Updated: Sep 29
(Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
There were four major reasons for the Pittsburgh Steelers failure on Sunday afternoon:
The defense could not pressure the quarterback and the secondary got exposed. That was the first time in 75 games that the Steelers did not record a sack
The offensive line gave up four sacks, only paved the way for 45 rushing yards and every starter along the offensive line got called for holding.
Drive killing drops, missed communications with pass catchers, and a total lack of balance on offense with 58 passes to 15 runs.
Ben Roethlisberger is looking more washed up by the game.
The good news is three of these things can be fixed: The defense was without T.J. Watt, Alex Highsmith, and Stephon Tuitt. When these guys are healthy it’s a totally different defense and one that is elite.
Secondly, the offensive line is starting two rookies in Dan Moore and Kendrick Green, and a second-year player in Kevin Dotson. They also have a former five-time Pro Bowl guard in Trai Turner who got signed late in the offseason. Offensive lines need time to congeal and the young players will have a chance to improve as the season goes along. Finally, the communication and focus lapses comes down to coaching. Coach Tomlin needs to get his young skill players to focus and get their heads in the game and hold them accountable for mistakes.
However, there is one thing that they can’t fix and that is Ben Roethlisberger. And the only way that the Steelers can save their season and that is to bench No. 7 for good.
Let me explain, Ben Roethlisberger in his last eight starts has a 2-6 with record with 14 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. He has a passer rating of 79, a QBR of 35.7 and a graded out at 55 according to Pro Football Focus. All of those stats are equivalent to a low-end starter to a high-end backup, not a future Hall of Famer. For the sake of the Steelers season should strongly consider starting Mason Rudolph. Rudolph is by no means an elite quarterback, but neither is Ben Roethlisberger anymore. Rudolph is capable of being a game manager and that is what this offense needs right now.
With Rudolph under center the Steelers won’t try to throw the ball 50 plus times and will give the ball to Najee Harris 20-25 times a game. If the Steelers want to run a winning team in 2021, they have to bench Ben Roethlisberger but if they want to run a charity, if you want to hang on to nostalgia then they are going to keep trotting out Number 7 as their season goes down the drain.
You can follow Brandon Walker at @bwalkerdadon.