Steelers Versus Vikings – Second Half Recap

The Pittsburgh Steelers fell behind in the first half on the strength of two long touchdowns by the Minnesota Vikings. The Steelers look to overcome the 20-10 deficit in the second half, in which they receive the ball first.

In in the first half, Markus Wheaton came out for the first snap on offense. Le’Veon Bell took the handoff, however, for four yards. Kelvin Beachum remained at left guard, with Ramon Foster’s return deemed questionable. On second down, Ben Roethlisberger found Emmanuel Sanders at the 30 for a first down.

Bell did well to gain five yards on his second carry of the half to keep the Steelers in front of the chains. They went run formation on second down but threw to Jerricho Cotchery for 16 yards down to midfield. Roethlisberger went deep to Antonio Brown on the next play, and he drew a pass interference call in the end zone to set up first and goal. Good play-calling to start the half.

On first and goal, Bell followed David DeCastro on a pull, but came up just inches shy of the goal line. On second and goal, however, he punched it in with ease, scoring two touchdowns so far in his NFL debut. The Steelers now trail 20-17.

In the interim, Foster was ruled out for the remainder of the game, leaving Guy Whimper as the sole reserve along the offensive line.

Cordarrelle Patterson had another good runback out to the 25. He then proceeded to stiff arm Cortez Allen for an extra five yards on first down. Adrian Peterson was dropped for a loss on second down, but a hold was called and accepted to make it second and 11. Troy Polamalu shot the gap to help blow up the play. However, on the following play, Matt Cassel hooked up with Jerome Simpson for 51 yards down to the 25.

Peterson gained eight on the following play up the middle. Polamalu once again helped blow up a running play in the backfield on second down to set up third and one, but he was able to pick up the first down and more on the next play, which put him over 100 yards for the game, and he walked in untouched one play later to put the Vikings up 27-17.

The Steelers spelled Bell with Jonathan Dwyer to begin the second drive, and he carried for seven yards on first down, but he lost one on second down. Wheaton, lined up in the backfield, ran a route and caught the pass for the first down. The Steelers had been running this play with Jerricho Cotchery with success. On the next play, however, Roethlisberger threw the ball right to Erin Henderson for the interception. Roethlisberger expected Sanders to continue the route.

LaMarr Woodley was flagged for unnecessary roughness on the first play, which put the Vikings in field goal range already. On the next play, Greg Jennings beat Cortez Allen, going up for the score. The Vikings take a 34-17 lead.

Le’Veon Bell took a screen pass 18 yards on first down. Three plays later, Roethlisberger was sacked for the fourth time to end yet another drive. The Steelers defense was able to force a three and out on the next drive. Kion Wilson was flagged for holding on the punt.

Moving to the hurry up, Sanders converted a first down on the first play for 11 yards. Heath Miller converted another first down to close the third quarter. Le’Veon Bell came off the field gimpy after the play.

Antonio Brown was dropped for a loss of four on a failed screen pass. On second and 14, Cotchery came up with a tough catch in traffic, and an unnecessary roughness penalty put the Steelers down to the 35. Markus Wheaton came up with a big catch to convert a third and six.

From the 15, Xavier Rhodes defended a pass intended for Sanders. However, Roethlisberger found Cotchery for a touchdown to pull within 10. Roethlisberger seemed to injure his hand on the play, but on the plus side, Bell returned to the game.

Once again, Cordarrelle Patterson had another good return. The Vikings then got on to the business of churning out first downs. The Steelers did not force a fourth down until they were within the 30, but the field goal attempt went wide. Pittsburgh takes over at the 34.

The Steelers attempted another screen pass to Bell, but it never coalesced and Bell was just fortunate to get out of bounds for no gain. On second down, Roethlisberger threw Cotchery open, who gained 27 yards down to the 39. Bell took a draw nine yards on first down, and a pass to Brown converted down to the 24. Eluding pressure, Roethlisberger found Miller open down to the 12. Two incomplete passes set up third and 10, and the Steelers were forced to dump a pass off to Bell on third for one yard. Suisham, however, made it a one-score game at 34-27 with 3:37 to play.

