Meadville Tribune

Sports

September 23, 2013

NFL: Steelers continue to misfire during 0-3 start

PITTSBURGH — Two plays. Two balls on the ground. Two very different results. One all-too familiar story for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Pittsburgh’s 40-23 loss to the Chicago Bears on Sunday night looked an awful lot like the two defeats that came before it. The offense couldn’t hold onto the football. The defense couldn’t take it away. Rinse. Repeat.

Still, while the Steelers remain winless after dropping to 0-3 for the first time since 2000, they believe they’re not hopeless.

“It’s a situation we’re not familiar with,” defensive end Brett Keisel said. “If we have the type of character we think we do, we can overcome this and find a way to fight back.”

The Steelers insist all it will take is a bounce here and a little more discipline there to turn things around. It hasn’t happened yet, though linebacker LaMarr Woodley knows at some point the odds have to flip in their favor. Pittsburgh is one of two teams in the NFL yet to record a takeaway and its minus-nine turnover differential tied with the inept (and also winless) New York Giants for the worst mark in the league.

“We’ve just somehow got to go out and produce them,” Woodley said.

The line between success and failure is thin, as evidenced by a pair of bounces for the ball while the game was still in doubt.

The Steelers had just scored with 6:27 to play in the first half to draw within 24-10 on a gorgeous catch in the end zone by Antonio Brown. The defense stuffed the Bears on first down of the ensuing possession. On second down, quarterback Jay Cutler found wide receiver Alshon Jeffery underneath for a short gain. Pittsburgh cornerback William Gay knocked the ball out at the Chicago 33. The fumble, however, bounced right back into Jeffery’s arms before Woodley could pounce on it.

“Willie Gay had a big hit on (Jeffery) and we just didn’t get it,” Woodley said.

Chicago eventually punted, but flipped the field. The Steelers took over at their own 13 instead of inside Bears’ territory. They moved to midfield before bogging down and headed to halftime down two touchdowns.

The deficit grew larger early in the third quarter.

Running back Felix Jones took a handoff from Roethlisberger on the second play after the break and was met by Chicago safety Major Wright. The hit jarred the ball loose and defensive tackle Henry Melton cradled it to give the Bears the ball at the Pittsburgh 29. Six plays later, a Robbie Gould field goal made it 27-10 and despite a spirited rally, the Steelers never got the ball with a chance to go in front.

“It’s frustrating,” Jones said. “We did a lot of things that hurt ourselves.”

And the self-inflicted wounds have blunted any hope for momentum heading into what could be a trying stretch. Pittsburgh travels to London this week to face Minnesota (0-3), then gets a week off before heading to New York to play the surprising Jets. The Steelers won’t play at home until hosting rival Baltimore on Oct. 20. There’s a chance the competitive portion of the season could already be over if they can’t fix things.

“I don’t know if we can dig out of it but we’re going to have to give it everything we’ve got to get out,” Roethlisberger said. “It’s a deep hole and it’s getting deeper. I’m not going to quit.”

Roethlisberger took responsibility for the loss after throwing a pair of interceptions and fumbling twice, though the defense understands it needs to find a way to force the other team into mistakes. Even while finishing as the league’s No. 1 defense in 2012, the Steelers only created 20 turnovers, four of them coming in a meaningless season finale against Cleveland.

Safety Ryan Clark allowed Pittsburgh needs to “make something happen here quickly” but doesn’t think the team needs to take unnecessary chances to do it.

“We can do things to help our offense and we just didn’t,” Clark said.

Clark was in position to make a splash play in the third quarter when Cutler tried to flip a pass to tight end Martellus Bennett in the flat. The ball sailed over Bennett’s head. Clark was so focused on tackling Bennett he didn’t see the ball until it was past him.

Could he have gotten it? Maybe. Yet Clark has built his career on making the right play, not the risky one. He’s not going to start questioning his instincts. Neither are his teammates.

“We’ve got to find ways to get the ball,” Keisel said. “That’s what great defenses do. It’s been one of those things for awhile now we haven’t been able to get turnovers.

“Hopefully it will change.”

1
Text Only
Sports
  • Blue Jackets celebrate Pens squander 3-0 lead as Jackets even up series

    Brandon Dubinsky scored with 22.5 seconds left in regulation to force overtime and Nick Foligno’s wrist shot just inside the blue line 2:49 into the extra session gave the Columbus Blue Jackets a 4-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday night.
    The Blue Jackets overcame a 3-0 deficit for their first home playoff victory in the franchise’s 13 seasons, sending the series back to Pittsburgh for Game 5 on Saturday night tied 2-2.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Kyle Wise Panthers rally to beat Huskies

    Through three innings Tuesday afternoon at home, it looked like it was going to be a very long day for the Saegertown baseball team.
    The wind and the cold didn’t appear to bother Harbor Creek starting pitcher Issac Mattson as the senior struck out nine batters through the first three frames, including four strikeouts in the first inning alone.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Greggs and Bison knock Bulldogs down to earth

    Back to reality.
    Coming off one of its biggest wins in recent years on Friday with a 10-5 victory over previously unbeaten Saegertown, Meadville fell victim to possibly being over confident against Fort LeBoeuf.

    April 22, 2014

  • Devils sweep Tigers

    Just six days earlier, the Cambridge Springs boys volleyball coaching staff sat on the sidelines at Saegertown High School perplexed and disappointed as they watched the Blue Devils give away opportunity after opportunity.

    April 22, 2014

  • Abby Clulow Cardinals overcome offensive woes to remain unbeaten

    Abby Clulow is confident that sooner or later the bats are going to come alive for the Cochranton softball team. She is also pretty confident that until then the Lady Cardinals will continue to find a way to get the job done.
    After all, how could she feel any differently?

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Fight.jpg Brewers win in 14th after early brawl with Pirates

    Ryan Braun homered in the ninth inning to tie it, then Khris Davis hit a home run in the 14th that put Milwaukee ahead for good.
    Yet those were hardly the big blows that attracted all the attention Sunday in the Brewers’ 3-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pivotal Game 3 awaits Pens and Blue Jackets

    Not so long ago, the Columbus Blue Jackets were the worst team in the NHL.
    Now they’re heading home for tonight’s Game 3 of their first-round Stanley Cup playoff series with the star-studded Pittsburgh Penguins hoping to make even more history.

    April 20, 2014

  • Blue Jacket_DiRi.jpg Blue Jackets edge Penguins 4-3 in double overtime

    Matt Calvert banged home a rebound 1:10 into the second overtime and the Columbus Blue Jackets earned the first playoff victory in franchise history with a 4-3 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday night.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • College Softball: DePauw earns NCAC sweep over Allegheny

    It’s gut-check time for the Allegheny College softball team.

    April 19, 2014

  • Biggs.jpg Big first inning leads Meadville to win over Saegertown

    So, how does one go about beating the Saegertown baseball team? It’s a question that District 10 programs have been asking themselves for years now.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

Sports Scoreboard
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
Business Marquee
AP Video
Poll

In terms of the overall livability and workability of the City of Meadville, which component of the city’s infrastructure should receive top priority?

Streets
Stormwater control
Parks
Other
It’s too difficult to single one out
     View Results
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Stocks