I honestly don’t know where to begin. I’m 100% serious when I say that too. I’ve spent the last 30 minutes trying to come up some great, catchy, opening line but there is literally nothing there. I guess this is what happens when you’re just not surprised by anything the Pittsburgh Steelers do any longer. After yet another dreadful loss in Oakland the Steelers are hanging on to their playoff lives and it isn’t going to get any easier.
The Steelers had everything go right for them today. Baltimore lost and Cincinnati lost and Denver lost and the Patriots lost as well. All they needed to do was beat a horrible 2-10 team but they couldn’t and now look where we find things. The lasting image from this game will be Chris Boswell slipping so badly on the potential game-tying field goal that he nearly slid right past the ball altogether.
But what will be discussed more than anything will about Ben Roethlisberger. He received treatment for a rib injury suffered late in the first half and came out during the third quarter. He was in full uniform and quite frankly, he looked ready to go. With the Steelers clinging to a 14-10 lead, Mike Tomlin apparently chose to stick with Josh Dobbs.
This is where things are going to get interesting.
Tomlin claimed in his postgame interview that Roethlisberger hadn’t been cleared until he entered late in the fourth and led the team on what should have been a game-winning drive. If you’ve been around this game long enough you realize that’s very atypical. A player can either play or he can’t following an injury. Seldom does a guy get treatment then stand on the sideline for the majority of the half before re-entering the game.
If this turns out to be a situation where Tomlin decided to ride with Dobbs because the team was winning and he wanted to ‘preserve’ Big Ben for next week then there will be a firestorm. Stay tuned as the week unfolds.
As for the game itself, the same issues that have haunted this team not just this year, but for many recent years reared their tremendously ugly heads. The inability to cover tight ends… More missed kicks from Chris Boswell… Poor tackling… Poor coaching, etc.
This isn’t just about how bad Keith Butler is either. I’ve already gone on the record that he should be relieved of his duties but now Randy Ficthner is starting to make questionable decisions as well. His fourth down call that the Raiders stopped in the second half was atrocious. It fooled no one and it didn’t play into the strengths of the people he had on the field. But I’ll talk about the coaching later this week.
Today should have been nothing less than a hard-fought win. JuJu Smith-Schuster was exceptional. Big Ben had just four incompletions in 29 throws and the opponent was fit to be had. But it wasn’t meant to be and perhaps that’s the 2018 mantra of this team.
It just isn’t meant to be.
Photo courtesy SF Gate