Denver 34 – Pittsburgh 17
*It was a ugly night in just about every area and for those who had a golden opportunity tonight, they didn’t impress.
Dennis Dixon brought some clarification to the Steelers QB situation: He’s not ready to be a starting quarterback.
In his first opportunity to run with the first team, Dixon relieved Ben Roethlisberger at the start of the second quarter and looked like a young inexperience quarterback
In the first half, Dixon struggled mightily, going 6 of 13 for 54 yards and threw two costly interceptions. Dixon’s first interception was in the endzone with the Steelers driving as Dixon rolled right avoiding the rush and threw into double coverage when the proper play was to just the throw the ball away.
Dixon then threw a second interception on a pass short left intended for Emmanuel Sanders, Andre Goodman stepped in front of Sanders, intercepting the ball at Denver’s 23 yard and returning the ball 77 yards for a touchdown.
Dixon never looked comfortable and appeared to struggle with the speed of the game against Denver’s 1st team defense. His ability to make reads once his hot read is not open has been a major problem and that was evident tonight.
Dixon finished with a line of 9 of 16 for 94 yards, 2 interceptions and a quarterback rating of 33.9. Dixon showed tonight why the coaching staff was never going to go with him as the team’s starter.
*The scariest thing though is that no quarterback has emerged behind Roethlisberger. Some are even beginning to question why the Steelers didn’t make Charlie Batch apart of the rotation.
Byron Leftwich is going to be the Steelers starter but he isn’t making anyone feel too comfortable right now. Leftwich played behind the Steelers second team offensive line and was under immense pressure for most of the night. He was 0 for 4.
Roethlisberger again looked very sharp going 4 of 6 for 67 yards. On Roethlisberger’s first play from scrimmage, he connected with Mike Wallace for a 47 yard reception.
*Second year cornerback Keenan Lewis was one of the players who came into tonight’s game with the spotlight on him. Starting in place of Bryant McFadden who is sidelined with a pectoral injury, Lewis disappointed and after drawing high praise of late from head coach Mike Tomlin, Lewis is now in Tomlin’s doghouse.
Lewis looked lost at the left corner spot, lacked maturity and clearly will no longer be in the mix for the starting spot.
In a breakdown of Lewis’ performance, Broncos quarterback Kyle Orton looked his way quite often. Lewis was beaten three times for receptions.
On the first reception, Eddie Royal beat Lewis for a 18 yard catch. Lewis bought the play-action fake and was caught moving inside and Orton’s pass to Royal went for big yardage. After the play Lewis was flagged for a personal foul.
On the second reception, Brandon Llyod beat Lewis for a 9 yard catch. On the Broncos next series, Llyod beat Lewis in 1-on-1 coverage for another 9 yard gain. To make matters worse, Lewis was flagged for a second personal foul right after Llyod’s 9 yard catch. Lewis was immediately taken out of the game and got a earful from Tomlin on the sidelines.
After the game, Lewis got himself into even more trouble. According to the Tribune-Review, Lewis punched a sign that was encased in glass. The glass shattered and many of the players had to walk by a guard telling them to watch their step and Tomlin making it very clear why there was broken glass outside of the Steelers’ locker room.
“That’s what you call young and dumb right there,” Tomlin said to the players that passed him. “Watch your step. No. (23) is playing bad and doing stupid stuff as well.”
*Daniel Sepulveda was the Steelers primary kicker for the second consecutive game. His first kickoff went out of bounds and the Broncos started at the 40 yard line. His second kickoff was caught at the 19 yard line. Jeff Reed is back in the mix.
*Wide receiver/kick returner Antonio Brown can also fall into the category of players who did not make the most of their opportunities tonight.
Brown had 24 kick return yards and 14 punt return yards on the night and his decision making was not good. On Brown’s first punt return opportunity, he made a fair catch at the five yard line on a ball that should have been let go into the endzone.
Brown still hasn’t ran away with the kick return job.