At the end of any day, you never apologize for a win. There are great wins and ugly wins but wins are wins. The Pittsburgh Steelers will take today’s 21-18 win over Cleveland despite being out of sync from the start.
That juggernaut offense we’ve heard about all offseason showed flashes but never really got close to being the machine we expected. Whether it was poor run blocking or wrong routes run by receivers, the offense just never clicked. If you can explain Todd Haley’s offensive gameplan, especially early, then please give me a call.
The offensive line more often than not looked average rather than like one of the best units in pro football. There are still communication issues and the fight was often taken to them rather than the other way around. I guarantee Mike Munchak is not sitting around celebrating a darn thing this evening.
The two bright spots offensively were Antonio Brown and Jesse James who snagged two TD passes. Brown always looks like the guy who never misses a beat. You couldn’t tell he hasn’t played a meaningful game in nine months could you? He collected 11 receptions for 182 yards and frequently made plays that helped get the offense out of trouble.
The defense, despite losing Stephon Tuitt early to an arm injury, actually played quite respectably. Rookie T.J. Watt had his first two career sacks and was joined by Anthony Chickillo with two as well. Chickillo as it turns out had the biggest touchdown of the day off of Tyler Matakevich’s blocked punt.
This game at times reminded me of how the Steelers play in the postseason. The offense struggles and the defense does just enough to win the game. Ben Roethlisberger was off target at times but he also looked as frustrated as I’ve seen him in quite some time. His win makes him the winningest QB in this history of Cleveland’s First Energy Field but I don’t think he’s celebrating that today. He can play better and everyone around him can too.
Perhaps more preseason game time is needed by some of these guys? That’s an easy excuse though isn’t it? Perhaps we should give some credit to Gregg Williams and his defense because they played hard and played with more aggression than I’ve seen in recent Browns’ teams.
I can only give so much credit though because the Steelers’ offense just never clicked. The five-wide sets are used way too often in my opinion and I’m still not sure of what Le’Veon Bell’s role was today. Was his lack of touches some form of punishment? If it was, well done Coach Tomlin!
I have every expectation that when this team opens its home schedule next week against a tough Minnesota team that the offense will look completely different. And by different I mean “better.” Still, a win is a win and you don’t apologize for that. Although an explanation may be nice.
Photo courtesy: Yahoo Sports