For years the city of Cleveland was known as the ‘Mistake by the Lake.’ Step aside Cleveland because the Pittsburgh Steelers are asking you to “hold their beer.”
Where shall I begin? Should it be the six turnovers? The blown 14-point lead in the fourth quarter? The four turnovers by Ben Roethlisberger? The penalties which totaled over 100 yards? Chris Boswell’s missed game-winner? It all added up to 21-21 tie against the Cleveland Browns.
One mistake after another overshadowed a terrific day for James Conner and a solid defensive performance overall. If a tie is like kissing your sister then this one feels ten times worse and I’m not going there.
The offensive line struggled to keep Browns’ defenders off of Roethlisberger all day and that was only the beginning of Roethlisberger’s issues. It came as no surprise to me to see him throwing balls high to receivers. He always does when he’s rusty and while limiting his preseason action in order to keep him healthy is one thing, this is what you get in return. Antonio Brown had a brilliant touchdown catch but he too didn’t look quite like himself. He didn’t play one snap in the preseason leading me to the inevitable ‘rust’ word.
For all of the fear that the defense would struggle that really didn’t come to fruition. They recorded seven sacks (four by T.J. Watt) and and an interception. They were far from the problem today.
There will be questions about why Ryan Switzer saw so much time and James Washington didn’t. There will be questions about play-calling which there always is in losses or in this case a tie. There will be questions about clock management and certainly questions about just how prepared this offense was for week one. To be very frank, this wasn’t totally surprising. It looked eerily similar to last year’s opener with the exception of today’s rain and wind. The difference of course is that the Steelers found a way to win that game. No such luck today.
I’m not going to press the panic button and you shouldn’t either. There were a lot of good things that happened today but those were heavily outnumbered by the bad. The Steelers have a week to clean up some serious issues before the Kansas City Chiefs come in and being at home is no guarantee of anything. I guess any mistakes that are made won’t be quite as close to the lake so there’s that.
Photo courtesy thenewstribune.com