View Full Version : Calm down; Bengals loss was hardly 'devastating'

09-26-2006, 05:31 AM
Ron Cook in today's P-G.....

Heard more than one person use the word "devastating" in the ridiculously overdone hysteria after the Steelers' loss to the Cincinnati Bengals Sunday.

It seemed like an especially silly choice of words on the weekend the NFL returned to New Orleans.

If the Steelers' loss was devastating, what does that make Hurricane Katrina?

I know, I know, the foolish panic-button pushers were talking strictly in a football sense. Still, it's beyond absurd to bring out the "d" word after a loss in the third game of a 16-game season. The only truly devastating loss in sports is the one that eliminates a team from playoff competition. This 28-20 home loss to the Bengals hardly qualified even if it did leave the Steelers in a sizable two-game crater beneath the Bengals and the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC North Division.

That doesn't mean the emotional overreaction wasn't predictable, though.

You just knew the nonsense you would hear the second after Ben Roethlisberger threw his third interception of the game in the Bengals' end zone with 10 seconds left.

Cut Colclough!

Bench Big Ben!

Fire Cowher!

Easy, people. Easy.

"Crazy as it might sound, I thought we did some good things," Steelers coach Bill Cowher said after the game.

It's not crazy at all, actually.

It's hard to remember them because of the Steelers' blunders. Five turnovers trump all, not to mention Nate Washington's dropped touchdown pass and the thoughtless penalties for excessive celebrating and taunting. But they were there nonetheless.

Start with the running game. A week after the Steelers rushed for 26 yards in a loss at Jacksonville -- a franchise low under Cowher -- they ran for 170 yards against the Bengals, 133 by Willie Parker. Parker deserves a lot of credit, but his offensive linemen deserve more. They were terrible in Jacksonville, terrific against Cincinnati, especially on Parker's first-quarter, 3-yard touchdown run when they practically knocked the Bengals into the end zone bleachers.

Sure, the running game still has its issues. Parker had 31 carries, which are about 8-10 too many. The Steelers are going to get him hurt using him that much. Somebody has to step up to give Parker a blow. It can't be Verron Haynes if he can't hang on to the ball, which he didn't do when he lost a killer fourth-quarter fumble. Maybe it can be Najeh Davenport. Or even Duce Staley.

Still, it was nice to see Parker run so effectively behind his line.

The defense also was a plus. It held its own against the best offense it will face all season. It had the game won in the fourth quarter before Ricardo Colclough fumbled on a punt return at the Steelers' 9 and Haynes lost his fumble at the Steelers' 30.

The defense did a nice job regrouping after Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer led two long second-quarter touchdown drives by completing 12 of 12 passes -- excluding two spikes to stop the clock -- for 111 yards and two touchdowns. The Bengals' first five possessions of the second half produced one first down. One ended after safety Ryan Clark laid out wide receiver Chris Henry with a wicked hit on a play that ended with an interception by cornerback Ike Taylor. Another ended after cornerback Deshea Townsend forced a Palmer fumble. A third ended after sacks by defensive end Aaron Smith and linebacker Clark Haggans.

"We were playing Pittsburgh Steelers football," Clark said.

It's a shame Roethlisberger's interceptions and the fumbles by Colclough and Haynes sabotaged an effort that included six sacks, a paltry 47 yards on 19 carries by running back Rudi Johnson and three fumbles and two interceptions by Palmer. The performance would have been good enough to beat the Bengals on most days. It would have been good enough to beat just about everyone else on any day.

Maybe the most encouraging aspect of the defense's play was that the players didn't exactly sound satisfied with themselves. They took the blame for the loss instead of hanging it on Roethlisberger, Colclough, Haynes and Washington.

"We got after Carson really well," defensive end Brett Keisel said. "I think we had him flustered, but it wasn't enough. We've got to do more."

Said linebacker James Farrior, "Our red-zone defense was terrible. We gave up four scores."

Maybe the next time those touchdowns are just field goals. Cowher has promised to take care of the stupid penalties that were taken by Parker and Haynes and by safety Mike Logan. It's nice to think Colclough won't return punts anymore. Certainly, Roethlisberger won't throw three picks again. And the receivers can't keep dropping the ball, can they?

Do you really see a reason to cancel the rest of the season?

Is the devastation really that bad?


Atlanta Dan
09-26-2006, 07:39 AM
It is not panic time yet but a 1-2 start in a tough division certainly is no cause for celebration. At this point my goal is to be 3-3 after the game in Atlanta, a goal that appears more attainable after the Falcons laid an egg in the Superdome last night.

Cowher's teams traditionally have played well after September - let's hope that is once again the case.

09-26-2006, 07:43 AM
i think it isnt time yet, but if ben is having bad games until week 6...well i think the panic button should be hit.

