5 Smoldering Questions On the Pittsburgh Steelers, Week 17

toasterWhat are some of the most special Steelers gifts you’ve been given at Christmas time? Have you given away any similarly special Steelers gifts?

The Steelers took their 9-5 record into Baltimore, with line of sight access to the post season, and proceeded to lay one of the worst eggs of the Tomlin era as the Ravens snared Pittsburgh in a trap game.  [Or perhaps you could say they were toast…]

Now Steelers Nation finds itself in the odd state of rooting for Rex Ryan while holding on to the hope that the Steelers can prevail against the Browns. But before that can come to pass, we must first grappled with these 5 Smoldering Questions on the Steelers.

1. When asked to categorize the significance of last week’s win, our esteemed author Ivan Cole suggested that such a comeback represented an important step in a young team’s learning the art of winning….

…After such a horrendous let down are you prepared to say the Steelers are learning to how to lose?


2. Much has been written and said about the Steelers decision to abandon the run that was so successful in the first half. When you lose, people ask questions like that. So what’s your answer? Should the Steelers have continued to feed the ball to DeAngelo Williams more?

3. Mike Tomlin denied that his team came out flat, and chalked up the loss to a failure to win the turnover battle. The Steelers are 0-4 when they get no turnovers. What do you think? Do you agree with the coach, or was lack of turnovers a symptom, not a cause?

4. Here’s a stat to chew on:

What does this factoid tell you?

5. No one on this site (me least of all me) subscribes to the “Play for draft position” philosophy, but in raw, football Realpolitik terms, what would be the best possible long-term outcome for the Steelers this coming Sunday?

Well folks, that’s it for this week. While some element of catharsis is expected and healthy, let’s see if we can also make it constructive….

9 comments

  • 1. There is no way to learn to lose. Losing is worse than death, because you have to live with being a loser.

    2. D-Will cut thru the Baltimore front seven like a hot knife through butter on that first drive. And they should have gone for the field goal on fourth down. They should have stayed with the ground game, even though Ben had been the hottest QB in the league over the past six weeks. But that’s hindsight. Coach Tomlin’s gotta get a pair of those hindsight glasses, so he was see what’s gonna happen before it actually does. Then Homer and MikeyT will head over to the Sheetz and buy some Powerball tickets. And Homer will send you an e-mail from the Bay Course at the Kapalua Resort on Maui. Aloha.

    3. Actually they lost this game because the defense sucked and couldn’t stop a fourth-string quarterback who joined the team twelve days earlier on loan from the Department of Employment Services. The truth is the EZ-Pass defense can’t seem to stop anybody. The only thing they can do is make the splash plays to get turnovers, and, if you don’t turn the ball over against them, you will beat them. So, yeah. I agree with Tomlin.

    4. It tells me that Mike Tomlin and Ben Roethlisberger have a problem against teams with bad records. It’s as much Big Ben as it is Coach T. He had a 100-yard pick six against Oakland in 2009, and had one on Sunday that was called back. it’s Ben, too.

    5. The best long term scenario is to win Sunday, have the Bills beat the Jets, get into the playoffs and run the table. Draft choices come and go. Some pan out some don’t. They can never take those Lombardi Trophies away from you. But then again, the way the defense has been playing, Homer half expects to see the Cleveland PD arrest Johnny Football, toss him into the drunk tank, and then, an hour before the game, give him a police escort to the stadium where he will take turns vomiting and throwing TD passes against the EZ-Pass defense. After last Sunday, Homer doesn’t know what to think except for this: THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR LOSING ON CONSECUTIVE SUNDAYS TO THE RAVENS AND BROWNS. IT’S WORSE THAN DEATH BECAUSE YOU HAVE TO LIVE WITH BEING A LOSER. Happy New Year.

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  • 1 – I don’t think they need more lessons to the fact that things can go wrong real quick if someone is off his game.

    2 – It is the argument between doing what has been working NOW versus what has been working all year. It is easy to decide in hindsight, harder to do so in-game.

    3 – Turnover battle wins imply that your team either collected some or that your team did not give any up. This defense is not great and has been able to overcome many shortcomings by getting turnovers at opportune times. The offense tends to hum when it isn’t turning the ball over. I don’t think the entire team came out ‘flat’. But one key cog was definitely not himself and the team couldn’t overcome that.

    4 – That more than half of his losses came to teams over .500 when they played them.

    5 – Best possible outcome? Steelers win. Jets lose.

