New Castle News


October 22, 2012

Steve Treu on the Steelers: Pittsburgh gets invite to NFL’s parity party

NEW CASTLE — This is what we know for sure 41.2 percent of the way into this NFL season.

It’s a tip drill, anyone can go up and grab it.

(Unless your team name rhymes with “Schmleveland Clowns” of course.)

Seven weeks in and we have no clear front-runner, nobody even close. Every team has significant liabilities.

Atlanta is the lone undefeated team in the league, but the Falcons’ frequent postseason flame-outs make them a giant question mark until January. With one of the league’s worst defenses, Baltimore is relying on Joe Flacco to carry them, and that excites only Joe Flacco. Green Bay’s defense is also suspect. New England nearly lost at home to the Jets yesterday and nearly dropped to 3-4. Houston has to prove it over the long haul and lost its defensive captain (Brian Cushing) for the season.

The AFC is particularly mediocre, what with just two teams entering play yesterday with winning records.

Which brings us to the Pittsburgh Steelers ... right back in the thick of it.

Last night's 24-17 victory in Cincinnati was much more impressive than the final score, as they rolled up a 431-185 advantage in total offense. This one was two Ben Roethlisberger turnovers and three Mike Wallace drops away from being a 35-10 rout.

Jonathan “Bus Jr.” Dwyer resembled Jerome Bettis for more than just that little head waggle after a big gainer, he also piled up 122 yards by running straight through the middle of the line. Imagine that!

Antonio Brown continues to gallop around the field Gangnam Style, gathering in seven receptions for 96 yards and always appears to be one slick move away from breaking away.

Heath Miller is playing the best ball of his career, which is saying something, because he has been money since his rookie season. Especially when they actually throw to him.

And the “cramp play” by Emmanuel Sanders? Oscar-worthy.

The defense? Well, remember that “significant liabilities” thing? The Steelers got virtually no pressure on Andy Dalton, who never had to pick his Spock-like eyebrows up off the turf.

James Harrison looked old. He got a whiff on the stat sheet — no sacks, no tackles, no nuthin’. Other than his gift interception, LaMarr Woodley was a nonfactor. At least Ike Taylor played better.

There were a few other concerns, such as why can’t this team play smarter?

There was no reason for Cincinnati coach Marvin Lewis to be able to challenge Wallace’s first-down catch late in the game, Roethlisberger should have quick-snapped the ball the moment everyone got set. Tom Brady would have run two plays in the time it took for Roethlisberger to drag his feet, giving Lewis the chance to throw the red flag.

And what’s with the frequent penalties on returns? The Steelers often look as if they are Angry Birds on special teams, running around and hitting everything indiscriminately, hoping for something to fall. Keep it up and Brown or Chris Rainey are going to get a touchdown return wiped out in a big moment.

But in today’s NFL (Nothing’s Foreseeable League), that amounts to nit-picking.

Go ahead and review the Black-and-Gold’s long list of deficiencies, and then compare them to every other team in the conference. Playing a three-quarters complete game like the Steelers did last night might be enough to challenge for the AFC’s berth in the Super Bowl.

Indeed, if the running game can sustain anything near that kind of production (especially if Maurkice Pouncey comes back and stays healthy), if Troy Polamalu comes back and stays healthy, if Wallace can start playing like a guy who is playing for a big contract and if the Ravens continue to self-destruct, it is not hard to imagine the Steelers playing in Houston for the Lamar Hunt Trophy on Jan. 20, 2013.

Or, after RGIII comes in and lights up Heinz Field on Sunday, you can simply resume looking at mock drafts again.

(Steve Treu covers the Steelers for The News.)


Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • SteelersSpence.jpg Steelers LB Spence caps lengthy comeback

    The whistle blew and Sean Spence sprinted forward, each cathartic step distancing the linebacker from the horrific knee injury that threatened to end his NFL career before it even really began.


    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Wheaton.jpg Steelers' Wheaton eyeing chance after tough rookie year

    Markus Wheaton realizes the pressure is there, but he doesn’t mind.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • 628x471.jpg Legendary Steelers coach Chuck Noll dies at 82

    Chuck Noll, the Hall of Fame coach who won a record four Super Bowl titles with the Pittsburgh Steelers, died last night at his home. He was 82. The Allegheny County Medical Examiner said Noll died of natural causes.

    June 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • demedal.tiff Pro Football: After taking part in minicamp, DeMedal playing 'waiting game' with Steelers

    Jake DeMedal’s football career is in limbo. After competing in the Pittsburgh Steelers’ rookie minicamp May 15-18, the Wilmington High and St. Francis University (Loretto, Pa.) product is waiting to hear back from the team if he should report to Latrobe in July for training camp.

    June 5, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pro Football: Munchak to join Steelers’ staff

    Mike Munchak is going back to his roots, and heading closer to home in the process. A person familiar with the decision said Wednesday night the former Tennessee Titans head coach will join the Pittsburgh Steelers as offensive line coach.

    January 23, 2014

  • steelerswrapup.jpg Steelers humbled but optimistic after 8-8 finish

     The Pittsburgh Steelers have seven long months to think about what exactly happened in 2013. Are they closer to the team that looked lost and overmatched at times during a 2-6 start? Or are they closer to the one that went 6-2 over the final eight weeks and came within a shanked field goal and a botched penalty call in San Diego from making the playoffs?

    December 31, 2013 1 Photo

  • Treu.jpg Steve Treu: Chiefs’ missed field goal left Steelers where they belonged

    A successful boot by the Kansas City placekicker was all that separated Pittsburgh from a wildly improbable postseason berth.

    December 30, 2013 1 Photo

  • steelersousted.jpg Steelers win, but fail to reach playoffs

    Pittsburgh played like it didn’t want its season to end. Cleveland looked as though it couldn’t wait to pack things up and go home.

    December 29, 2013 1 Photo

  • steelersalive.jpg Steelers somehow still alive for playoffs

    The math remains tricky. The circumstances remain less than ideal. And yet, the Pittsburgh Steelers are still alive for the playoffs entering the final week of the season. 

    December 24, 2013 1 Photo

  • Treu.jpg Steve Treu: Steelers up the ante at the end of lackluster season

    That was worth it. No matter what happens next weekend, that was worth it. Yesterday’s high-fiving, head-scratching, jaw-dropping, curse-inducing, postseason death-defying 38-31 victory by the Pittsburgh Steelers over the Green Bay Packers made this otherwise forgettable 2013 season at least somewhat memorable.

    December 23, 2013 1 Photo

House Ads

Summer is a perfect time for a good read. Where's your favorite place to spend off time with your nose in a book?

Relaxing on the couch
On a bench in the park
By the pool
At the closest beach
I don't have time to read
     View Results