Good morning and Merry Christmas Eve,
Steelers Nation is ticked off. I do not normally read the comments online after my story, but I did note the number of them today. I believe it is a record for comments to any story in the newspaper since we’ve been allowing them.
So, this time I did read some. I will some them up here. Basically, you want to fire all of the coaches, get rid of most of the player and start anew. OK, I understand that. Just so you understand, it’s not going to happen. I would be surprised if any coaches lose their job, well, there’s always one or two a head coach will fire in order to let everyone know he’s not happy with how the season turned out. But there will be no significant changes in the Steelers’ staff unless Dick LeBeau decides he’s had enough.
I would not look for Todd Haley to be fired. That offense was working just fine for half the season, or right up until Ben Roethlisberger went down with shoulder and rib injuries. They were 6-3 and things were humming. Roethlisberger was off to what appeared to be his best season.
I hate to bring this up because the Steelers refuse to do it, but injures played a huge part in the 2012 season. I won’t detail them here, but this had to be one of their worst seasons for injuries since I’ve covered them, and this is my 28th season doing so at the Post-Gazette.
I also understand that no one wants to hear that. Nevertheless, it’s a fact. The Steelers lost too many stars and starters for too many games. Yes, injuries are part of the game, but the kinds the Steelers had this season were too much for them to overcome.
The healthiest teams usually win Super Bowls, at least those good teams who manage to remain healthy do.
I also will say this, I do not think the Steelers are unhappy with Todd Haley as their offensive coordinator, as many of you seem to think they should be.
Onto some stuff:
-- From NBC-TV’s Football Night in America, Tony Dungy on the Steelers:
“With 14 seconds left, we had bad coaching and bad play.”
--- From ESPN before the game:
Are the Steelers overrated?:
Cris Carter: “When you look at them as a franchise and how they played on the field, they earned our respect. Now respect is coming from what they’ve done on the football field. The truth is, over the last two seasons, they haven’t been that good. Ever since they lost in the playoffs in Mile High … They tried to get a little bit better through the Draft. We know they are a bit older. With offensive line injuries, they are not a good football team. I didn’t have great expectations for the Steelers, even though I do have a lot of respect for the team and the franchise.”
Tom Jackson: “Those last two years you talked about, they haven’t created turnovers defensively even though they are the No. 1 defense in football. Can they straighten all those things out and win two home games against Cincinnati and Cleveland? I believe they can. If they get into the playoffs, I don’t think we’ll be talking about overrated. We’ll be talking about how dangerous the Pittsburgh Steelers are in the playoffs.”
Mike Ditka: “You change your offensive coordinator, you change your game plan, and a lot of injuries in the secondary. They don’t really have the running game they used to have. It’s not the same team.”
--- Mike Tomlin could add to his line of “sometimes you drink fine wine, sometimes you squash the grapes” to “sometimes, you’re just the grape.’’
--- The three consecutive home losses are the Steelers most since 2003 when they finished 6-10.
--- Question: Do you want them to lose to Cleveland next Sunday to get a higher draft pick? Or, would you rather see them avoid a losing season? Or, have you already counted this as a losing season? Or, does Sunday’s outcome matter to you in a different way, or matter not at all?
--- I'm off on Christmas so don't look for anything here tomorrow, including the chat, which is moved to Wednesday at 1:30.
--- And, of course, onto your questions:
--- YOU: If you were told that the Steelers would run the ball 31 times, give up no offensive touchdowns, have 6 sacks and create 3 turnovers, whom do you think would be the winner? The only way they lose a game like that is due to an inept offense
ME: Pretty much.
--- YOU: Prior to Sunday, has Tomlin ever coached a game that didn't matter?
ME: Good question. In 2009, the Steelers won their final three games to go 9-7 and missed the playoffs. However, they won their final three and did not learn until four hours after their victory in Miami that they missed the playoffs when Baltimore beat Oakland to edge them out for the final playoff spot in the AFC. So, in answer, this will be the first time a Mike Tomlin team will play a game without a playoff spot on the line.
--- YOU: Early in today's game a Bengals receiver jumped high to catch the
ball, and a Steelers DB, Curtis Brown, I think, basically carried him
back several yards before dumping him on the ground. The receiver was,
unsurprisingly, awarded forward progress to the point at which he made
What if he'd been carried sideways, and dumped out of bounds, without
his feet ever touching in bounds? Would that have been a force out,
and thus under current rules an incomplete pass?
--- YOU: How could you not play for over-time with 44 seconds and ball on your own 11 and the score tied? Will spare you with what you already know but as far as I an concerned, which means nothing, Tomlin can apply for any NFL job opening and take Haley with him! Can not believe the Rooney family will allow this to continue! Merry Christmas Ed to you and your family!
ME: Mike Tomlin has been an aggressive coach – he also went for it on fourth-and-one at the 50 and Isaac Redman barely made it on his second effort after being stopped. However, I would have run out the clock with the ball on the 10 for this reason: Ben Roethlisberger was not having a good day and neither was Cincinnati’s offense. The only way the Bengals were going to win that game would be on a Steelers mistake – all of their points were virtually given to them. Roethlisberger finished with a completion percent of 50. He wasn’t going to pull out that game on that day. But maybe your defense would, or maybe the offense could mount enough in overtime to get into field goal range. I’m with you, but that’s how Tomlin coaches, aggressively, and it did not surprise me that he tried to win it right there. Remember, this is the same coach who went for a two-point conversion after a penalty put the ball on the 12 – with plenty of time left.
--- YOU: Someone needs to let Tomlin know that his kicker, while having a pro-bowl year doesn’t have a strong enough leg to kick 53+ especially at Heinz Field. Did he forget? I mean I know the last one was 54, but still...
ME: I thought both coaches lost their marbles late in the game when they tried those long field goals. Marvin Lewis admitted it and thanked his team for bailing them out.
--- YOU: Question about the 15 yarder called against The Beard.
When a touchdown is scored and the offense gets called for excessive celebration on a dead ball foul, it’s a 15 yard penalty, but it’s tacked onto the ensuing kickoff. But the play (ie the touchdown) still stands, presumably because the penalty happened after the play was over. A defensive player gets called for the same penalty, except in this instance, the play doesn’t stand, and it’s an automatic first down.
Why the discrepancy, or is my limited NFL rules knowledge the likely issue here?
ME: It was tacked on. The play started at the 23, Keisel sacked him for a one-yard loss and the penalty was tackled on from the 22 and Keisel got credit for the sack.
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