I did my best to tell you the Pittsburgh Steelers would not just roll over the Cleveland Browns and for one half I was as wrong as I could be. Then the second half started.
After building a 27-3 led at the half, the Steelers were miserable on offense and gashed on defense as the Browns rallied to tie the game only to see the Steelers behind Ben Roethlisberger and Markus Wheaton on the final drive save the day. Once in position, Shaun Suisham nailed a 41-yarder to win.
My Immediate Thoughts… In the NFL, you take every win you get no matter how ugly it may be and the Steelers will do that but there has to be some genuine concern in that locker room. Offensively, Todd Haley took the keys to the car away from Ben Roethlisberger in the second half while he tried to establish the run. Besides that, the offensive line struggled to protect Roethlisberger giving up four sacks.
Defensively, obviously the run defense is extremely scary right now. The Browns came into the second half with the hurry-up offense and used play-action which was working because the running attack was thriving. William Gay had several big passes defended and Troy Polamalu had 11 tackles. The secondary will be tested again on Thursday by Joe Flacco, Torrey Smith and Steve Smith in Baltimore.
-Both Shamarko Thomas (Achilles) and Dri Archer (ankle) were unable to continue playing today. Mike Tomlin said that both men were being evaluated.
-I’ve been harping on the lack of run defense with this team and they were gashed again to the tune of 183 yards on 30 carries. That’s an alarming six plus yards per carry. Most of it was in the second half. Browns’s rookie Terrence West rushed for 100 yards after he replaced the hurt Ben Tate.
-With 365 yards passing, this was the second time in his career that Ben Roethlisberger threw for over 300 yards in a season opener.
-Tomlin admitted that he called the fake punt which ultimately allowed the team to get the field position necessary to win the game. The real issue here is that Tomlin couldn’t trust his defense. How often does that happen in Pittsburgh?
-Le’Veon Bell clearly looked quicker as he’s twenty pounds lighter this year. He rushed for 109 yards and a touchdown and also had 88 yards receiving. The Steelers will be hard to beat if he does that every week.
-LeGarrette Blount’s first carry as a Steeler resulted in a touchdown.
-Brad Wing punted six times for an average of 43.7 yards and had two kicks inside the 20. That’s the type of punting he needs to do consistently.
-If Ike Taylor’s season last year was just an anomaly than his 2014 season isn’t starting off much better. He was penalized twice, victimized on a TD pass and dropped an interception.
-Antonio Brown disappeared in the second half after a monster first two quarters but I don’t put that on him. The Steelers hardly had the ball in the second half and when they did rarely ever looked his way.
Marc Uhlmann writes for and co-owns www.steelcityblitz.com. Follow him on Twitter @SteelDad and the website @SCBlitz. Check us out on Facebook at facebook.com/steelcityblitz and on Fancred.com. You can hear him weekly during the season on Trib-Live Radio