On the Vikings’ ensuing drive, Adrian Peterson converted a backbreaker of a third and one. After setting up another third down, this time with three to go, the Steelers called a timeout with 1:56 to play. They got a big stop on third down and called their last timeout to set the offense up with a chance to tie the game with 1:50 to play.

From the 22, Cotchery caught the pass cutting to the edge, but because the corner played the ball, he had room to run, and he got down to the Vikings 42. Brown caught the next pass for 10 yards, and Roethlisberger stopped the clock after with 1:18 to play. Miller gained seven and got out of bounds to set up third and three. Once again, Brown converted the first down, and Roethlisberger clocked it, now with 59 seconds to play.

On second down, Brown took a short pass seven yards. On third down, Brown bobbled the ball, but was able to come down with it as he was hit. Another clock, and it’s second and goal with 22 seconds to play.

A free rusher forced a throw away on second down. On third down, Roethlisberger was sacked and fumbled. Just on the cusp of climbing out, the hand of fate pushes the Steelers back down into the abyss, as they fall to 0-4 on the year.

Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.
  • dgh57

    JUST SAYING THIS OUT OF FRUSTRATION:

    I was going to say it’s going to be a tough flight home but maybe they should be forced to row a boat home instead!

  • Curtis

    1 game behind ravens, 2 games behind the browns and bangles. Not completely out of it but the door shutting pretty quick.

  • Bell Cow

    What’s our excuse this week? Poor talent?

  • Mkeller

    They can’t WIN A GAME!!!!! It’s completely over. That team they lost to was 0-3 and lost at home to the Browns last week!!!!!
    Sorry….had to do it again.

  • Curtis

    neither 2 big plays that should of never happened with Gregg Jennings and Adrian Peterson. Ben needs to get rid of ball, he cant take a strip fumble with 14 seconds with the ball on the 6 yard line. Also cant continue take sacks when you can check down of get rid of ball. Also if your going to miss your receiver miss short not high and behind nothing goods going to come from it.

  • Fire.Mike.Tomlin

    Tomlin routinely puts RB’s in his doghouse for fumbles.
    Sanders throws temper tantrum on field before play even whistled dead on the INT. Back on field next series.
    Inconsistent, hypocritical, useless coach.
    Reboot this team. NOW.

  • Josh Knepshield

    If those plays hadnt been positive gains on the opening possesion of the half, you wouldnt say they were “good” play calls. We would have been complaing about haley. Its not all his play calling that is bad. If anyone needs to be fired, its the oline coach and his “zone scheme”

  • Reese Dare

    Le’Veon looked pretty good. Jarvis is always a step behind the play, he’s usually in the right spot, just a step behind.

    Ben needs to use his checkdowns and our DLine has no push.

  • Mike Sweeney

    I think the Steelers are great!!!

  • Reese Dare

    Elaborate please

  • Mike Sweeney

    sarcasm my friend.

  • TheStandard?

    If Belichick went 11-5 with Cassel as QB, what’s Tomlin’s excuse? I’m sorry there’s too much talent on this team to have played as poorly as we have the last 2 seasons. The team plays with no identity, no consistency, and no passion. The job of a coach is to bring out the best in their team and to lead.. It’s so frustrating to know that Tomlin is just going to keep getting free passes. We’ll just keep playing the way we have and by the time we make a change in coaches Ben will be too old or banged up and we’ll be back in a rebuilding phase. Such a waste.

  • Mkeller

    You’re in the rebuilding phase. They are lacking talent at too many spots to think they’re close to getting this thing righted. Ben will be long past useful by the time the line is ready to play at an NFL level. Over the cap again next year so it will be business as usual. This is a horrible situation the organization has created all because their foolish belief there would be a spike in the salary cap.

  • Josh Knepshield

    Start a debate. Who do we take? Jadeveon Clowney or Jake Matthews. I know we dont need a pass rusher but he is a once in a generation talent.

