View Full Version : On the Steelers: Biggest pain is stunning defeat

01-10-2012, 06:30 AM
On the Steelers: Biggest pain is stunning defeat
Injuries cause Steelers to lose edge, but Tomlin won't accept that excuse
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

No one said it afterward, few wrote it and coach Mike Tomlin practically castigated one member of the media for even asking him about it Sunday after the Steelers' stunning AFC wild-card loss in overtime to the Denver Broncos.

Yet, it has been the elephant in their locker room all season -- no, not Casey Hampton -- and reached its zenith in Denver. The Steelers ultimately could not overcome the large number of injuries to hit them.

The standard took too many hits, so many that had the Steelers somehow managed to pull out a win in Denver, an ugly Saturday in Foxborough, Mass., loomed. They might have had to ask for volunteers from the audience in order to field a team. And if Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow could drop 316 yards on 10 completions against them, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady would have come to the table Saturday with a knife, a fork and a voracious appetite.

"You know better than that," Tomlin instructed one member of the media from Pittsburgh who dared ask him how injuries might have had their effect on the game. "We don't live in that world. We don't make excuses in regards to injuries."

No one asked him to make excuses, and those who know Tomlin realize he would never allow injuries to serve as a reason for anything. No one else in the NFL cares, first of all. And he and the Steelers do not want to sound as if they are whining.

But injuries are the reason the Steelers will not play Saturday in New England.

They played Sunday without Ryan Clark, Maurkice Pouncey, Rashard Mendenhall, and all those who have been placed on injured reserve through the season. Then, in the first half, they lost Casey Hampton, Brett Keisel and Max Starks. Word came Monday that had they won, they probably would have been without three linemen Saturday -- Starks, Doug Legursky and Chris Kemoeatu.

Tomlin revealed Monday that Hampton and Starks might need ACL surgeries and Keisel groin surgery. He also said Legursky and perhaps Pouncey may need surgery, too.

Also, LaMarr Woodley might as well not have played because it's obvious the hamstring injury that kept him out of six of the eight games in the second half of the season rendered him ineffective.

And quarterback Ben Roethlisberger hasn't been right since Dec. 8, when his high left ankle sprain occurred against the Cleveland Browns.

"The guys we put on the field were capable of doing the job and the reason we didn't do the job is because we didn't perform," Tomlin said admirably. "We didn't perform well enough from a coaching standpoint and from a player standpoint."

That is all true, and in New England they have been winning even though wide receivers have been playing cornerback, or is it the other way around?

The injuries not only caused the Steelers to lose players, they lost their edge and it was apparent for the past month. They scrambled to beat Cleveland in both games, scored three points in a loss in San Francisco and it all culminated Sunday in Denver, where it is still incomprehensible that a defense, ranked No. 1 overall and No. 1 against the pass, could allow one of the game's worst passers to annihilate them.

"On defense, we felt like we let the team down," linebacker James Farrior said. "We felt like we had a good grasp of what they were going to do to us or try to do to us. They came out and made way more plays than we thought they were capable of making."
Redman effective

No one can blame running back Isaac Redman.

Not only did he do a good job replacing injured Rashard Mendenhall at halfback in Denver, he produced one of the best games at the position this season.

The question now becomes, will the coaching staff give him a chance to compete with Mendenhall to start next season, or to at least share more of the job?

If there is any fault, it might be that the Steelers did not recognize how well he was running and feed him the ball more. His 121 yards came on 17 carries, an average of 7.1 yards per carry. The Steelers ran only 23 times, three of those by Roethlisberger and two by wide receivers. They tried 45 passes with five ending in sacks and two caught by Redman for another 21 yards.

Redman runs in the style of Frank Pollard, Barry Foster and Jerome Bettis. He is said not to be a breakaway threat, but when you're breaking tackles on a 32-yard run to the 1, what is that? Mendenhall, who is thought of as a breakaway threat, had three runs more than 20 yards the past season. Redman had three in the past two games, two in Denver.

"I grabbed him there at the end and told him how proud I was of him," Roethlisberger said. "He played a grown-man game. I'm so proud of the way he stepped up and carried the load. He did a good job, and I'm incredibly proud of him."
For more on the Steelers, read the blog, Ed Bouchette on the Steelers at www.post-gazette.com/plus. Ed Bouchette: ebouchette@post-gazette.com and Twitter @EdBouchette.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/12010/1202485-66-0.stm#ixzz1j3ebOcs0

01-10-2012, 12:23 PM
I really do think Redman is a better fit for this team.

01-10-2012, 12:45 PM
Is that really Ben's quote?! "Grown-man game?!" "I'm proud of you!" That sounds sort of belittling. Too bad Ben wasn't proud enough of him to trust handing him the ball late in the game when all they needed was 5 or 10 yards to kick a winning field goal.

01-10-2012, 12:52 PM
Is that really Ben's quote?! "Grown-man game?!" "I'm proud of you!" That sounds sort of belittling. Too bad Ben wasn't proud enough of him to trust handing him the ball late in the game when all they needed was 5 or 10 yards to kick a winning field goal.

if we run and get stuffed for a loss, we're stupid. If we pass and our O-line sucks so bad they're all over us in 2 seconds so we take a loss (which is what happened), we're stupid.
Yet, if we run gain the yards, we're geniuses. If we complete a nice pass, we're geniuses.
It's easy to be an armchair QB after the play and series is over. Truth is, we just don't know which play gets us the yardage needed at this point.

01-10-2012, 12:56 PM
The key to it was, was not getting sacked 3 times. lol Run, Pass etc doesnt matter if you cant block.

What hurt was blowing the first TO when Ben went into the end zone with Wallace way before the final mins. Since he was doubled coverage all the way, it cost us the down and than because Wallace was getting a hotdog in the stands we had to blow a TO to get him back to the huddle. Left us with 2 TO's and than we had to blow one when the ref said we didnt get out of bounds when our runner rolled out.

01-10-2012, 01:53 PM
Clock mismanagement was huge at the end of regulation. What was bigger was calling plays that took too long to develop. Ben had plenty of time to step up, dance around,and even pump fake before getting sacked when he fumbled (and recovered his fumble). That tells me the play call was bad.

01-11-2012, 03:24 PM
On the Steelers: Biggest pain is "Ben's Severe Ankle Sprain"