I had to laugh out loud as I drove to Heinz Field Sunday morning. I listened to/read Pittsburgh media types bombastically dismissing the “nonsense” about Ben Roethlisberger’s play in return games from injury.
Remember all that “garbage” I wrote four weeks ago when I told you Ben Roethlisberger was awful when he tried to rush back from injury. http://insidepittsburghsports.com/story/ben-roethlisbergers-bad-history-of-rushing-back-from-injury/ Yeah, they were right. Nothing but hollow numbers that meant nothing because “it happened ten years ago.”
Or 2012. But who’s counting?
Meanwhile, within the same breath, some of these guys fell all over themselves to reiterate the Bengals had lost 8-of-10 vs the Steelers. Oh. And that Ben had 13-0 TD/INT ratio in the “Bumble Bee” uniforms.
Because, obviously, THAT historical data is important and relevant.
Well, sorry boys. Spoon feed all the happy talk you want. Curry as much favor as you can from the fanbase. Cherry pick the numbers that fit your narrative as you see fit. And puke on those that don’t paint a pretty picture of the hometown team. But there’s no spit-shining the Steeler home loss to the Bengals Sunday afternoon.
The “Spin City” crew tried to make you feel like everything was fine going into the game. Here’s a reality check to let you know where the Steelers REALLY are coming out of it.
-BEN REALLY DOES STINK COMING BACK FROM INJURY: Click the link above if you NOW feel like absorbing the numbers over Ben’s career. If you still don’t, well understand the basics. The 28-45 with three interception performance (and three sacks) Sunday is pretty consistent with his past.
Roethlisberger is a competitor. He doesn’t like being hurt. He wants to come back as quickly as possible. He sacrifices practicality in the name of toughness. But that doesn’t mean it’s smart.
And it’s not just about “rust”. Roethlisberger was very sharp when he came back from a four game suspension in 2010 (2-0, 5 Tds/1Int, 559 yards in two games) perfectly healthy.
Maybe his knee really is fine. But then again his injury was initially diagnosed as a 4-6 week problem. Was it collectively assumed to be the short end of that window because this Bengal game was so very important? Maybe we just praised Ben for sitting out last week vs KC and forgot that possibly he shouldn’t be coming back until around Thanksgiving?
MIKE TOMLIN REALLY CAN’T MANAGE THE CLOCK: I’ve written about Tomlin’s clock managment issues in the very recent past. http://insidepittsburghsports.com/story/benz-mike-tomlin-dealing-with-a-selective-case-of-amnesia/ But his failure to call a timeout before the two minute warning Sunday was sinful. If Tomlin can’t be bothered to learn this basic skill of on field coaching, Art Rooney II should be bothered to hire an assistant who can do the math for him on the sideline.
THE STEELERS NEVER WILL HAVE ALL THEIR STARS HEALTHY AT THE SAME TIME:
Martavis Bryant was suspended for the first four games. Le’Veon Bell may be done for the year now after being suspended for the first two. Ben Roethlisberger missed four games as well. And Maurkice Pouncey center may never see the field this year
That sucks. There’s also nothing you can do about it. Welcome to life in salary capped sport.
Any Penguin fans want to chime in on this one?
Yes, assemble as much talent as you want. If the players aren’t healthy enough to play, it doesn’t matter (CAN I GET AN ‘AMEN’, MARIO!?).
THE BENGALS AREN’T STILL “THE BUNGLES”: Ok. Maybe they really are. But their schedule stinks. So we may never know. And, for a change, they aren’t losing to the bad teams. So that slapstick nickname may have to be dropped.
Plus, that 16-10 game Sunday looked a lot like the 13-10 game Cincy won here three years ago to get into the playoffs and effectively eliminate Pittsburgh from postseason contention. Sloppy. Late Roethlisberger pick. Both teams trying to barf up the game to the other.
But the Bengals won that one. And they won this one too. You both committed bad turnovers. You both were highly penalized. So who deserves the “bungling” nickname?
One of you is 4-4 and behind the Raiders when it comes to the playoff tree at the midway point of the season. The other is 7-0. That question answers itself.
THE BIG PICTURE: The Steelers are 4-4. Cincy is 7-0. The Steelers will likely be without their starting C, LT, and RB for at least the rest of the month. But more likely than that, all those guys are done for the year.
Pittsburgh’s division title hopes are miniscule. And with just one conference win at the halfway point, their Wild Card hopes aren’t great either. The only thing priming the pump for Steeler optimism is that the rest of the AFC stinks too.
Is that outlook too negative for you? Don’t worry. There are obviously plenty of others willing to give you a more happy portrayal. Just make sure you are wearing a Bumble Bee outfit when you meet them.