View Full Version : Reality Check

09-19-2006, 11:36 PM
Reality check

By Mike Prisuta
Wednesday, September 20, 2006


This one stung because the Steelers never saw it coming.

Oh, they knew the Jaguars would be a handful at home. The Steelers knew the Jaguars' defense would fly to the football in the secondary and refuse to be moved up front. The Steelers were aware quarterback Byron Leftwich could throw vapor trails when necessary. And the Steelers understood running back Fred Taylor would be potentially combustible all night long.

But never for a second did the Steelers envision a 9-0 shutout.

It was still a three-point game with less than seven minutes to play. Still, the Jaguars were thoroughly enjoying themselves throughout, which only added to the Steelers' angst.

"They kinda laughed about it," running back Willie Parker said from a visiting locker room where no one was laughing. "Even before the game, they were out there dancing and doing all that."

Parker admitted to becoming increasingly frustrated while being held to 20 yards on 11 carries and a laughable 1.8 yards per attempt. He also admitted to becoming increasingly frustrated while rehashing it afterward.

"No team is going to come hit us in the mouth and just get away with it and laugh about it, basically," Parker said.

Actually, the Jaguars did precisely that.

But if the Steelers take it out on someone else -- Cincinnati this Sunday, perhaps -- their night in Jacksonville won't have been a total loss.

At least now the Steelers have been reminded that such a comeuppance is possible.

If they'd forgotten as much between the last time they'd lost a game that mattered and Monday night in Jacksonville, it would be understandable.

It had, after all, been since Dec. 4, 2005.

The Steelers followed that season-threatening, 38-31 loss to the Bengals at Heinz Field with a season-salvaging, four-game winning streak.

And, upon reaching the postseason, they kept on streaking, through Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Denver and, eventually, Seattle in Super Bowl XL.

When the 2006 season commenced, the winning continued, this time in a game in which the Steelers trailed in the fourth quarter against Miami and were playing without quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

Big Ben was back for Jacksonville, which only bolstered the Steelers' spirits.

He was a factor Monday night, just not in the manner the Steelers imagined.

To suggest Roethlisberger's return sent the Steelers' confidence soaring to the point that they overlooked the Jaguars would be an insult to the Jaguars' magnificent defense. It also would be unfair to the Steelers, given their history of preparation and focus.

The Steelers lost because the Jaguars were much better, particularly at quarterback. But was the sense of urgency with which the Steelers took the field what it was last January and February? What it needed to be against an opponent of such obvious pedigree?

Suffice it to say, that won't be an issue next Monday, no matter the outcome Sunday against the Bengals.

Having so recently been hit in the mouth and laughed at, the Steelers have been reacquainted with a sense of vulnerability.

Not using that to their advantage would be as uncharacteristic as Monday night's pummeling was unanticipated.


09-20-2006, 12:14 AM
I hope they use this as fuel...NEVER be shutout like that again. NEVER.

Ohio Steeler
09-20-2006, 01:53 AM
so do I and I am sure they are pissed as they can be and I hope they take it out on the bungals

09-20-2006, 07:32 AM
I just want to see the Defense take it out on Cinci and then watch Ben make up for his self described "poor performance" on Monday night!!!

09-20-2006, 08:09 AM
A mad team is a hungry team - the Bungles had better bring their A++ game on Sunday - somehow I think they're going to need it. I'm a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. :thumbsup:

Justin Otstott
09-20-2006, 08:23 AM
I dunno...im gonna keep my mouth shut this week....

09-20-2006, 09:16 AM
I hope they use this as fuel...NEVER be shutout like that again. NEVER.

I think we are safe to say they will be using this as fuel. Really when you look at it, this was back to back poor performances by Ben. Being a perfectionist this willnot sit well with him and I think we can expect a monster game from him and most likely the whole team.

09-20-2006, 06:14 PM
KEep one thing in mind... the bung-holes have 3 starters missing due to injuries so i think that will give us that extra edge but the loss will not be any regular fuel it is going to be ROCKET FUEL BABY!!!

09-20-2006, 08:16 PM
im not sure if i expect a big game out of ben....i think he needs to get his confidence back, i mean after all he has been through a lot recently. Once he proves to himself again that he can play, then he'll be dangerous..but i think that will come against a bad team. Call me crazy but i think our Defense is going to win us this game with turnovers

Atlanta Dan
09-20-2006, 08:48 PM
Ed.B. of the P-G said, among other subjects in today's P-G chat, the key is to get the running game going again.


The 2003 season collapsed due to an infatuation with the pass and a busted up O-line.

Play action and first down passing requires a valid threat of the run. I assume the Steelers will attempt to pound it early this week.

09-20-2006, 08:56 PM
I agree with dan. More so than Ben, the O line & Willie need to come out on fire. The Bengals are going to put points on the board. We need to control the ball & clock and keep Carson & Co. off the field.

09-21-2006, 09:38 AM
We definitely need to get the running game going again. Admittantly, the Jags do have a great defense, and they looked to be a lot more inspired than our boys on monday.

Call me crazy, because I am a huge Steeler fan, but I'm kinda glad they lost like they did on Monday. Before you judge, let me explain, as the article did.

When you win so many games, and win a championship (at any level) and you do not lose many players in the offseason, you get a feeling of complacency, you get used to winning. Monday's game was a good reminder to the boys that the rest of the league, every game is going to be bringing their "A" game, because we are the champs. Everyone wants to knock the king off of the hill. The Steelers need to get that nasty taste of a bad loss in their mouth, and not a close game of back and forth scoring either. They needed to get embarrased, and only crossing midfield once, thats embarrassing. Especially on MNF of all things, that will fuel a serious fire, which they are going to need against Cincy.

With that point made, looking back to Ben's first season where they went 15-1 and lost in the AFC Championship game, I was actually hoping they would lose one of the games before the season ended and the playoffs started, just for the same reasons I stated above. To get that taste in their mouth, to remind them of what losing felt like, to get them out of "cruise control." I think that we would have our 6 rings and talking about our 3 back to back superbowl wins right now if we would have lost one of those games near the end of the 2004 season, before the playoffs.

Just my opinion.

Steelers > *.nfl team