Week 15: Steelers-49ers Game Thread

It would be nice to win Monday night. Not so much because of of the playoff implications, but to avoid another premature Harbaugh Gatorade shower. That said, the extra time off wouldn’t hurt either.

Consider this your chattin’ thread…

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  • Cols714

    What’s the over/under on heads exploding the first time we go empty set?

    Of course then we’ll make a good play and nobody will remember the empty set plays that work, just the ones that fail.

    • Rob D

      It’s our sacred right as STeeler fans…lol..

    • Anonymous

      I’ll admit that I’ve been guilty of that, although my main dislike of the empty set is when it’s used in situations where a team could theoretically run or pass. It seems like it would be better to force the defense to account for both possibilities rather than just the pass.

  • http://www.expensiccino.com Carl Natale

    Ben isn’t looking good during pregame warmups. But we’ve seen that before. I believe the drama queen act is a mental game with opponents. Anyone thinking the ankle isn’t as bad as what all the talking heads are seeing?

    • Rob D

      My friend tells me the high ankle sprain is one of the most painful things he’s ever experienced and he’s played compettitive hockey, rugby and is a practioner of various martial arts. I play all of those on TV, of course…wink

      So , no..I think its very risky to let Ben play and I expect to see a very limited in mobility QB for the Steelers tonight, He might even get pulled early if he can’t move at all. This is a very quick 9ers D…

      • Randy Steele

        All that is true, but I saw a report that now lists Ben’s sprain as a Grade I, which is the least painful of the bunch.

        So, I’m thinking that he’s going to be a little more mobile that we expect. Let’s just hope that’s enough.

  • Randy Steele

    Too much Steeler-love on ESPN tonight. That’s always makes me leery.

    • Rob D

      Especially when long time haters are waxing poetically about our chances..yeesh..the kiss of death!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_UR6KXGPFIFYZSVJNCXCJNHDQJQ Bob Costas

    The defense needs to put on their big boy pants today and shut out the 49ers.  That way we only need to get them into field goal range for a 3-0 win.

    • Cols714

      Agreed. Unfortunately I don’t believe our defense is good enough this year. Shutting out anyone in 2011 seems to be really difficult.

      But enough pessimism. Here We Go

  • Randy Steele

    Did anyone else see the monkey riding the dog during the halftime of the Broncos-Patrioits game yesterday? Ha! Now that’s entertainment.

  • Anonymous

    Power outage! is that a good or bad sign for us?

    • Randy Steele

      I can only conclude that God is letting everyone know that he/she is unhappy with the result of the Broncos-Patriots’ game.

      • Randy Steele

        I will say this (and probably regret it later), but with all the crap that has come down this week, for the Steelers this is only “one more thing.”

        They’re experienced at handling stress. They’re experienced under duress. They’re well-coached and well-prepared. They’re professional professionals.

        This may prove to be an advantage for them.

    • Rob D

      Some Steeler fan wanted to give Ben another hour to get ready…hope he didn’t self immolate himself on the hot wires to achieve his aims..lol

      And I’m only half kidding,,this is STeeler fandom we are talking about

    • Rob D

      Bad.

  • Anonymous

    At the last minute I have decided to break my #7 jersey after a more than two-year suspension (hey, I have two girls….and he was kind of a douche). But his determination to play last week and this is inspiring. Don’t let me down Ben.

  • Randy Steele

    So my wife took the dogs and left the house. Now I’m alone.

    I GUESS IT’S GAME TIME!!

  • Anonymous

    Finally underway.

  • Anonymous

    Mike Wallace is awesome.

  • Anonymous

    Well that sucks.

  • Anonymous

    I hope the defense came to play today…

    • Anonymous

      The answer, thus far, is no. 49ers driving with ease, mixing runs and passes.

      • Anonymous

        Eh. We always give them a decent first drive then they clamp down.

  • Anonymous

    These announcers are annoying.

  • Anonymous

    The defense didn’t look great, but they did hold them to a FG, so that’s good.

  • Anonymous

    Good effort by Brown to pick up the 1st down

  • Anonymous

    Geez…. another pick.

    • Anonymous

      I should add: Ben got great protection on that interception. Plenty of time and just sailed the pass too high.

      • Anonymous

        On replay, the great protection was because the 49ers only rushed 3 defenders(not that hasn’t given the Steelers’ problems before, of course)

  • Anonymous

    Good thing the 49ers have trouble in the red zone. Steelers hold them to a field goal for a second time.

