Are Steelers Good Enough to Overcome Themselves?

The time has come for the offense to more often resemble what everyone thought it would become this season, as opposed to sinking on occasion to a Cleveland Browns-esque level of ineptitude.




photos by pittsburgh steelers | karl roser

 

In the event you’d missed the entire Steelers’ season, that almost inexplicable two-point sequence in Indianapolis would be more than sufficient in terms of getting you up to speed.

With a critical conversion looming, the Steelers were unable to line up correctly and snap the ball –– twice.

The first time, they had to burn a timeout.

The second time, they ended up taking a delay of game penalty, which made that critical two-point attempt 5 yards tougher.

Then they converted.

And eventually, they won the game.

At one moment during the two-point snafu, Ben Roethlisberger stood staring at the sideline, shaking his head with his arms extended and his palms turned up - the universal gesture for absolute exasperation.

A moment later, he was firing a strike to Martavis Bryant in the end zone.

The sequence also featured offensive coordinator Todd Haley screaming an apparent obscenity at someone on the sideline, presumably Roethlisberger but actually an assistant coach Haley declined to identify a few days later while rehashing all that had somehow transpired.

Word from the locker room this week was the target of Haley’s verbal assault had actually been special teams coordinator Danny Smith.

But the point isn’t that Haley was hollering, or even who was intended to be on the receiving end of his verbal assault.
 


 

The point is it had come to that in the first place –– for a Steelers’ team that’s better than that, but too often hasn’t been this season.

“We’re sitting here at 7-2,” Haley said, trying to apply some perspective to an offense that has admittedly under-achieved. “I’ve been 7-2 probably one other time in my entire 21-year career.

“It’s hard to be 7-2.”

The Steelers have absolutely gotten there the hard way this year.

The question is, where are they going?

We may be about to find out.

When they host Tennessee on Thursday night, there’s a pretty good chance a three-point first half and 20 points through four quarters isn’t going to be enough.

There’s an even greater likelihood that won’t be sufficient in December against New England, or in the postseason.

The defense endeavors to be special, and at times has been.

But the defense is beginning to take on water (cornerback Joe Haden on crutches and safety Mike Mitchell in a walking boot on the sideline as the game ended in Indianapolis was a sobering reminder of how quickly the equation can change).

It’s the responsibility of the offense to assume more of the heavy lifting, starting Thursday night against the Titans.

The offense remains capable. The eventual two-point success and the last-minute, game-winning drive against the Colts confirmed as much.

But the time has come for the offense to more often resemble what everyone thought it would become this season, as opposed to sinking on occasion to a Cleveland Browns-esque level of ineptitude.

“This is a process,” Haley continued. “There’s growth throughout the year. The teams that are left standing at the end are usually the teams that have continued to grow and get better as the season has gone on.

“We recognize that we maybe haven’t played to our standards and our expectations. But at the same time, we’ve done things to win in critical situations.”

They’ll have to do more of those more often, against the Titans and beyond.

The alternative is to allow that almost inexplicable two-point sequence in Indianapolis to eventually be remembered as defining.
 

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

2017 Pittsburgher of the Year: Kelly Frey

2017 Pittsburgher of the Year: Kelly Frey

No one would blame the veteran WTAE anchor if she took time off while undergoing intensive breast cancer treatment. Instead, she chose to use humor and grace to educate and inspire others, all while in the public eye.
Green Medicine: The Business of Medical Marijuana

Green Medicine: The Business of Medical Marijuana

For many, medical marijuana is a panacea capable of alleviating a wide range of symptoms. As Pennsylvania begins allowing the drug’s medical use, patients are relieved — and business is booming.
Restaurant Review: Casbah Still is Rocking

Restaurant Review: Casbah Still is Rocking

More than 20 years into its run, Casbah remains one of Pittsburgh’s most relevant restaurants.
First There Was Hot Yoga. Then There Was Goat Yoga

First There Was Hot Yoga. Then There Was Goat Yoga

Believe it or not, yogis have been practicing with goats in the Unites States for more than a year.
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

On the Blogs


Watch: The Terrible Towel and 45 Years of Steelers Nation

Watch: The Terrible Towel and 45 Years of Steelers Nation

Perspectives from Franco Harris to Joe Manganiello.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Madeline Bakery and Bistro to Open in Wilkinsburg

Madeline Bakery and Bistro to Open in Wilkinsburg

The French-inspired bakery will feature croissants, cookies, bread and more.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
Best of the ‘Burgh Gift Guide for 2017

Best of the ‘Burgh Gift Guide for 2017

Here are some of our favorite ‘Burgh-inspired gifts for him, her, kids, foodies and more.

Comments


Enjoy a Relaxing Evening of Wanton Destruction at Break Room

Enjoy a Relaxing Evening of Wanton Destruction at Break Room

The Irwin business offers the chance to smash inanimate objections for a little "therapeutic demolition."

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Steelers Can't Ease Their Patriots Pain Until January

Steelers Can't Ease Their Patriots Pain Until January

Much as they’d like to, the Steelers won’t be able to exorcise the ghosts of AFC Championship Games Past, even with a win on Sunday.

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
Movie Review — Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Movie Review — Star Wars: The Last Jedi

A review of "Star Wars: The Last Jedi," the latest entry in the massive franchise.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
New Weddings Website Aims for Equality

New Weddings Website Aims for Equality

A local wedding photographer has created a business to connect same-sex couples with LGBTQ-friendly vendors.

Comments


Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
It’s Back! ‘Restored by the Fords’ Gets Premiere Date

It’s Back! ‘Restored by the Fords’ Gets Premiere Date

The new season of the home improvement show featuring Pittsburgh siblings Leanne and Steve Ford debuts on HGTV in January.

Comments