Column: Tighten the reins, Steelers

Posted on Nov 12 2017 - 10:45am by Rachael McKriger
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In the last two years, the Pittsburgh Steelers have had a common theme during particular games.

The Steelers tend to lose against lesser teams, but win against tougher teams.

In 2016, the Steelers fell surprisingly to the Miami Dolphins and Baltimore Ravens. Even in their final week of regular season action, the Steelers had to go to overtime to beat the Cleveland Browns, 27-24.

Now, in 2017, the Steelers two losses came from, well, lesser teams: the Chicago Bears and Jacksonville Jaguars.

This week, the Steelers are traveling to Indiana to face the Indianapolis Colts, who are Andrew Luck-less for the second season in a row.

Unless the Steelers want to be utterly embarrassed, they need to tighten the reins.

It’s hard to place the blame on one area of the game, but there’s no denying that Ben Roethlisberger needs to tighten his grip in this game.

Against the Jaguars and Bears, Roethlisberger threw unnecessary interceptions, which helped in costing the game. In this one, Roethlisberger is facing a secondary made up of Darius Butler, Matthias Farley, Rashaan Melvin and Pierre Desir.

The Steelers defense has a test as well, going up against quarterback Jacoby Brissett.

Why is it a test? Because the Steelers have never played him before.

Brissett is only in his second year in the NFL. He was formerly Tom Brady’s backup with the New England Patriots.

The Steelers have never been on the same field, competitively, as Brissett.

But Brissett had to learn something from Brady, right? There’s a chance he did, and he’ll use that against the Steelers. Keep in mind, he was on the sideline when the Patriots knocked off the Steelers in the AFC Championship game last year.

The Steelers do have a secret weapon on their own offense.

JuJu Smith-Schuster has been Roethlisberger’s go-to option with countless double-coverage on Antonio Brown. So far this season, Smith-Schuster has recorded 24 receptions for 424 yards.

Smith-Schuster has found the end zone four times, with a touchdown in the last two games.

The Steelers and Colts will kick off at Lucas Oil Stadium at 1 p.m. ET today.

Photo of JuJu Smith-Schuster courtesy of Gregory Shamus/Getty Images.

Follow @RachaelMcKriger on Twitter for all Steelers coverage.