  • Jay Jaber

    Cortez Allen looked like shit so did Ryan Clark and then ike drooped that inter in the end zone and then Lamar woodly had that strip sack and some how if falls into the hands of Jerome Simpson nothing is going our way nothing!!!

  • TheStandard?

    Sure we’ve got spots that need upgrades and/or more experience, but we’ve been playing with a bad line for awhile now and have won. We have too much talent overall to be 0-4. The Cheifs are now 4-0, please tell me that their overall team is better than ours. It starts at the top.

  • Mike Sweeney

    strip forced fumble for a first down at that eventually leading to a score. bizarro occurences

  • Chad H

    Here’s my recap:
    Adams is terrible cut him (yes I said cut) don’t give me he is young comment. Find a free agent tackle willing to work for food. Fire o-line coach. Oh yeah now we need a guard no big loss in Foster who has played like crap.
    Call Hampton cause we need a NT.
    Move Jones to ILB because he can’t rush but good on run support. Call up Baxter from practice squad.
    Oh and Coach Mike C. Allen was getting burned and not ready to start yet. So could have sat him and that might have saved one touchdown.
    Last recap once again the entire coaching staff did not have this team ready. So pick a coach any coach and fire them. Personally and IMO start with Tomlin.

  • Bradys_Dad

    Mike Adams was Jared Allen’s B*$ch all day long. Jared Allen (was) a stud DE and he’s aging a bit but Allen made him look like a pro-bowler. This OL is just the focal point of a team riddled with significant issues. No more excuses folks. The team is playing like crap. The coaching is deplorable. The player personnel development and drafting as of late have taken a nose dive. This once proud and glorious marquee is going to look horribly tarnished before this year’s end. If the “standard” is indeed, the standard, then the mouth pieces who week in and week out give us a stinking turd load of one line comments need to be held accountable. Sure, the payers play and the coaches coach – but no one escapes criticism for an 0-4 start like this. No one. (that includes you Mr. R.)

  • Pete

    It wasn’t pretty but the Steelers were still in it at the end. They had a chance to win. Don’t they say good teams win those kind of games? Mike Adams looked as though he might be losing confidence. The Steelers seem completely committed to their young tackles and willing to let them grow. I just hope Adams doesn’t lose confidence. Going up against Jarred Allen cannot be fun. It doesn’t get any better after the bye week.

  • chris ward

    Steelers can’t buy a turnover. -2 again in the turnover battle.

  • Pete

    I said at the beginning of the season when every homer was pegging the Steelers at 10-6 or 11-5 that everything would depend on the O line. Well, here we are and the O line is far from being where it needs to be. With a good O line Bell would be rampaging and Ben wouldn’t be running for his life. Steelers management seem willing to let the young tackles grow (no Max Starks) and ride out the bumps. This season is going to be ugly folks. But if you’ve been a Steeler fan long enough, you’ve seen ugly before.

  • cencalsteeler

    1. Matt Cassells uniform after the game was as clean as Bruce Gradkowskis. Absolutely no quarterback pressure, showing even a back up qb can slice up our secondary when there is no qb pressure.
    2. Carnell Lake needs to have some tackling drills with his secondary. Talk was Vince Williams needs to bring his feet with him. The secondary’s tackling is way worse than Williams.
    3. Ryan Clark has not contributed at all in the 2013 season.
    4. Adams is just terrible.
    5. The line actually looks descent (not including Adams) when Ben gets rid of the ball quickly. If he holds onto it too long, it makes the line look bad. This is a BAD combination. Ben has to get rid of the ball faster with this line.
    6. Haley called a great game.
    7. The sad truth is opposing defensive fronts, look like they’re having a lot of fun out there playing against our oline.

  • DerpinDickard

    Clowney, and yes we do need a pass rusher.