09-26-2006, 08:52 AM
great article, i agree I am upset but I am sticking with Ben. I even thought about not wearing the ben jersey on Sun vs SD. But now that I have had time to chill - I am sticking with the Champs. Ben will have sometime to reflect and I know this sounds sappy but all will be well.

go STeelers
hang in there nation,Time for another unbelievable run.

09-26-2006, 09:02 AM
I am sticking with Ben also I think this bye week is a God send and Ben will be 100% coming out of it. I took these things away from that game; our run game looks good our D looked great and we need to work on the punt return.

13 more games and we need to win 10 or so of them to do well,

Wouldnt be any fun if they where all easy:yawn:

steelfan 92
09-26-2006, 02:42 PM
we will be ok. ben will find his form. he did not play much in the preaseasn. and has only played 2 games this year. he just needs to stop throwing the bad int. the one in which he just throws it up to no one. he still gave us a chance to get it to OT, so i think his psychee is fine. the more practice and the more play, he will work out the kinks. also, some people need to step up and make some catches. plain and simple we win and lose as a team. this is a team game and we need all facets to work offense, defense and special teams to win. they made mistakes in all three facets.

09-26-2006, 03:00 PM
It's comical to even consider that Ben is not the franchise for years to come.

If I'm a Bengals fan then I'd be happy with the win but also very uncomfortable with the victory. It would be dillusional to think that they 'beat' the Steelers.

This game falls under the "losing the battle" category. Hardly devastating.

Now we are going on the road on a Sunday night to face a really good team that wants to redeem last year's loss to us. If our QB and receivers don't get their s**t together in two weeks time then calibrate your mindset now for a 1-4 uphill battle. Eh. No worries.

Atlanta Dan
09-26-2006, 03:31 PM
1-4? If the Steelers lose to the Chargers and then come home and lose to the Chiefs then this season is over!

'76 Steelers made the playoffs after a 1-4 start, but this team is not the equal of the '76 Steelers (of course neither is any other current or, for that matter, past team)

09-26-2006, 03:40 PM
wadester... so, you think you will stick with the champs huh?... how long you been a True Steelers fan? As far as hangin' in there with Big Ben... does anyone honestly think that Charlie Batch is gonna be our future? Are you kiddin' me?.. give me a break... Batch is a career backup and Big Ben just hasnt had the time yet to get his rythym yet... everyone needs time and Ben Just Didnt have much action in the pre season and with the last surgeory, he just hasnt had the time with his recievers... Give the man time...

09-26-2006, 04:11 PM
Organizations like the Steelers, and coaches like Cowher, know that teams don't separate from the pack, and develop their own identity, until Nov./Dec. That's the way it goes. No one knows who's going to be able to play then and who won't. Aside, obviously, from the really bad teams. Three games in the NFL means nothing.

09-26-2006, 05:03 PM
Reasons why hitting the panic button at 1-2 is as ignorant as a Bengals fan on test day...

1. Historically, Cowher/Steeler teams that go 3-3 or better over the first six games MAKE THE PLAYOFFS!

2. There is no way that as many players will make as many mistakes as many times as Sunday. What happened is a statistical anomaly. Yet, they STILL almost beat the Bengals.

3. Roethlisberger has yet to play in a game this season where he is healthy, has his healthy receivers, and has had a normal week to prepare... Speaking of normal weeks...

4. BYE WEEK! A chance to get healthy, to teach Davenport more of the offense, and to focus on the work at hand.

5. Bengals and Ravens play each other... twice. We play the Ravens twice, We play Cincy once more. And do you all really think that the Browns will lose all 4 games to the Bengals and Ravens...(well, ignore that last part... the Browns have always been hapless).

6. Let us say the unthinkable happens... and we go 4-12. What is the worst that happens? We still have a team that except for 4 players, won the Superbowl... AND we have a high draft pick.

Time to worry? Not even close. I still say, straighten a few issues out, bring on just the right players (one more), and we have a team tha can become a dynasty.

BTW... Big Ben IS the future of this franchise. Let us learn from our mistakes in how we treated Bradshaw in the '70's. Back the man. He will deliver.

09-26-2006, 05:09 PM
Great article. Ron Cook is becoming one of my favorite writers in the 'Burgh.

09-26-2006, 05:18 PM
That was a good article, though I have one problem: I kind of think that the "perspective gaining" reference to Katrina was a little trite. Its like one of the parts from the horror-satire book/movie American Psycho where the yuppies are all talking about ridiculous crap and then one guy says "all that doesn't matter, what about the murders in Sri Lanka and the disease et cetera?" Despite the temporal relevance of the "homecoming" to N.O. last night, comparing overreaction to a Steelers loss to underreaction to a national disaster is unfair.