Steelers’ Loss Today Eerily Similar To A Year Ago

Playing “down” to a team on the road. A scatback doing big damage. A blocked field goal. All culminating in a disappointing loss to thwart a Pittsburgh Steelers’ 3-0 start.

Stop me if that sounds familiar. It should. Because that’s exactly what happened in last year’s Week Three loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. Granted, that one transformed into blowout status, a 34-3 defeat, but it had all the same ingredients.

Today, on the game’s first drive, Martavis Bryant dropped a pass on the game’s opening play, a would-be touchdown. Last year, Markus Wheaton couldn’t hang onto a would-be 18 yard touchdown.

Last year, they tried a 36 yard field goal. It was blocked. Philadelphia responded with a field goal.

Today, a 35 yarder. Blocked. Bears kicked a field goal.

Darren Sproles put up big play after big play for the Eagles. Tarik Cohen didn’t quite match that feat but averaged over six yards per carry and a 36 yard run, a couple inches away from a back-breaking game-winner in overtime.

Big picture, the offense sputtered, the defense faltered, and the Steelers walked away with a painful loss. I know, ultimately, what happened last year doesn’t affect what happened this year. But it sure makes it frustrating.

It’s a day where the Baltimore Ravens got plastered by the Jacksonville Jaguars and the New England Patriots went down to the wire to beat the Houston Texans. This was a chance for some separation, and a bit of validation, for being one of the best teams in the NFL. And the Steelers still can be, as much as this loss smarts right now. But it’s much more theoretical after the disgusting performance Pittsburgh put on today.

This is the easy part of the Steelers’ schedule. By midseason, they’ll have shortened weeks and tough teams; Green Bay, Tennessee, and those Patriots again. Now, they’ll have to travel to a pissed off Ravens team where they haven’t won since 2012. This is a team who could drop to 2-2 and who knows how things go from there.

Squandered chances. Happened last year. Happened today. It’s got to stop.

About the Author

Alex Kozora
Full-time blogger from mom's basement. Marrying tape and statistics. Chidi Iwuoma is my favorite Steeler of all-time.
  • John Noh

    Time for a bit of a shakeup on offense. I think DHB should not get a hat anymore in favor of Justin Hunter. I read that there was good rapport between Hunter and Ben during training camp and pre-season. Maybe that’ll add a necessary spark. DHB seems to be contributing nothing.

  • DHB is down field forcing fair catches on every punt. He’s also usually onje of the first guys down field on kick coverage as well. Besides who are you going to take off the field to fit Hunter in?

  • Guillermo Garcia-Gomez

    It’s not going to stop. This is the same story as the past 5 years. While I think they’re too good to completely fall apart unless there’s major injuries, they’re just a good team and not a great one.

  • Dorian James

    Hey Alex, there has to be some type of record for above 500 team losing to teams with no wins. It seems like this has happened every single year since Mike Tomlin has been here.

  • Rusted Out

    Those numbers have been posted extensively on the Depot, and other sites on the web. They are very abysmal. The real question is WHY? Why does it continue to happen, and why is this a decade long trend under Mike Tomlin?

  • Frank Martin

    This game made me think about the Chuck Noll era. When his teams played lousy teams, they beat them by three touchdowns. They almost never lost to an inferior team — on the road, after a short week, it didn’t matter what the circumstances were. That’s why they were four time World Champions. And that’s why this team isn’t.

  • Dorian James

    Yep, I googled it and found tons of articles. 11 losses to teams with 2 losses or fewer since “06”!!! SMMFH

  • JT

    The confusing thing is that these early season struggles dont jive with his elite end of season record. What works then that doesn’t work now? Logic states that September wins against lesser teams should be much easier to stack than those that are for all the marbles in December. A bad coach should win now and lose then.

  • KiJana Haney

    I am happy they lost now this way. These are the losses that allows the team to get better better for the latter part of the season and the playoffs. At least they dropped a game to an NFC instead of dropping a game to a division foe.

  • Phil Brenneman II

    Thank you. Everyone always wants to get rid of DHB. What exactly have Bryant, Rogers, and JJSS done? Not a whole lot. Not saying they should lose their hats either but man DHB catches a lot of flak for no reason.

  • JT

    I actually liked JJ a lot today. No flags, and made the most of his touches. And he didn’t muff the damn punt, like Eli. But agreed. DHB is a standout on a poor ST unit.

  • Phil Brenneman II

    Yeah I like all of our guys and JJ had a solid game. Mainly just said it to defend DHB. People say he has no value but who besides AB has really added much value to our unit so far?

