Outcomes for Every Pittsburgh Steelers Games This Season

Ahmad Rashad@@BigARashadAnalyst IAugust 17, 2011

Outcomes for Every Pittsburgh Steelers Games This Season

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    By all accounts, the Pittsburgh Steelers seem to have been given a moderately easy schedule for 2011. They face the NFC West, AFC South, AFC North twice, Chiefs and Patriots.

    However, the Steelers have been known to sometimes lose the games they should win. Just rewind to 2009 and that nasty five-game losing streak to see what I mean.

    I don't see a repeat of 2009 in the makings though. The team will be even hungrier to reach the Super Bowl this year as they fell one drive short of winning the previous one.

    Anyone who expects the reigning AFC Champions to suffer from any kind of Super Bowl hangover is kidding themselves.

    That uncanny willingness to succeed will help drive the Steelers to multiple wins this season. Here are my predictions of the wins and losses the Steelers will face in 2011.

Week 1: @ Baltimore Ravens

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    What better way to kickoff the season than against the hated divisional rival Baltimore Ravens? In case you missed it, a lot of trash talk passed between the two sides during the lockout.

    LaMarr Woodley kicked it off on NFL Network by declaring that Joe Flacco will never win a Super Bowl. Terrell Suggs responded by saying that Woodley likes to talk out of his butt.

    After Hines Ward's DUI, Ray Rice got into a mini spat with Ryan Clark on Twitter after Rice pronounced that Ward would miss the first game

    Now we all love trash talk between these two rivals, but that means diddly once the game starts. Boy what a game it will be.

    It will be a brutal, low-scoring affair with neither side gaining any real advantage over the other. At least not until the fourth quarter. 

    Once the fourth quarter rolls around, the usual will occur. The Ravens will have a slight lead with the score 13-10. In the waning minutes, Joe Flacco will turn the ball over, setting up Big Ben to work his late-game magic.

    Ben does what he does and drives the Steelers down the field and throws the game-winning touchdown to Antonio Brown.

    The Steelers win 17-13, Mike Tomlin goes 5-0 in season openers, and Pittsburgh has sole possession of first place in the division.

    Record 1-0

Week 2: Seattle Seahawks

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    In the first home game of the season, the Pittsburgh Steelers battle a familiar opponent in the Seattle Seahawks.

    I could write about how the Seahawks still feel cheated from Super Bowl XL, but that's for another time and place. Besides, they will feel much worse after the Steelers finish with them.

    The game won't be close as Pittsburgh puts on a show for Steeler Nation. Big Ben has a field day as he easily surpasses 400 yards passing and three touchdowns.

    Mike Wallace reels in 125 of those yards and two touchdowns.

    Rashard Mendenhall and Isaac Redman receive a heavy dosage of carries in the fourth quarter to keep the game in check and wears down Seattle's defense.

    Steelers win in a dominating effort 45-6.


    Record 2-0

Week 3: @ Indianapolis Colts

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    The Steelers are 2-0 and travel to Lucas Oil Stadium to take on Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts.

    Normally a match with a high-powered offense would be a concern with the Steelers secondary being suspect to elite quarterbacks.

    If history is any indication though, the Steelers usually play the Colts tough and manage to keep the game close.

    Expect the same result this time around as well. An added bonus is that Manning still may be recovering from offseason neck surgery and might not be 100 percent up to speed.

    As a result, the Steelers take advantage of his lack of mobility by bringing tons of pressure from the outside. The strategy works for the first half as Manning gets sacked four times and the Colts are down 13-3.

    In the second half, Manning rekindles some of his late-game magic and leads the Colts on three scoring drives, two of which end in a touchdown. 

    The Steelers are now behind 20-13. Ben is able to lead a touchdown drive to tie the game, but too much time is left on the clock.

    The Colts have just enough time to drive down the field to attempt a 45-yard field goal for the win. With three seconds left on the clock, the kick sails through the uprights to give the Colts the victory. 

    Colts win 23-20.


