Pittsburgh Steelers Post-Mortem Stars and Strikeouts: Week 10 vs. Jets


The Pittsburgh Steelers fought hard to lose their fourth game of the season against the lowly New York Jets.

They tallied two interceptions, two fumbles, gave up 150 rushing yards while gaining just 36 on the ground, and even had two turnovers stolen from them by the men in stripes. It was an overall miserable afternoon, deftly switching the Steelers from first to last in the AFC North.

Let’s review the Stars, Strike(outs) and the Spark of Hope from the 20-13 loss.


It’s hard to find Pittsburgh’s stars in a loss they should have dominated. Jason Worilds had 1.5 sacks, two QB hits, and five tackles – with two being solo and one for a loss. While he was disruptive in the passing game, he still struggled against the run. He repeatedly lost containment which has been a problem for him all season.

Cameron Heyward and James Harrison were worth watching all four quarters. Both had great pursuit on the elusive Michael Vick throughout the game. Harrison ran with the speed of a rookie, not the legs of a 36-year-old. He and Heyward had four tackles a piece, two being solo, and Heyward added a sack.

Heyward also had a fumble recovery but the referees refused to reverse their call on the field. I am guessing the Terry McAulay’s referee crew has reversed very few calls this season.


So many candidates for the Strikeout award after a debilitating loss like this.

Todd Haley returns to the “Dogghouse” by insisting on challenging the best part of the Jets, their defensive front seven. He was screen-happy in the first half and even elected to run Le’Veon Bell (11 carries-36 yards) and LeGarrette Blount (5-0) in the red zone against a defense that has allowed four rushing TDs.

Bell and Blount have three total rushing TDs through 10 weeks. Again Haley seemed to be out-foxing himself camouflaging the Steelers best option – attacking the weak Jets cornerbacks.

The star of the 2014 season thus far, Antonio Brown, had one ugly game. First the fumble on the screen, a drop on a catchable ball and then the killer, the fumbled punt. Unfortunately, he set an example the rest of the Steelers receivers tried to mimic.

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Martavis Bryant had another deep touchdown (80 yards) to end the game but it’s the one he missed that mattered. At the goal line, Bryant allowed undrafted rookie cornerback Marcus Williams to out-position him and tip the ball into the hands of safety Jaiquawn Jarrett.

What’s worse is he would have been wide open had he went to the right corner where Ben was trying to direct him. He also failed to come back for two balls Ben threw under duress. Bryant did pick-up a nice 45-yard catch to bring his total to four receptions for 143 yards.

Darrius Heyward-Bey unsurprisingly dropped another easy one. He also was called for off-sides on the onside kick he recovered, yet I will give him a pass on his supposed “head bob” over the line. One of two terrible calls by the refs that kicked the Steelers while they were down.

Markus Wheaton’s route running still looks like a dog chasing its tail at times. He was targeted seven times but was only 4-41 yards. Since Week 5, Wheaton has hauled in just half the balls Ben has thrown his way (16 receptions out of 31 targets). His best game was against Indianapolis which coincidentally followed a week in which he wasn’t targeted (Texans).

As much as Brown’s fumbles hurt the team, Wheaton’s unreliable play is stunting the offenses momentum. It’s time for Tomlin to put Wheaton through the “Cortez Allen” treatment and give Lance Moore some of his snaps. I am not sure Moore has conclusively earned more but Wheaton definitely has done enough to lose them.


Lance Moore snagged the only two balls thrown his way, adding up to 28 yards. The veteran runs routes well, has speed and exceptional hands. I don’t know why he is averaging 15-20 snaps less than Wheaton. Wheaton is certainly not a better receiver and is a so-so blocker — not exactly a Hines Ward in the run game.