I’m sure most of yinz are unhinged by the Steelers’ admittedly unhinging 17-14 loss at Chicago. Not me. TALK-SHOW GOLD.
Today, we do not live in the City of Champions. We reside in the City of Scapegoats, and there is mucho blame-o to go around. To wit:
*Jeff Reed. Both his misses were makeable. That he didn’t make at least one is inexcusable. Reed’s job is not a complicated one, and he failed miserably at it. Not good when you’re after a new contract.
*Santonio Holmes. CLANG! CLANG! CLANG!
*The Steelers’ defense. On Chicago’s 97-yard touchdown drive, James Harrison moved the Bears from their 3 to their 18 by roughing the passer. Lawrence Timmons kept the march alive with a third-down holding flag. Ike Taylor kept it going by missing a third-down tackle. In addition, Chicago set up the game-winning FG by moving 41 yards in 3:03 more than a bit too easily. Stupidity + sloppiness = a big slice o’ the blame.
*Ben Roethlisberger. Had he thrown the ball away instead of taking a 9-yard sack, Reed’s first field-goal attempt would have been from 29 yards, not 38. Yes, Ben should try to make plays. It usually enhances the Steelers’ chances of winning. But Ben has to recognize when it won’t.
Boy, this is fun, isn’t it?
The Steelers were in total control until Charles Tillman picked off a pass to end their second possession. Roethlisberger was under pressure, his throw sailed, and Tillman nabbed it.
No harsh degree of blame should be levied there. But if the Steelers get any points on that drive, game over. The Steelers kept seizing momentum but kept surrendering it.
The Steelers’ first drive was KILLER: 92 yards finished by converting a fourth-and-goal for a touchdown. It was reminiscent of a first-round knockdown, but the Steelers just couldn’t follow up.
The Bears aren’t bad. Their players are on scholarship, too.
But how does a bum like Jay Cutler do what he did? How does a very mediocre QB skewer the best D in football?
Tyrone Carter made a few punishing hits, so dolts who measure defensive performance by velocity at the point of contact likely think Carter did a good job in place of Troy Polamalu. But Carter couldn’t cover. Polamalu’s absence hurt more than I thought it would.
I hesitate to celebrate the “return” of the Steelers’ running game. Take away Rashard Mendenhall’s 39-yard run and the Steelers rushed 21 times for 66 yards, a meager 3.1-yard average. The rushing attack was inconsistent and unintimidating.
Mendenhall’s 39-yard carry was his last. Why?
The most disturbing thing about the Steelers’ offense is that it can’t run the ball and the players LOOK LIKE THEY KNOW IT. They have zero confidence. Check out the body language after a run play.
It’s not time to panic. But panic anyway. It’s more fun.
Keep playing the blame game, too. Reed captured the spirit of the thing with his post-game comments:
“If there is one player that can single-handedly lose the game, I’ll take credit for it,” Reed said. If Reed thinks earnest accountability will dilute the venom that figures to target him all week, he underestimates his status as the public enema and the anger of a grieving Yinzer Nation.