New Castle News


December 10, 2012

Steve Treu: Steelers’ pathetic play, coaching proves passion is important, too

NEW CASTLE — Five words separated the Pittsburgh Steelers from making a game of it yesterday.

Charlie Batch to Hines Ward.

Had only the Steelers started Batch and brought Ward out of retirement, they would not have been embarrassed as they were 34-24 to San Diego at Heinz Field.

Says here they would have won.


That is not to say that Pittsburgh should have started Batch, of course. Since Ben Roethlisberger was healthy, obviously he plays.

But the pathetic performance just put on by the Steelers speaks to the psychology of the game. More to the point, it speaks to their fragile psyche at this late stage of the season.

Apparently passion is needed to play this sport.

Last week in Baltimore, playing inspired ball behind Batch, they had it. Yesterday, as Bill the Cat would say, “Thbbft!”

Imagine the reception Batch would have gotten from the locals yesterday, one week after the hometown boy made the hometown fans proud with a comeback win over the hated Ravens. Sensing their need to maintain their intensity, the Steelers would have rallied around him and done what everyone expected them to do, coasting past the Chargers.

But with Big Ben back, the opposite happened. They coasted all right, putting it on cruise control in anticipation of an easy win. They won’t admit it, but they were looking past San Diego and ahead to sexier matchups against Dallas and Cincinnati over the next two weeks.

With Batch in there, the Steelers win 17-16 yesterday. (Go ahead, prove me wrong.)

As for Ward, that one wasn’t a serious suggestion — though his leadership was sorely missed — but was meant to illustrate a point or five.

Great hands are more valuable than great speed.

Both Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown dropped potential huge gainers in the first half, either of which would have flipped field position and dramatically altered the momentum of the game.

Wallace wasn’t able to outrun the boos that came cascading down upon him after his whiff. If he had Ward’s hands (in addition to about a dozen other intangibles), Wallace would be headed where Ward surely will end up in a few years — Canton.

As it is, the young burner might be headed to Ohio all right, as some smitten franchise like Cleveland will surely overpay for his services next season.

Five words for Wallace’s two Oscar-worthy (as in The Grouch, as in garbage time) touchdowns: too little, far too late.

Ward also would have had the football IQ to knock a loose ball out of the back of the end zone and save five points, unlike Brown, who apparently had visions of scooping up Roethlisberger’s lateraled fumble and running 108 yards for a touchdown.

Good idea, Antonio. If you’re playing Madden 2013.

Not only would Ward’s fire have been nice in the huddle yesterday, his no-quit attitude might have nudged coach Mike Tomlin into keeping his head in the game.

What in the sacred name of Art Rooney was Tomlin doing booting the PAT after Wallace’s second touchdown made it 34-16? Let’s see, a two-point conversion there makes it 34-18 … and a two-score game! Who is the team mathematician, Bill the Cat?

There was still 6:07 left to play!

When Brown scored his Oscarian TD with a minute left, Tomlin sent out the PAT unit  … because two points there would have only made it a nine-point game.

No point at that point for the two-pointer, eh?

Ack! Thbbft!

Perhaps Tomlin knew that the outcome was largely irrelevant. With Cincinnati losing as well, a playoff game is now set for Heinz Field in two weeks. Steelers vs. Bengals. The winner is going to qualify for the postseason.

Turns out the San Diego game really meant very little.

And the Steelers played like it.

(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