New Castle News
NEW CASTLE —
The Steelers exchanged high-fives on the field as if it were a win.
The final scoreboard displayed more points in their favor, which typically indicates a win.
The NFL standings show an uptick in their win column today, another good sign that it was a win.
But why did Pittsburgh’s 16-13 “win” in overtime over Kansas City last night at Heinz Field seem like such a loss?
Because if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck and if it leaves your quarterback’s wing about as powerful as a duck’s, then it’s a duck.
A lame duck, to be precise. Special emphasis on lame.
Oh sure, the Chiefs were not a team to be taken lightly, as Steelers coach Mike Tomlin stated this week. Of course not. Kansas City’s 1-8 roster is stacked with a dozen 300-pounders, nothing light about that at all.
The Chiefs apparently tried to get future opponents to actually take them more lightly by showing a wide array of dysfunction against the Steelers, including a kickoff out-of-bounds to set up Pittsburgh’s first score, a missed chip shot field goal and a pointless holding call on an apparent touchdown pass that cost them seven more points.
Their most epic failure was certainly when their entire defense decided to perform the “Electric Slide” or something in the end zone after what turned out to be a harmless incomplete pass, resulting in the least cool unsportsmanlike penalty in NFL history.
Yep, don’t take those guys lightly, coach.
All you need to know about whether this was a win or a loss came during the post-game news conference when Tomlin uttered this gem about quarterback Ben Roethlisberger: “I don’t know where he is.”
When the head coach loses track of the whereabouts of his star player, that’s never a promising development.
Roethlisberger, you may have noticed, got crunched by a pair of Kansas City linebackers early in the second half. Big Ben fell hard, and the seemingly rising fortunes of the Steelers this fall fell harder.
His apparent shoulder separation might have just separated Pittsburgh from the playoff picture.
It’s hard to imagine the Steelers overcoming Roethlisberger’s injury were he too could just miss one game, much less three or four.
Because that one game would be against Baltimore in Pittsburgh.
Did you see anything from the Byron Leftwich-led offense that makes you think this team will score more than a pair of field goals against the Ravens next week?
Leftwich’s third-and-7 completion for 22 yards to Jerricho Cotchery late in the fourth quarter was clutch, but when that’s the lone highlight in a half of action against the Chiefs, you are in big trouble.
Not that the offense was tearing up the place with Roethlisberger in there, either. Roethlisberger had his lowest passer rating since opening night and the running game, which seemingly had found itself, didn’t reach triple figures.
If the Steelers want to avoid having to win three straight on the road in the playoffs, if they even make it that far, they will probably have to beat Baltimore next Sunday.
They may have to do so without Roethlisberger and without any momentum. And they will have to do so against a defense that is already salivating at the prospect of facing Leftwich’s molasses windup.
Hopefully ,Tomlin knows where his quarterback is by now.
But if Roethlisberger is not healing up fast in some hyperbaric chamber somewhere, we certainly know where his team is.
About to be taken lightly by the Baltimore Ravens.
(Steve Treu covers the Steelers for The News.)