  • Randy Steele

    My advice? If you want to lower your stress-levels, whenever the 49ers have the ball, turn off the sound on your TV.

    • Randy Steele

      So, while we’re waiting for the game to resume, have I ever told you how much I hate that flatulent bloviator Chris Berman? How the heck does that guy kept a job?

  • JB

    Come on Ben, settle down and pick them apart

  • Anonymous

    And the lights have gone out again.

    • JB

      Unreal

  • Anonymous

    Does Chris Berman smoke 30 packs a day?

  • Anonymous

    It may be a while before San Francisco gets another home night game.

  • Anonymous

    And we’re back.

  • Anonymous

    Nice catch and run by Mendenhall, but he still waves that ball around dangerously.

  • Anonymous

    Back to back penalties wipe out some solid gains.

  • Anonymous

    Now the 49ers lose a big sack because of illegal contact.

  • Po

    Did anyone hear what Ben said during the outage? There was a fan running across the field and he goes “Where’s James Harrison when you need him?” 

    • Randy Steele

      plus one

  • Randy Steele

    Well, at least Ben didn’t throw an interception that series. (That said, is it any wonder he’d not playing wonderfully?)

  • Anonymous

    Seriously? How do you let Smith scramble for the 1st down like that?

  • Randy Steele

    This is a slopfest. I have no idea where it’s going or what is what.

  • Anonymous

    That was a weak chop block call on the 49ers, but I’ll take it.

  • Anonymous

    Ben better be very careful with the ball here.

  • Anonymous

    That…. was unexpected. Mewelde Moore scampering for 20 yards to get the Steelers some breathing room

  • Anonymous

    And now AB with a catch and run for 20

  • Anonymous

    Nice. AB gets the 1st and out of bounds

  • Anonymous

    What the hell were they doing? They wasted like 20 seconds and are probably going to come away with nothing, since they aren’t quite in FG range. Horrible clock management.

  • Anonymous

    That really sucks. They could have come away with points on that drive and just bungled it up.

  • Anonymous

    Really poor clock management, does Tomlin get to trade in unused timeouts for cold beer after the game? Why not call a TO after that pass to AB?

  • Anonymous

    Great special teams effort by Sylvester.

    Who the heck is this Sutcliffe guy? Surely they can find a better sideline guy

  • Anonymous

    Good time for a turnover, guys

  • Anonymous

    Ok, AB how about a runback here

  • Anonymous

    Sigh. Almost a huge ST play by Keenan Lewis turns into a big penalty. Great field position for the 49ers

    • Anonymous

      Well that’s a creative interpretation of that rule.

  • Anonymous

    Didn’t the SF guy hit his own man?

  • Anonymous

    That’ll do. Huge pass to Miller.

  • Rob D

    Tomlin looks…I am not sure,,but “prepared” doesn’t spring to mind. That unbelievable clock mngmt at the end of the half when even Hines freaking Ward didn’t know whether to be on the field or not was not cool at all. The ST”s of the 9ers is eating our lunch. No pass rush to speak of and Ben is not able to plant his front foot to get more into the throws.

    The Ravens might not be the only team to lay an egg on the west coast.

  • Anonymous

    This challenge is close. AB’s 2nd foot is down at about the same time his hand touches the ground out of bounds. I have a feeling the incomplete call will stand.

  • Anonymous

    As I expected, the call is not overturned. I’d go for it here, personally.

  • Anonymous

    As I expected, the call is not overturned. I’d go for it here, personally.

  • Anonymous

    FG is good.

  • Anonymous

    And Farrior gets burned by Vernon Davis for a big gain

  • Anonymous

    Defense in implosion mode. Huge gain on a screen pass

  • Anonymous

    Now Timmons gets beaten by Davis for what could be a TD. Ruling on the field is out of bounds, SF is challenging. I think they’ll get it overturned

  • Anonymous

    How is that the Steelers shut down Tom Brady, but have let Joe Flacco and Alex Smith pick them apart?

    • Anonymous

      We went man against NE but zone here.

  • Anonymous

    Well, the play stands. 1st and goal for the 49ers. Come on defense, hold them

  • Anonymous

    And a TD to wiiiiiiiiiiidddeee open Davis.

  • Anonymous

    OK Ben. This is what you want….it’s legend time

  • Anonymous

    Well, I was still confident that the Steelers could win this game as long as it was within 1 score. Now, I’m not so sure. They’ve moved the ball o.k., but haven’t been able to finish.

