|Wilson made mincemeat of the league's 28th-ranked pass defense.|
I'm not the kind of guy to throw up my hands and give up on a team that still has a shot at a Wild Card spot in this year's NFL playoffs, but what in the wide, wide world of sports is going on with the Steelers?
Never has so much talent been used to so little effect.
Last week's game against the Seahawks in Seattle was as frustrating a thing to watch as any Steelers fan has had to endure. The horrendous officiating – are there no officiating standards in the NFL? – and Tomlin's failed crazy fake-field-goal call early in the game notwithstanding, the Steelers managed to look terrible on offense in spite of Big Ben tossing for 456 yards. Ben, though, is not without blame; he also managed to throw two interceptions that Seattle converted into points. Oh, and despite only being on the field for a few plays, back-up QB Landry Jones matched Ben's interception count.
The only bright spot in last week's failed offensive effort was Markus Wheaton with over 200 receiving yards. In Seattle, Steelers suffered from the same shortcoming that has haunted them for the past couple of seasons: They can't turn Red Zone penetrations into touchdowns. The offense is hell on wheels getting into the Red Zone, but drives all too often sputter out inside the 10-yard line and sometimes within the 5-yard line. Settling for three rather than seven has become the norm.
On to the defense. There is a good reason why the Steelers are ranked 28th in pass defense: They can't defend against the pass. What a train wreck the secondary is. Seattle QB Wilson threw with impunity last Sunday. His five touchdown tosses accounted for nearly all of Seattle's points. It was an embarrassing defensive performance.
So now what?
Steelers need an epiphany equal to Saul's on the road to Damascus to turn this season around. Basically they must run the table through the balance of the season to ensure a Wild Card spot in the playoffs. A second meeting with the Browns is the only gimme left this season. The Colts, Bengals, Broncos and Ravens make up the rest of the schedule. It will be an uphill struggle for a team that has run hot and cold through most of its games.