Steelers' Achilles' Heel Shifts From Offensive Line to Special Teams

Ready to kick the Steelers while they’re down? Sure you are! Not only did the defending champs lose in humiliating fashion Sunday to a sub-par team that they outgained by about 230 yards (while holding the ball for almost 22 minutes longer), they set a shameful NFL record that has a lot to do with the team’s struggles this year: it was the eighth consecutive game in which the Steelers surrendered either a special teams or defensive touchdown. ↵
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↵ ↵⇥ ↵⇥ ↵⇥ ↵⇥ ↵⇥ ↵⇥ ↵ ↵
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↵Let’s recap: ↵

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↵-- Week 3 at Cincinnati: Jonathan Joseph returns a Roethlisberger interception for a touchdown. ↵

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↵-- Week 4 vs. San Diego: A fumbled Stefan Logan punt return is taken in for a touchdown. ↵

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↵-- Week 5 at Detroit: Will Peterson returns a Roethlisberger interception for a touchdown. ↵

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↵-- Week 6 vs. Cleveland: Joshua Cribbs takes a kickoff return for a touchdown. ↵

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↵-- Week 7 vs. Minnesota: Percy Harvin takes a kickoff return for a touchdown. ↵

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↵-- Week 9 at Denver (Week 8 was their bye): Robert Ayers returns a Roethlisberger fumble for a touchdown. ↵

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↵-- Week 10 vs. Cincinnati: Bernard Scott takes a kickoff return for a touchdown. ↵

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↵-- Week 11 at Kansas City: Jamaal Chales returns the game’s opening kickoff for a score. ↵

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↵Giving away cheap scores in the NFL will kill you almost every time, and Pittsburgh is making a historically bad habit of it. This is a team that thrived on pulling out close game after close game last season on the way to a championship. It’s no coincidence that they didn’t allow a single kick return for a touchdown in 2008 either. This year, those squeakers for the most part aren’t going their way (three of their four losses have been by three points, while the other was by a margin of six). Several times they’ve allowed an opponent the team has otherwise dominated to hang around with easy points. Yesterday was a prime example. ↵

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↵And while the Steelers have to be still considered a threat because they’re capable of beating any team in the league when not fully engaged in beating themselves. Unfortunately for them, destructive trends such as these are not easily fixed within the course of a season. ↵

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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