Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A costly, ugly, sloppy win

Lawrence Timmons' game-winning interception in overtime.
Photo credit: Sam Eulitt
That's entertainment?

Sloppy and ugly is too generous.  Watching the football on Monday night was almost as bad as watching the endless TV commercials.

The Baltimore Ravens must be giddy.

No doubt, the Steelers were fortunate to escape with their fourth consecutive win.  The big news, of course, it that Ben Roethlisberger is out with some kind of shoulder injury, and it doesn't look like he'll be back soon.  Ryan Clark sustained his second concussion in three games.

Also very worrisome: The run defense -- specifically Ziggy Hood's left side of the front seven -- was attacked early and often (just like it was in Cincinnati).  The Steelers had better get that vulnerability shored up pronto, or Ray Rice and the Ravens will run all over them.  They must be salivating.

Just how good are the Steelers?  That's a question they must step up and answer on Sunday against the Ravens; and the following Sunday at Cleveland; and the week after that against Baltimore again.  And so on.  One thing's for sure:  The Steelers are not so good that they can play a good team and get away with the mistakes they made against a bad Kansas City team on Monday night.

The Steelers almost gave the game away.  The Chiefs, however, wouldn't take it.

The Kansas City Star's Sam Mellinger wrote, "... the Chiefs found new ways to embarrass themselves ... but an unforgettably creative one came in the third quarter when the Chiefs did the Chiefs-est thing of the season: a “group celebration” penalty for a touchdown that didn’t count on their way to 1-8.  A missed field goal, a kickoff out of bounds, a kick return fumbled and picked up twice, continued problems covering the tight end, a hole at left guard, more dropped passes, the knucklehead star receiver taunting Pittsburgh’s defense on a touchdown that got called back, and this list could keep going."

The Steelers also were the beneficiaries of some, ahem, questionable calls.  Quite a few.

This kind of performance isn't going to cut it against Baltimore, Cleveland and Baltimore the next three weeks.  And if they don't have  a healthy Ben Roethlisberger and/or Ryan Clark?  Well, as they say, next man up.  Which isn't reassuring at all.  Let's hope for the best.

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