New Castle News

Closer Look

December 24, 2012

Steve Treu: Like his Steelers teammates, Big Ben played small when it mattered most

NEW CASTLE — He is the player most responsible for restoring championship glory to the franchise.

More than any other, he should get the most credit for delivering the last two Super Bowl titles to Pittsburgh.

The Steelers advanced to three Super Bowls and have been a threat virtually every season since 2004 largely because of him.

And he just ended whatever slim chance the Steelers had at a seventh Lombardi Trophy.

Ben Roethlisberger.

Goat.

It is a strange label for a man used to playing the role of hero on a football field.

He may be halfway through a Hall of Fame-worthy career (though he may need another Super Bowl ring to cinch it), but the year 2012 will be a black mark on the otherwise golden résumé for Roethlisberger.

He failed to inspire his teammates this season.

And in the most important moments, he simply failed.

In Denver to open the season, Roethlisberger had a first down to work with at the Pittsburgh 20 with three minutes to go trailing by 6 points. Fail.

In Oakland two weeks later, Roethlisberger had a first down to work with at the Pittsburgh 20 with 6:22 remaining in a tie game. Fail.

In mid-October at Tennessee, similar situation. First down in their own territory during a tie game, 4:14 left to play. Fail.

Last week in Dallas, similar situation. First down at his own 20. Tie game. Start of OT. Fail.

All of those games, losses.

Yesterday’s 13-10 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals at Heinz Field had such a familiar ring to it.

Ring? More like a gong.

Roethlisberger had no less than five possessions in the second half of a 10-10 game to go get the Steelers the lead and each time came up far short.

Field position and time were not factors, either. The first four drives started in Pittsburgh territory at the 34, 28, 23 and 46 with 3:18 remaining. Fail, fail, fail, fail.

On the fifth, Roethlisberger had a chance to hit Mike Wallace in Cincinnati territory in the final minute and perhaps set up a game-winning field goal attempt and instead chucked it over his head for his second devastating interception in the past two weeks.

Epic fail.

Now, except for a meaningless game against Cleveland next week, the season is over.

There are a hundred reasons why an 8-8 record is the best Steelers fans can hope for and also why a season-ending home loss to the Browns next week would be the nadir of Mike Tomlin’s six-year tenure as head coach.

The injuries were ridiculous. In retrospect, David DeCastro getting hurt during preseason action was a harbinger of doom. “Next Man Up” was replaced by “Next Man Down” for the Steelers this season.

The team never got settled at running back. (Heck, just when you thought Rashard Mendenhall had all the relevance of Osama bin Laden, he re-emerged in the backfield yesterday.) Gotta get that position figured out before 2013 kicks off.

The wide receivers were divas. Except divas are smarter. Mike Wallace played his way out of a huge payday, at least here in Pittsburgh. Antonio Brown had far too many mental and physical lapses to repeat as team MVP.

And Emmanuel Sanders’ head-scratching fumble as he dashed toward the end zone in Baltimore may be the quintessential moment of the season.

So much promise.

Wasted.

Above all else, Roethlisberger just didn’t have his magic touch.

You may recall the winning drive in Super Bowl XLIII? When Big Ben guided the Steelers 78 yards in a masterful two-minute drill to win it all?

Had he managed to duplicate that kind of drive just once in any of the aforementioned five games, Pittsburgh would still be in the playoff hunt. Had he done it two or three times, as we’ve come to expect from him, a postseason game at Heinz Field might be on tap for early January.

As it turns out, that unsportsmanlike penalty called on Brett Keisel for his “arrow” sack dance wasn’t so ridiculous. It was a metaphor for the season.

The flaw in his celebration?

“Going to the ground.”

Your 2012 Pittsburgh Steelers.

Grounded.

(Steve Treu covers the Steelers for The News.)

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Closer Look
  • well.jpg Lawyers to address fracking

    Lawyers will address public concerns about oil and gas regulations and other topics at a program next month. Oday Salim and Megan Lovett of Fair Shake Environmental Legal Services in Pittsburgh and attorney Michael Oliverio of Lynch Weis in Cranberry Township are to present the program.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Yauger.jpg Yauger enters guilty plea in federal court

    The former executive director of the local intermediate unit has entered a guilty plea in federal court.

     

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lottery.jpg Lottery officials: Seniors should get smaller payout

    State lottery officials say less means more for seniors. The lottery took in $3.8 billion in sales last year and will give more than $1 billion of it — or 28.5 percent — to programs for senior citizens.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • phone.jpg Attorney general warns of phone scams

    Assorted scams in the commonwealth have prompted a warning from the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office. Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane said several scams have been reported to the Bureau of Consumer Protection in recent weeks.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • disability.jpg Disabilities group unveils new icon

    Disability Options Network is joining forces with the Accessible Icon Project. Officials of the community organization, located at 1929 E. Washington St., said its new icon will replace the current international symbol for accessibility.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • well.jpg Auditor: State doesn’t have enough inspectors to monitor wells

    The state’s 83 well inspectors face a daunting enough challenge keeping tabs on 120,000 active oil and gas wells that have been drilled over the last century.

     

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • vote.jpg Independent hopefuls may widen gubernatorial field

    Just when Pennsylvania voters were getting used to the idea of a gubernatorial election showdown between Republican incumbent Tom Corbett and Democratic challenger Tom Wolf, other hopefuls may soon be joining the fray.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • manna.jpg John K. Manna: Measuring the money

    Should we even bother to have an election in November? By some accounts, maybe the results of some contests are already in.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • shooting.jpg Man injured in city shooting

    A man was flown to a Pittsburgh hospital Thursday morning following a shooting on West Lincoln Avenue.

     

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • police.jpg Police: Man pulls gun on construction workers

    Construction workers in Neshannock Township flagged down police Thursday claiming a business owner had pulled a gun on them.

     

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

House Ads
Seasonal Content
Section Teases
Must Read
Continuous Super Bowl Coverage