The players I’ve been talking to lately tell me the Steelers’ offense is fine. They point to the Chargers game where Ben Roethlisberger threw for over 300 yards, Hines Ward caught 124 yards worth of passes and Willie Parker rushed for 115 yards.

All that is good, and the Steelers did win the game, but: the fact remains they didn’t score a touchdown. And for a second straight game, the Steelers failed to punch it in when they had goal-to-go inside the 1-yard line.

I’ve been covering the Steelers for the better part of nine years, and whenever they had a goal-to-go situation, I naturally assumed they were going to put six points on the board. That hasn’t been the case lately.

The Steelers have an All-World defense, but sooner or later, an opposing offense will figure them out. The offense needs to get on board or this team’s playoff run will be short.

 

I have never seen Ben Roethlisberger so down after a loss than when I saw him after the Steelers loss to the Colts. When the media was allowed into the locker room, Ben was still sitting at his locker with his head buried deep in his hands. When he finally showered, he took a long time getting dressed and he took just as long to collect his thoughts before he finally turned and faced the media scrum. It looked as if he was holding back tears as he spoke. Usually after a loss, Roethlisberger is rather defiant. He will say things like; “You have to give credit to the other team.” and: “We’ll bounce back next week.” That wasn’t the case after his zero touchdown, three interception performance against Indy. We heard things like: “It was my fault.” and “It hurts.” Big Ben did what every quarterback has to do when his team loses: take the blame. But it’s probably not fair to put all the blame on number seven. And, I don’t want to hear that he shouldn’t have been playing because of his shoulder. The coaches and the medical staff say he was OK to play: That’s good enough for me. Let’s take a deeper look at the game. The first interception should have never happened. The Steelers were up by ten and should have been content to run out the second quarter clock and go into halftime with a two score lead. What was Mike Tomlin and Bruce Arians thinking calling a pass play deep in their own end? Plus, Ike Taylor had two passes he should have either knocked down or intercepted wind up in the hands of Reggie Wayne for big receptions. Troy Polamalu had nothing but 70 yards of green grass in front of him when he dropped an interception in the second quarter. And how about Mewelde Moore getting body slammed on third and goal at the one yard line when the Steelers had a chance to go up by a touchdown in the fourth quarter. The Steelers offensive line is supposed to dominate in those situations. Sure, Ben’s interceptions didn’t help, but there was plenty of blame to go around.

A Good Win But…..

November 5, 2008

The Steelers win over the Washington Redskins Monday Night was certainly impressive. Dick LeBeau’s defense is by far the best in the NFL and they certainly made Redskins QB Jason Campbell look average at best. Byron Leftwich did a remarkable job filling in for the injured Ben Roethlisberger and guiding the Steelers to two touchdown drives. Willie Parker came back from his knee injury and he looks like he is finally getting healthy. BUT: what if Carlos Rogers hangs on to that interception in the first half? He would have walked in for touchdown and a 13-3 Redskins lead. The way the Steelers offense was sputtering at the time, that may have been all Washington would have needed. It just goes to show that there truly is a fine line between winning and losing in the NFL. Dropping a potential pick-six against the Steelers is like dropping a fly ball in baseball with two outs and runners in scoring position. If you have a chance to beat this team, you better take it. Because sooner or later, that defense will get to your quarterback and that offense will find its groove. The Steelers are good, but sometimes good luck leads to good play on the field. The Washington Redskins learned that the hard way.