We lost the game today on five plays essentially. If even just one or two of these plays had not occured, we still probably win.
1)Roethlisberger's INT in endzone . At this point, we were thoroughly dominating the game. We had already scored one TD with ease, and Deshea Townsend had just picked off Carson Palmer near midfield. After succesfully marching back down the field thanks to several medium length runs by Willie Parker, we were poised to score again and put the Bengals in a big hole at 14-0. Instead, Ben threw a horrible pass that was intended for Heath Miller. Unfortunately, there were four Bengals players in the endzone and Ben tried to squeeze a ball in there anyway. I love play action around the goal line, but I don't understand why we didn't punch that one in on the ground. Of course the offense has to mix things up, but we sure had been successful that drive pounding the ball on the ground.
2)Roethlisberger's 3rd quarter INT . Things looked good once again in the 3rd quarter. We had stopped Cincy from doing much on offense in their first several series, and we had tacked on a FG and TD since intermission. With just under 5 minutes to go in the quarter, the Steelers once again had the ball after a Bengals punt. Willie Parker continued his field day with two first down runs before Roethlisberger made another bad throw. Ben was trying to hit Cedrick Wilson on a deep route (he actually had steps on his defender), but it looked like Big Ben slipped as he threw and the ball ended up being close to twenty yards underthrown. Once again, momentum killed.
3)Ricardo Colcloguh strikes again ...Maybe we should put this one on Cowher and the special teams coaches for continuing to put Colclough back there despite the clear and present fact that he's abysmall at fielding punts. I'm not saying Colclough is a worthless football player (although he did get beat several times in pass coverage as well); just that punt returning is not his strong suit. And that's putting it lightly. Whatever, there's not much more to be said. I'm sure he feels horrible about what happened so we'll get off his ass for now. That just BETTER be the last we see of him for the remainder of the season. We'll talk about alternative options later in the week.
4)Verron Haynes fumbles the ball ...The Bengals quickly capitalized on Colcloguh's error when Palmer hit Houshmandzadeh over the middle for the score. Two plays later on a run that would have resulted in a first down, Verron Haynes fumbles the ball. Uncharacterstic of Verron and extremely costly. It still appeared as if we were were going to be able to run the ball well enough to get back into Bengals territory for a potential go-ahead score, and there certainly was enough time on the clock for us to be patient with the running game. Extremely costly turnover that was immediately converted for 7 more points on a spectacular TD catch by Houshmandzadeh.
5)Nate Washington drops TD ...Down by 11, the Steelers quickly got the ball back into the redzone. Roethlisberger made a really nice throw on the run on 4th and 10, and we fairly efficiently found ourselves with a chance to make it a one posession game with just about 4 minutes to go. Roethlisberger made perhaps his best throw of the game on a slant to Nate Washington. The ball hit him between the numbers. He dropped it. Remember, we ended the game in FG range, so imagine if he had caught the TD (granted, we would have needed the 2 pt conversion as well), we would have had a chance to tie the game in the final minute with a FG. <