    Record 2-1

Week 4: @ Houston Texans

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    The Steelers travel to Reliant Stadium to take on the Houston Texans.

    Pittsburgh is coming off of its first loss of the season and will be looking to rebound against the Texans.

    Both teams will try to get their ground games going with little to no success.

    The game then becomes the duel of the quarterbacks as each team tries to pass their way to victory. 

    Emmanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown will have a big day running through the Texans' weak secondary and will count for half of Ben's 400-plus yards passing.

    While both teams rack up the stats, only the Steelers make theirs count the most as they score four touchdowns in a convincing victory.

    Steelers win 31-17.

    Record 3-1

Week 5: Tennessee Titans

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    The last time the Titans and Steelers met, the Titans were on the receiving end of a brutal bashing in Tennessee.

    The Steel Curtain put on its most dominating performance in recent memory as Dick LeBeau's defense forced seven turnovers in a 19-11 win.

    The Steelers also ended Chris Johnson's 12-game streak of 100-yard games as they held him to a season-low 34 yards rushing.

    Heading into Week 5 of the 2011 season, the Titans will be looking to avenge their embarrassing loss from the previous year.

    Revenge won't come easy as the two sides engage in another battle of the defenses. Both Roethlisberger and Hasslebeck spend most of the day on the ground as they succumb to the pressure being wrought upon them.

    While Chris Johnson is shut down once again, the Steelers find moderate success with their running game. Rashard Mendenhall scores the only Steelers touchdown of the day on a one-yard plunge into the end zone.

    In the waning minutes of the fourth quarter, Troy Polamalu makes another one of his late-game interceptions, setting the Steelers up with good field position.

    The Steelers manage to drive the ball down to the 10-yard line courtesy of a quick slant that Mike Wallace nearly turns into a touchdown.

    With a few ticks left on the clock, Shaun Suisham kicks the game-winning field goal from 27 yards out. 

    Steelers win 16-13.


    Record 4-1

Week 6: Jacksonville Jaguars

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    In Week 6, the Steelers face another ex-rival as the Jacksonville Jaguars come to the Steel City.

    The last three home games against Jacksonville have not been an enjoyable experience for the Steelers as each resulted in heartbreaking losses.

    Pittsburgh figures to break this disturbing trend and finally put the Jaguars in their place. As a result, they put on their best performance thus far in the season.

    Big Ben, who has struggled against the Jaguars secondary in the past, torches them for over 300 yards and four touchdowns.

    For once, the Steelers halt the Jaguars rushing attack as Maurice Jones Drew fails to find a chink in the Steelers' run defense armor.

    In contrast, Rashard Mendenhall has a career day as he rushes for over 170 yards and a touchdown.

    Hines Ward reels in seven catches and is becoming ever so close to topping 1000.

    In the end, Pittsburgh wins in dominating fashion 48-6. For the first time in years, Steelers fans can leave a home game against the Jaguars happy.


    Record 5-1

Week 7: @ Arizona Cardinals

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    In Week 7, the Steelers travel to Arizona, or as Steeler Nation likes to call it "Pittsburgh West," to take on the Kevin Kolb-led Cardinals.

    On paper, it appears that the Steelers are already penciled in for the win. They have the superior offense and defense, the team is coming off a blowout win against the Jaguars, and their record is better.

    Well do you remember my earlier statement about how the Steelers sometimes lose to teams they should beat? Well this is one of those games.

    At first, the game is all Pittsburgh. The Steelers manage to shutout the Cardinals in the first half while picking up 20 points themselves.

    By now you would think the game is over. Wrap it up and stick a fork in it right? Wrong.

    The Cardinals find new life in the second half and spark an unbelievable comeback. Before the Steelers know what hit them, the score is 23-20 Cardinals with 20 seconds left on the clock.

    On the ensuing kickoff, Antonio Brown returns it to Arizona's 35-yard line. Ben only has time for one play before Shaun Suisham comes on to attempt to send the game into overtime.

