Ten Plays That Played A Big Part In The Steelers 0-4 Start

Often times there is a fine line between winning and losing games in the NFL and the Pittsburgh Steelers have certainly been on the wrong side of that line in their first four games. Each and every play has the potential of turning a game around and below are ten plays in animated gif form that are easy to point to that helped to contribute the Steelers 0-4 start.


In the opener against the Tennessee Titans, the Steelers were poised to take a 9-0 lead when running back Isaac Redman failed to control a handoff from quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. The ball was fumbled forward into the end zone on third and one from the Titans 6 yard-line and it allowed the opposing offense to stay conservative for pretty much the rest of the game. There is of course no guarantee the Steelers win the game had they scored, but you certainly would have liked their chances all things considered.


Against the Cincinnati Bengals in week two, the Steelers were up 3-0 when tight end David Paulson fumbled at the end of a long completion that would have had the offense set up inside the red zone.  Instead, the turnover led to the Bengals taking the lead and it was huge momentum shift in the game.


Following the fumble by Paulson, Steelers safety Ryan Clark was burned by tight end Tyler Eifert for a 61 yard completion right down the middle of the field. Clark bit on the fake by Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton and thus the seam was wide open. Two plays later the Bengals had the lead.


With the score tied at 10 in the third quarter against the Bengals, Roethlisberger hit wide receiver Antonio Brown for a gain of 33 yards. However, the play was called back because tackle Marcus Gilbert was flagged for tripping. Roethlisberger proceeded to get sacked on third down and long following the penalty and the Bengals took the lead for good on their ensuing possession.


Against the Bears, running back Matt Forte busted off right guard for 55 yards against the Steelers following a missed tackle by Clark and a failed strip by William Gay. A few plays later and the Bears had a 17-0 lead.


With the Steelers down 17-3 midway through the second quarter to the Bears, Roethlisberger was forced to get rid of a pass intended for wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery because of heavy pressure and safety Major Wright easily intercepted it and returned it for a touchdown. The Steelers turned the ball over five times in the game, but this one was perhaps the costliest one of them all.


While it might not have felt like it at the time, the third down scramble by Bears quarterback Jay Cutler for a first down with 9:15 left in the game ended up being a huge play. The Steelers defense was looking to make a stop that would have likely resulted in a field goal and a Bears seven point lead with plenty of time remaining. Not only did Cutler’s scramble extend the drive, it led to a touchdown and in the process it killed another three minutes worth of clock.


Early in the loss to the Minnesota Vikings, wide receiver Greg Jennings took a seven yard pass 63 more yards for a touchdown after cornerback Cortez Allen failed to bring him down. Allen wasn’t the only one on defense to take a poor angle on the play as both Gay and safety Robert Golden also failed to cover for the original miss.


Keeping with the explosive play and missed tackles theme, Vikings running back Adrian Peterson scored from 60 yards out with 12:42 left in the half. On the play, safety Troy Polamalu was crack blocked by Vikings wide receiver Joe Webb and several Steelers defensive players joined in to miss tackles.


Despite everything that had transpired in the game, the Steelers offense still had a chance to tie the game with 19 seconds left in regulation. Roethlisberger, however, was sacked on third down by Vikings defensive tackle Everson Griffen, who had beaten guard Kelvin Beachum to the outside gap. Roethlisbeger couldn’t throw the ball away and fumbled instead.


These of course aren’t the only plays that have led to the Steelers being winless, so I invite you to point out a few others.

  • Virdin Barzey

    I’m sure there was another 10 you could have chosen as well.

  • Xclewsive

    Spot on pretty much sums it up! Its one of the main reason I believe the Steelers can turn things around. I also believe the next 4 games can get the Steelers back into the thick of things in the AFC.

  • Styxmotors

    I suggest we add the DeCastro cutblock that demolished Pouncey’s knee.

  • JohnB

    i’d love to see us come back from the bye and end up being 4-4. Although it’d be bittersweet cause i dont think Tomlin has ever won more than 4 games in a row. But then again he never started off 0-4 either.

  • Xclewsive

    I feels like it at times, but last year they won 4 in a row. So it’s not out of the realm of possibilities.

  • r4kolb

    Really Dave….Really….you have to make us relive them all over again…. It hurts!

  • r4kolb

    Due to me having to get up for work at 4am I missed the tripping call. Wow!! What’s the rule on that? If it’s incidental it’s still a penalty?

  • r4kolb

    Watch the last gif vs Vikes. If Ben had time it looked like Miller would have been open. If not him whoever the receiver on the right was he ran a nice route and was wide open too.

  • Mike.H

    But the 10 Dave picked were bonafide “money shots”.

  • John

    Of importance, it is the ABSENCE of plays that make a big difference also. If you watch other teams, they get kick returns for TDs, blocked punts, kickoff returns for TDS, and other special teams splash plays. The Steelers regularly get almost nothing like those — we may get consistent stops of the other team but it is not the same. The same goes for the offense. You had the Forte 55 yard run. The Peterson long TD run, the Jennings long TD run-after-catch. Where are those for us? Nowhere. So we give up those types of plays but do not make them. That is a formula for losing. All of that along with no turnovers and consistent pressure on our QB is a huge problem. Hopefully this will change soon.

  • Dan

    Ah, good one.

  • Dan

    And how about the top ten decisions from the offseason?

  • alex

    actually the current numbers for plays over 20+ yards…we hold a considerable edge over our opponents @ 22-10…ST splash plays are a push…

    its really about turnovers (-11) and sacks (-11) that lead to scores and thus playing from behind all season!

  • Pete

    The 55 yard run by Bears Matt Forte…the hole created by the Bears O line was big enough to drive a car through it. Yeah, Clark and Gay missed tackles in the secondary. But the D line was manhandled by the Bears O line. Don’t they say the war is won or lost in the trenches? The D line is losing the battle of the trenches this season, giving up over 100 yds a game on the ground. I don’t know the last time I’ve seen the Steelers with such a porous front 7.

  • charles

    Ben said the offensive line had improved ‘since signing the new center’.

  • Stacey

    I totally agree on this one. I for one would still love to hear just what the hell Decastro was thinking on that play. I mean just a cutblock that blatantly filthy on any player would have been terrible enough but to a teammate and best player on the line? What do the guys lining up next to him have to be thinking about every play? Its bad enough to have to worry about the scheme and the 325lb beast across from you but now you have to keep an eye on your boy too, no wonder they cant block there scared of being crippled by their 1st round pick teammate who can’t recognize the guys he practices and sits in meetings with all day!

  • Xclewsive

    The Steelers called a blitz on that long run which played perfectly for the running play the Bears had called. The DL line slanted to the right hope to create a opening or mismatch for Williams or Timmons. Clarks inability to keep it to a 10 yd or less play was the big foul on that play.

  • Ahmad

    Make it stop! The horror!

  • John

    Actually, while 20 yard gains may qualify as “splash” plays, they are fairly pedestrian, particularly in the passing game. A perfect pass and catch will happen on occasion and yield 20 yards. Big deal. Good teams make TD plays in many phases; they get turnovers from their defense; they block kicks or return kicks for TDs; they sack QBs often including when it really matters. We do none of these things right now. If you watched the Jets last night, you can see the difference in their defense from ours. They make plays and apply pressure. We are very vanilla right now in just about everything when it comes to TD producing plays. Hopefully we can change that — but I would not bet on our ability to block those Jets D-linemen.