The Pittsburgh Steelers Collapse and Other NFL Week Three Takeaways


Sep 22, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers defensive backs Robert Golden (left) and Ryan Clarke (center) and Troy Polamalu (43) look on as the officials review a play against the Chicago Bears during the fourth quarter at Heinz Field. The Bears won 40-23. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Week three of the NFL season was packed full of thrillers and shockers, some good and some bad for certain teams including the Pittsburgh Steelers.  What is there to take away from the slate of games?

Aaron Rodgers is getting tired of Mike McCarthy and his play calling

The first sign of a team that is going to struggle during a season is a disconnect between quarterback and head coach.  While it is still too early to make a definitive call, it seemed on Sunday the Green Bay Packers had the beginnings of one when Aaron Rodgers and Mike McCarthy got into a heated exchange on the sideline.  It occurred right after Rodgers tried to score on a roll out play but was violently knocked out of bounds short of the goal line.  He apparently wasn’t a fan of the call and let McCarthy know it.  Cooler heads separated them and things simmered down but it remains to be seen if this is a growing problem.

The Minnesota Vikings defense are the reason they’re 0-3

Blaming Christian Ponder for why the Minnesota Vikings have stumbled to 0-3 culminating in a humiliating upset suffered against the Cleveland Browns is too easy because he’s the quarterback.  A true evaluation of it says the source of the problem isn’t him primarily but the Vikings defense.  They currently rank 29th in the league allowing 429.7 yards per game and an average of 32 points.  A big reason for this is they rank 30th in the NFL with just four sacks through three games.  They were tied for 5th in the league last year with 44.  That needs to improve if they have any hope of rescuing their season.

Ryan Tannehill continues to show steady improvement

Andrew Luck keeps playing tough, efficient football.  Robert Griffin III has amassed huge numbers thus far.  However the real story of the 2012 quarterback class this year is Miami Dolphins starter Ryan Tannehill.  While not very flashy he’s completed 66% of his passes for 827 yards and four touchdown to two interceptions and always seeming to make the play to put his team ahead for good.  That was on display against in week three when he led Miami down the field against Atlanta and scored a game-winning touchdown with under a minute to go.  The Dolphins are 3-0 and their quarterback is a big reason why.

The Houston Texans aren’t passing the eye test

Parity reigns supreme in the NFL as very few teams have been able to truly establish their Super Bowl contention early.  Count the Houston Texans as another team that isn’t living up to their off-season hype.  After barely escaping their first two games against the Chargers and Titans, they came crashing back to Earth against the defending champion Baltimore Ravens.  Matt Schaub was harassed all day on offense and the defense was steadily picked apart by Joe Flacco and Bernard Pierce.  They simply aren’t playing championship-caliber football and until they do nothing will change for them and their fans.

Ben Roethlisberger can’t stop Pittsburgh Steelers from sinking

Championship football is something Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers know a lot about.  After such a long run of winning seasons dating back to 2004 that included three Super Bowl trips and two titles, the team finally got caught getting old in too many spots and they’re paying for it.  Roethlisberger did everything he could Sunday night to keep his team from going 0-3 for the first time in 13 years.  That included throwing for 406 yards and two touchdowns.  Unfortunately he also threw two interceptions and fumbled three times, losing two of them.  Pittsburgh gave the ball away five times on the night while the defense, though suffocating at times went their third-straight game without a takeaway.  These Pittsburgh Steelers aren’t the same as years past, and their mystique is disappearing with every crushing loss.

The Kansas City Chiefs have found identity with help of Alex Smith

Not every team has to be a dynamic scoring group with a Hall of Fame quarterback to win.  Several teams over the years have found great success through dominant defense and efficient offense.  That is the identity the Kansas City Chiefs have settled on under new head coach Andy Reid.  Through week three they rank 9th in yards allowed, 2nd in scoring, 4th in interceptions, and 1st in sacks and defensive touchdowns.  They are laden with Pro Bowl talents including a rising superstar in Justin Houston.  Complimenting them is quarterback Alex Smith.  Though not a star by any means, he is a veteran and understands better than most the value of ball control  Through three games he has zero interceptions and hasn’t lost the single fumble he’s had.  His willingness to lean on the running game also proves the unselfishness of this team and is why they are 3-0.