Tim Benz: First airing of grievances is deep after Steelers debacle vs. Patriots | TribLIVE.com
Breakfast With Benz

Tim Benz: First airing of grievances is deep after Steelers debacle vs. Patriots

Tim Benz
New England Patriots wide receiver Phillip Dorsett catches a pass in front of Pittsburgh Steelers defensive back Kameron Kelly, that he ran in for a touchdown in the second half, Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019, in Foxborough, Mass.

We pick up where we left off in 2018 at Breakfast With Benz. Whenever the Pittsburgh Steelers lose — and even sometimes when they win — we post our “Airing of Grievances.”

It was easier than ever to construct after Sunday’s season-opening 33-3 loss to the New England Patriots.

Well, maybe not as easy as it was to do after the loss in Oakland last year. But close.

At least, Sunday night, the X-ray machine never came into play.

Although, it would’ve been wise to use on Donte Moncrief’s hands.

More on that later.

Before we get to the specifics, what a debacle, huh? I’m really glad to hear that the Steelers have a wonderfully harmonious locker room this year. But that won’t last if they play like that every week.

Wow! That was bad. Midway through the third quarter, I was thinking that Aaron Boone’s mercy-rule idea was a stroke of brilliance.

I guess the Patriots aren’t “on their last legs” after all. The Pirates have a better chance of sweeping the Yankees in a 162-game series than the Steelers do of ever beating Tom Brady in Foxborough.

But don’t worry, NFL. The Pats will get a stiffer test next week when they play… um, the Dolphins?

OK, let’s get to the venting.

Donte Moncrief

Or let’s call him by his real name: Football Brassard.

Every time Ben Roethlisberger threw toward Moncrief, something bad happened. How many did he drop? Three? Four? Whenever Roethlisberger targeted him, I thought he was throwing into a blackhole.

It raised this question on Twitter.

I don’t know. But both of his hands were bothering me.

Even throws intended for Moncrief that he didn’t drop somehow went awry. He wasn’t open. It got deflected. Roethlisberger misfired. Something.

That’s who is supposed to be the No. 2 receiver now that JuJu Smith-Schuster got elevated to No. 1?

Three catches for 7 yards on 10 targets. Ugh.

Meanwhile, now that Antonio Brown is in New England, they’ve got Josh Gordon as a No. 3 and Phillip Dorsett as a No. 4.

How did those guys look last night?

Vance McDonald

Where was he? For three-and-a-half quarters, I thought he missed the team plane.

The tight end ended up with only 2 catches for 40 yards. They happened in garbage time.

Although, in this game, garbage time began after the coin flip.

This is a season where McDonald is supposed to emerge as a major receiving threat. So I don’t know what happened Sunday.

I’m not sure if I should blame him for not getting open. Roethlisberger for not targeting him. Or the game plan for not incorporating him.

Tell you what, until we hear otherwise, let’s just say all of the above.


Maurkice Pouncey, T.J. Watt, and JuJu Smith-Schuster all left the game after getting hurt. Those injuries appeared to happen late, when the game was already well in hand for New England.

Even after those warning shots, Roethlisberger was still in there, getting hit in the final seconds of the game.

Why? It was over. Get those guys off the field.

I joked on Twitter that the starters should be left in the game because they deserved the punishment.

But coach Mike Tomlin actually doing it? Now that was a joke.

That third-and-1

You know the one I mean. Midway through the second quarter, 7:46 left. On a third-and-1, Roethlisberger pitched the ball wide to James Conner and he lost 4 yards.

I hate that play. I hate it so much.

That was a Todd Haley special. It appears to have resurfaced.

There is nothing I understand less than the concept of pitching the ball backward 6 yards in an effort to gain 3 feet forward.

But the Steelers seem to love it.

Why does Roosevelt Nix have a roster spot if you don’t use him there? Or at the goal line instead of throwing a fade to “Football Brassard?”

The field goal

Was Tomlin channeling his inner Bill Cowher? I felt like we were watching the 2004 AFC Championship Game.

Down 20-0, the Steelers drove into the red zone and stalled on fourth-and-goal at the one-yard line.

After the fade to “Football Brassard.”

So Tomlin elected to kick a field goal. I assume to avoid a shutout or to get Chris Boswell his confidence back or… something.

That was the deepest penetration the Steelers had to that point (and, ultimately, would have all night). They needed seven points there. Not three.

And then they needed 30 more after that.

Aside from that, it was a great night in Foxborough.

As usual.

Tim Benz is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tim at [email protected] or via Twitter. All tweets could be reposted. All emails are subject to publication unless specified otherwise.

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