Steelers Gearing Up For Cincinnati Visit Facing Significant Defensive Obstacles

Steelers Gearing Up For Cincinnati Visit Facing Significant Defensive Obstacles

Two seasons before his last, Bill Cowher led the Pittsburgh Steelers to a 2-6 start in 2006, only a season after the team won the league title. During Mike Tomlin’s first five seasons in Pittsburgh, the coach led the team to at least a 6-2 start. In the meantime, Tomlin also led teams to the postseason eight out of his past eleven years coaching while also capturing two championships. Adding insult to injury, the Steelers have blown fourth-quarter leads in all three of their losses this season. So what’s the problem with the 2012 Steelers squad? Most fans that buy Pittsburgh Steelers tickets recognize that five or six losses in a season all but makes a postseason impossible.

It’s nowhere near time to jump ship, however, despite becoming dangerously close to pounding on the panic button. The Bengals have lost their last four meetings with Pittsburgh. And the Bengals are also experiencing many of the same issues as the Steelers. Just last week, the Bengals gave up 21 points in the fourth quarter against Cleveland, losing the game 34-24. And while Cincinnati’s defensive genius Dick LeBeau has a nasty habit of completely dismantling young quarterbacks, Big Ben is no rookie and has never looked better than he has this year.

According to the Steelers’ Tomlin, one of the big struggles for the Steelers this year is playmaking — there aren’t enough big plays contributing to the Steelers offense or defense. That’s a bit of an understatement in regards to the terrible defense showcased by Pittsburgh this year, but it’s far from the whole story. In addition to continuing injury difficulties (even placing recent standout Isaac Redman in doubt for the Cincinnati game), the Steelers must lock down the late game and stop teams from making remarkable comebacks in the fourth quarter. This means tightening up the defense, but also requires a consistent effort on the offense’s part to keep opposing teams from building momentum. The next game for the Steelers should be an easy matchup for the Pittsburgh football team we know and love, but the unpredictability of the season so far still casts doubts on the Steelers’ legitimacy as playoff contenders.