    Unfortunately, the kick is blocked and the Cardinals manage to hold on and give the Steelers their second defeat of the season.

    Steelers lose 23-20.

    Record 5-2 

Week 8: New England Patriots

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    In years past, games against the Patriots have been nothing but slow torture for Steelers fans as they watched Tom Brady dissect their vaunted defense.

    In Week 8, the Steelers refuse to continue to be Tom Brady's footstool and come out with a purpose.

    In previous games, the Steelers have sat back and let Brady pick them apart. This time, Pittsburgh brings the pressure and it works all game long as Tom Terrific succumbs to the Steelers' blitzes.

    Heading into the fourth quarter, instead of imminent defeat staring them in the face, the Steelers are tied with the Patriots 17-17.

    A timely Polamalu interception sets the Steelers up at their 20-yard line with 1:30 to go. After a couple of remarkable completions, the Steelers find themselves down to the 15-yard line. 

    From there, Ben hits a wide open Hines Ward over the middle. Ward breaks two tackles and scampers his way into the end zone for the game-winning touchdown.

    The moment is bitter sweet however as Big Ben is on the ground in pain. Replays show that as soon as Ben released the ball, Albert Haynesworth came in low and hit him in his extended left knee with his helmet.

    Ben is helped off the field by the trainers and is putting no weight on his injured leg. In the meantime, the extra point is kicked and the Steelers are up 24-17 with 10 seconds left on the clock.

    Suisham kicks the ball off deep into the opposing end zone, but the Patriots forgo a return and take the touchback.

    The Patriots try a series of lateral passes, but are quickly shutdown. Heinz Field goes into a frenzy as the Steelers win the game 24-17. 

    Pittsburgh finally gets the long-awaited triumph over Tom Brady and the Patriots, but several questions remain.

    What is the severity of Ben's injury? How many weeks will he miss? Could he possibly be able to play against the Ravens next week?


    Record  6-2 

Week 9: Baltimore Ravens

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    The Steelers are coming off of a monumental victory over Tom Brady and the Patriots and are gearing up for a rematch with their division rivals from Baltimore.

    There is one notable absence as Roethlisberger has been ruled out for the next three to four weeks with a sprained knee. In his place, backup quarterback Byron Leftwich gets the start against the Ravens.

    Without their star quarterback, the Steelers are forced to run the ball on the Ravens.

    The combination of Mendenhall and Redman actually finds moderate success against a normally staunch Ravens run defense.

    Since the Steelers have shut down the Ravens rushing attack, Flacco is forced to air the ball out.

    He actually does a fair job until the closing minutes of the fourth quarter. Usually during this time, either one or two things happen. Troy Polamalu causes a clutch turnover or Big Ben leads a game-winning drive. 

    With Ben sidelined, only one thing can happen. On a third down from the 50-yard line, Polamalu jumps on a deep pass intended for Lee Evans and returns it across the Steelers 30-yard line.

    At this point Leftwich borrows some of Ben's late-game magic and uses it to drive the Steelers to the 25-yard line.

    The drive stalls and Suisham is brought on to kick the game into overtime. This time, Suisham connects and sends the Steelers into overtime.

    Pittsburgh wins the coin toss and after a touchback, starts off from their own 20. On the first two downs, the Steelers stall and gain nothing.

    On third down, a pass intended for Emmanuel Sanders is picked off by Haloti Ngata. Even though Ngata is 300-plus pounds, he has the quickness of a linebacker.

    The big man rumbles all the way down to the 10-yard line before he is shoved out of bounds. 

    With priceless field position, the Ravens forgo any type of play and elect to automatically kick the field goal.

    To the disappointment of over 65,000 Steelers fans, the kick sails through the uprights as the Ravens pull out the narrow victory.

    Even though they lost, the Steelers can still boast about one thing. Joe Flacco has yet to beat the them with Ben Roethlisberger as the quarterback.

    Steelers lose 19-16.