  • Anonymous

    Great effort by Mendenhall on that run

  • Anonymous

    Nice. Cotchery got wide open on that. Ball at the 49ers’ 30

  • Anonymous

    Hmm. A delayed handoff with Redman is an interesting choice.

  • Anonymous

    Once again, the Steelers move the ball easily into SF territory, and then stall. And Suisham is wide left on the FG.

  • Cols714

    I’m not giving up, but if the Steelers lose it really is because Ben is not right. The OL is playing decently, the running game is actually working and receivers are getting open. But without Ben being Ben, it’s hard to score TDs against a really good defense.

    • DJAnyReason

      Might also have something to do with punts like that…

  • Anonymous

    I know I complain about them a bit too much, but I find it interesting that the Steelers haven’t run any WR screens tonight. At least not any that I remember.

  • Rob D

    This is a totally different team without Harrison. I guess that should be obvious but its amazing what an impact he has on the crispness of that unit. They just dont seem to have the same intensity.

     Big Ben makes this offense what it is. Like any other team, your QB goes down or plays severely limited and you can turn into a pumpkin pretty fast. I miss the old days when competent backups like Don Strock could hold the fort and not embarrass you while the starter was convalescing. And when you are nostalgic for a guy like Strock, you know the backups in this league aren’t generally worth a tinker’s damn..

  • Anonymous

    Great catch by Cotchery. Ben took a hard hit on that, too.

  • DJAnyReason

    It seems like every time Ben changes the play at the line, its to a run.  Is this accurate? If so, has SF noticed yet?

  • Anonymous

    And Ben gets sacked, fumbles, 49ers’ ball.

    • Anonymous

      Miller ran out into a pattern, beat his man, and got bear hugged. That’s why Ben had to pull back on that pass. Should have been holding and a first down, instead it’s a turnover. Look, Ben’s hurt, Harrison was suspended for unnecessarily playing good football, and you already invented a new interpretation of the punt reception interference rule. The 49ers are a good team, they don’t need any more help.

  • Anonymous

    And Ben gets sacked, fumbles, 49ers’ ball.

  • Cols714

    I think it’s Batch time. I’ve seen enough.

  • Anonymous

    This is painful

    • Randy Steele

      Painful is not quite the word for it.

  • Anonymous

    Sweet, all we need is two TDs…no problem.

    • Anonymous

      Never mind. The pain continues

      • Anonymous

        BS penalty there

  • Rob D

    Big mistake starting Ben tonight. He couldn’t compete…missed a bunch of throws and the INT’s were killer. I know Batch and the kid don’t exactly inspire confidence but you have to bite the bullet at times.

    At the same time, If he says he can go, and I am the HC, I probably start him too. He’s earned the right. It’s just that is was very costly tonight. VERY…

    • ErikH

      Agreed. He obviously is not in game shape.

      And that leaping penalty was a joke.

    • New Eric

      I respectfully disagree.  I think they moved the ball effectively with a long field most of the night.  Just couldnt finish.  Some horrendous interceptions, but thats the way it goes sometimes.  I dont think Chaz would have moved the ball at all against this defense.  Defensive effort was very uninspiring tonight as well.

      • Rob D

        I get you Eric..but “finish” is the name of this here game.

        • New Eric

          Yeah, I agree he didn’t play well.  I just don’t think it was a mistake to start him, except maybe from the perspective that he could have been hurt worse during the game. Definitely a mistake, in my opinion, to leave him in at the end of the game.  I just cannot understand that nonsense.

  • Anonymous

    Nice job Timmons. Called for leaping on the FG, gives SF a 1st down. Is it just me, or has Timmons had a horrendous season?

    • Rob D

      He’s not the answer at ILB..that’s for sure. He’s a great athlete without a real position. Which means we need to draft the replacement for Farrior as soon as possible. Like now , for instance, would be a good time since James got fricassed a few times tonight.

    • Anonymous

      I don’t know that looked pretty wea to me…bad call by zebras there

    • David

      It looked to me that he jumped to avoid getting hit in the knees, but it didn’t matter. Even if they stick with the FG, we had to score 2 TDs to win. Wouldn’t have happened last night.

    • Anonymous

      Have you ever witnessed a sportsman conduct himself in such a manner? Leaping, that’s just disgraceful.