  • Losing to “inferior” competition is a league wide phenomenon. The Jets nearly shut out the Phins who were a playoff team a year ago. The league’s most putrid defense in New Orleans held Carolina to 13 points. NE’s defense struggled against a rookie, only late game heroics by one, Tom Brady were they able to earn a victory. SF gave the Rams all they could handle this past Thursday. Jacksonville completely dismantled the Baltimorons. Denver’s vaunted defense gave up scores to the Bills on 3 of their 4 final drives to loose.

    This kind of thing happens across the entire NFL. It is NOT a Pittsburgh local issue.

  • ryan72384

    I think this loss feels worse than last year. We just got trucked by a team that wanted it more last year. This just looked like 2 bad teams to me. Really are the Steelers even that good? This is the worse the offense has looked in years. And the defense.. yikes. For everyone defending them saying they kept us in the game and gave the offense every chance to win it.. please. They were facing MIKE GLENNON. A field goal from the offense today should have been enough to beat the Bears. Short fields or not when your front 7 is full of high draft picks giving up 23 points to a Mike Glennon lead offense is unacceptable. There isn’t an offense in the NFL that cant carve up our defense. It’s proven year after year. Offense defense they both suck. This team is bad.

  • JT

    Agree. He’s the consummate teammate and professional who I’m happy to have around. People don’t care about ST until it blows games like today.

  • JT

    The Packers took the 0-2 Bengals at OT, at home mind you.

    People who jump on the team for this, or the other thing that won’t be named today, need to expand their worldview. I get being upset, but this is the NFL in 2017. Onto Baltimore.

  • Phil Brenneman II

    Speaking of ST, my man Vance Mcdonald pulled a DHB today and ran down that play. Wasn’t it vs the Browns DHB did it last year?

  • JT

    You would be correct!! Gotta love the hustle of guys like that. I heard Wolfely called him Vanimal. That just might stick after today.

  • John

    Face it we are not a well coached team particularly early in the season. And we are terrible at making adjustments. You cannot lose to Mike Glennon twice in three years and claim you are elite

  • MattHat121

    They haven’t won in BAL since 2012? Jesus.

  • The problem is, too many posters on here either don’t want to or don’t care to widen their view.

    There were a lot of HUGE upsets this week league wide.

  • Scott Thomas

    The Steelers suck. Ben’s done. Shazier’s a bust. AB dances too much. Tomlin should have never been hired. This is what happens when you have the Rooney Rule. Actually the Steelers are fine and will bounce back from this loss and have a great season so stop crying.

  • Glennon didn’t beat this team today. He certainly didn’t carve up this defense. He passed for 101 yards with 1 TD and 1 INT. They scored all their points off turnovers and short fields given to them by our offense or special teams. Although they shut out the Bear in the second half, the defense was gassed by the end of the game. Those huge runs in overtime, our guys were blown off the LOS on every play. Yeah there were a few missed calls given to the Bears on the final drive. But this team didn’t do itself any favors.

    In my honest and humble opinion, today, the Steelers beat the Steelers.

  • DSG

    Note that the losing to inferior teams really staryed when they the defense was not one of the best in the league. In 2008 and 2010 we had the best defense each year with a record of 12-4. Point is, we dont go to the super bowl or lose to ‘inferior’ teams without a top 3 defense In general, The offense just cant score enough points if the defense can’t essentially keep the opposition under 18 points.

    The first 2 games are prime examples of that. As much as people want it to be true, this is offense so far from being elite its embarrassing with the talent we have.

  • DSG

    If someone could do the analysis where we note the losses to ‘inferior teams’ with our overall defensive ranking, that would be interesting.

  • Jason Vancil

    I was really hoping this team had grown. They got beat AGAIN by a team that will finish with a worse record than they will and will not make the Playoffs. I don’t know what the answer is but someone better figure out why this offense, with so many uber-talented pieces struggles to score 17 points on the road. I suspect the answer is between Ben and Haley but I have no idea how to change it. I will stand by my theory that Ben only has half his heart in this thing. I hope I’m wrong, but he seems to try to point the finger everywhere but at himself. High throws, bad reads, just throwing what are essentially hail marys to Bryant.

  • Jeremy McClurg

    I think at this point, Mike Tomlin owes the fans an explanation on how we keep losing to teams that are as bad as the Bears. Let me put this in perspective for some of you idiots out there. The Chicago Bears just won 1 of what will probably be a 4-5 win season for them. That team won’t sniff the playoffs, but they beat us pretty easily. Great teams don’t lose to teams like that, and we’re not a great team. Just a bunch of prima donnas, and no true leaders. Said it since 2012, Mike Tomlin isn’t a good coach. Too often we’re out coached, not prepared, or immature.

  • Jeff McNeill

    Yes they lost to inferior teams. They were the best team and every loss from 74 to 80 was to an inferior team.