  • RW

    Agree with about 2 points. I’d bench Adams and use him as a backup RT. He was above average there last year and at least not on Ben’s blind side. Gilbert had a good game at RT but he’s no stud. There aren’t any great tackles out there, so the team is going to live with the growing pains of the young guys. If we finish in the bottom 1/6 of the league, we better draft a dominant LT.

    I could care less about the O-line coach. In my opinion, he’s not the guy waving at Jared Allen as he walks by, but if they want to fire him whatever.

    Jones is going to be a good OLB. This is his third start in the NFL – give the man some time to develop some pass rush moves. Once he gets a bend as he rushes the tackle he’ll be very good.

    Allen’s first game back from injury. Also his first season starting in the NFL. He played off all night and needs to be more physical, but if the coaching staff lets him he can do it (see his play against Gronk last year).

    Start the firing with Haley. Hire Kirby Wilson and let Ben run his offense. Tomlin is fine for now.

  • RW

    They’ll never take Clowney unless they intend to cut Woodley (which is an entirely different debate). Why would be not take a prominent LT? Unless there’s one in FA, forget about drafting anything but a LT.

  • sean mcmartin

    This ruined not only my sunday but the rest of them until the season is over.
    This offensive line does not deserve to wear the Black and Gold

  • RW

    DeCastro played well again. Can’t be the only lineman that plays well, though.

  • sean mcmartin

    the irony the best player took out pouncey.

  • RW

    I have to admit, the dog house BS needs to stop. Bell looked good today. Every time he was not on the field it was a mistake.

  • RW

    I don’t know that Pouncey would have made that big a difference with this OL…

  • DerpinDickard

    On the bright side we have a realistic chance at seeing Clowney in Black and Gold in a year from now.

  • RW

    What position would he play for us? He’s a true 4-3 DE.

  • Chad H

    Remember Woodley as a rookie? Not seeing it from Jones and not saying Jones is a bad player. He just looks like he would be a beast of an ILB. Not enough moves for the outside.
    Please don’t say Wilson! He has issues with his RBs and IMO not good as the RB coach.

  • RW

    Agree completely with points 1-4. Where you lose me is 5-7. I think the left side of the line looks terrible, particularly Adams, but neither Foster nor Beachum looked good at LG. RT is Beachum’s natural position from what I’ve seen of him in the NFL. Also, I don’t think Haley called a good game at all – both of our end-of-game drives were orchestrated by Ben in the no-huddle. I don’t think Ben played a particularly smart game, but neither did Haley. Lastly, points 5 and 7 contradict each other. A line can’t look decent and also have opposing defenses tee off on them. They look awful with the exception of DeCastro.

  • RW

    I think every player takes a different amount of time to develop pass rush skills. Woodley had a natural skill set in that department, but couldn’t play the pass well at all and was average (or maybe just above) against the run. Jones is sort of the opposite.

    Wilson would be fine as an offensive coordinator. It’s not his fault that his RBs just aren’t that talented. To make my point: Bell looked great today and hasn’t played all season.

  • Curtis

    Was watching some of the titans game they haven’t committed a turnover all year. No reason their 2-1 and should of beat Texans to be 3-0. They are actually winning 24-6. And were 0-4

  • schlong

    Mike Tomlin smiling after the game pissed me off

  • Bell Cow

    Sounds like poor talent to me.

  • Curtis

    didn’t drop int. stripped out of his hands. watch again

  • Riverstko

    No Way thats the last position we need if anything a tall cb like in seattle or maybe a elusive OT,cover MLB, tall WR or Hybrid TE. I have been begging for years. Now its showing. We dont need to waste another first round pick for def. pressure.

  • Riverstko

    No bad pick, i heard once in a generation talent before.Too much to risk. OT, Big DT, tall CB are must picks. One of the main reasons why we arent getting pressure is because we replaced a 330lb DT with a 270 lb DT. McClendon to light. I knew we shouldve taken one of those big DTs in this past draft.

  • walter mason

    You cant blame Ben. He played a hell of a game. I cant believe they couldnt adjust or help Adams at LT..

