Monday morning you woke up to headlines saying: “Blown penalty costs Pittsburgh Steelers playoff berth” or ”NFL admits the Chargers got away with penalty.”
That same Monday morning would’ve been completely different had you seen headlines exclaiming: “Steelers make playoffs at 8-8″ or “Succop’s game-winning field goal boots Steelers into playoffs.”
Instead of Steeler Nation waking up grinning ear to ear and in the playoffs, Steeler Nation woke up feeling the Steelers’ hangover worse than ever.
An overall disappointing season has left black and gold country feeling lousy. Some hope was restored though; starting the season 2-6 then turning it around to 6-2 was somewhat encouraging.
It was last week of the season when everything went according to plan, playoffs for the Steelers was a kick away. Ryan Succop missed that kick though, and the refs missed the illegal formation on San Diego.
Do you feel cheated? Did those blown calls cost the Steelers a chance at the playoffs?
Playing the blame game is dicey here. Yeah, the referees blew two calls that would’ve landed the Steelers in the playoffs but can we really put all the blame on Succop’s miss and the refs’ blunders?
No, we can’t. Most of the blame needs to go the Steelers. Let’s get real; the Steelers shouldn’t have put themselves in a position where they needed a miracle to make the playoffs.
Starting the season 0-4 is really where it all went wrong. Let’s remember that in week 1 the Steelers lost to the Tennessee Titans. Let’s remember the Steelers let Matt Cassel beat them up across the pond and who could forget Terrell Pryor’s 93-yard touchdown run on the first play from scrimmage in the Steelers’ loss to the Oakland Raiders.
Realistically, if the Steelers could’ve won at least one more game against the likes of Tennessee, Minnesota, Oakland or even Miami, they’d probably find themselves in the playoffs.
A cold start for the offense and an inconsistent defense led to an 8-8 season. It’s frustrating though; there’s been some real flashes of a good team this season and then you look at the 0-4 start and scratch your head.
Ben Roethlisberger and Todd Haley seem to been doing just fine as the offense really began to click in the second half of the season. Antonio Brown has stated a strong case for one of the best receivers in the league. Brown’s numbers were outstanding and he’ll be playing in the Pro Bowl this year.
If there was any doubt as to why the running game was lacking at the start of the season, clearly it was because rookie Le’Veon Bell wasn’t out there. Bell looks like he’ll be the answer for the Steelers’ backfield. Young and patient, the kid’s got a lot of potential for the future.
The defense may be the biggest downfall for the Steelers this season. The aging unit just can’t seem to keep their play consistent.
Guys like Ryan Clarke, Brett Keisel and LaMarr Woodley may be gone next season and rightfully so. Clarke’s past his prime, Kiesel continues to decline while Woodley remains injury prone. It’s time to get younger on the defensive side of the ball.
Blown calls aren’t the only reason the Steelers won’t be represented in the playoffs. We can feel screwed, because the Steelers did get screwed at the end of the season due to bad officiating, but it was the Steelers who screwed themselves early on that led to this mediocre season.
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