  • Kevin Woods

    I agree, I know people are frustrated, and rightly so, but it stills feels like pre-season. Teams have not found or hit their stride. It is still, or should I say it will be the same teams as usual for playoff contentention. You may have one or two new teams, but the same teams, the good teams will be in the playoffs. Again, I know frustration set in today. Now is not the time to panick or look at what another team is doing..

  • barely_free

    They didn’t lose to the bottom dwellers.

  • I was at a bar that had the sound of another game on. I didn’t get to hear the explanation, should that play have resulted in a safety? Not a 1st and goal from the 1 that resulted in a field goal.

  • Reader783

    You are correct, but….how many times do the Patriots get upset when they are huge favorites per year? I think the issue is not that it happens, but that it happens once, if not twice, a YEAR.

  • Hec

    The 2017 Pittsburgh Steelers isn’t as good as it is on paper! This team is not playing with any sense of urgency, or playing like it belongs on a championship run. They make more excuse for why they are not playing well than to correct the same things they do to avoid these same types of loses! Teams have gotten the memo on the Steelers and until they adjust they are not going to overcome these types of games. It may be one lost but this lost is going to have a lasting affect on the rest of the season like it has been doing in the past seasons when we allow bad teams to beat us and exposing our flaws.

  • JT

    You didn’t miss crap. Trent Green is the new Phil Simms. Awful broadcast today. But there was little to no explanation. What Twitter seemed to gather, was that it was still Bears ball since we never gained possession. So we were on defense, and the illegal bat was a penalty. So had Berry just fallen on it, it would’ve been a touch back not a safety.

  • Reader783

    Correct. But watching it live and in replays, I’m not convinced Berry was gonna recover that. He kinda stumbled, not sure he was gonna out-muscle the Bears defenders there. Not sure if it was the right spontaneous choice by him, probably instinctual since he’s a punter, if a snap goes over his head on a punt, he’ll just bat it.

  • JT

    Oh I agree. I don’t fault Berry at all. Like Dave mentioned, Berry is not at all used to handled the ball like that. I think he tried his best. Just didn’t work out.

  • I’m not a ‘glass half full’ kind of a guy, but there IS one positive to this loss. It’s to an NFC team. If Tomlin can right the ship [yuk, yuk,], they still control their fate re gaining the #1 AFC seed.

  • I though since it went out of the back of our endzone it should have been a safety.

  • Well if the Patriots are the number 1 team and every team is “inferior” to them. Then every time they loose, they loose to “inferior” teams, right?

    Especially their divisional opponents. The Phins, Bills, and Jets have all beaten the Pats in the past few years.

  • JT

    I think that only applies to the team that has the ball. Since it’s like being tackled in the end zone. We never got control of the ball so it can’t be a safety.

  • Buccos9

    Interesting stat I heard today. Compared to any of the teams that were in the playoffs last season, the Steelers have lost twice as many games in the past three seasons against teams that finished under .500 by the end of each of those seasons. In other words, good teams don’t lose to bad teams near as often as the Steelers do. That’s on coaching, including Tomlin.

  • pittfan

    been there, done that. long season.

  • Reader783

    No, no…we’re talking losses to bottom-feeders. As we both said, “HUGE” upsets. This Bears loss, the Ravens last year, the Ravens 2 years ago with Mallet, the Bucs with Glennon…hard to find many equivalents like that for the Patriots. Not trying to bust your balls, I’m just rationalizing it. This happens to the Steelers far more often.

  • Michael Conrad

    Look I don’t care what DHB does on ST. They need more speed on the field and to get Rogers of the field. Teams with good offenses have weapons other then AB this team is shooting blanks. DHB is not a WR . He has no use on O. Plain and simple they need more weapons on the field. JJSS will take time. Bell is done . Ben may have checked out. The team tanks and Ben is gone.

  • Frank Martin

    Yes, that was my point. When I said inferior, I meant notably inferior. Also, if you were around for that era, you know they didn’t win the Super Bowl every one of those years, and even in the ones when they did, there were several teams that were on a par with them that they were barely able to beat, especially Oakland and Dallas. When they were 8 point favorites, they almost never lost those games.

  • Well if you aren’t paying attention you don’t see it. Nor will you remember it. I’ll bet if you look, you’ll find it happens more often than you think.

  • Reader783

    I’m not gonna argue with you about it for an hour, but I watch and follow the NFL plenty. The Pats went 14-2 last year with only 1 loss to a non-playoff team (no Brady). The year before they lost to a ~.500 Eagles team and a bad Dolphins team (no Brady again, rested starters in Week 17). The year before, similar story. Like the reality is they just don’t lose to teams that finish 4-12.

    I’m not saying it never happens, but you gotta be honest and notice that it happens far more often than you think to the Steelers. Since Tomlin took over, I’m pretty sure our record against teams above .500 is better than teams below .500…..that is not common.

