PDA

View Full Version : Steelers pay dearly for victory


mesaSteeler
10-25-2010, 07:16 AM
Steelers pay dearly for victory
Monday, October 25, 2010
By Ron Cook, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10298/1097872-87.stm

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- It's hard to think the Steelers didn't lose more than they won here Sunday. They went home with a terrific 23-22 win against the Miami Dolphins and kept first place in the AFC North Division. But they lost star defensive end Aaron Smith for the game, almost certainly for the season and maybe forever because of a torn left triceps muscle.

"I don't want to see his career end," wide receiver Hines Ward said.

"Not like this."

Smith, 34, in his 12th NFL season, was injured on the third play of the third quarter when he tackled Dolphins fullback Lousaka Polite for a 2-yard gain. His loss can't be overestimated to a Steelers' defense that has been mostly responsible for the team's 5-1 start. It won't be nearly as good without him. It just can't be.

"The heart and soul of our defense," linebacker James Harrison called Smith.

"Anytime he's not in there, it kills us," nose tackle Casey Hampton said.

"I'm sick," linebacker James Farrior said.

This is the third time in four seasons that Smith has had a season-ending arm injury. In 2007, his right biceps muscle was torn in December. The team went 1-2 down the stretch and lost its wild-card playoff game to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Last season, his right rotator cuff was torn in October. The team went 6-5 without him and missed the playoffs.

This is not a good trend.

By the way, the Steelers won the Super Bowl in '08 when Smith stayed healthy and played in every game.

"We're going to find out if we can win without him," Ward said. "Everybody talks about Troy [Polamalu] and worries about him getting hurt, but Aaron makes it all go for our defense. The problem is you can replace him with five or 10 guys and they can't do what he does."

Not surprisingly, Smith's teammates were more concerned about him than themselves and the team. He might be the most respected player on the squad because ...

Here's backup defensive end Nick Eason, who, suddenly, becomes much more valuable to the team:

"Aaron's a great player, a great role model, a great friend, a great teammate, a great family guy ... "

That about covers it.

The players also know Smith is at the age where it's not so easy to come back from a major injury. He talked about that at training camp in August.

"You do this long enough, something is going to start to wear out. How many people tear their rotator cuff and have a biceps tear? That's probably from reaching to make tackles all those years."

Now, you can add a torn triceps.

"I don't even know what to say to him," Harrison said.

"I know it's killing him inside," Farrior said.

The pall left by Smith's injury ruined what should have been a nice celebration in the Steelers' locker room. South Florida buzzed Sunday night and is buzzing again this morning because the Dolphins were robbed by the officials, who botched the call on a late fumble by Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and gave kicker Jeff Reed a chance to make the winning field goal. But that doesn't change the fact the Steelers played a strong road game, not just without Smith, but without defensive end Brett Keisel (hamstring), who didn't dress, and outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley (hamstring) and offensive tackle Flozell Adams (ankle), who were injured early.

"We say it all the time: 'The standard is the standard,' " Farrior said. "We're always telling the young guys, 'You've got to keep working while you wait. You're always just one play away. Be ready.' "

Eason, Ziggy Hood and Chris Hoke rotated to pick up the slack left by Keisel and Smith. They helped limit the Dolphins to 64 rushing yards.

Veteran Larry Foote and rookie Jason Worilds filled in for Woodley. Foote, who played inside and bumped linebacker Lawrence Timmons to Woodley's outside spot in the Steelers' base defense, had a sack and tackled running back Ronnie Brown for no gain on a third-and-1 play early in the fourth quarter. Worilds, who subbed for Woodley in passing situations, hit Dolphins quarterback Chad Henne and forced an imcompletion on Miami's final offensive play.

Tackle Jonathan Scott took over after Adams left early in the second quarter. The Steelers struggled to run the ball, but Roethlisberger had enough time to throw for 302 yards and two touchdowns.

You've heard of a team win?