      Oh yeah, you’re supposed to jump up to try and block field goals. WTF was that about anyway?

  • Anonymous

    And that’s ball game. Easy TD for Gore.

  • Cols714

    I don’t know. While this sucks, they are playing a 10-3 team on the road with a QB that only has 1 leg.

    I don’t think I’m going to be too disappointed after this game. In fact, I know I won’t. I’m over it already. It happens.

    A healthy Ben and they win this game easily, I’m sure of it.

    • New Eric

      Yeah, I find myself weirdly at ease with this loss.  And, I don’t think it necessarily means we won’t win the division.  Cinci could have a lot on the line in week 17 against Baltimore.  Either way, I just want to get healthy for a playoff run.

    • Rob D

      I don’t know..you could be right. But you weren’t disappointed in the D in the first half? They carved us up pretty badly especially on the first drive and it wasn’t Brady/Brees doing it which is why they settled for FG’s. No Harrison..true. I still felt bad after that though.

      To me it feels like a signature loss. A game they absolutely had to have. 

      But I may get over it by tomorrow..I’m fickle..lol..It’s just that I kinda predicted this in a post this week and now I am pissed that I did…so guilty

      • Cols714

        I don’t think this qualifies as a game they absolutely had to have. I mean they are still going to be 12-4. The game the absolutely had to have was the 2nd Baltimore game. This? It’s a road game against a very good NFC team with a broken QB. Not a must win. If this qualifies as a must win then every game is a must win.

        • Rob D

          Come on Cols..that’s really understating it. This is for the division dude. A possible first seed in the conference. That was all possible with a win and then winning out. Now its all in Baltimore’s lap. We let them off the hook..

      • Anonymous

        With two turnovers, no I’m not disappointed allowing only 6 points in the first half.

    • David

      Cols, I think they beat us tonight if we were healthy with everyone active.

      I mean, case in point, our average starting position was the 15, the worst for a team for an entire game since 2005.

      We dropped balls, our STs absolutely sucked. We couldn’t stop Alex-freakin’ Smith. The only person who stopped him was himself, as he missed wide open receivers for TDs.

      It wasn’t our night, and like I said above, it’s all on Ben, as unfair as that sounds. His two 1st half picks and his fumble killed us.

  • Randy Steele

    It’s official: It’s not Ben’s night.

  • Loren Slater

    The only person leaping on that play was Goodell because the ref’s are doing his bidding once again…  

  • Cols714

    I am tired of the slobbering over the 49ers by the announcers though.

  • New Eric

    Not that this game is being poorly officated, but I cannot freaking stand Walt Coleman.

  • Anonymous

    Get Ben out of there

    • Rob D

      Agreed..there’s no point anymore..WE kinda need him for later, Mikey T.

  • Anonymous

    How is that not a late hit? The guy reached around Starks and shoved Ben to the ground well after he threw it.

  • Cols714

    That bogus penalty on Timmons was big. A FG there and it’s still a two score game and at least there is hope. Now? None.

    • Rob D

      Some hope ..yep..you never know…

  • Anonymous

    Nice long completion to AB… wiped out on another Redman chop block that is a weak call.

    • Anonymous

      Yeah I don’t want to sound like a Seahawks fan but the refs called a terrible game. That had nothing to do with why we lost…but there were several bad calls going both directions.

  • Anonymous

    O.k., please take Ben out of the game now.

  • ErikH

    Why is Ben still in the game? Get him out and let Charlie take the hits…

  • Anonymous

    And Ben is picked in the endzone.

  • New Eric

    Thank God he threw that INT so he can get off the damn field!  Im very disapponted in Tommy leaving him in there at the end of this game.  Very, very silly move.

  • Anonymous

    Really, Harbaugh is challenging this? Dude, you’ve got a 20-3 lead with 3 minutes left. Who cares if it’s at the 2 or the 20?

    • Rob D

      He’s a Harbaugh..they can do nothing less!

    • Anonymous

      Good thing he lost it…they were running out of Gatorade.

    • Anonymous

      Good thing he lost it…they were running out of Gatorade.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_UR6KXGPFIFYZSVJNCXCJNHDQJQ Bob Costas

    Well that was fucking miserable.  As if the game wasn’t bad enough, an ESPN broadcast surely clinchs it.

    • Anonymous

      They do suck…I want to punch Gruden.

