Turnovers, Penalties and Playing With Injuries Cost Steelers In a Big Way

On a night that saw the Steelers game delayed at the start by 20 minutes due to a power outage and then another delay for 16 minutes due to another powers outage in the 2nd quarter, the Steelers offense suffered a power outage as well. After the Ravens lost their game last night at San Diego, the Steelers were given the opportunity to control their own destiny. If they had been able to win tonight and win the final two weeks against the Rams and Browns, they’d win the division and gain the top seed in the AFC meaning they’d only have to play two games, at home, to get to the Super Bowl. Now, after this horrific outing, they are staring at the 5th seed in the AFC and 3 road games if they want to return to the Super Bowl. That’s not set in stone, but the cement is drying on that outcome. 

This wasn’t the night that anyone in the Steel Nation was hoping for. We all knew Big Ben was going to play on his injured ankle, but we didn’t expect he’d look as bad as he did. He tossed 3 interceptions and added a fumble as well. While he did throw for 330 yards, he didn’t look good in doing it. We’re not knocking the guy, he has the heart of a lion just going out there and playing on that ankle. The same injury kept the Steelers All Pro center Maurkice Pouncey out of this game. However, you could tell the injury was affecting the way Roethlisberger was throwing the ball and clearly his ability to extend plays. He didn’t have the same power or spin on his ball and he never really was able to escape any pressure put on him by the 49er defense.  The offensive line failed him as well.  In a game that they truly needed to step up and protect their leader, keep him from getting hit and hurried they failed. The O line gave up 3 sacks and 8 QB hits on their Super Star QB. That’s unacceptable.  The fact they couldn’t come through is disturbing. Max Starks was beat all night long and looked old and slow.  They just didn’t bring it tonight.

In our Game Day preview we stated the Steelers had to limit the mistakes, including turnovers and penalties. They didn’t do that tonight. We mentioned the four turnovers by Roethlisberger, the first interception he threw set the tone for the night. The Steelers were moving the ball on the opening drive of the game and got it into the Red Zone and Ben tossed a pick at the goal line. The Niners never looked back converting 4 turnovers into 13 points.  The team also added 9 penalties costing themselves 72 yards. You can NOT do that against good teams and the 49ers made them pay.

The lone bright spot on offense tonight was Rashard Mendenhall, he quietly ran for 64 yards on 15 carries, averaging 4.3 yards per carry. That’s a good sign an something we haven’t seen too often this year out of him.

Defensively the team was led by Troy Polamalu he seemingly was in on every play. He had a team high 7 tackles and was everywhere. Other than that, while they held the Niners in check most of the night, they finally wore down and gave up 20 points. They were unable to get a single sack and once again came out of a game without causing a turnover.  Possibly the worst news coming out of the defensive side of the ball was LaMarr Woodley leaving the game again with a hamstring injury. The team is going to need him for the playoffs and we hope he can rest it before then. 

The Steelers need to regroup quickly as they have a short week and ‘trap’ game ahead on Saturday against the Rams. The black and gold needs to go out there and take care of their business and that’s all they can do. If the Ravens slip up somewhere in the final two weeks, then so be it, but for now the Steelers just need to win their games and get healthy in time for the playoffs, not worrying about seeding at this point. Blowing this opportunity tonight really put the first nail in that division coffin. 

10-4, up next Vs. St. Louis, 2-12

This week’s News, Notes, Comments and Superlatives:

Star of the Game: None-how can there be in a loss?

The team should Cut: Shaun Suisham-No, his missed FG didn’t cost them this week, but he’s been far too inconsistent this year. At the very least, try some kickers out and make the guy think a little.

                                            Bryant McFadden: He is irrelevant, when’s the last time you’ve even seen him out there? He’s taking up a roster spot at this point. Get rid of him.

News:  LaMarr Woodley, Ryan Clark and Mewelde Moore all suffered injuries, the extent of which will be determined in the next couple of days.

Notes: Hines Ward came into the game needing 9 receptions to reach 1,000 career. He left the game needing 9 catches. We think he can possibly do it, but it’s looking bleak.

Comments:  Mike Tomlin should not have permitted Big Ben to play once they were down 17 points with 9 minutes to go. He was risking further injury to that ankle and it made absolutely no sense for him to be out there.



3 Comments on "Turnovers, Penalties and Playing With Injuries Cost Steelers In a Big Way"

  1. REED RICHARDS on Tue, 20th Dec 2011 12:31 pm 

    Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin should be fired, plain and simple. With Pittsburgh already in the playoffs, there was no reason for Hamlessburger to be out there with the possible risk of being crippled, which, if I was the 49ers Defensive Coordinator, I would have given my defense the Prime Directive to cripple Roethlisberger for good. The decision to play Roethlisberger smells of desparation and a team who truly does not believe it is a superbowl contender. Having home field and byes are fine, but they are not required for “REAL CONTENDERS”. Because even if Pittsburgh wins but Hamlessburger is further injured, what is the point? You gain nothing if your starting QB is wheeled out on a cart, home field or not. And for those “so-called experts” who disagree, reverse the roles for a moment in your minds if you can. Instead of Tomlin and Hamlessburger, it’s Bellichick and Tom Brady. Do you seriously think that Bellichick would play Brady in a game like that when a playoff spot is already secured and Brady has such an injury like Hamlessburger has? NOT ON YOUR LIFE WOULD TOM BRADY HAVE PLAYED IN A GAME LIKE THAT, WITH MORE RISK THAN REWARD!

  2. longarm on Tue, 20th Dec 2011 12:41 pm 

    I felt once the game was getting out of hand and even in the 3rd quater when Ben couldn’t move the ball they should have taken him out. It wasn’t worth getting him hurt or making his injury worse, we need him healthy for the playoffs.

  3. kiki on Thu, 22nd Dec 2011 1:22 pm 

    I don’t believe Ben should have played at all. Much too risky, and obviously, he wasn’t up to the task. Had they played Batch and lost, at least Ben would have had more time to heal.