The slippery when wet or just when being tackled signs should have been plastered all over the football yesterday, before, during and after the Steelers-Dolphins contest. Everyone is hyped, as they should be, about the return to action of Big Ben Roethlisberger, but after three fumbles or should I say three totally unnecessary give-aways, we had all better buy a bit more stock in the company that manufactures and sales Tums.
There was no logical reason for any of the turnovers. Roethlisberger put the defense behind the eight ball time every freakin’ time. After eight years in the league, c’mon, why is Big Ben still making these asinine, rookie-like mistakes? On one of the “passes” he attempted, heck not only was he in the grasp, he appeared to be attempting to throw from a jail cell on look down as he tried to “shovel” pass to someone, God only knows who.
I have purposely avoided leveling superficial criticism at Big Ben, especially during these times that he is experiencing adversity from all sides but damn, tuck the ball away!
One blogger named NEGiven Sundae had this to say; “What pisses me off is that my Steeler friends are defending the horrible call by the refs. Why can’t Steeler’ fans take off their homer goggles for one second and realize that yesterday’s win was a gift? I still think the Steelers are the best team in the league right now, but come on… that was a horrible call. There’s a time to defend your beloved team, and a time to be realistic and admit that the Steelers should have lost that game.”
Aside from “Big” fumbles, there were plenty of coaching gaffes to spread around. What was Mike Tomlin saving or should I say wasting his timeouts for at the end of the first half.
Miami coach Tony Sparano does not escape his dunce hat timeout moment either. Did you understand the running play on their final drive with no timeouts that blew away 30 seconds to pick up two yards?
When Pittsburgh won their two most recent Super Bowls, the defense was nasty, nastier and nastiest. They were not “concussionists,” they were “percussionists,” because they were beating people like you and I would beat a drum.
I thought that Pittsburgh was going to go back to the future. That means or was supposed to mean that the running game was going to be the first option and the forward pass was going to be second. Remember they kicked Willie Parker to the curb because it was alleged that he had lost a step and he was also not an inside runner.
I don’t care if you have a 2,000-yard rusher if your QB fumbles three times. The majority of those games your squad is going to lose regardless of how good your defense is. I could accept it if Big Ben, in the process of working off the rust, threw a pick or two. However, fumbling, stumbling and bumbling the ball away and expecting the defense to charge into the “dark alley of idiocy” to bail him out and salvage the game, well that is a bit much. If the Dolphins suck it up and score a TD on just one of those turnovers, game, set, match.
Big Ben was his usual enigmatic self. He said what one might consider the biggest understatement of the 2010 season. “Just a bizarre kind of play. You hate to win it that way, but you’ll take a win.” What way is Mr. Roethlisberger referring to? Could it be that his “Boney James” type of bonehead play, extending the football out to dry almost cost the Steelers a win again? But lo and behold, the defense did not fold. They held on and won the game. As thin as they were along the defensive line, being held play after play like they were new grooms on the first night of their honeymoon, they still prevailed.
Miami linebacker Channing Crowder had a different take on the officiating (which I thought was sorta, kind decent). Crowder said, “The refs called a wonderful game— for the Steelers.” I wonder how many rubles are going to be extracted from Mr. Crowder’s paycheck by the NFL commissioner for that honest if misplaced remark.
Referee Gene Steratore said Roethlisberger fumbled before scoring. He also added that the replays were inconclusive regarding which team recovered, and the Steelers were awarded possession at the half-yard line, allowing Jeff Reed to kick an 18-yard field goal with 2:26 left. The official said, “I have to have clear video evidence of the team recovering the fumble. It is a pile of bodies in there, and you don’t have a clear recovery.”
Echoing the sentiments of his butterfingered quarterback, Mike Tomlin said, “We will take it and exit stage left.” That being said, the next time Big Ben fumbles three times or throws three picks, the defense may not be able to save him and the Black and Gold may have to leave by the back door.
(Aubrey Bruce can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-583-6741.)