Rapid Reaction: Vikings 34, Steelers 27

September, 29, 2013
9/29/13
4:11
PM ET
A few thoughts on the Pittsburgh Steelers34-27 loss to the Minnesota Vikings at Wembley Stadium in London.

What it means: Four games into the season, the Steelers have all but played their way out of postseason contention. They are 0-4 to start a season for the first time since 1968, and fans will start turning their attention to the 2014 draft. The Steelers are making a dubious run at a top-10 if not top-5 pick. Maybe they will use it on a left tackle, as Mike Adams continues to look overmatched there. A playmaker for a defense that is in serious decline is also an option. As well as the Steelers’ offense played Sunday, it couldn’t bail out the defense. And a turnover doomed the Steelers at the end. They are now minus-10 in turnover differential.

Stock watch: This loss was all on the defense, which turned in a simply unacceptable performance. When was the last time the Steelers gave up two touchdowns of 60 or more yards in one half, let alone one game? The Steelers’ tackling was horrendous, and they didn’t put any pressure on Vikings quarterback Matt Cassel. The turnover issue has become laughable, as the Steelers have not forced one in four games. What should have been a fumble recovery by Jarvis Jones after a LaMarr Woodley strip-sack turned into a Vikings first down when Jerome Simpson came up with the loose ball.

Bell tolls in London: Le’Veon Bell showed why the Steelers missed him so dearly in the the first three games of the season. The rookie had 84 total yards rushing and receiving yards and two scores, and he looked every part the feature back. His first NFL touchdown was a thing of beauty, as a nifty cut by Bell and a crushing block by tight end Heath Miller sprung him for an early score. The Steelers’ running-back-by-committee setup has been put out of its misery.

What’s next: The Steelers have their bye this week, which will give them a couple of extra practices to work on fundamentals such as tackling. They never imagined they would go into their bye week winless, and all eyes will be on the Steelers to see whether they start coming apart at the seams.

Scott Brown

ESPN Pittsburgh Steelers reporter

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