Madden: Ben's at fault, but he's not only one
Posted: Sunday, December 23, 2012 11:47 pm | Updated: 11:54 pm, Sun Dec 23, 2012.
By Mark Madden Special to The Times | 0 comments
Ben Roethlisberger blew it. Are you happy? Itís what you wanted, right? Enjoy the moment. Glory in it. Wallow in it. Bring up the bad past. Forget the good past. Call the talk shows. (Donít forget mine.)
Ben lost the game. He threw a pick-six. He tossed the interception that set up the Bengalsí playoff-making field goal at the gameís death. Ben played badly.
This town hates star quarterbacks. You alienated Terry Bradshaw for years. You never pass up a chance to diminish Roethlisberger. Some of the rumors freely spread about past Pittsburgh quarterbacks canít even be recounted here.
You want defense. You want to run the ball. The Steelersí president wants the same things, dictating such to the coaching staff.
You got half-a-loaf at Heinz Field yesterday. The ďStats CurtainĒ defense went well beyond numbers, posting three takeaways, six sacks and six more tackles for loss. The Bengals averaged less than a yard per carry on the ground.
The Steelersí running game? Meh. Just 3.1 yards per carry. The saving grace was Rashard Mendenhall. You donít like him, either.
So, Ben blew it. You have that hatred to keep you warm all winter.
Me? Iím still a Ben guy. Iím making fun of you, not him. Figure that out yet?
Sure, Roethlisberger lost the game. Heís not played great since returning from injury two weeks ago. But the glory of his career rivals that of Bradshaw. I remember Super Bowl XLIII. I remember that pass to Santonio Holmes.
If you donít, thatís because youíve always wanted an excuse not to.
Be honest: The Steelers arenít playoff-caliber. Theyíre poorly assembled, poorly coached and poorly managed. Theyíre a team that has trouble being led. This season has been an unmitigated disaster.
The Steelers didnít miss the playoffs yesterday. The Steelers missed the playoffs when they lost to Oakland, Tennessee, Cleveland and San Diego. Ben didnít lose all those games.
The Steelers missed the playoffs because they entered the season with a professional cripple as the No. 2 QB and a 37-year-old man at No. 3. Everyone remembers Charlie Batch beating Baltimore. What about the two games they lost (including one at Cleveland) while Roethlisberger was hurt?
The Steelers missed the playoffs because the coaches mangled the running back position. Mendenhall is quality. When healthy, he never should have been benched, let alone scratched. He should have started and got the bulk of the work. Mendenhall proved it yesterday with 50 yards on 11 carries.
The Steelers missed the playoffs because the ďYoung Money CrewĒ underachieved. Drops. Imprecise routes. Ego. The Steelersí receivers are punks.
The Steelers missed the playoffs because until yesterday, the defense rarely made plays. Yesterday was great. Yesterday wasnít nearly enough.
The Steelers missed the playoffs because of bad coaching. Game plans, in-game decisions and adjustments: It was all bad. Examples are too numerous to cite.
And yeah, Ben played rotten yesterday.
The Steelers have some big names that may be past their sell-by date. Their talent level is overrated, especially by management.
The chaotic coaching must be sorted out. Yes, that includes offensive coordinator Todd Haley being a bad fit for Roethlisberger. How is Bruce Arians doing at Indianapolis? He didnít retire after all, did he?
The Steelers donít need leaders. The Steelers need their younger players to accept leadership. To listen.
The Steelers need team president Art Rooney II to leave football to the football people. He hasnít. Thatís where a lot of these problems started.
More than anything, the Steelers need to admit their mistakes.
Thatís not going to happen.
So get ready for empty platitudes, ďthe standard is the standard,Ē and the perpetuation of outdated philosophies and skewed priorities. Itís a quick-strike league, but the Steelers will keep attempting gradual suffocation. Being right will continue to be more important than doing the right thing.
Get ready for 8-8 or 7-9 again next year. Maybe worse.