- Super Bowl X and Super Bowl XIII came down to which team’s Hall of Famers could make more plays
- One quarterback’s mistakes empowered the other team’s Hall of Famers secure victory in Super Bowl XXX
- Opening day match upd in 1994 and 1997 alternatively served as harbingers and mirages of the season to come
The Steelers second journey to Jerry’s World certainly lacked no fair for the dramatic, but unfortunately for Steelers Nation, Pittsburgh lost because it came up short on both fundamentals and focus.
It’s Keeping Your Eye on the Ball, Stupid
The last few weeks have been a non-stop roller coaster ride for the Pittsburgh Steelers. From losing Ben Roethlisberger vs. Kansas City, to losing Bryon Leftwich after the Ravens loss, to the turnover debacle in Cleveland, to Charlie Batch’s stunning upset in Baltimore, to the equally shocking self destruction vs. San Diego the ups and downs have not stopped.
When the Steelers took to the field for the game’s first possession, the question on everyone’s mind was, “Which Pittsburgh Steelers squad will show up today?”
The answer as previewed on the Steelers first drive left everyone in Steelers Nation queasy. After a nice six yard run by Jonathan Dwyer, Ben Roethlisberger threw:
- A deep pass to Mike Wallace that Wallace probably should have caught and Dallas probably should have intercepted
- A short pass to Antonio Brown that he might have been able to catch and that Dallas should have intercepted
- A deep ball to Emmanuel Sanders that he caught and fumbled, only to have mercifully ruled as an incompletion upon review
- Another pass that got batted around by Dallas defenders like a volley ball
Even more sadly, these first two series most certainly foreshadowed things to come for the Steelers, although that might not have been immediately apparent.
Keep’n ‘em Honest in Texas
Tony Romo entered the game on a real hot streak, and figured to feast mightily on a Steelers secondary missing Ike Taylor and Cortez Allen and featuring someone named Josh Victorian starting at corner.
The record will, and should, reflect that Romo and his receivers did pick the Steelers secondary apart for much of the afternoon. At one point Romo was 20-25.
But that’s only part of the story. As has happened all season, in both victory and defeat, members from across the roster have made plays to keep the Steelers in the game.
- Keenan Lewis broke up a pass to Dez Bryant to hold Dallas to a field goal
- James Harrison knocked the ball loose from Demarco Murray at the goal line with Brett Keisel recovering
- Lawrence Timmons smothered Murray on third and one to end Dallas first 3rd quarter possession
- James Harrison sacked Tony Romo on an attempt to sneak something big on another 3rd and 1
Jerricho Cotchery, Mike Wallace and Isaac Redman also made excellent plays on the drive the culminated with Antonio Brown’s go ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter.
Failing on the Fundamentals
Although that touchdown gave Pittsburgh its first lead in the game, it also held the seeds for its downfall. Brown made an excellent catch on a very low pass, but the pass was low, as had been several others of Roethlisberger. Even as Pittsburgh was pulling ahead, its fundamentals were flawed.
- Brown himself would make that painfully clear in just a few minutes.
Antonio Brown fielded the ball and tore through the defense en route to giving Pittsburgh excellent field position, if not something bigger...
- ...Then he put the ball on the ground.
Things cascaded after that point.
The Steelers make shift offensive line, complete with David DeCastro making his first start, had done a workman like job, only allowing 1 sack in the game’s first 54 minutes.
- The Steelers next possession was ended by a sack on third down
- On the following possession, Roethlisberger was sacked on consecutive downs, for 8 yards each time
- On the next play Antonio Brown inexplicably gave Dallas an extra time out by running out of bounds
- Finally, overtime ended with Ben Roethlisberger threw a risky pass and paid the price.
They now need to find both fast, to have any hope of saving their season.
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