First of all, I must issue kudos to the Steelers’ Defense after their gritty showing yesterday. It is a downright shame that you guys only gave up 6 points and lost after arguably your best collective performance of the year. 3 Turnovers, 6 Sacks, and 6 Points Allowed should have been more than enough for a victory. Sadly, just like the Baltimore game in Week 11, you guys had your awesome effort crapped on by the Offense. Also, if next Week is indeed the last go-around for guys like Casey “Big Snack” Hampton, Larry Foote, and even James Harrison, it was a honor to watch you guys over the course of your careers’.
Second, for the love of all that is holy Todd Haley, PLEASE STOP CALLING what I refer to as “THE SHOTGUN FAT BACK DRAW/DIVE” more than once or twice per game, if at all. Giving “slow as molasses” 240 lb. Running Backs, who should be wearing sports-bras for support during games for their doughy frames, handoffs in the Shotgun formation without any head of steam (i.e. I-Formation variations) or a Fullback in front of them behind a shoddy Offensive Line accomplishes NOTHING.
Regrettably, “TUBBY TO THE LEFT/RIGHT/MIDDLE” was was put on full display during yesterday’s game (it was called at least 7 times by my count and netted basically ZERO Yards). You would think that after that strategy/plays failed miserably against Kansas City that those plays would be scrapped from the playbook. But oh no, Boss Todd kept those meaningless runs coming all afternoon long as the Steelers’ moronically continued to try to establish an ineffective ground attack.
Haley’s perplexing love with the ineffective and personnel-weak running game aside, the real “Goat ‘o the Game” was Head Coach Mike Tomlin. To me at least, it was Tomlin’s hubris and lack of reference to past decisions which played an enormous role in Pittsburgh’s Loss yesterday at the end of the game.
I’ll be honest readers, the second that Kicker Shaun Suisham actually trotted out on the field to attempt that 53 Yard Field Goal, I turned the game off and walked away. The exact same thing I did when he was forced to attempt that 54 Yarder against Tennessee 10 Weeks ago. I knew what would happen, because I saw the same “bleepin” thing no more than 3 months ago, and I had no intentions of watching a poor guy fail because his Offense could not move the ball, and his Head Coach hung him out to dry (Although tip of the cap again to the Defense for their stop after the miss, but Big Ben should probably stop doing his best Joe Flacco impressions at the end of games if the team seeks to win). Oddly enough, that 54 Yard attempt in Tennessee was a much more favorable situation for Suisham than the one he encountered today:
- The weather was warmer that night (64 degrees as opposed to 39 degrees), and thus the ball was not as rock hard.
- LP Field’s turf was not the joke surface Heinz Field’s has ben.
- Suisham was kicking into the open end of one of the hardest the stadiums to make a Field Goal over 40 Yards.
Of course, I am sure that none of these types of logical thoughts likely crossed Tomlin’s mind, because if they had, Suisham (career long of 52 Yards) never would have trotted out on the field to attempt to make the kick. Had Tomlin really wanted to show some “stones” in that situation, or had any confidence in his Defense at all, he would have enlisted the Offense to pick up the 4th & 4, or at the very least pooch punted the Bengals to at the very least their own 20 after a possession in which they made the same idiot decision Tomlin did.
Had this been the first Long-Field Goal gamble of the season for Tomlin, I would honestly be less upset about the decision. But after the same situation which happened in Tennessee happened yesterday, and the Steelers & Suisham were faced with even smaller odds for success than they were then, I found myself completely dumbfounded by the decision. Tomlin can take all the blame he wants to from this, but his admission does not mean that I and many Steelers’ fans will forgive and forget how he handled this decision and his undisciplined team throughout the year.
This team snatched defeat from the jaws of victory so many times this season, and to see the team’s postseason hopes thwarted in part due to the same enormous mistake which was made earlier in the year is nothing short of ridiculous.
Granted, Tomlin will not be fired at the end of the season, and nor should he be. He has earned chances to redeem himself over his career due to past successes, and should be patrolling Pittsburgh’s sideline for the foreseeable future. Nevertheless, I certainly hope that this type or recidivist behavior and bone-headed late-game decision making do not go unnoticed or punished by Management. While Tomlin’s job is not likely to be in doubt, I sure hope the seat gets progressively “warmer” if undisciplined play and zero accountability reign supreme in Pittsburgh under his watch.
So please Mike, for future reference, know where the heck your Kicker is on the field. And most importantly, know which stadium you are playing in at the moment.