The Steelers may be still leading the race for that sixth playoff seed, but they are a team in trouble. Their secondary which has been so good most of the season, was terrible and if the front seven continues not to get to the quarterback that will be an ugly combination as they go to Dallas.
The funny thing about all of this is that they can lose in Dallas and come home and beat the Bengals and Browns and make the playoffs at 9-7.
But does anyone want to see that? And does anyone at this point think they can make a run if they do get into the playoffs? That’s how quickly things change in the NFL. A week ago, people were talking about them making a run through these final four games and getting on a roll into the playoffs. You can see some comments below from some of the network guys on that.
Onto some stuff:
--- The running game was terrible against the Chargers but it’s not like they gave it a chance because they didn’t have much chance to do that after the Chargers ran out to a 13-0 lead. Jonathan Dwyer carried just eight times and gained 32 yards (4.0). Ben Roethlisberger scrambled five times for 31 yards. Mike Wallace carried once for no gain. Isaac Redman had two carries and got nothin on each. Chris Rainey had six yards on one carry. The next result: 11 carries by running backs for 38 yards.
--- Will they put a uniform on Rashard Mendenhall anytime soon? I don’t think there’s any magic there but it’s strange to see what had been their starting back the past three years and, for a time, this year when he wasn't hut, put on ice. He’s not likely to be here next season unless no one else wants him and they find no one else to replace him and sign him to a one-year deal.
--- Cortez Allen really didn’t play that well in Baltimore. He did early, then got pounded deep and had a PI. So yesterday’s play wasn’t surprising.
--- Plaxico Burress had one of the best catches of the game, an 18-yarder over the middle in traffic on the run to convert a third down. It was one of maybe three plays he was in the game. Ben Roethlisberger was asked about it afterward.
“Did you ask coach that? It was a good play. It was nice to get him back in there and hear the crowd cheer for him.’’
--- Here’s how quickly things change. Here are seveal comments from network studio shows on Sunday. The first is from ESPN’s pregame show:
On the Pittsburgh Steelers - are they a serious playoff contender with Ben Roethlisberger?
Cris Carter: "Of course they are. Ever since the Commissioner introduced the Miami of Ohio quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers, they can win any football game."
Tom Jackson: "When you look at everything that they do, I think they're not only playoff contenders, I think if they get in and Ben is healthy, I think they could make a run."
On the Pittsburgh Steelers vs. the San Diego Chargers - who wins?
Mike Ditka: "This is very simple. The Chargers have forgot how to win. Steelers."
And from NBC-TV’s show last night after the Steelers lost:
Tony Dungy: “It doesn’t matter who plays quarterback, if you drop passes, if you let guys run through your secondary wide open, if you can’t pass protect…they have issues they’ve got to get solved in Pittsburgh.”
Rodney Harrison: “When you lose your best cornerback, Ike Taylor, teams are going to attack those young cornerbacks.”
-- Your questions:
--- YOU: A couple of quickies, 34-16 and Tomlin doesn't go for 2? Also, the interior OL didn't look like they were on their details. Do you think Tomlin may insert DeCastro?
ME: I don’t understand why people even think that was an issue. Mike Tomlin was asked about it and so were players after the game. Really, that was a big issue? Yes, I acknowledge that had they gone for it and converted the two, it would have made it 34-18 with 6:07 left and conceivably they could have scored two touchdowns and two-point conversions after each and tied it. So in that sense, Tomlin erred because miracles happen once in awhile (the 40th anniversary of the Immaculate Reception after all approaches in two weeks). But the way the Steelers played, there had to be 99 other things to delve into before that one. As for the line, they could keep Pouncey at center, and have David DeCastro and Ramon Foster man the two guards rather than have Legursky play center and Pouncey at left guard. It will depend on how they feel DeCastro can do and whether they’re better off with the Pouncey-Legursky combo.
--- YOU: I want to be reasonable. Why can't this team perform on a consistant basis. Is Tomlin to blame?
ME: There’s plenty of blame to go around today and Tomlin publicly accepted some of it, as he should This team just doesn’t seem ready for its lesser opponents.
--- YOU: Can there be any doubt that Ike Taylor is our best CB? C.Brown is struggling. I dunno, b/cuz a fracture is usually 3 to 4 weeks, & I don't know if we can survive Dallas & Cincy w/ out Ike.
ME: Keenan Lewis is giving him a run this season for that honor, but Taylor has played well and they missed him Sunday.
--- YOU: The Steelers coaching staff was out-coached by the worst coach in the NFL. Oh, wait...does that make Tomlin the worst coach now? This game was a joke...
ME: I’m not diminishing the fact that Tomlin and his team had a bad day Sunday, but what were your thoughts after the played the Giants and Ravens on the road? I’ve written about their inability to play up to their down opponents and that is a problem. As I wrote, if they can sneak into the playoffs they won’t have to worry about meeting any poor teams.
--- YOU: Chargers win today... forget the playoffs. Steelers unprepared? That's on the coaches. Where is the offense?
ME: Well, like it or not, they are still in the playoff lead and what do you think they are saying in Cincinnati today?
--- YOU: Is there any chance w/ the Flex scheduling, that the NFL will put the Steelers/Bengals game on Sunday Night Football Dec. 23, & replace the SD/NYJ game?
ME: No, that stays as a 1 p.m. kickoff, provided they don’t pass a rule to eliminate kickoffs by then.
--- You: Why is Mike Adams listed as out, non injury related?
ME: He has a high ankle sprain.
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