This was a classic.

"I told the guys, 'The best thing we can do for Aaron is to win this game,' " Eason said. Asked what he said to Smith specifically, Eason said, "Just that I love him and that we had his back."

Smith was appreciative. "That's what's so great about this team. Someone goes down and someone else comes in and the team doesn't miss a beat."

For one game, maybe.

But for the rest of the season?

How do you replace a guy who's nearly irreplaceable?

"Absolutely these guys can do it," Smith said. "Look at the talent in here."

So I did.

I took a good, long look around the room.

I saw a lot of great players.

But I didn't see another Aaron Smith.

The Steelers definitely lost more than they won on this bittersweet October day.

Ron Cook can be heard on the "Vinnie and Cook" show weekdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on 93.7 The Fan. rcook@post-gazette.com More articles by this author
First published on October 25, 2010 at 12:00 am


Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10298/1097872-87.stm#ixzz13JTwqfC2

BlackAndGold4Ever
10-25-2010, 08:28 AM
That really sucks about Aaron. Hes such a crutial part of the defense

steelerdave1969
10-25-2010, 08:32 AM
First of all thanks for sharing that read, it was pretty nice. I love the fact that our players love their teammates and all like that, but the other guys in that locker room just like the one's on the offensive line have did so far . . They Must Step Up and Take Over. Our Offensive Linemen have did it all season so far and the now the Defensive Linemen must do the same and Ziggy Hood is a former No.1 pick that the Steelers supposedly love alot, well . . . its time to earn that money kid. . I believe he can do it, I hope I am right dont you?

tony hipchest
10-25-2010, 09:09 AM
how depressing. that excellent article almost read like an obituary.

get well aaron and get after 'em, hood.

Atlanta Dan
10-25-2010, 10:14 AM
Reads as if the Aaron Smith injury is causing Peter King to back off his prediction of the Steelers winning the Super Bowl (or for that matter the AFC North) based upon these excerpts from his MMQB column this morning

The biggest news to come out of this game? Pittsburgh losing defensive end Aaron Smith to a probable torn left triceps -- and probably losing him for the year. Last year, the double-loss of Smith and Troy Polamalu doomed the Pittsburgh season. This year, Smith and Polamalu were back, playing their usual impactful way, and the Steelers shot off to a 5-1 start, surrendering only 13.7 points per game. They've got to hope backup Nick Eason and young phenom Ziggy Hood can fill the void better than the last couple of times Smith went missing, in 2007 (getting shredded by Jacksonville in the playoffs at home) and last year (losing five in a row down the stretch)....

The Fine Fifteen

1. Pittsburgh (5-1). Trick or Treat. Steelers at the angry and embarrassed Saints on Sunday night. It's going to be tough for the Steelers to stay on top in the last 10 weeks without football's most underrated player, defensive end Aaron Smith, lost with a torn triceps muscle. That one hurts. A lot. Just ask Dick LeBeau....


5. Baltimore (5-2).... in January, when the Ravens host a playoff game, all anyone will remember from the ugly Week 7 conquest of Buffalo (and I use the word "conquest" very loosely) is the W.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2010/writers/peter_king/10/25/monday-morning-quarterback-week-7/index.html

To host a playoff game you of course need to win your division

FWIW I have no clue as to why Zigggy Hood, who allegedly had a great camp but has shown little in games, is described as a "phenom" by King - :noidea:

SteelCityMom
10-25-2010, 10:26 AM
I'm hopeful that Hood can be a serviceable replacement. I doubt he'll do as well as Smith does, but I think he'll be up to the task.

Woodley will be back next game, and hopefully Keisel won't be out much longer either.

Atlanta Dan
10-25-2010, 10:45 AM
I'm hopeful that Hood can be a serviceable replacement. I doubt he'll do as well as Smith does, but I think he'll be up to the task.

Woodley will be back next game, and hopefully Keisel won't be out much longer either.

