There’s always a lot to debate when it comes to our Pittsburgh Steelers and the four games without Ben Roethlisberger are no exception. Last we saw Big Ben, he was laying on the fake grass of Edward Jones Stadium in St. Louis and I admit, I thought it was much worse than it turned out to be.
Thankfully it wasn’t a season-ender and the Steelers were able to hold on in that game to move to 2-1 on the season.
In the four games since his injury the Steelers have managed to go 2-2. One win was a last-second victory at San Diego and the other was a hard-fought win at home over Arizona. The two losses were in overtime to Baltimore and this past Sunday at Kansas City.
If we examine the games separately, we can make arguments that two of them really could have gone the other way. The Steelers beat the Chargers on the final play of the game. Had Le’Veon Bell not gotten in the end zone it would have been a loss simply because the clock had run out. Then there was the first start for Michael Vick as a Steeler.
He did what he had to do in terms of taking care of the ball against the Ravens but two missed field goals and some questionable play calls led to Justin Tucker’s game-winning field goal in overtime.
The win over Arizona and the loss to Kansas City were not nearly as questionable in my opinion. Certainly each game could have come out differently but neither game went down to the final play as the previous two did. So if we can argue that with a couple Josh Scobee field goals the Steelers would be 5-2, we must also consider that without Bell’s effort we could be 3-4.
But 4-3 is where we are and I think it’s very fair to say that going 2-2 during Ben Roethlisberger’s absence is a success. I would even go further in calling it a success were Cincinnati not unbeaten at this time but there’s nothing the Steelers could do about that. The problem for me is that I just don’t view it the same way as many others do.
2-2 is nice but I feel like this team could have just easily been 4-0 in that stretch. While most of the focus was on the Scobee misses against the Ravens, there was also a dropped touchdown pass that Antonio Brown normally catches and there were some really questionable play-calls late in the game.
I also viewed the most recent game in Kansas City as a very winnable one. No, Landry Jones is not Ben Roethlisberger, but why can’t we still expect victory? Why Le’Veon Bell only ran the ball 17 times (and hardly at all in the 3rd quarter) with the third-string quarterback in the game is beyond me. The Chiefs did as any team would do and that was stack the box but it didn’t exactly prove successful as Bell still gained 121 yards and averaged over seven yards per carry.
Just as the offense was missing pieces so too was the defense and those absences were magnified. Still, I don’t go into a game with my back-ups thinking “if we can just keep it close.” I go in regardless of who is on my roster planning to win and I don’t know that Mike Tomlin did that in this case. I believe he rolled the dice hoping his team could beat the Chiefs while giving Roethlisberger another week to heal.
All I can say in that regard is that I hope this loss to KC doesn’t come back to haunt us… If you need a grade for what we saw over these four games then I give the Steelers a C. 2-2 is batting .500 and a ‘C’ is middle of the road. Rather than choose to be happy about getting two wins, I choose to think about what could have been.
No time for that now because the season is just starting in the eyes of many as the Bengals come to Pittsburgh this week.