  • Riverstko

    Bad draft in the past 3 years. Using high draft picks on stiff Offensive linemen. We couldve got the same result drafting one in later rounds. Other teams draft skill pos. players in 1 and 2 round. Fire Colbert if anything!

  • RW

    I think that their thinking is that you shouldn’t have to help a LT block one man. Their thinking is stupid.

  • Riverstko

    We have a skinny DT, he doesnt even weigh over 300lb. We shouldve keep Taamu for all that.

  • walter mason

    Adams looked horrible. It seems he has little heart and continues to play lazy. We could have done much better with Starks for another year while Adams works on his attitude. We had a chance to sign Starks but blew it.

  • cencalsteeler

    It’s simple. If Ben holds the ball too long, the line looks terrible. If he gets rid of the ball quickly, the line actually looks descent. Line 7 says Ben is holding onto the ball too long.

  • Mike Carroll

    Talent? Have you watched the NFL recently? It’s all about big, fast and athletic. The Steelers have small, slow and something else. Too many poor drafts and too many overpaid veterans on the downside of their career. If Felix Jones is returning your kickoffs, it’s not a good sign the team has playmakers.

  • Mike Carroll

    The Chiefs are 4-0 and have won most of their games easily. Yes, they are better than an 0-4 team that’s barely led in any game.

  • Mike Carroll

    Clark may not see the end of this year. Cortez was a huge disappointment today.

  • Mike Carroll

    Must be Bell was on a snap count coming off of injury. At least, I hope that’s the reason he was ever taken off the field.

  • Mike Carroll

    Defense absolutely STUNK today. They needed to defend for 10 minutes in the first half and gave up 20 points.

  • TheStandard?

    They are definitely playing better than us right now, but do you think the players on the Chiefs are better than the players on the Steelers? Again at some point the head coach has to be held accountable.

  • Mike Carroll

    Thanks for laugh about left tackle willing to work for food. It helps on a day like this. Agree with some of your points.

  • Mike Carroll

    Yes. On the whole I think the Chiefs have a better roster.

  • TheStandard?

    I don’t agree, but fair enough.

  • psteelers

    It’s amazing what a great qb can do with some straps from the trash heap. Who are these guys Brady is throwing to? Guy make our qb look like a college qb.

  • Josh Knepshield

    Max Starks was really bad last year at LT for us, not as bad as Mike Adams, but he was still really bad. Everyone needs to stop pretending he was good. He was good in 2011, but it got ugly in mid to late 2012. He didnt even make the chargers and now he is a backup for the rams, whos oline is almost as bad as ours.

  • Reader783

    As if we got so much pressure on Cassel today. You don’t pass up a chance to draft the best defensive player in the country. You draft him and convert him to fit the system.

  • Reader783

    I think Valasco is doing well

  • Don

    Adams has the size and talent, but isn’t aggressive enough. I saw some clips from last week where we was mixing it up with Peppers pretty good, but it’s just not part of his makeup.

  • Don

    So what’s up exactly with Clowney? He wasn’t even an every down player last year, but he blew someone up and it went viral. How’s he doing this year? Is he really the player he’s being made out to be?

  • Fire.Mike.Tomlin

    McClendon is obviously not prime-era Hampton, but
    if you think he weighs only 270 I suggest you buy a TV and actually watch the games.

  • Fire.Mike.Tomlin

    To get rid of the ball quickly:
    1) you must run quick developing routes with receivers who can get separation at the line
    or
    2) (….the Steelers can’t do #1 consistently) just throwing it away to avoid sack/TO.
    #2 would be 70% of the snaps

  • Fire.Mike.Tomlin

    He wasn’t just smiling. He parodied the Mora ‘Playoffs?!?’ thing with Frazier while smiling, laughing, and yukking it up in general.

