New Castle News


October 8, 2012

Steve Treu on the Steelers: Pittsburgh still not ready for prime time

PITTSBURGH — The Pittsburgh Steelers were a yanked field-goal attempt — Billy Cundiff style — away from seeing their season end abruptly.

The Cundiffian reference serves two points.

1. It surely warms the hearts of Black-and-Gold fans to recall the epic fail by the Ravens in last season’s AFC Championship Game.

2. As Bill Cowher loved to say, there’s a fine line in this game between winning and losing.

If Shaun Suisham had hooked his 34-yard field goal attempt like Cundiff did, there would be mourning throughout Steelers Nation today. There’d be agony over being 2 1/2 games behind Baltimore in the AFC North, there’d be consternation over a past-its-prime defense and several underachieving defensive draft picks in recent years, there’d be cries for offensive coordinator Todd Haley’s head.

For all practical purposes, their season would have been over. This is just not good enough of a team to overcome a 1-3 hole in a division featuring the Ravens.

As it was, however, Suisham’s chip shot was true, the Steelers clipped the Philadelphia Eagles, 16-14, at Heinz Field and they are far from out of it at the season’s quarter pole.

And they have Michael Vick to thank.

The Steelers began the game with about as much focus as Barack Obama in the presidential debate last week, missing both attitude and aptitude. Even before the rains came, it was a slop fest.

Quick summary of their first drive: no gain, fumbled snap, 1-yard gain, punt.

End of their second drive: incomplete pass, penalty, 1-yard gain, penalty, 7-yard gain, penalty, punt.

Third series: no gain, incomplete pass, incomplete pass, fumbled snap, turnover on downs.

“Whoa, slow down, Jim Lehrer, these questions are coming too fast!”

Despite that dizzying start of ineptitude, Pittsburgh managed to be tied 0-0 early in the second quarter solely because the opposing quarterback mistakenly believed he was playing point guard, dribbling the ball instead of traveling with it.

Twice Vick coughed up possession, the second of which was recovered in the end zone by Larry Foote for a touchback. The Eagles probably would have liked at least three points there by the end of the game.

To his credit, Vick manned up and took complete responsibility for the loss.

“I’ve never had problems with fumbles,” said the NFL leader in lost fumbles with five, “it was just one of those days.”

OK, so maybe he didn’t exactly man up. But there’s more.

“Everything happens for a reason,” Vick philosophized. “If it was meant to be, I wouldn’t have fumbled the ball at the goal line.”

Got it. God’s fault. Or evolution’s fault. Or whomever/whatever determines random occurrences such as not protecting the football when you are about to score.

“Karma,” smirked my puppy.

Vick’s carelessness overshadowed a rather pedestrian performance by the Steelers. The highlights were few.

There was some good defensive pressure on Vick and Ben Roethlisberger wasn’t sacked, both good signs. And Rashard Mendenhall showed surprising bursts in his return.

But eking out a victory at home against an undisciplined quarterback and letting a double-digit lead evaporate for the second consecutive game doesn’t exactly give reason for the Ravens to begin trembling in their beaks at the thought of visiting town six weeks from now, and perhaps not even the Titans on Thursday night in Tennessee before a national TV audience.

“Of course you want to win 50-0,” Roethlisberger said, “but when you play a team like that, it’s probably not going to happen.”

And when your own team plays like that, it’s never going to happen.

(Steve Treu cover 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