“Turn out the lights, the parties over” Don Meredith used to sing on Monday Night Football. NBA’s Charles Barkley simply photo shops a fishing hat and gear onto an athlete to let you know his season’s over.
While the Steelers have 3 games to play, their chances of a Lombardi repeat are all but officially over. Time to turn out the lights, send the party guests home and grab the fishing reel. Let’s head for Lake Erie. Then again, maybe not.
Lake Erie was the frozen tundra and the Steelers offense was frozen in neutral most of the night. In one of the most telling signs of the team not being able to get out of their own way, the Coaching staff called an inexplicable time out killing late Steelers momentum and handing the Browns their first win over the Steelers in eons.
With 2:40 to play, the Steelers were finally driving. With the Brown defense on their heels and gasping for air the Steelers scored a first down in Brown territory with the clock ticking and promptly called a time out. From there, out of the no-huddle with the offensive coaching staff free to add their two cents late in a losing game it became 3rd and 19. I am at a loss to explain the time out. Like the Steelers.
The defense gave up a couple big plays on the frozen field but only 13 points and not time of possession. Only one sack and no turnovers forced from Brady Quinn spelled doom with the “inept” play of the offense. The tackling looked shoddy with James Farrior repeatedly burned on the edge for crucial first downs and Carter and Clark missing tackles in the secondary. Timmons whiffed on a couple sacks and Quinn looked like Otto Graham at times. Ike Taylor looked very disinterested. I did like Joe Burnett the rookie. He got a little playing time from William Gay (maybe every third series?) and seemed to be around the ball.
The offense is an enigma. With 2 Super Bowl MVPs lined up at WR, a two time Lombardi winner at QB and capable Heath Miller, Willie Parker and Rashard Mendenhall, more was expected of this offense. With no offensive identity and no real attacking game plan the Steelers run hot and cold. They wait for the no huddle offense or the big play. On a frigid night by Lake Erie there were no big plays coming. With no ability or determination by the coaches to grind it out the Steelers were stuck in neutral and managed a blustery 3 points in each half. The O line was completely dominated by the Cleveland front 7 who sacked Roethlisberger an Eagle like 8 times. The linemen looked confused. Zierlein and Arians made no adjustments. The Steelers will get no playoff games.
Some Steelers appeared to quit on their head coach yesterday. The game against Green Bay in 10 days is the true test of Tomlin’s young career. Will the team give him a 100% effort through season’s end as Cowher got in a couple losing years? I think the Steelers will give a better effort. Regardless this team was not built to go all the way. Too many injuries, turnovers and points left on the field led to a sub 500 record. Maybe with the draft in April we can reload with some better athletes picking in the middle of each round instead of at the end. Maybe we can sign some free agents that will contribute and hire an offensive coordinator that will test Ben and make him better instead of being his friend and letting him help design the game plan. If nothing else we have 2008. Last one out turn off the lights...