    Record 6-3

Week 10: @ Cincinnati Bengals

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    The Steelers are coming off of a heartbreaking loss to the Ravens and will be looking to take their anger out on the division rival Bengals.

    With neither side having nothing more than an average quarterback, defenses reigns supreme in this game, at least for the first half.

    Neither side can conjure up any kind of offense and head into the half tied at zero.

    Due to a poor half in which he threw two interceptions, Byron Leftwich is replaced by the veteran Charlie Batch.

    Batch turns out to be the spark that the Steelers needed as he throws a touchdown strike to Heath Miller on the opening possession of the second half.

    That will be the only score for awhile as both defenses clamp down once again. The next score is a Steelers field goal late in the fourth quarter.

    By this time, it's clear that Pittsburgh has won and the Bengals run out the clock with some garbage time stats.

    The Steelers shut out the Bengals 10-0 and head into the bye week a happy team


    Record 7-3 

Week 12: @ Kansas City Chiefs

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    The Steelers are feeling new and refreshed as they are coming off of a later than usual bye week.

    Even better news is that Ben Roethlisberger is scheduled to play, though he will be wearing a knee brace.

    The Steelers are now in the easy part of their schedule and it starts off with the Kansas City Chiefs.

    I don't know about everyone else, but I have been dying for the Steelers to play the Chiefs ever since that embarrassing loss at Arrowhead Stadium in 2009.

    The Steelers return to the same stadium looking to regain their lost pride from two years ago.

    At the start of the game, the Chiefs actually get their ground game going against the Steelers No. 1 rush defense.

    However, due to their inability to convert on third down, the yards become meaningless.

    The Steelers on the other hand have no trouble moving the ball on the Chiefs. Before the Chiefs can blink, Pittsburgh is up 14-0.

    The Steelers seem to be in control of the game until an old problem rears its ugly head. The offense stalls once it gets into the red zone and the Steelers start to come away with field goals instead.

    Regardless, the Steelers are still up 27-0 by the half. With the game almost decided and the playoffs around the corner, the Steelers are content with letting Isaac Redman pound away at the Chiefs defense.

    Redman has a career day as he has his first 100-yard game. He won't be the only one celebrating as Hines Ward catches his 1,000th pass.

    To wrap it all up, the Steelers get the win in a 27-3 victory.


    Record 8-3

Week 13: Cincinnati Bengals

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    For some odd reason, the Bengals tend to play better at Heinz Field than they do at Paul Brown Stadium.

    In case no one has noticed, the Steelers have not scored an offensive touchdown at home against the Bengals since 2008.

    I'm sure the Steelers know this as well as Ben comes firing right out of the gate with a bomb to Mike Wallace to give them an early seven-point lead.

    The Bengals have trouble responding as Andy Dalton is harassed by Dick LeBeau's defense. The Steelers go into a slump themselves and the score remains 7-0 at the half.

    Things finally got interesting again as late in the third quarter, James Harrison comes clean up the middle and slams Andy Dalton into the ground. Heinz Field goes ballistic, but the cheers quickly turn to boos as Harrison is flagged for unnecessary roughness.

    This tears it for James as he ends ups slamming his helmet into the ground, taking another penalty in the process.

    His anger is nothing compared to Mike Tomlin's as he is seen slinging his headset off and storms over to the officials to complain about the bogus call.

    Tomlin normally keeps his cool but this time he shows no restraint as he gives the refs a piece of his mind. A few players have to help get their coach back on the sidelines before he gets himself into serious trouble.

    As play resumes, Bruce Gradkowski replaces Dalton as he had sustained a concussion from Harrison's hit.

    With the Steelers seemingly out of focus, Gradkowski easily drives down the field to tie the game up at 7-7.

    The Steelers regain focus and quickly take the lead back to make the score 14-7. The Bengals would fail to score the rest of the night as the Steel Curtain kept them out of the end zone and field goal range.

    Steelers win 14-7


    Record 9-3

Week 14: Cleveland Browns

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    The Browns have been sneaky good so far as they have a respectable record at 6-6. Therefore, the Steelers can't afford to underestimate their rivals.