  • Rob

    Chuck Noll came to a bad team and told his players a lot of you will not be here much longer, he also said you are not loosing because you don’t have a plan or the will to win it’s because you are not good enough. Chuck began drafting players and replaced the members of the team with future pro-bowlers and hall of fame players. Fast forward to today Mike Tomlin shows up to a team that was built to win a Superbowl and did. He takes those players to one Superbowl and wins gets to another and looses due to poor prep and coaching as well as poor play by Ben and the offensive line. Now through the magic of the Tomlin coaching we have taken a team that was almost always a play-off contender and turned it into a bad joke, the standard is the standard, if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck it’s a duck. In watching the team since the sixties I can say that Mikey is in over his head and has orchestrated the decline of the team since he has arrived. The team that has been on the field has been gradually getting worse every year he has been here in spite of their records which occasionally have been good many of the wins we have gotten have been ugly wins a play that is more luck than design turns the game for us. I do not think the team will get better until he is replaced with a real coach.

  • rizzo29

    Hell no, he on the sidelines more than the punter

  • Marcus

    I get that Steelers fans are super frustrated, as am I. I am also not saying that mistakes haven’t been made, because obviously they have. I think Colbert is a really good GM though, and it’s really hard to build a team through the draft, when you are consistent playoff caliber team and all your picks are late rounders. It’s also a challenge when you have a QB making as much money as Ben does. Everyone talks about how Ozzie Newsome is the greatest GM – but that’s see how he does now that he has to work around Joe Flacco’s contract. I think Ben is a good QB, but I don’t think he should be getting Brady, Manning money. Steelers are team that rely on stability and execution, and not highly paid stars expected to carry a team on their back. It’s time to face facts that Ben alone doesn’t equal at least 10 wins, and his bloated contract has handcuffed this team, and they have to rely too heavily on players playing under their rookie contract, who are out the door as soon as they play well – because the Steelers can no longer afford them.

  • Dan

    I hope you are incorrect in the assessment that Tomlin is a bad coach. It would be much easier to replace a player, e.g. Mike Adams, or two and be on our way, than to start over with a new coach, coaching staff, and system. However, from what I’ve seen it seems that Tomlin is clearly not a top caliber coach. He may have some strengths, but I think the weaknesses to are too much to rate him as anything more than average…not good enough for the Black n Gold.

  • Dan

    I agree cut Adams today.

  • Dan

    100% agree. Adams looked like a little girl out there. A big fat slow indecisive frightened little girl.

  • Jay Jaber

    It’s a drop in my book he knows better to leave it out like that I think he was sooo surprised that he actually caught it that he forgot to tuck it in lol

  • Jay Jaber

    That’s what I said jones should not be returning kicks. Remember last year chris rainy tore it up in the kick return dep I wish he was still on the team

  • dgh57

    I can agree with all that. I also think Colbert didn’t help things either with his draft picks. 2008 draft =Bust; 2009 draft = Bust after Hood is gone; all the #1 & #2 draft picks on the OL & DL that have yet to pan out! All of this can and probably will set this team back for years to come. One bright spot and I know it’s probably to early to tell for sure is the 2013 draft seems promising.

  • Rob

    I think you have stated some of the basis for my point, the drafts. I would also add that Colbert was here for the drafts that improved the team a great deal with Cowher. A lot of talented players were brought to the team through trades and a couple from free agency. I would not put the bad drafts on Colbert as he was here for a lot of good ones with Cowher, the big change showed up with the arrival of Tomlin and seems to have continued. When things have changed in the way something performs you look at the last change that was made to impact that item. With the boys from the burgh the last change was adding Tomlin, now he has been improving in some areas and has not in others. Clock management is just horrible, decisions regarding challenges the same, game management strategy and decision making are also still bad. The last two drafts actually resulted in some players that may be at least good instead of no longer on the team.

    Over all I think he has gone from Horrible to just bad. At the rate he is going we may have to endure 20 years of bad teams before we get playoff and championship seasons. The team is weak in so many areas at this point that we are likely looking at several sub par years before the team can be rebuilt into a contender. I wish it was not so but it maybe time to dump contracts and personnel so we can get draft picks and restock. The older players that are good are now too old to be used as the core that we can build around because by the time the team is built around them the present core will have to retire .