      • Rob D

        I don’t know..I think the crew is so bad they cross over into self parody. My wife enjoys talking like Gruden…lol.”look at.that kid…(eyes misting over)..his dog peed on the carpet this morning..a weaker man might have given up..but not him! the staff saw it in his eyes from the moment he walked into the facility..this KID is going places..yadda yadda.”

        .Tirico is the “too much info you don’t need” slightly slimy PR guy

        ..and Jaws is the analyst who used to be cool but got lost in the bright lights of big time sports and sputters  about in trying to prove himself manly to big brother Gruden.

    • David

      Well, it started with the Countdown crew, going over and over and over again how this reminded them of the earthquake and which team this will affect and how it would affect Ben’s injection.

      Then, when the game started, oh Lord. They talk and talk and talk about…nothing.

      You ever see Airplane when Robert Hays is talking about him and his girl, and what happens to all the people sitting next to him? I felt like doing that.

  • Anonymous

    Why is Ben still out there?

  • New Eric

    Well, at least there is another game in 5 days.  Wait…..maybe thats not a good thing.  Thankfully, its the Rams.

  • David

    Well, call me unfair, but this loss is all on Ben. His two picks and fumble killed us.

    His last pick didn’t really matter, as the game was well out of hand by then.

    • Cols714

      Pretty much. Plus the fact that he could throw accurately or move pretty much at all. Some credit does need to go to SFs punter. The Steelers gained like 100 more yards than the 49ers but starting every drive inside your 15 yard line means you have to go a long way for a TD.

      But that won’t stop all the haters coming out and blaming Bruce Arians.

  • David

    Well a bit of good news: Scott Brown at the Trib-Review said Tomlin said Woodley was just fatigued, so no re-injure of the hammy.

  • David

    One other thing: Brown/Wallace need to shut up. Every time they get into jawing matches, they suck.
    Brown (5/59), Wallace (6/66) underperformed. If Brown keeps both hands on the ball, we get that 1st and maybe, maybe an eventual TD.

    • SunilR

      They’re both great players, but I want to shoot myself every time they over-celebrate a catch. Just play.

      • Sarah

        Yah. Act like you’ve been there.

        • Anonymous

          Those kinds of celebrations either annoy me if the other team is doing it or embarrass me if the Steelers do it. It’s lose, lose, so cut it out.

  • Rob D

    I feel like I got a concussion watching this game…

    • New Eric

      Haha, thats freakin funny…..I reallly did laugh out loud when I read that.

      • Rob D

        Glad to hear it..I was actually laughing at myself after this game since I got so intensely pissed that they were losing.

        “it’s just a game”  repeat till it sinks in..wink

  • Anonymous

    I’ve read that Ben still wants to play the next couple of weeks.  This is where the Head Coach needs to earn his paycheck.  Tell Ben to sit his a$$ down, we clinched a playoff birth, we need him healthy for the post-season.  For that matter sit Pouncy too at least for one more week.  Anyone with the sniffles should be inactive for the Rams game.  The Head Coach gets paid to think of the big picture.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve read that Ben still wants to play the next couple of weeks.  This is where the Head Coach needs to earn his paycheck.  Tell Ben to sit his a$$ down, we clinched a playoff birth, we need him healthy for the post-season.  For that matter sit Pouncy too at least for one more week.  Anyone with the sniffles should be inactive for the Rams game.  The Head Coach gets paid to think of the big picture.

  • Cols714

    An underrated part of the game was the fact that the Steelers started just about every drive inside their own 15 yard line. So they outgained the 49ers by a lot, but couldn’t punch it in  because they had to go 80+ yards for a TD.

    It’s nice to see there isn’t too much panic in Steelers Nation today.

    • Rob D

      Yeah.it’s very disappointing but then again..I imagine the Packers are disappointed after getting hosed by KC..lol..I wanted this one badly but I am over it.

      Someone should compile a record of what specific punters have done to us on the road in big games over the years. I swear they all have their career game against us. Andy Lee was a guy the STeelers were after the year they drafted Robo and it’s easy to see why. A guy THAT good is worth the money you pay him.

      The other thing is that Candlestick always seems to be a soggy bog of a field. It must be harder to keep your feet and I am sure it tires you out. Our OL guys looked absolutely whipped by the end of this one.

      Anyway….turning the page and having a coffee, getting ready for Saturday..
      PS
      Somehow I missed that Dwyer was out for the season. What? I totally missed that..

