Patriots embarrass Steelers
User Rating: / 19
Monday, November 15, 2010 12:40 AM
Written by Bob Smizik
Where do you start with the Steelers after their embarrassing loss to the New England Patriots last night?
You start at the top with Mike Tomlin. I'm the guy who says execution trumps strategy, and it does. But the Steelers were outcoached -- badly -- last night.
Tomlin was up against the master. A lot of people donít like to hear that, but itís true. New England coach Bill Belichick is the best. Thereís an old saying that goes something like this: You canít make chicken salad out of chicken feathers. Well, Belichick can.
He took a young defense, journeymen running backs, a rookie tight, a couple of pretty good wide receivers and mixed them all in with the great Tom Brady and the result was a 39-26 New England win at Heinz Field that wasnít anywhere near that close.
Defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau had no answer
for the aerial circus Belichick and Brady threw at his secondary. They were picked apart. The Steelers knew what was coming and could not stop it.
Brady threw 43 times and completed 30 for 350 yards and three touchdowns. All of the touchdowns went to rookie tight end Rob Gronkowski, who played his senior season of high school at Woodland Hills.
Nor did Arians have any answer for the young and previously undistinguished New England defense.
Donít be fooled by the Steelers point total. They had three points going into the fourth quarter.
Ben Roethlisberger threw for 397 yards and three touchdowns but much of those yards were meaningless. Thatís not to suggest Roethlisberger was particularly at fault. His offensive line could not protect him. He was sacked five times.
Itís clear the Steelers miss left tackle Max Starks, whoís out for the season. His replacement, Jonathan Scott, was lacking and thereís no indication heís going to get better. Scottís no rookie. Heís been around and is at or near his peak.
The schedule lightens up a bit in the weeks ahead but the Steelers need to find some answers. The Patriots gave all future opponents the game plan to use against the Steelers: pass, pass, pass.
Not every team has a Brady, but, as was shown last season, it doesnít take a Brady to break down the Steelers secondary.
The Steelers lack of depth at wide receiver hurt them. Hines Ward suffered a concussion in the first quarter and did not return. That left one receiver the Patriots had to respect, Mike Wallace. He caught right balls for 136 yards and two touchdowns, but they all came late.
In one of the biggest plays of the game, Wallace dropped a pass in the end zone in the second quarter with the Steelers trailing, 10-0. They had to settle for a field goal.
Even one of the Steelers strengths was absent. The team mounted a feeble pass rush against Brady. He was not sacked as the New England line kept James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley away from its quarterback.
Kicker Jeff Reed continued his downward trend
by missing a 26-year field goal.
The Steelers lost in every phase.
They need to regroup quickly. Oakland, no longer a doormat, comes to Heinz Field next week with a 5-4 record and tied for first in the AFC West. What once looked like a breather for the Steelers all of a sudden become a must-win game for the Steelers.
There figure to be a lot of those the rest of the way.