A Voice of the Fan post by Master Richard Miller, a member of the Portland Oregon Steelers fan base and a regular attendee of games at the A & L Sports Pub on NE Glisan.
While we were gathering water and batteries preparing for apocalyptic rains, the Steelers were on the road, being tossed around in a Miami hurricane. I have only left a game 3 times in all my years (14) watching Steelers football at the A & L. One was for a wedding. I was disgusted on Sunday. The Steelers got a reality check faster than Goodell makes a bad decision. Allow me to walk you through the anatomy of a failure.
First of all, this was a road game. I don’t care who you are. Being on the road always brings a set of challenges to the traveling team. There is a reason home teams get an automatic 3 points in the spread. But plenty of road teams win every week, so let’s pull back a layer.
The simple math of it all. I have written and stated time and time again, that if you lose the turnover battle, you probably will lose the game. This case was no different. The Steelers were -2 in the turnover category. The other side of this stat is that the Steelers allowed 2 sacks while delivering 0. This is painful picture of which defense was able to bring the pressure.
You are going to tell me that the penalties and mistakes by referees are part of the game and you have to play through them. And if that is your opinion, good for you because here is mine:
Ed Hochuli does not belong on an NFL field as a referee, ball boy or grounds keeper. In 2008 he made a terrible mistake that cost San Diego a game against Denver. And yesterday, when the Steelers needed a little shot in the arm, a little something to get them going, Miami gave them a golden opportunity with an on-side kick. The Steelers played heads up ball, and recovered it, giving them a first down inside Miami territory. Hochuli saw it necessary to take that away by declaring the kick invalid because the officiating staff were not in position. The kicker was given the green light to start play. In the video you hear a whistle. The official NFL recount is that the play initiated before the whistle. In every other case if the play starts before the crew is set they wave off the play and stop play. Why didn’t you do that Mr. Hochuli? That net difference was close to 30 yards. The team still scored a TD on that drive, but it is a shining example of the errors that plagued the game, like the obvious horse collar penalty that was not called.
Injured players don’t play well. The pain of a torn Meniscus is tough for anyone. Yes there is ‘the needle’ and all the stuff they do or don’t do to get a player to finish the game. But that pain level had to have been a factor in his poor decision making and delivery.
Eventually the point gap and clock and probability became enemies to the Steelers and I saw the writing on the wall. We decided it was worth leaving to see the Portland Timbers play their last home game of the season. What it comes down to is this: you put a team on the road, mixed with poor defensive effort, an injured QB with lackluster offensive decisions, and inconsistent refereeing, how can you POSSIBLY look for a win?
Photo Credit: CBSMiami.com – Getty Images
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