Dec 23, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin yells to a referee against the Cincinnati Bengals during the first half of the game at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports
Disappointed is the best word I can come up with. I am disappointed with the Steelers loss to the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday. I am disappointed that the Steelers will not go into the playoffs. Unlike some fellow Steelers fans, I can separate disappointment from fanaticism. I love football and I love the Steelers, but I will not resort to any social media bashing. I think there are so many things to point to about what went wrong this year and it would take more space than I have in this blog. While injuries might have played a role in this disappointing season, I don’t think they are the ultimate determining factor.
Several weeks ago I was concerned that the Steelers were not playing with the joy that comes from realizing how lucky they are to play this game. The team cohesiveness seemed to be coming and going and I’m sure some of that came with injuries. The Dink and Dunk offense worked for a while, until opponents caught on. At that point, Roethlisberger was hurt and the needed adjustment became the bridge too far.
I take my hat off the Steelers defense. Age didn’t seem to be a big factor. After the Cincinnati Bengals got 10 quick points in the first quarter, they never scored again until a field goal at the end. Yet, it was that last field goal as the clock ran out that defined that game. Roethlisberger just could not find the comeback magic the Steelers have come to count on. Maybe I’m imagining it, but they took the shackles off of Ben to get the score evened up before the half, but then kept him restrained to the huddle for the majority of the second half. I heard Tomlin say in an interview that when Ben’s successfully freelances they say it is “Number 7 being number 7.” Well, I think they didn’t allow Number 7 to be Number 7 very often. I agree that Roethlisberger takes big risks that could lead to injury, but you can’t make him be something so different that it keeps him from being successful. I still think the play calling had some really weird moments in these last three games and I’m beginning to wonder about the coaches. Maybe there are some residual problems from his injury, but his freelancing isn’t the problem when the offensive line can’t hold back the defenders to even let Roethlisberger get set to scan the field.
Speaking of coaches, I won’t be listening to Tomlin’s post-game press conference. I don’t want to hear Tomlin’s platitudes, clichés, or literary quotes. I don’t. I’m a disappointed fan who will have to look toward next year to be able to cheer the Steelers on in a meaningful game. No one on the Steelers team can say anything that will make me feel better. However, it does not consume me. It’s a game, a game that we all love, but life is about so much more than threatening or insulting a football player.
I hope the Steelers make some changes during the offseason. I have always applauded them for their loyalty to their players and staff but something wasn’t working this year. Loyalty may have to be second with an eye toward what this team needs to be competitive. I think the coaching staff needs to be examined from the top down too. No one should be off limits.
So, I’ll conclude my post today with wishing all the NicePickCowher readers a Merry Christmas and ask them remember the reason for the season. We might not have the Steelers in the post-season, but I’m still a loyal Steelers fan who will back them no matter how disappointed I am. I encourage everyone else who loves the Steelers to not dwell on this too long.