Monday, October 30, 2006

 

Are You Kidding Me? A Very, Very, Very Painful Loss....


(The Burgh - October 30, 2006) - When it seemed things couldn't get worse, the defending Super Bowl Champs played more like chumps en route to literally handing (or should we say, tossing) the 1-5 Oakland Raiders their second victory in as many weeks. Although the Steelers outgained the Raiders by nearly 3:1, two (of four) bonehead Big Ben interceptions resulted in TDs for the Silver & Black. Those 14 points were all that Oakland needed to beat the dented Men of Tin.

What makes this loss even more painful are the long-term effects it will have on the remainder of the Steelers dismal 2006 season. Although it will not be known for sure until later in the week, it appears as if both FB Verron Haynes and rookie LB Arnold Harrison will be out for the rest of the season with knee injuries. And to make matters even worse, starting C Jeff Hartings could be out for what Coach Cowher says "an extended period of time". Which leads to the speculation that if this injury is serious enough, it could be the last time we see Hartings in a Steelers uniform.


More troubling than the 3 injuries was the continued hesitancy of Big Ben to scramble out of the pocket and run the ball when the opportunity presented itself, as it did during the play that ultimately resulted in a 100 yard interception for the back-breaking touchdown. While we completely understand Ben's reluctance to run into traffic and possibly take a serious blow to the head, maybe he (or the coaches) should have realized that rushing him back into yesterday's game could create situations where his full capabilities could not be utilized.

Finally, the lack of control Coach Cowher has over his players continued, even after last week's promise (for the second time this season) that "this would not happen again". Although the back-to-back personal fouls resulting in 30 yards did not end in a Raiders TD, they did come away with a FG.

Next up are the AFC West leading Denver Broncos, who will surely be out for revenge after last January's loss to a much different Steeler team in the AFC Championship game. And a week later, the surprising NFC South leading New Orleans Saints come to Heinz Field. All in all, this season is turning into a bigger disappointment than anyone could have possibly imagined a mere 8 weeks ago. With the way the Steelers have been playing, the 7th loss of the season (something we haven't seen since the 2003 season) could be here before Thanksgiving.

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