- James Walker, ESPN Staff Writer
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What it means: The Steelers fell to 5-2 and lost their first road game of the season. Pittsburgh also lost its first game since quarterback Ben Roethlisberger returned from a four-game suspension. The Steelers expected New Orleans' best effort Sunday and they got it. The Saints were coming off an embarrassing loss to the Cleveland Browns and responded Sunday night by looking much more like the defending Super Bowl champions.
What I liked: Pittsburgh's defense was far from perfect, but holding the Saints to 20 points at home in the Superdome is respectable. Three points at the end of the half was partially the result of a missed 51-yard field goal by kicker Jeff Reed, and the Saints added a late touchdown in the fourth quarter to ice the game. The Steelers had a very tough assignment by not giving up many big plays. But with Pittsburgh's offense not doing much until the fourth quarter, the Saints made enough plays to win.
What I didn't like: Pittsburgh's offense for most of the game was shaky and predictable. New Orleans brought the blitz often and it worked. The Steelers either ran right into the blitz or failed to pick it up on passing downs. Pittsburgh seemed to get in rhythm late with a fourth-quarter touchdown. But a catch and fumble by tight end Heath Miller was the Steelers' last chance to mount a comeback.
What's next: The Steelers will play their second straight prime-time game against the Cincinnati Bengals (2-5) on "Monday Night Football." The game has lost some luster with Cincinnati's four-game losing streak, but these two teams have developed a healthy dislike for one another in recent years, so the buildup should be entertaining. The Bengals surprisingly swept the Steelers last year while Pittsburgh attempted to defend its most recent Super Bowl title.