Missed opportunities amount to a Steelers loss despite the return of Big Ben.
The 4-4 Pittsburgh Steelers encounter a cross-road at the season’s midway mark. With the season-ending injury to Le’Veon Bell, and 4 games behind the 7-0 Cincinnati Bengals, the regroup process is under way.
Le'Veon Bell goes on IR. To take his place on the roster, the @Steelers sign RB Isaiah Pead, a No. 2 pick of STL in 2012.
— Bob Labriola (@BobLabriola) November 2, 2015
Ben Roethlisberger’s 40,000 career passing yard mark could not prevent the Steelers from falling further behind in the AFC North as well as the playoff picture.
The Steelers now look for answers this week as they prepare for the 4-3 Oakland Raiders. But, first we look at the good, bad, and ugly from the Cincinnati Bengals vs. Pittsburgh Steelers match-up.
D’Angelo Williams- The next man up philosophy paid off when it comes to running back D’Angelo Williams.
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) November 2, 2015
Williams rushed for 71 yards for the Steelers which included a 55 yard rush. Although Williams has not been in the rushing rotation often this season, he’s still showing that he has the tools to carry the load for Pittsburgh. Which is now what he will have to do going forward this season.
Heath Miller- Ben Roethlisberger’s return paid a large benefit to the play of Heath Miller. Miller’s 10 receptions for 105 yards vs. Cincinnati reminds fans of the play-making abilities of Miller in the receiving core at tight end.
Miller’s play vs. the Bengals looking down the road gives the Steelers ability to design more calls his way this season. In spite of the stockpile of wide receiver talent made for the deep ball, Miller can be a game changer in the grind of moving the ball in the middle between line backers and safeties.
Defense- The Steeler defense amounted for three sacks and two interceptions and limited a Bengals offense that often scores over 30 points a game.
The #Steelers defense has been so good. If they could ever get healthy they'd be the biggest threat to New England.
— Mike Greenberg (@Espngreeny) November 1, 2015
Offensive short-comings and growing pains sometimes place the Steelers defense on an island, however, their resiliency has steady shown this season. Injuries and all to the defensive unit have still not stopped the Steelers from making defensive stands and plays in games.
If Pittsburgh can continue their defensive momentum, and the offense can find themselves, the Steelers are down, but definitely not out of the playoff race.
Ben Roethlisberger- Big Ben was expected to have his share of rust to shake off after missing 4 games. It showed vs. the Bengals defense.
Roethlisberger’s 57.8 passer rating, one touchdown pass, and three interceptions was very well not the return he was hoping for in his return.
Steelers vs. NFL Uniform Policy- Although it is understood WHY so many Steelers players have defied the NFL’s uniform policy, what’s not understood is why players keep challenging the league and risking fines for it.
Antonio Brown's pink mouthpiece is the latest example of Steelers players pushing the limits with the NFL https://t.co/WttE0sga9T
— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) November 2, 2015
It’s honestly becoming a distraction. It’s time for the Steelers to perhaps just SPEAK out on the issues of the league not allowing players to show support for social causes that they endorse under time limits during the season. And, focus less on apparel during games to make a statement.
Time Management- Questions certainly ensued of Mike Tomlin for not calling timeout before the two-minute warning.
Mike Tomlin has a graduate degree from the Marvin Lewis School of Clock Management. He graduated with honors, apparently
— C. Trent Rosecrans (@ctrent) November 1, 2015
Those 38 seconds became a difference-maker as the Steelers attempted to drive down the field for the win. Further complicating matters on the final drive were passes over the middle that made it difficult for players to get out-of-bounds.
Additionally, Tomlin not allowing Chris Boswell to attempt a field goal beyond 50 yards and opting to punt also ate a lot of time for the Steelers to get back into the game. A game where they could have potentially only been down three points and could have kicked a field goal to tie instead of needing a touchdown.
Although the Steelers were facing the open end of the stadium, Boswell’s performance has to be trusted at that point.
Le’Veon Bell’s Injury- The only ugly that needs mentioning is the injury to Le’Veon Bell. Bell had been well on his way to over 1,500 yards rushing, having ran for a third of that and being 4th in the league in rushing, despite a suspension.
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) November 2, 2015
Bell’s torn MCL is a brutal blow to the Steelers and what’s worse is that it is yet another injury for Bell vs. the Cincinnati Bengals. Bell’s value to the Steelers is beyond words, and now the Steelers must find their way without him.