It was a learning experience


The Steelers finally got the defensive players they intended to play together on the field at the same time in the regular-season opener at New England.

The goal this time around will be to get them in the right spots and on the same page more often on Sunday against San Francisco.

"Miscommunication" was the word most often employed to explain Tom Brady's 25-for-32, 288-yard, four-touchdown night in the immediate aftermath of the Patriots' 28-21 victory over the Steelers.

Emerging details this week confirmed the Steelers were in some instances beaten prior to the snap.

"The plays that we gave up chunk yardage were from a lack of communication," linebacker Arthur Moats said. "Guys were misaligned from the lack of communication, missing checks and things like that."

At times, defensive calls were misinterpreted.

And at times, the defensive call wasn't relayed to the entire defense.

"It was a mixture of both, but more so not knowing what the call was," Moats continued. "(The defensive call) could be relayed through the headset (from defensive coordinator Keith Butler to the helmet of linebacker Lawrence Timmons). "But if one of the players on the other side of the field, they're trying to get the call and then New England hurrying up to get to the line of scrimmage, guys trying to make a call, they're still trying to get aligned, a lot goes into it."

Cornerback Brandon Boykin didn't play any defensive snaps against the Patriots but noticed the issues those that did were having, particularly when New England went with a no-huddle or quick-huddle approach.

"When they're no-huddling they're getting to the line faster than you're getting lined up so it's kind of a panic situation," Boykin said. "When you get caught in that type of situation you're not ready, you're not set.

"That's a little bit of an advantage for them. We can't let that happen."

Added safety Mike Mitchell regarding what went wrong: "There were a lot of things, too many to name."

Moats said there was a pre-snap alignment/communication-related issue "a good amount of times.

"It's a learning experience," he said. "We'd rather have that happen in Week One than in Week 16."

The expectation is that such problems won't be an issue again in Week Two.

"The important thing is that we get them corrected," Mitchell said. "We've already corrected them."

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