Entire Offense to Blame

Ben Roethlisberger threw 5 interceptions during the Steelers horrendous day against the Jaguars on Sunday. The Steelers won’t win any games if that happens, especially when two are returned for touchdowns. Many other factors led to the interceptions and ultimately the beat down of the home team. Like he always does when the Steelers struggle, he laid the blame on himself.

“Maybe I don’t have it anymore,” Roethlisberger said. “I’m not playing well enough.”

He isn’t. He hasn’t all season, but it’s a combined effort from the whole offensive unit.

He’s[Roethlisberger] our general. We rally around him, good and bad. It wasn’t all his fault out there,” Antonio Brown said. “He didn’t go out there by himself. I left a couple plays out there. Everyone feels that way. We’ll all get better.”

Roethlisberger always lays credit on the offensive line when things are going right. He gives them the credit because they’re the motor for the offense. When they’re opening holes, and protecting their quarterback the Steelers usually win. Both of those things happening during a single game have been a rarity so far this year. Once thought of and paid like one of, if not the best lines in football, has been iffy all season. First it was Alejandro Villanueva fighting thru an illness that caused him to severely under play against the Vikings. Marcus Gilbert was hurt late in that game and hasn’t played since due to a hamstring injury. Then it was the drama filled pregame in Chicago, followed by Ramon Foster leaving the game with a thumb injury. He has been playing with it heavily taped the last two weeks and linemen need their hands and fingers when they’re blocking. It’s a good assumption that the hurt thumb isn’t doing him any favors.

Jalen Ramsey intercepts Ben Roethlisberger on a pass intended for Vance McDonald. (Photo Orlando Sentinal)

Now with that all said the line has had their moments. Le’Veon Bell ran wild against Baltimore to the tune of 144 yards last week. So they were able to open holes especially as the game worn on late. This week? 47 yards on 15 carries. This game wasn’t out of control until late in the third quarter and there was no need to abandon the run game. The run game didn’t get into a rhythm because he was being hit in the backfield and only managed to average 3 yards per carry. That below the line for Bell, and the guys up front.

That brings me to my next point. Bell selfishly deciding to skip training camp has done the offense zero favors. We all thought that last week was his coming out party, but he still hasn’t broke off a chunk play like he said he’s been looking for since week 1. Some of it goes back to the offensive line, but a lot of it has to ride on Bell’s shoulders. If you want 17 million per season then you better be able to carry the team on your shoulders.

Now onto the third ‘killer B’, that’s Martavis Bryant. He’s bigger, faster, and stronger than he was two years ago, but his impact has been short of noticeable. He hasn’t broke 100 yards receiving and he only has one touchdown thru 5 games. This is a guy who had 14 touchdowns in 21 games during the regular season in his first two years. Roethlisberger has missed him twice on deep passes where he could’ve walked into the endzone or we might be singing a different tune here, but his talent level doesn’t make him a one trick pony. He can run all the routes needed to be a true #2 or even a #1 receiver in this league. They have to be able to get him more involved in the offense to stop the triple coverage of Brown.

That leads me to Todd Haley. What in the hell is he doing? This is a bland offense. There’s no creativeness. Watching the Chiefs last night against Houston should further drive home my point. They know how to get their weapons involved. They use motion and fakes to set things up for later in the game. The Steelers can’t do that because their exclusively in the shot gun. It doesn’t matter if it’s third and one, first and goal on the one or whatever other situation for short yardage. Roosevelt Nix is on this roster for a reason. He knows how to open a hole. Line him up and let Bell, or Terrell Watson if you wish and pound the football. Don’t go in an empty set that allows the defense to know 100% that you’re passing.

They will have a few days to figure out how to score touchdowns or it’s going to be over early in Kansas City on Sunday. The Chiefs have turned dink and dunk Alex Smith into a deep ball wizard over night. Only once in his career has Smith thrown for over 300 yards more than twice in a season. AN ENTIRE SEASON. In today’s NFL! And he’s already had 2 300 yard games in 5 weeks this year.

They won’t be able to kick 6 field goals like they did in the playoffs last season. Not this year.

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