    To prove it, the Browns open the game with Josh Cribbs taking the kickoff deep from his own end zone back for a touchdown.

    That will be the only touchdown Cleveland scores on the day as the Steelers manhandle the Browns once again.

    Pittsburgh dominates them offensively as Ben eclipses the 400-plus yard mark for the second time this season.

    Redman and Mendenhall let loose in the fourth quarter and score a touchdown apiece to help close out the game.

    On defense, Troy Polamalu has a career day as he reels in three Colt McCoy interceptions. Harrison and Woodley both acquire double-digit sacks for the fourth straight year. 

    In the end, Steelers win 45-10.


    Record 10-3

Week 15: @ San Francisco 49ers

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    For the past three years, Week 15 games have come down to the wire for the Steelers.

    In 2008, it was the division winner in Baltimore where Holmes caught that touchdown that barely crossed the plane.

    In 2009, it was the shootout against Green Bay that saw Wallace make that spectacular sideline catch with no time left.

    Last year, it was a home game against the Jets that saw the Steelers come a few yards short of victory.

    This year, even though it's the 49ers, I'm predicting another hard-fought game coming down to the wire.

    By this time, the Steelers have clinched a playoff berth and will be feeling a bit lax. The 49ers bring them back down to earth by scoring a touchdown on their opening drive.

    Pittsburgh repeatedly tries to respond, but the 49ers are surprisingly playing rather stellar defense.

    The second half is a different story as the Steelers finally get their offense moving. Before they know it, Pittsburgh is up 13-10 heading into the two-minute warning.

    That lead is short-lived as the 49ers return the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown to make the score 17-13. Now the Steelers have to score a touchdown to win the game.

    Who better to help your team drive down the field other than Ben Roethlisberger? The drive starts off a bit rocky as a penalty has the Steelers in third and long.

    No stranger to these situations, Ben finds Antonio Brown over the middle to get the first. Time is running out as the Steelers drive all the way down to the five-yard line.

    With three seconds left, Ben drops back, rolls to his right, and hits Sanders in the back of the end zone, sealing the come-from-behind victory.

    Steelers win 20-17


    Record 11-3

Week 16: St. Louis Rams

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    In the last home game of the year, the Steelers face Sam Bradford and the Rams.

    The Steelers remember what happened when they came out flat against the 49ers.

    They don't make the same mistake twice.

    Pittsburgh launches an offensive blitzkrieg against the Rams scoring 31 first-half points.

    To start the second half, the Rams fail to score anything but two field goals in the third quarter. 

    As a result, the Steelers replace their starters with backups at the start of the fourth.

    The Rams are able to move the ball on the backups and score two touchdowns. At this point the game is over and and the scores are nothing but garbage time stats and valuable playing time for the young guns.

    The Steelers win their last home game of the year 37-17.


    Record 12-3

Week 17: @ Cleveland Browns

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    I'm sure the Steelers love the fact that the NFL always seems to give them the Browns to finish off a season. 

    It's basically an extra bye week for the Steelers as it's always a blowout win.

    Don't expect anything different this time around either.

    The Browns are coming off of a terrifying stretch where they play five division games in a span of six weeks.

    By this time they are sore, tired, and frankly just ready for the season to end. The Steelers are only too happy to oblige.

    They open the game with a strong rushing attack and manage to score on their opening drive. By the end of the first quarter, the veterans are already starting to come out of the game. 

    By halftime, it's mainly backups on the field. The Steelers abandon the passing game and wear the Browns down with a strong rushing attack.

    Pittsburgh runs up, through and around Cleveland and score a couple of touchdowns in the process.

    All in all, it's an ugly end of the year game that the Steelers win 27-6.

    Due to a strength-of-victory tiebreaker over Baltimore, the Steelers have once again claimed the AFC north title.

    Also due to the head-to-head tiebreaker over New England, the Steelers also lock up home-field advantage for the playoffs and a bye week.


    Final Record 13-3