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
Tentative casino hearing date set
May 8 is the tentative date for a public hearing for Lawrence County residents to comment on the proposed casino. The Mahoning supervisors announced the date Thursday.
Training seminar to address handling PennDOT contracts
A training seminar on how to deal with state transportation engineering and construction contracts is planned for this month
Recycling facility’s plan recommended for approval
The New Castle Planning Commission has recommended approval of a land development plan for a recycling facility. Ben Weitsman and Sons of New Castle plans to construct a facility at 526 S. Jefferson St. to recycle scrap metal.
Jameson to move pediatric unit
Plans are under way to relocate inpatient pediatric care at Jameson Hospital. A press release issued Wednesday by Jameson Health System said pediatric care will continue at the hospital and “will be provided in a safe environment by the same pediatricians, physician specialists and pediatric trained registered nurses and staff.”
County asking to divert state bridge money
Lawrence County has an accumulation of state funds designated for its bridges that it cannot spend. It wants to share those funds for local road repairs, but cannot use the money — more than $600,000 — for that because the funds are restricted by a law enacted in 2007, and can be used only as a county match for county-owned bridge projects.
Commissioners make meeting changes
The Lawrence County commissioners have made a couple of changes to their regular meeting schedule this month.They will meet as usual at 10 a.m. Tuesday in their meeting room in the courthouse.
Our Opinion: Some consumers pay price of changing power suppliers
Choice may be good, but an informed choice is even better. That’s the conclusion we draw from reports here in Lawrence County and elsewhere around Pennsylvania about some residents and businesses receiving electric bills that are substantially higher than normal.
SRU addresses alleged audit discrepancy
As Slippery Rock University officials continue to tackle budget issues that include a potential deficit of up to $10 million, they’re also addressing concerns that a recent audit alleges a $1 million discrepancy.
On the Record: Today’s births and police reports
On the Record is a periodic update of public information coming out of the Lawrence County Government Center. Look inside for the latest births and police reports.
Trout stocking becomes tossing in Volant
While a snowstorm slowly made its way to the area, one annual event signaled the approach of spring for some. A little more than 300 attendees made their way through leftover snow and ice to the banks of Neshannock Creek in Volant for the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission’s annual trout stocking event.
- More Closer Look Headlines
- Tentative casino hearing date set