New Castle News

October 14, 2013

Steve Treu: Steelers win a game, not much else

Steve Treu
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — Bill Cowher was having a chat with Ben Roethlisberger this week about the rest of the Steelers’ season.

According to Cowher, they talked about whether there was a possible “renewance” of the team’s fortunes upcoming.

Now, no one has ever spotted either guy at a Mensa International meeting, but surely these college educated men should be wise enough to understand how silly that debate sounds.

I mean, what is a renewance?

A quick check of the modern sports columnist’s best friend (thank you, Google) suggests that renewance is not a word outside of Cowher’s mind.

Pretty much makes Bill’s and Big Ben’s conversation irrelevant then, right?

As it should be.

Much of the talk in the Pittsburgh locker room after the Steelers’ 19-6 victory over the New York Jets in East Rutherford yesterday was that this was just what they needed to turn the season around, to light a spark under themselves, to ignite a Black-and-Gold revival.

You know, a renewance.

Yeah, right. And the federal government is about to spark a financial renewance with our money.

Was it a “nice” win? Yes. Was it a season-changer? No.

There were several positive signs to come out of the Steelers’ first win of 2013, especially an offense that found a rhythm over the final three quarters and a defense that put some pressure on the opposing quarterback, but this result was mostly about one facet of the game.

Turnovers.

The Jets committed two, the Steelers none.

Prior to yesterday, the Steelers had been minus-11 in that category in crafting an 0-4 start. Had they kept with that trend with, say, a minus-2 against the Jets, they would be nesting on top of a five-game goose egg today.

Problem is Pittsburgh’s two takeaways were more like New York giveaways.

The first one came on a first down with the Jets in the red zone seemingly about to cut the Steelers’ lead to a field goal. With all day to throw, Geno Smith launched a pass high over the head of Konrad Reuland into triple-coverage, where Ryan Clark easily hauled in the pick.

A momentum-killer for the Jets, a complete gift for the Steelers.

The second one came on a first down with the Jets in the red zone seemingly about to cut the Steelers’ lead to six points. Jarvis Jones forced an errant pass from Smith, yes, but that attempt had four Steelers in the vicinity of tight end Jeff Cumberland, who was covered closely by Vince Williams.

It appeared as if Clark were again the intended target, with Troy Polamalu right next to him, but Lawrence Timmons ended up with the easy interception.

Even if Jones had not disrupted Smith’s throwing motion, any one of those Steelers was likely going to pick it.

A game-ender for the Jets, another gift for the Steelers.

It’s pretty easy to see that, had Roethlisberger thrown two interceptions instead of Smith, this one would have gone the other way.

Said color commentator Cowher, “The biggest thing is the Steelers have only had one division game, so they are still in the middle of this. There is a lot of football left.”

In the middle of what? The highway? As road kill, maybe.

The Steelers are 1-4 and three wins behind Cincinnati. Perhaps they can start to make things interesting by beating Baltimore at Heinz Field on Sunday, but with road games at Oakland (West Coast games have been dicey for them recently) and New England up after the Ravens, it is hard to see them making any real headway.

The Steelers are going to need yesterday’s formula — a couple giveaways by the opponent while playing turnover-free football themselves — in order to even get back to .500. Anyone who has watched this team for the past year knows that’s an unlikely scenario.

Don’t hold your breath for that renewance.

(Steve Treu covers the Steelers for The News.)