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Steelers-Bengals Recap

The Steelers lose in typical dumb, heart-breaking fashion under Tomlin, 13-10 to the Bengals on a last second FG. Turn out the lights, the party is over for this season. No playoffs and not even a winning record. Pretty bad considering how easy the schedule was this year.

The Good – The defense played their hearts out all game long. Too bad it was all for naught. Some of the nice plays made by this unit

– Keenan Lewis had a GREAT pass breakup in the 1st half in the endzone. He managed to keep his hand in where the ball was going and did not give up on the play.

– Cortez Allen had his best game ever in his young career, including snagging two INT’s and forcing a fumble as well as making a great pass breakup on a 3rd down play with the score tied late in the 3rd quarter. It was pretty weird seeing a Steeler CB grab not one but two INT’s.

– Curtis Brown had really solid coverage down the sideline against AJ Green in the 2nd half, preventing a deep pass.

– Troy, looking like the Troy of old, on an amazingly well timed line plunge for an untouched sack on Dalton. Thing of beauty.

– As a fan, it was great seeing how well this secondary played.

– Lebeau called an aggressive game, bringing probably the most amount of pressure all year. The defense and secondary responded with some great play.

– Timmons had a great hustle play up the middle fighting off a RB block for a nice sack.

– GREAT play by Harrision tackling a scrambling Andy Dalton for no gain late in the game, if he doesn’t snag him he gets a decent chunk of yardage. Bengals would eventually punt again.

– Suisham’s long FG to tie the game up, 10-10.

– Antonio Brown had a really solid game including a great move to get wide open for a 60 yard TD reception which would be the lone TD all game for the Steelers.

The Bad –  Another game of stale, predictable playcalling by Haley, making it too easy for the opposing defense. Too many long-developing running plays up the middle with slow RB’s. Too many predictable pass plays once again.  When you combine that with some dumb mistakes and decisions by Ben and it’s not a good combination, obviously. Ben is a HOF’er, but I think it’s true that he can be sort of a drama queen and I think it’s obvious that he is not buying into Haley’s offensive philosophy which, regardless of what you think of Haley’s playcalling, will make any offensive system look worse than it actually is. Still, Haley has been a big disappointment of late.

– Speaking of which, *Yawn* another run up the middle on 1st down for no gain. Come on, Haley. On the same series, a bullshit slow plunge up the middle on 3rd and 3. You’ve got to be fucking kidding me. On one side of the ball, I see a team (Bengals) throwing the ball, because y’know, they are aware that running it too much is a waste of valuable time in a huge game. I see another team (Steelers) stubbornly trying to run the ball all game long and wasting valuable time in a huge game. How about a 1st down pass today? It’s like Arians never left!

– After Cortez Allen’s first INT, which set up the offense at around the Bengals 30, the Steelers offense promptly pisses it away with another short half-hearted series devoid of any killer instinct whatsoever, the cherry on top being Ben STUPIDLY taking a sack, effectively taking the team out of FG range. You just can’t win close games like this with dumb mistakes like this. This team under Tomlin never seems to learn.

– Then Butler punts the ball out of the EZ for a net of a 17 yard punt. Might as well have gone for it. UNBELIEVABLE. This last sequence (the offense imploding and basically taking points off the board and the horrible punt) makes one want to simply turn the TV off.

–  After this series and seeing the way the Steelers scored their lone TD up to this point, why delay the obvious? Passing is the only way the Steelers are scoring TD’s in this game why wait until the end of the 4th quarter to go that route? Just dumb. What’s even dumber is the Steelers NEVER stop running the ball on 1st down right down to their last series ending in the dubious decision to attempt a 53 yard FG. Gutless.

– Seeing Hampton jump offsides on a 3rd and short, negating a successful challenge and a 3rd and short stop deep in Bengals territory. This team is just full of mistakes on a weekly basis.

– Ben taking another STUPID sack on a 2nd and long in the 3rd quarter after another dumb running play, dump it off, throw it away. DUMB.

– Watching the third down play after the 3rd quarter sack. UGLY. Ugly call. Ugly execution. Watching Rainey bobble the ball up in the air dangerously. Dumb.

– Too many slow developing plays on this offense, it’s like they are in slow motion.

– Watching the O-line collapse rather easily on a number of pass plays. Bengals just want it more I guess.

– Speaking of which, watching Ben take a bad hit to the knees and up high by two Bengal defenders. Can this offense even get a string of 1st downs in this game? Can the O-line block today? Survey says no.

– On the same play, watching DeCastro get beat bad by Atkins.

– Watching a rare drop by Miller down the seam. Then seeing the offensive MVP leave the game with a leg/ankle injury in the 4th quarter.

– There’s nothing more mind-numbing than seeing a team come out on offense and play sloppy, super conservative (run, run, run) and dumb and then have the head coach decide to attempt a 53 yard FG at the end of a tied game. So, the head coach is OK with playing loser ball for the majority of the game offensively but then when it comes to a crazy, not conservative decision like a 53 FG in a tie game late in the 4th? What the hell, let’s do it, even though the team has lost games earlier in the season based on the very same decision!

– Watching the end of the season on Ben’s INT late in the game, leading to the Bengals game-winning FG.

CBS Fun Facts – Steelers down by double digits for 4 straight weeks now (Let’s be honest, this team didn’t deserve a playoff spot this year).

– Steelers offense leads the NFL in scoring in the final 2 minutes of the 1st half (Take of this what you will).

The Weird – A holding call on the other team on a ST play.

– Marvin Lewis with an EXTREMELY questionable decision to attempt a 56 yard FG with just 3:22 left  in a tied game. 56 Yard FG is tough anywhere but it’s really hard at Heinz Field. Considering how ineffective the Steelers offense had been up to this point, maybe not so questionable.

The funny and sad irony is everyone (including myself) wanted Bruce Arians gone and now the team that he is coaching is going to the playoffs with a team (the Colts) with less talent than the team he once coached on. My point isn’t about comparing Haley with Arians as some might think, it’s about comparing Arians and Tomlin. How does one explain this? Especially  considering the cupcake schedule the Steelers had this year?

….So are fans finally starting to wake up to the fact that Tomlin isn’t a very good head coach? I’m not even sure he qualifies as a head coach, considering I, nor anyone else can tell me, after all these years, what he does or contributes to this team other than making dumb decisions during games and having a team that routinely show up in games looking flat, unprepared and playing dumb. Hate to say I told ya so, but I told ya so, have for years now. Now is the time to get the online petition started – FIRE MIKE TOMLIN! Realistically, it won’t be happening this year but it honestly should. Look into your heart, you know it to be true. Honestly, that’s all I want at this point, get a new coach and let’s start over. It’s going to be a long off season. Sucks.

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