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Pittsburgh Steelers won, but issues remain clear

The Pittsburgh Steelers did what they had to do on Monday night. They went into Raymond James Stadium and defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In doing so, they got their first win of the campaign while simultaneously giving Tampa Bay its first defeat.

At 1-1-1, the Pittsburgh Steelers are a half-game back in the AFC North of the Bengals and Ravens. The former plays the Atlanta Falcons down south next weekend, while the latter will visit Heinz Field on Sunday. In other words, Pittsburgh has a chance to be in first place by the the end of this upcoming weekend.


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Still, there has to be a feeling of uneasiness in the Steel City, a feeling that not all is right. Because, well, it clearly isn’t.

The Steelers toppled the Buccaneers and Ben Roethlisberger went over 300 passing yards with three touchdowns. Roethlisberger continues to be tremendous. He leads the league in passing yardage while spreading the ball around to Antonio Brown, JuJu Smith-Schuster and Jesse James. Yet it’s the defense and penalties — i.e. the constant lack of discipline — that is holding Pittsburgh back from being one of the NFL’s elite teams.

On Monday night, Pittsburgh was called for 13 penalties. It was the third consecutive game in which the Steelers committed at least a dozen penalties, something that is beyond inexcusable, especially for a veteran team being coached by a man with considerable credentials in Mike Tomlin.


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The Buccaneers were able to rack up 455 yards on a muddy track, despite committing four turnovers. While the Steelers defense has to be commended on taking the ball away, it also must be admonished for almost allowing a 17-point fourth-quarter lead to evaporate.

Between the lack of discipline and a secondary that has allowed nine passing touchdowns over the past two weeks, the Steelers are anything but a formidable foe at the moment. The schedule won’t get any easier with the always tough Ravens coming to town, followed by a trip from the Falcons, who although banged up remains loaded offensively.

At some point, Tomlin and Co. have to figure this out. The talent is there to win the North and make a move in the weak AFC, but nothing good is coming from a team that can’t stop beating itself before it can finish off most opponents. History says the Pittsburgh Steelers will find a way to reach the postseason and be a threat once there, but history is exactly that, and it’s not helping this current group get its collective act together.

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