Steelers Lose To Manning 31-19
Okay, let's get one obvious truth out of the way right now. The defense came up short---real short especially when the Steelers came up with the go-ahead TD. In fact, after the Steelers scored, the Broncos came up with TD's of their own. Dick LeBeau's scheme against a quality QB like Manning was a lot to be desired.
In fact, time-of-possession was in the favor of the Steelers (35:05 to 24:55). It was not like the Steelers didn't have enough chances to pound the ball into the End Zone. Steelers Red Zone efficiency was 50%. Yet, Manning was able to overcome Pittsburgh's 10-minute time-of-possession convincingly.
At least Roethlisberger can be given a lot of credit for chewing up the clock, leaving Manning on the sideline watching Ben convert 11-19 third downs. In fact, at one point in the game, Roethlisberger took 30 snaps to Manning's one. And Steelers know that Heath Miller is a dangerous weapon on third-down conversions. On the other hand, it appeared Ben took too long to get some plays started. Crowd noise? Don't know, but it was conspicuous on several key plays.
Offensive line played well. Gotta give em credit where credit is due. It's been lacking for a few years.
Steeler fans also have to be happy with Jonathan Dwyer's performance. While Redman had a dismal 1.8 yards a carry, Dwyer ran 43 yards on nine carries.
Yet, even Roethlisberger had to admit, Tracy Porter's pick led to a 43 yard touchdown that put the game out of reach for the Steelers with just over two minutes remaining in the game.
Roethlisberger finished 22 of 40 for 245 yards with two TD's and one interception.
In closing, it's only the first game of the season. Denver's stadium has one of the toughest home-field advantages in the league. In addition, it cannot be discounted the Steelers were up against one of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game. It's also undeniable the team's performance was hurt by not having several key players including James Harrison.
If this team can get healthier in the near future, things will look up. Having said that, defense needs some work. I also sensed the defense was tired. Lack of conditioning? I don't know, but one thing was obvious: Peyton Manning shredded our D in the fourth quarter coming up with 11 fourth-quarter points.
Jets at Steelers. Sunday, 9/16/12 at 4:25 PM EDT on CBS
(Sources: Steelers.com, Pitt PG, USA TODAY, Fox Sports)