    • David

      What’s lost in the field position game is that our D at least stopped them at or near midfield.

      But what’s frustrating is that he still pinned us back when we thought we were getting good field position.

  • DJAnyReason

    To me, the worst part about watching this game is that it just dragged on forever.  It was painful, and the damn power outages just made it worse.

    • New Eric

      I agree!  It was a boring game.  Usually, I like a good defensive game, but this one just seemed to have something missing.  Maybe it was the weird stuff with the power outage.  I seriously considered going to bed at the end of the third quarter, and I havent missed any quarter of a Steelers game in years.

    • GlennW

      I held out waiting for the spark that never came.  Some of this emotional “lethargy” was just due to our consistently poor field position, I think.  (What did Tirico say at the end?– the worst average field position in a game since 2005?).  We’d make a couple big plays, you’d look up and we’re barely past midfield!  That’s demoralizing.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_UR6KXGPFIFYZSVJNCXCJNHDQJQ Bob Costas

        Back when the game was 0-6 I was thinking that if the defense could just get a stop on the 49ers end of the field, the offense would be able to score.  When the defense finally got that stop their punter had a 60 yard punt.  I think that was the moment where I thought, “we’re in deep s**t”.  You have to tip your hat to their special teams, I think they were the #1 reason why the 49ers won that game.  Weird to say but their punter was a one man wrecking crew.  Easily my pick for MVP of that game.

        • GlennW

          Punter Andy Lee was the MVP of the game, absolutely.  It’s no secret that Lee is one of the best in the game, but he was nearly perfect in both length and placement.

          Rookie DE Aldon Smith may have been #2 (although give credit to Alex Smith for playing a good, solid game).  Seriously, it looked like Max Starks was about to burst into tears in those shots of him on the bench at the end of the game.

      • Cols714

        Me too. That’s the problem with this year’s version of the defense. They haven’t made that game changing play. It could have been the muffed punt, but I can’t disagree with that penalty.

        • GlennW

          Yeah.  I was all set to start screaming “he was blocked into the returner!”, but after looking at the replay it was apparent that our guy had pretty much blown through the lead blocker right into the returner.  Even if it’s close (and it was), you’re not going to get away with that 99% of the time.

  • GlennW

    > If this qualifies as a must win then every game is a must win.

    You’ve stated a legitimate concern over how mediocre this team has been on the road, right?  Now we’ll likely have to win three road games to make it the Super Bowl.  That fact alone made this game as big as any game other than one needed to qualify for the playoffs (and we’ve never been in any serious danger of failing to make the playoffs).  That’s a pretty damned big game.  Unless the Ravens kick another one away, we’re looking at a monumental task, given the overall physical shape this team is in with no bye week to heal up (by contrast the 2005 team that took the wildcard route to the Super Bowl was in decent shape healthwise, and prided itself on being “road warriors” regardless).  I’m pretty disappointed, although given the way that Ben came out of the gate last night, the rest of the team never really stood a chance.

    Also, anyone still think that OT is not a personnel priority?  I will say though that I thought the O-line held up fairly well for three quarters before totally collapsing in the 4th.  Opportunities were there; Ben just missed them with his mechanics being screwed up.  I still agree with the decision to take our best shot with Ben in there (except at the end of the game, which was just ridiculous), because I gave Charlie Batch very little chance of succeeding in this situation.  Batch might not have thrown the two (meaningful) picks, but I don’t think he’d have been able to move the football as Ben did either, and Alex Smith and the 49ers offense played well enough that this wasn’t going to end up as a 6-3 game.

    • Cols714

      I see your point about the must win, but really the must win game was the 2nd Baltimore game. Getting swept put them in  the position where they had to win out and get help to get the bye week.

      I just have a hard time being disappointed in this loss.

      The two disappointing losses this year for me are the Houston game and the 2nd Ravens game.

      Overall I thought the offense played pretty well. If Ben is remotely healthy, I think they win this one going away. Guys were open, the OL held up reasonably well until the 4th quarter and they were able to run the ball. But Ben couldn’t throw the ball accurately enough.

      The D did what it seems the D does this year. Played well, but not great and certainly not good enough to carry the team. 

      • GlennW

        This all sounds rather defeatist though– if and when the Steelers check out of the playoffs, we’ll all be saying “the season was lost in midseason with that second Ravens loss, at home, dammit”.  While partly true, the fact remains that we were given another chance!  I guess we have different standards on “disappointment”– I allow myself to be disappointed more than once or twice per season. ;-)  But yeah, it’s a fine line that separates disappointment from fatalistic resignation; they’re pretty close to the same thing.