  • steelcityinny

    I am not buying this BS we hear all the time from Tomlin and others. This team was not prepared to play. They were focused on other things instead of playing football, that is squarely on the coaching staff and the team leaders. This team just wants the Glory and not the work that leads to it. They do not execute in critical moments and are mistake ridden, You All Pro RB is making Rap Videos instead of practicing, and the whole team is focused on outside issues. Any team in the NFL can beat any other team, it is about time Tomlin and his Staff learn that, for 11 years he has not. On a day they could have gone 3-0 and separated themselves from other teams, they instead lay an egg and forget how to play fundamental football. Disrepcetful spoiled jocks is what they are. When you have an Army Ranger who served and saved lives o nthe battefield on your team, you do not disrespect that, shame on the players.

  • Jonathan Ferullo


  • #7

    Long season. Long way to go. Terrible loss but it’s not the end of the world. This team has too many good players for it to not be a force this season. I don’t think they can win it all because I have zero faith in Tomlin’s ability to strategize, but they’ll win plenty of games this year on talent alone

  • It happens once or twice a year to us and that is once or twice more than it should. But it happens and it happens across the league.

    We get a “redemption” game against a Ravens. They is probably not even half way home from London at the moment. They will be jet lagged and have to get reacquainted with east coast time. They will have a tough week leading up to our game with them.

  • Reader783

    It just hurts more and more every single year. It is so painful to go into a game against the Bears KNOWING that you really might lose. Truly almost expecting to lose because it just seems like another one of those games.

    Stealing this stat from Buccos9 who commented it below: “Interesting stat I heard today. Compared to any of the teams that were in the playoffs last season, the Steelers have lost twice as many games in the past three seasons against teams that finished under .500 by the end of each of those seasons. In other words, good teams don’t lose to bad teams near as often as the Steelers do.”

    We gotta figure it out and can’t let it happen anymore if we want to get those playoff home games that we all know are crucial. But you are right, next week is the most important game of the first half. The team needs to move on ASAP, but don’t forget what happened today.

  • Anybody can say they heard or read a stat anywhere. It’s the internet and people fabricate statements that help “prove” their opinions all. The. Time.

    Things like that should be taken with a grain of salt…

  • Reader783

    Well I personally know for a fact (after doing the spreadsheeting myself) that Tomlin’s win % against teams below .500 is worse than this win % overall. And rationally I can observe that that stat is likely NOT common among playoff coaches, so the stat rings true to me.

  • Like I said, a grain of salt…

  • PaeperCup

    Weird. AFCCG, here we come.

  • Phil Brenneman II

    Did you just say they need more speed while saying DHB needs to go? You do realize he is the fastest guy on the team right? He has done okay when he has had chances on the field in previous years but he really never gets that many oppurtunities. And like I said, nobody outside of AB has been all that effective.

  • Chris92021

    Except this time, let’s have it at Heinz Field and we are celebrating instead of throwing things at the television!

  • PaeperCup

    Lets avoid a 4 game slide.

  • Chris92021

    No kidding!!

    Seriously though, I thought last season, the changes which led to the 7 game winning streak came too late. If we had made the changes earlier, I felt we would have been in position to get a 1st round bye. Sure, we probably had to make sure Burns, Hargrave, and Davis were ready to handle the responsibilities. I hope we don’t make the same mistake again this season. This embarrassment should be enough to make Chickillo a rotation guy only and make the offense go through the running back (Bell) again. We should not rely on Big Ben going for 300 yards and 4 TDs every game because that is a recipe for an 8-8 season. I don’t care about averaging 30 points a game on offense. What I want is consistency, which we’ve never really had except for the last 7 games of last season.

  • Rusted Out

    Well, considering that the Steelers have only been as bad as 8-8 in the last decade, it is quite strange that a disproportionate amount of their losing comes in the first four weeks of the schedule. A good coach should win now, and secure homefield advantage in December.

  • buddy28s

    well its a non conference loss, we’ll be alright. #herewego

  • Conserv_58

    The Steelers loses to NFL basement dwellers, especially on the road, is going to continue to embarrass them. They have to live with the constant reminder that they were beat by QB’s like Tim Tebow and Mike Glennon. The bears were without key players and they were down to a third string LB, yet the Steelers found a way to shoot themselves in the foot, again, and allow a bad team make them look like the bad news bears.

  • Zarbor

    You folks obviously don’t listen to what Mike Tomlin says. He explains exactly the way he coaches and believes the team grows and gets better as the season goes along. Therefore, he looks at the team as a work in process at the beginning and it appears that’s the way he coaches. His expectations is that the team get better as it goes along.

  • Ichabod

    Packers won

  • Conserv_58

    It’s gut wretching to know that, Mike Gannon will always be able to say that two of the most memorable wins he had was beating the Steelers. The Steelers are now 12-1 against the bears. That’s pathetic.