The Giants scored 12 unanswered points in the fourth quarter as Ben Roethlisberger completed just 13-of-29 passes for 189 yards, one touchdown, and four interceptions as the Steelers lost 21-14 to the Giants and fell to 5-2 on the season. The Eagles and Giants have layed out a blue print on how to beat the Steelers. Is it time to worry in Pittsburgh?
Offensive Line comes back to earth: After giving up 0 sacks against the Cincinnati Bengals, the Steelers couldn‚Äôt contain the Giants pass rush. Mathias Kiwanuka had a field day against LT Max Starks as Kiwanuka registered three sacks, and Justin Tuck and David Tollefson also got to Roethlisberger. The play of the Giants secondary also a factor.
Replacing Holmes a difficult task: The Giants secondary was aggressive at the line of scrimmage and the Steelers wide receivers couldn‚Äôt get separation at the line for the Steelers to execute quick throws. Hines Ward especially had a tough day getting open. Holmes is the Steelers top playmaker and excels at breaking away from the opposition with his first couple steps. He would have been a valuable asset yesterday and could have helped the Steelers alleviate the Giants pass rush.
Failed adjustments in second half: Many expected Heath Miller to be a focal point of the Steelers offense with Santonio Holmes out of the lineup. Miller had 3 receptions for 52 yards and he was only thrown to 5 times. In the fourth quarter when the Steelers were trying to mount a comeback, confusion set in during the Steelers crucial 4th down play as Justin Hartwig hiked the ball before anyone including Roethlisberger was ready for it. Despite the Steelers unable to contain the Giants pass rush Roethlisberger was still using 5 step drops late in the game.
Defense among the league‚Äôs best: The Steelers defense will show up every week and they will keep the Steelers among the elite teams in the AFC. Coming into this week the Steelers ranked No. 1 in the NFL, allowing just 236 yards per game and they proved their #1 ranking Sunday limiting the Giants to field goals and making key stops at the goal line as the offense put them in some bad spots
Special Teams could be the downfall of this team: the Steelers have improved their special teams coverage but they have two major flaws in the kick return game and punter Mitch Berger. Yesterday was about field position and even though Berger was injured it has become evident in games against the Ravens where field position was so crucial that the Steelers are overmatched. The Steelers have absolutely no kick return game with Najeh Davinport returning kicks. This is a major flaw that may come back to haunt them late in the season or in the post-season
Miscue on snap: Having a backup long snapper is not a priority but why would the Steelers have James Harrison replacing Greg Warren. Justin Hartwig is not a longsnapper but he is the Steelers starting center and I‚Äôm sure he could execute a long snap. Didn‚Äôt make sense at all.
Learning experience: This loss to the Giants will be a valuable learning experience for the Steelers. The Steelers are 0-2 against the NFC East and 5-0 against the rest. They better fix that trend Monday night against the Redskins
Stat of the Day
Mewelde Moore (65 CAR ‚Äì 322 YDS ‚Äì 3TD ‚Äì 5.0 AVG ‚Äì Long 32 YDS)
Willie Parker (66 CAR ‚Äì 263 Yards ‚Äì 3TD ‚Äì 4.0 AVG ‚Äì Long 32 YDS)