  • David

    To get our minds off the SF game, here’s the official trailer for The Dark Knight Rises, with a lot of footage of Heinz Field and a GREAT shot of Hines running for a TD while the field is BLOWING UP!

    Great stuff, men and women!

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/markhughes/2011/12/19/new-the-dark-knight-rises-trailer-is-here/

  • Cols714

    Reading around the intertrons there does seem to be a fair bit of outrage over the decision to keep Ben in the game all the way till the end.

    I agree, that was extremely stupid. I hate the given rational that Ben wanted to stay in the game. Of course he did. But Tomlin is the coach and should have sat him once the score was 20-3.

    This seems to happen to almost every NFL coach. They will almost always keep their starters in regardless of the score. 

    I wish Tomlin wouldn’t.

    • GlennW

      I’ve been critical of Tomlin for this a few times in the past.  In the past the reason given was not that Ben wanted to stay in the game but rather the standard rationale of “we’re always working to get better”.  But no one is getting better or learning anything when the O-line is dog-tired and defensive linemen are taking free runs at your already-hobbled QB.  Well, except maybe for the medical staff that has to clean up afterwards.

  • EasyLikeSundayMorning

    I’m not too upset about the loss, given the circumstances.  But it will
    make the postseason much more difficult.  Even if the Ravens lose one of
    their last two, we’d also need Houston to lose one (at IND, TEN) or
    we’d be the 3 seed (as it seems unlikely that the Pats will lose at home
    to MIA or BUF).  So losing the 1 seed was a pretty big opportunity
    squandered last night.

    On the plus side, the AFC playoffs could be a total crapshoot this year,
    as every team will have significant and obvious flaws.  Any of the 6
    teams will be able to make it to Indy by getting hot for 2-3 games.  It
    might as well be us.

    Arguably, our biggest flaw is our turnover margin.  But our -11 comes
    entirely from the week 1 loss to BAL and from last night.  If we’re -4
    or more in a game, we’ll lose to any playoff team.  But if we’re even or on the
    plus side, I think we can beat anyone in the AFC.

    • David

      Easy, I think HOU will lose one. I’d give it 2-1 odds. That QB of theirs, well, can easily lose another one.

      The Raisins’ best chance is at the Bungels. I’d give that 4-1

      Over at SB Nation, they make a compelling case that the AFC is wide open, with no clear-cut team to beat:

      http://www.sbnation.com/nfl/2011/12/20/2645657/nfl-playoff-picture-afc-steelers-patriots-texans-ravens

      On the other hand, in the NFC it’s the Whackers and Aint’s as the cream of the crop.

      • Anonymous

        Not the 49ers? I don’t think they’re as good as the Packers, but the seem to be the Saints equal at least?

        • David

          Just relaying what SB Nation is saying. But I tend to agree with them b/c Smith just isn’t in the same class as Rodgers and Brees.

    • GlennW

      It’s not so much a question of the AFC being “wide open” (which it is) as of the difficulty in surviving the tournament grind against similarly flawed teams.  My rough estimate is that the Steelers’ chances of making the Super Bowl from the #5 seed are about 35% of what they would be with the #1 seed and 40% with the #2 seed (#3 doesn’t matter so much).  Yes, for this team especially, that’s the difference between playing three road playoff games (even accounting for DEN as the first opponent) versus only two games with at least one at home.  That’s why I’m still going to pay attention to the BAL and HOU games.  Maybe that’s pointless and futile, but those games and the odds are important to us.

      • Cols714

        I can easily see both Houston and Baltimore dropping one more game. It’s not like Baltimore has been playing lights out against everyone. Plus with Flacco you never know what you are going to get.

        I firmly believe that Houston is going to lose to Indy this Thursday.

  • Cols714

    I realize we all come here for the comments, but I wonder if there is a way for people to post diaries or something of the sort that the do on the SBN websites.

    I know we could all just migrate over there, but the sheer number of comments, plus the lack of policing the comments make some of the sites way less fun than they could be. BTSC for example, I like the front page stories, but the commenting threads don’t seem to foster any sort of conversation, it seem more like people yelling at each other.

    Maybe then we could have some posts here that we can comment on without having to wait all week for a new thread of some sort.

    Just a thought.