Ugh. The Steelers are a 2-6 football team. Who would have guessed at the start of the season? Who would have thought we'd lose 5-of-6 after taking care of the Miami Dolphins on opening night of the 2006 season. We're 0-and-4 on the road and have lost two tough contests at home. No more talk about the playoffs and the schedule. I'm just hoping we can stop making devastating mistakes and win a football game.
I was traveling during most of the game yesterday so I was not able to see all of the game. I arrived at my house with just about ten minutes left in the 4th quarter. So, I'd humbly ask for all of you to chime in and discuss what you saw during the first three quarters for my edification.
Here's what I saw in the fourth quarter:
*Our pass defense has been beyond sub-par this season. We've now made Michael Vick and Jake Plummer look like All-World passers. Yes they are both very good and quite capable of having big games on any given day, but you'd think that the defending Super Bowl Champs would not allow both to have monster days against us. We were not able to force the often mistake-prone Plummer into any turnovers...at home. That's not going to cut it.
*Did anybody else notice that our offensive players seemed to be playing with a new sense of urgency in the 4th quarter? Hines Ward made several incredible runs, so too did Dookie Davenport. I'm wondering why it took us so long to play with that added measure of desperation.
*Four turnovers inside their 10 yard line? Are you kidding me? Had we converted just half of those opportunities, we would have won the game. There's been way too many `Ifs' though this season. The bottom line is we continue to shoot ourselves in the foot at the most inopportune times of the football game.
*Big Ben looked incredibly sharp throwing the ball during the 4th quarter. Again, I didn't see the first three quarters of the game, meaning I missed his INTs. But, what I did see was an impressive display of accuracy, arm strength, and distribution of the ball. Was this the case all game? What happened on his INTs?
*Poor Hines Ward. He was single-handedly refusing to let us lose in the 4th quarter with his gutsy catches and runs. It was still unlikely that we'd win even had he not fumbled at the goal line, but it was still a disappointing outcome for a player that was playing with so much heart and determination late in the game. That 60 yard catch-and-run following the Denver score was one of the more incredible plays I've seen. He spun, avoided the first tackler, than split two converging defenders on an incredible hesitation move. This guy's in the prime of his career, making incredible plays week-in and week-out for his team.
*As much as I hate to say it, we've got to tip our cap to Mike Shanahan and his play calling. That play-action bomb to Jevon Walker following our score in the 4th quarter was an incredible call. Everybody, including myself, was expecting a run on their first play of the drive. Instead, Plummer faked the handoff, rolled right, and delivered a perfect ball to Walker who had a step on Ike Taylor. Speaking of Taylor, he got abused yesterday. So much for him being the best shut-down cornerback in the league. Part of it was good play calling and wonderful throws by Plummer, but part of it was also weak play on the part of Ike.
*Final question, before I open it up to you guys. If the season were to end today, do you think Bill Cowher would return in 2007 as the coach for the Steelers? Would he really ride into the sunset with this season as his final memory as head coach? I'm inclined to say no, but I'm sure plenty would disagree.