View Full Version : Post-Denver thoughts; Monday, January 09, 2012

01-09-2012, 01:12 PM
NFL from the sidelines
After hobnobbing around the NFL in the press boxes and sidelines, sports reporter Dale Lolley will let you know the insider scoop. Dale can also be heard as a sometime host on ESPN 970-AM. Follow him on Twitter at dlolleyor.
Monday, January 09, 2012
Post-Denver thoughts

Well, I couldn't have been more wrong about that game. Then again, I couldn't have been more wrong about a team all season long.

This Steelers' team really left me perplexed this season. And Sunday's game was a microcosm of everything that was wrong with it.

The offense marched up and down the field in the first quarter, yet had six points to show for it.

Then, after Denver hits the defense for a couple of plays to score in the second quarter, Ben Roethlisberger decides it's time to start chucking it deep. Only Mike Wallace can't come up with the catch - which was slightly underthrown and the Steelers have to punt the ball back to Denver.

The Broncos again hit them for a long gain and score.

Roethlisberger comes out, gets hammered on a sack and then intercepted.

Wham, bam, thank you mam. A 6-0 advantage turns into a 17-6 disadvantage.

Ike Taylor had a tough day, but you have to give some credit to Tim Tebow. He looked lost holding the ball against Kansas City last week and John Elway told him he should just let the ball fly.

Tebow apparently took that to heart and made some very nice throws.

His first long completion to Demaryious Thomas was an excellent throw, as was his TD pass to Eddie Royal.

After that, the Pittsburgh defense was caught in a tough place. They were bringing nine or 10 men to the line of scrimmage to stop the running game, but that was leaving the corners in one-on-one situations and Denver was winning those.

Not having Brett Keisel, Casey Hampton and Max Starks really hurt the Steelers.

Losing Keisel and Hampton left the Steelers with just three active linemen.

Losing Starks left the Steelers with Jonathan Scott on the field.

The Steelers would have been without all three next weekend at New England, so it's just as well that they lost now instead of dragging the season out another week.

If that was a late hit for roughing the passer on James Harrison as called, they should just quit playing football and make the games a seven-on-seven passing drill.

You think if anyone other than Harrison makes that hit that it's called? I don't.

Some people were complaining about Harrison's hit on Eric Decker that knocked him out of the game. But that's what defenders are almost forced to do rather than take a chance at helmet-to-helmet contact - particularly Harrison.

He can't even take a chance that he'll come in contact with another player helmet-to-helmet for the remainder of his career without facing a lengthy suspension.

The offense scored 23 points, but squandered points at the end of each half.

Some people will put that on offensive coordinator Bruce Arians mostly because they hate Arians.

But it's Roethlisberger.

Instead of taking the short passes that are available, he constantly looks for the home run or bigger play.

Until he's content to take what the defense is giving rather than constantly trying to make the splash play, he won't be considered in the same breath as Tom Brady, Drew Brees or Aaron Rodgers.

(Unlike the writer who does not blame Arians I do put the blame on Airhead Arians and Toady Tomlin.

The key is that this team suffers from a lack of discipline.

Who is running the offense Big Ben or Airhead Arians and Toady Tomlin? Drama Queen Ben keeps going for the long ball, all or nothing, big play. The result is a grab bag, inconsistent offense, that can't score in the red zone. Airhead and Toady have done nothing to correct this.

On defense, Troy when he plays free lances too much. Sure he comes up with the big play from time to time but we get burned just as often as well. All Troy's gambling does is expose our corners who can't buy an INT. Also Troy's big plays have gotten fewer as the injuries he has gotten pile up.

How may times have we heard this year that the players just didn't execute. Well discipline is a big part of execution and Toady Tomlin sure doesn't seem to enforce any.

So unlike the writer I do blame the coaching staff for the lack of discipline that this team shows. More inane babble from Toady Tomlin like "Unleash Hell" or "The Standard is the Standard" isn't going to help. Toady seems to be all talk and no action. - mesa)

On a personal note, I think I made journalistic history today, writing both my game story and column on my Droid after my power cord died.

It made for a perfect ending to what was a tortuous season watching the Steelers muddle their way through a 12-4 season.

Is it possible to muddle your way through a 12-4 season? The Steelers apparently did.