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Steel - X
12-07-2005, 04:26 PM
Remember the good ol' days in Pittsburgh when Ben Roethlisberger couldn't lose? Doesn't it seem like only yesterday that the Steelers were Super Bowl contenders?

Just look at them now. They look nothing like themselves: They can't stop the run; they can't run the ball; and Roethlisberger can't win.

They are barely playoff contenders, much less Super Bowl contenders.

"[Considering] all the talent that we have, we haven't been playing on a level that we expect to be on," Steelers safety Chris Hope told reporters after Sunday's game. "That's frustrating."

Roethlisberger, who had the best rookie season in history with a 13-0 regular-season record, was 5-1 until undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right knee. After a three-game absence, he returned only to sprain an ankle and injure a thumb in back-to-back losses to Indianapolis and Cincinnati.

"No excuses," Roethlisberger said.

He threw 41 times Sunday in the 38-31 loss to the Bengals, completing 29 for 386 yards, three touchdowns and three interceptions. This for a quarterback who had thrown an average of only 21 passes per game in his 21 NFL games.

Roethlisberger has been forced to throw because the Steelers can't run. In the past three games -- all losses -- they have had 70, 85 and 95 yards rushing as a team.

Willie Parker was benched after two fumbles Sunday, even though both were recovered by teammate Alan Faneca. Jerome Bettis appears ready for retirement after considering it in the off-season, and Duce Staley might have been a good free-agent signing last year if he could stay healthy. Staley has played in only 15 games in two years and doesn't even have 1,000 yards in his Steelers' career.

The Steelers are 0-5 this season in games in which they have rushed for less than 100 yards. They are 22-0 over the past two seasons in games they rush for more than 100 yards.

Pittsburgh's offensive line, which featured three Pro Bowlers last season, is mainly to blame. Left tackle Marvel Smith sat out Sunday's game with a sprained ankle, leaving rookie Trai Essex to make only his second start. Right tackle Max Starks and right guard Kendall Simmons have struggled.

"We have not played up to the standard all year long," Steelers coach Bill Cowher said last week.

And when everything goes, it seems to go at once.

The Steelers ranked first in total defense and first against the run last season. They are 10th and fourth, respectively, this season.

Pittsburgh had gone 22 games without allowing a 100-yard rusher until Indianapolis running back Edgerrin James had 124 yards Nov. 28. Cincinnati's Rudi Johnson was over the 100-yard mark Sunday before he lost 3 yards on his final carry.

The Steelers are thrown for a loss.

They have played in five of the past 11 AFC championship games, but it appears too late for a run at the title this year.

IN THE KNOW

tony hipchest
12-07-2005, 04:57 PM
its hard to remember when they were 7-2 just 3 weeks ago.

Prosdo
12-07-2005, 05:10 PM
its hard to remember when they were 7-2 just 3 weeks ago.

Very true. The team needs to get it back on track.

SteelCityMan786
12-07-2005, 05:31 PM
They Better Get Back On Track that Way We have a chance for the Wild Card At least And Possibly AFC North Championship Pending the Possibilty That The Bungals Could Lose 3 of their final 4. And We Could win out.

clevestinks
12-07-2005, 08:06 PM
Ben needed to be a 100% when he came back he wasnt

tony hipchest
12-07-2005, 09:55 PM
Ben needed to be a 100% when he came back he wasnt

my standard is wwfd. what would farve do? granted he (and his team is pretty crappy of late) but do you think farve would be sitting around with maddox as his back up? i think im convinced bens 3 int last weekend had more to do with his head (youth and inexperience) than it did his knee. until he threw his 1st int he looked great. he did what no one said he can do....40+ passes and 350+ yds. it was only the 2nd time in his relatively short career he had a chance to win the game in his final drive and didnt.

BlitzburghRockCity
12-07-2005, 10:36 PM
I read this in my google alerts and it just depressed the hell outta me....