It was fun while it lasted, I mentioned in my last blog how this game would be a challenge to win, especially with our backup QB. The next 4 games are very winnable and with a win yesterday we could have finished with an 8 game win streak...back to reality. To expect that probably wasn't realistic, to expect to go undefeated with our back up QB probably wasn't either. Hasselbeck who has played beyond expectations for 4 games, also came back to reality, he did not play well or look sharp. The steelers are arguably one of the best teams in the league and showed it and showed it in dominating fashion. Not even sure it was as close as the score indicated.
Offense: back to the pre-Chud days and back to reality. Hasselbeck ( 16-26-169-TD) looked like he did in the pre season- like a guy hanging on and threw 2 costly interceptions. The running game was ok, but like the early season games, not much of a factor when playing from so far behind. Gore and Herron combined for 15-53 and Gore was also the leading receiver (3-49-TD). The O-line did so-so, considering the patchwork group that was playing, with all 5 guys being new to the spot they played. The stats: 11 first downs....4/17 on 3/4 downs....240 total yards....3 turnovers and just a complete lack of production vs a team that is not one of the better defenses around. Would have to say the worst overall performance of the year.
Defense: even worse, just like last years blowout, didn't have any answers, the steelers moved the ball at will, via the pass or run. The pass rush which was at it's best last week, also reverted back to reality, with little to no pressure and finished with ZERO sacks. The CB's have been blasted for lack of performance and although they are not playing at their previous levels, alot of that can attributed to the lack of a pass rush, any QB can thrive when given time, elite QB's will carve you up. Jackson and Adams led the way with 11 tackles and Adams added a forced fumble. Irving and in a lesser role Moore filled in very well for Freeman, with Irving also adding a forced fumble. The stats: 24 first downs....8/13 on 3rd downs...522 total yds....158 rushing yds.
Special teams: mostly good, Adam was 1-1 and is now at 17 in a row, McAfee's numbers weren't great , but did a great job of pinning them deep. Bray had his best game to date, including a 60 yd return and the coverage units gave up a TD return (gotta play 60 minutes)
Summary: even elite teams have games like this...some times...although it doesn't look good, it does happen...one of those games, you just kind of bury and forget about and move on. There are obvious holes in the roster, lack of difference makers and depth. But still have alot of pieces in place. 4 more games to finish out the year, Luck is expected back in 2 weeks, 10-6 sounds good, 9-7 , more likely and a trip to the postseason, also likely. The hope is Luck comes back and plays like he has played in the past and not how he was played, most of this year. We can still compete with the bad teams, the average teams, even the good teams, but as of now...don't see much reason to believe we can compete with the big boys...this year.