The Pittsburgh Steelers have experienced a season’s worth of ups and downs, and it’s only week four. They entered their bye week with a record of 1-2 after a shocking loss to the Oakland Raiders. Let’s go through some of the good, the bad, and the ugly of the Steelers season (so far).
Heath Miller – Pittsburgh tight end Heath Miller has become a go-to red zone threat for the Steelers. In the first three games of the season he has accumulated 4 touchdowns, double his 2011 season total (2) and more than half of his 2007 single season high (7). He is currently on pace to score roughly twenty-one touchdowns in sixteen games.
Tomlin’s Post Bye Record – Many teams dread early bye weeks, but timing couldn’t be any better for the Steelers. Following a bye week, head coach Mike Tomlin boasts a record of 4-1. This stat proves that Tomlin knows how to take advantage of a week off and make necessary mid-season adjustments. Obviously this is good news for a Steelers team that could use a little tweaking.
4th Quarter Meltdowns – Two out of three games this season have resulted in the Steelers blowing fourth quarter leads. As the final minutes disappeared off of the clock at the O.Co Coliseum, so did the Steelers’ ten point lead over the Raiders. All of a sudden, the Steelers fumbled a game that they once had well in hand. The Raiders rallied and Steeler Nation was stunned. The Steelers need to nip this forming habit in the bud and figure out a way to hammer a few more nails into the opponent’s coffin.
Running…Into a Brick Wall – Saying that the Steelers have struggled to run the ball is a major understatement. As a team, the Steelers average a pathetic 2.6 yards per carry. A passing offense can attempt to compensate but an effective rushing game remains essential, especially in the fourth quarter. When the Steelers need to maintain possession and run out the clock, the rush fails to convert on third downs. This is one of the primary reasons that they left Oakland with a loss.
Injury Ridden Defense – The Steelers have not played one game this season with their defense fully intact. Safety Troy Polamalu strained his right calf in the season opener and has not seen action since. Outside linebacker James Harrison has yet to make his 2012 season debut, but hopes were high that he would return in week 5. Unfortunately, reports out of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette are suggesting otherwise. According to reports, Harrison’s knee responded poorly to an early week practice. Without Harrison in the lineup, the Steelers have recorded a paltry five sacks in three games. Only six other teams have recorded fewer. The Steelers need to better account for Harrison’s absence or the Steel Curtain might not look so sturdy.