NEW CASTLE —
This one may come back to haunt them, of course.
September losses, especially inside the conference, often look much worse in December when postseason positioning is on the line.
But if the Pittsburgh Steelers are to even make the playoffs this season, yesterday’s 34-31 loss at Oakland may turn out to be a turning point in a positive direction for one important reason.
They seemingly figured out what to do with their offense.
OK, it was against the Raiders’ defense, one hampered by injuries, and that cannot be discounted from the equation.
Yet, the decision to attack so much through the air was a welcome sight, hearkening back to offensive coordinator Todd Haley’s high-flying days with Kurt Warner in Arizona as opposed to his ineffective run-oriented offensive stint in Kansas City. And putting to rest any concerns you should have about this team committing to the run when there isn’t one.
This is Ben Roethlisberger’s team to lead in every way he can. (It’s just a shame he can’t help put pressure on the other team’s quarterback.)
On one side of the ball, there was a lot to like about this game.
You gotta like 36 for 49, 384 yards, four touchdowns — counting the one Antonio Brown fumbled and recovered as a passing score — no interceptions, a 123.2 rating and 31 points from your offense.
You gotta like stud wideouts Brown and Mike Wallace combining for 15 receptions and 210 yards.
You gotta like 10 different players catching the ball, a huge number of targets that underscores the strength of this team.
And you gotta really love Roethlisberger going to Heath Miller so often. He collected 60 clutch yards and two touchdowns on eight receptions, his highest number of grabs in his past 47 games.
Forget about establishing the run every week, establish Miller. He’s been underutilized in the passing game his whole career. His presence over the middle and in the red zone loosens things up for the run, something Tom Brady has perfected in New England throughout his career.
It’s now more clear than ever that the Steelers should abandon the ground game. Everything they did yesterday worked, from quick outs to five wides to the no-huddle to scrambles turned into big plays ... it was vintage Big Ben.
Much to the dismay of Pittsburgh purists, teams can win this way in the NFL. The Packers, Saints, Colts and Patriots have all won Super Bowls in the past decade with elite quarterbacks and pass-first offenses.
Add to that Mike Tomlin’s bold decisions in critical situations — including throwing on fourth-and-1 on their first possession and going for it on fourth-and-1 in their own territory on their last possession — and the personality of this team started to take an interesting shape yesterday. On one side of the ball, at least, it felt downright Belichickian.
Steelers fans should hope it stays that way.
As for that defense, they should hope for a backward pass to 2008, when this team last had a great blend of veteran leadership, youthful enthusiasm and opportunistic ball hawks.
Don’t count on the return of Troy Polamalu and James Harrison to cure all that ails them, either. They are both aging and injury prone. They should be a boost, but three weeks in the makeup of this team is clear.
The Steelers are going to have to win a lot of games 31-27 if they plan on playing deep into January.
(Steve Treu covers the Steelers for The News.)
NEW CASTLE —
This one may come back to haunt them, of course.
- Closer Look
Our Opinion: Lousy voter turnout is a missed opportunity
Tuesday’s primary in Lawrence County had its share of winners and losers. But — based on the numbers — the biggest winner has to be voter apathy. Countywide, voter turnout in the primary was a whopping 17.1 percent. In case you missed it, our use of the term “whopping” is sarcasm.
Governor signs bill for health clinic funds
Gov. Tom Corbett has signed into law a bill that would provide $4 million for grants for community health clinics with at least 70 percent of that money directed toward the state’s smallest counties.
On The Record: Today’s births, police items and district judge reports
On the Record is a periodic update of public information coming out of the Lawrence County Government Center and local police departments. Look inside for the latest listing of police items and district judge reports.
Vo-tech budget loses support
Now there are only two. That is the number of school districts that have approved the Lawrence County Career and Technical Center budget for the 2013-14 year after Union board’s withdrew support this week.
County starts drug takeback program
Lawrence County’s district attorney is initiating a drug takeback program for local residents to turn in unused or expired medications.
Mom’s donates rolls to tornado victims
A local pepperoni roll company has found a way to help victims of the Oklahoma tornado. Leslie Pratt, owner of Mom’s Whole Foods, is sending about 1,700 pepperoni rolls to the ravaged area this weekend to help provide food for the tornado victims as they continue to sift through the rubble of what were once their homes.
Photo Gallery: Check out our images from the Shenango High prom!
The pomp. The pageantry. The pairs. The pictures. Yes, it’s prom season once again in Lawrence County and the New Castle News is on hand to document all the fun and excitement. We hope you enjoy our photo galleries! Today, Shenango High.
Photo Gallery: Some powerful and heartbreaking images from tornado aftermath
Oklahoma City-based AP photographer Sue Ogrocki was at the Plaza Towers Elementary School, which was destroyed, and saw rescuers pulling children out of the rubble. This is her account of what she witnessed, including some of her most powerful — and heartbreaking — images.
Photo Gallery, Story: Laurel senior county’s new dairy princess
The two candidates cross their fingers and the crowd goes silent, awaiting the verdict. And the 2013-2014 Lawrence County Dairy Princess is — Rhonda Mitcheltree!
In The Schools: Keystone Exam could up graduation stakes
The typical Pennsylvania student will spend more than 46 hours taking standardized state tests during his or her academic career. That equals more than a week’s worth of school and does not take into account the amount of time that schools spend specifically preparing for tests or helping students who have failed standardized tests.
- More Closer Look Headlines
- Our Opinion: Lousy voter turnout is a missed opportunity