yards rushing, Vick to 175 yards passing, and forcing Vick to fumble twice, one of which on the goal line of an otherwise scoring play. In a game where the Steelers offense didn’t seem to have it all together for most of the game, the defense, for the most part, came to play and kept the game within reach.
Without getting anymore long-winded than I have been already, I want to lay out some pro’s and con’s the Steelers are faced with going forward:
– The Haley offense is looking good. It’s evident when things don’t work but it’s nice to see the coordinator accepting that and changing up the game plan, instead of trying to force it to work, when it’s just not. The closing drive against Philly was evidence of that.
– If there’s one thing that Steelers fans can hang their hats on for this season, its that Ben and the Pittsburgh receiving core are reliable, far more often than not. Ben in the no-huddle offense and his well-known ability to extend plays, seems to pay dividends season after season.
– Mendenhall had a great first game back. Certainly not one many expected after coming off of major knee surgery. If this is just him getting warmed up, the Steelers might actually have a running game worth acknowledging this season.
– As I said above, the defense was not looking very promising at the start of the season. We saw this past Sunday, they have the potential to shut down teams with talent. Thursday will say a lot about whether this defense can be consistent or not, especially since the Titans at 1 – 4, have not shown themselves to pose much of a threat.
– Shaun Suisham, who has been commonly known as “Choke” by his former teams, is 100% across the board so far.
– Timmons hasn’t really been what you would expect him to be at this point in his career. He had a solid game against Philly. If he shows up and plays that big for the rest of the season, it gives the defense that much more of a fighting chance to hold strong.
– TOO MANY PENALTIES!!! The Steelers have the most in the league so far. So many of them are from mindless, bush-league, flags that we see players like Willie Colon take, game after game. Ike Taylor can take some of that heat too with his pass interference flags, not to mention his poor coverage overall, this season.
– The Steelers travel to Tennessee to face a seemingly sub-par Titans team. What should be more of an expected win, doesn’t seem like such a gimme. This Steelers team has not performed well on the road thus far. If that doesn’t make a turn around, assuming the Steelers win all of their home games, Pittsburgh will be looking at a very unimpressive 8-8 season.
– Week 6 and Ryan Clark has our only interception on the season. A good defense not only holds the offenses it faces to 3 downs and out, it also takes the drives away from those offenses and gets our Steelers offense onto the field before 4 downs take place. Remember that before telling yourselves or other people that Ike Taylor is a good player. He’s played as bad or worse than his rap career.
We’ll let that be that for now. All eyes on the Steelers in Tennessee this Thursday for Thursday night football. Hopefully we’ll see them fight their way into having a winning record.