First off, I want to let everyone know that I am possibly the biggest Steeler fan in the U.S. I have constantly made excuses to why the Steelers will turn their season around. But, after watching the poorest excuse of football last Sunday against the Oakland Raiders, I have lost hope.
I think the Steelers should still easily win this game, but if they lose, this will be why.
I have never seen a more incapable offensive coordinator in the NFL that has this much talent. Arians is still the number one reason the Steelers are not division leaders at this moment.
His play calling seems to have no thought and no preparation. He has tried to turn the Steelers into a spread offense, with Ben Roethlisberger doing his best Texas Tech quarterback impression.
The Steelers have completely gotten away from what has made us such a good team: pounding the football.
Rashard Mendenhall is a pro-bowl caliber running back, just waiting to get more carries. He has done an amazing job this year—887 yards rushing, five touchdowns, 5.0 avg. But Mendenhall has still been underused as a Steeler running back. He had only 20 carries against a putrid Raiders defense, 24 carries against the Ravens—Dennis Dixon started that game—and only 21 carries against the Chiefs.
The Steelers have no short yard rushing offense anymore. They are one of the only teams in the league that prefer to spread the ball on third and short, rather than pounding it down the opponents throat—would you expect anything else from a receivers coach?
Lastly, the Steelers have been uncharacteristically choking late in the game. This is due to the fresh defense of the opponent, and their inability to run the ball consistently.
This is going to be an ongoing problem that desperately needs to be fixed.
Still no Troy Polamalu
This one is self explanatory, but I will spit the same stats out.
The Steelers have one of the worst pass defenses without him, and they can simply not win. I am not sure if one defensive player has played such an impact on a team.
If Bruce Gradkowski could torch the Steeler's defense, just wait for what a hot Brady Quinn could do.
No Hines Ward or William Gay
Ben Roethlisberger should jump on the opportunity to call out his teammate in this situation. After Ward called Ben out on his toughness, he is definitely going to take a lot of heat for missing this game.
The absence of Ward will only make Ben's job harder, and this also poses the threat of seeing the least sure-handed receiver in the league—Limas Sweed—get into the game.
I was very hesitant to include Gay on this list. The fact that he might not be playing, could pose a bigger threat to the Cleveland Browns.
Gay is not a terrible dime corner, or even a nickel corner, but as a starter, he has to be one of the worst in the league. I saw more of William Gay on the ground, than actually making plays.
Still injuries plague a team's chemistry, so this will only help Brady Quinn and the Cleveland Browns.
Brady Quinn is living up to his potential
In his last three games, Quinn has gone for eight total touchdowns, while not throwing an interception. This has been great for Cleveland Brown's fans to see. It seems as though Quinn has finally taken a turn for the better and seems to be gelling with his receivers.
After throwing for 271 yards and three touchdowns against a half decent Charger's secondary, Quinn could find himself putting up similar if not better numbers.
Also, playing at home could definitely be in his favor.
I still believe the Steelers should and will win this game, but after watching them play, I realize that nothing is for certain. This could be a new all-time low if the Steelers do manage to lose to the Browns. This would also be a new for Roethlisberger.