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  • 1 – I don’t think it is a factor of ‘learning how to lose’. They just laid an egg.

    2 – As stated, 20/20 hindsight suggests this should have occurred. Though, during the game, it is difficult to change mentalities during a half when your normally very potent pass offense just isn’t clicking.

    3 – I disagree to a certain extent. I don’t think the team came out flat, they just didn’t come out to play at all, except for D-Will that is. Neither the offense nor the defense played well.

    4 – It gives some backup to the arguments that we don’t win the games we most definitely should often enough. It should not be a bell curve here.

    5 – I agree with Homer on this one. Beat the Browns, Jets lose, run the table. Hopefully that happens and the team stays Humble throughout the playoffs knowing they almost screwed themselves out of a playoff spot by the egg they laid. UGH that was a bad game.

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  • 1. Learning how to lose is for losers. This statement does not apply to the Pittsburgh Steelers . The team and coaches will learn from the loss and this Sunday they will beat the team that has learned how to lose. With a win against his old team Rex Ryan and the Bills can go 8-8 and avoid a losing record. This should be one helluva game. I will be streaming that game while watching our boys beat the Cleve Brownies, it will be fun regardless of the outcome.

    2. Sheets MTO’s are wonderful things, It’s funny how you miss life’s little pleasures. Hindsight is a MTO that only fills you up if you are the one who is judging what someone else has already done. If you are the doer and do not succeed you cant have your MTO, only rice cakes and that empty feeling in your gut.

    3. This D needs turnovers to survive or an offense to bail them out. Last week they got neither of these things.

    4. That the loss number will stay the same after this week

    5. I want to see Rex Ryan with a big fat smile on his face after 60 minutes and see our Steelers grab that last golden ticket

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  • 1. If you’ve “learned to lose”, you’ve given up. This team has not indicated that. Baltimore was just better on Sunday.

    2. Like everyone else has said, Sunday was filled of “woulda, coulda, shoulda’s”. It might have helped giving it to DeAngelo, but I think it was lack of splash plays that hurt the team most.

    3. I agree that a turnover or two would have shifted momentum in a huge way.

    4. I will let DeAngelo Williams answer this question (he said this after Sunday’s loss): “What bothers me is that people overlook 4-10 teams like they aren’t allowed to play good football or play up to a team that is hot or has a winning record. This is the National Football League. It is any given Sunday, and it is not always the best team that wins on Sunday. It’s the team that plays the best on Sundays.”

    5. End the regular season on the high note with a win, and just let the chips fall where they may for the Bills Jets game.

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    • DWill is right. But, that won’t stand up to fan expectations. As soon as a fanbase decides that an opponent is an ‘easy win’, no facts will derail that train.

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  • 4) Fans don’t let facts stand in the way of their perceptions. The Steelers only lost to one team when they were favored this season and that was the Ravens last Sunday. The Steelers won four games when they were the underdog, including the last Bengals game and the Broncos. Under Tomlin they average 10.6 wins per season. Rebuilding a team with records of 8-8, 8-8, 11-5 and (hopefully) 10-6 is amazing, granted the secondary still needs to be finished. I have been reading comments almost everywhere that Tomlin needs to go because of his record against losing teams, even though his record is better that Cowher’s.

    The stat about Tomlin’s losses is meaningless without context. This statistic includes teams that were 0-1, like the Ravens last year, you know the team that beat the Steelers in the playoffs, no matter how good they turned out to be. Kind of like the 1-5 Chiefs that haven’t lost a game since and that may still win their division. What matters is what the teams season record was.

    Quoting from Bob Labriola’s Asked and Answered on Steelers.com, a reader named Nathan Smith posted the following:

    “Using the wonderful Profootballreference.com, and not promising I didn’t make at least a couple of small mistakes, this is what I found: Tomlin is 46-16 against teams ending the season with a losing record, and 34-10 against the really bad teams. He is 25-23 against teams ending the season with a winning record, and 19-21 against the really good teams.”

    http://www.steelers.com/news/asked-and-answered/article-1/Asked-and-Answered-Dec-31/25d2ed27-fcc2-4066-853d-a1ed99ec41ea

    I sound like a Tomlin apologist, although I am not, he does make mistakes. I don’t remember any quite as bad as kicking off in overtime, but I guess even “football gods” can make mistakes. I guess I went off on a bit of a rant because of people cherry picking “facts” rather that looking at the overall picture.

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