Woodley definitely needs to have a second half of the season surge

The NFC is mediocre and there are no teams that look overwhelming in the AFC (of course we know how it worked out for the overwhelming 2005 Colts and 2007 Pats) but I cannot see the Steelers winning three road games in the playoffs to get to Dallas. Although they got a lucky win yesterday, combined with horrible news on Aaron Smith, IMO the Ravens loss is just going to keep hurting

At least they now have tiebreakers over the Titans and Dolphins for a wildcard, although IMO the Titans are going to win their division

SteelCityMom
10-25-2010, 10:59 AM
Woodley definitely needs to have a second half of the season surge

The NFC is mediocre and there are no teams that look overwhelming in the AFC (of course we know how it worked out for the overwhelming 2005 Colts and 2007 Pats) but I cannot see the Steelers winning three road games in the playoffs to get to Dallas. Although they got a lucky win yesterday, combined with horrible news on Aaron Smith, IMO the Ravens loss is just going to keep hurting

At least they now have tiebreakers over the Titans and Dolphins for a wildcard, although IMO the Titans are going to win their division

Dolphins aren't even going to make a WC spot. Jets and Pats are in control of that division.

I'm not sold on the Titans yet either. Only reason they are on top of their division right now is because Houston and Indy had bye weeks this week. Though if you put a gun to my head, I'd say that Houston has the best chance right now of taking the division since they are unbeaten in their division and conference. Their 2 losses have been non-conference opponents while the Colts 2 losses have been division opponents and the Titans 2 losses have been conference opponents. It's going to be interesting to see how that all plays out.

Ravens aren't a lock to win the division either. They still have a tough schedule ahead of them too, and 3 more division games.

What's scary is that there is a fight between KC and Oakland for the AFC West right now.

Atlanta Dan
10-25-2010, 12:00 PM
Dolphins aren't even going to make a WC spot. Jets and Pats are in control of that division.

Ravens aren't a lock to win the division either. They still have a tough schedule ahead of them too, and 3 more division games.

Agreed with 3 losses and road games at the Jets and Patriots the Dolphins are not a likely wildcard team but, since they are an even less likely AFC East winner, if the Steelers need to worry about Miami it is nice to have that tiebreaker. Steelers have the same tiebreaker concerns with the Jets and Patriots, adding to the importance of those home games.

While there is no such thing as a sure win for a team that went to OT with the Bills at home, IMO the Ravens remaining schedule looks easier than the Steelers (who play 5 night games starting next Sunday - not good news for an early start to the next workday :chuckle:) - Steelers playing at Saints and Ravens playing at Atlanta is a wash, but Steelers toughest road game at Baltimore is more difficult than Ravens having to play at Houston while the 2 Steelers home games against the Jets and New England appear more difficult than any Ravens home game other than when the Steelers come to Baltimore for an epic Sunday night game in early December

Ravens remaining games

Miami
at Atlanta (8:20 p.m.)
at Carolina
Tampa Bay
Pittsburgh (8:20 p.m.)
at Houston
New Orleans
at Cleveland
Cincinnati

Steelers remanimig games

at New Orleans (8:20 PM)
at Cincinnati (8:30 PM)
New England (8:20 p.m.)
Oakland
at Buffalo
at Baltimore (8:20 p.m.)
Cincinnati
N.Y. Jets
Carolina (8:20 p.m.)
at Cleveland

Steelers need to bring the hammer down on Cincinnati in 2 weeks

tony hipchest
10-25-2010, 12:07 PM
losing a WC to the ravens last year in a tiebreaker was brutal. there likely could be a tiebreaker for the division, which means we MUST beat baltimore and all common opponents ( especially cincy, jets, pats).

the only good thing for us is the ravens loss to pats and bungs. the bad thing is our loss to the ravens gives no room for error.

fer522
10-25-2010, 01:58 PM
i guess we're gonna find out if Ziggy Hood is who we thought he was :banging: