If you are a member of Steeler Nation, the impossible happened today. The Pittsburgh Steelers got swept by the Cincinnati Bengals today 18-12, thus giving the Bengals the inside edge to the AFC North.
However, for people who have been following the Steelers closely since the Mike Tomlin era began in 2007, a game like this was inevitable.
Last season and some games this season, the Steelers overcame bad offensive playcalling by offensive coordinator Bruce Arians . Today, it was not possible.
Four trips to the red zone netted just 12 points for the Steelers offense. Against a solid team like the Bengals, that will never win games.
Today's game is not about the Bengals taking control of the division and sweeping the Ravens and Steelers for the first time ever.
It was more about how badly Ben Roethlisberger played and how worse than usual the playcalling was today. As bad as this loss was, perhaps there will be a silver lining.
Perhaps the Steelers offensive leaders like Hines Ward and Roethlisberger will finally realize this notion. When Bruce Arians calls the plays, the Steelers have one of the five worst offenses in football.
The question is, when will priority of winning games take over the friendship Roethlisberger has with Arians?
18 runs to 44 pass attempts? Are you kidding me? Rashard Mendenhall only got 13 rushes after a 155-yard game last Monday in Denver. Did he not pay attention to details again this week? That is inexcusable, and it has to fall on Arians.
Now I am not advocating the Steelers go to the no-huddle full time, but it was clear today that the no-huddle (when Arians is not calling the plays) needs to be a bigger part of the offense.
Same goes for the running game with Mendenhall, who never got a chance to get going.
B en Roethlisberger and the receivers deserve some blame too. After all, Roethlisberger played his worst game of the season today and the receivers did not help him out that much.
The Steelers' biggest play today was a pass-interference penalty for Mike Wallace that could have gone either way. That is just sad.
However, it goes back to play calling. Since he won't be fired any time soon, he should be "encouraged" to run the ball more.
If this really is Mike Tomlin's team, then we should see a different and tougher approach on offense next week against the Kansas City Chiefs .
The defense for the most part did their jobs, holding the Bengals running game in check and not allowing Carson Palmer to complete deep passes. After a shaky start, the third down defense got much better.
All in all, the defense played well without Troy Polamalu , holding the Bengals to four field goals. As for Polamalu, let's all hope that he is OK to go for the stretch run (i.e., both games against the still-tough Baltimore Ravens ).
The special teams is once again atrocious. That kick return by Bernard Scott was so much like Tab Perry 's return against the Steelers in 2005. Percy Harvin, Joshua Cribbs , and now Bernard Scott ?
I know one man does not make an entire unit, but given the poor decisions and poor ball security that Stefan Logan has shown through nine games this season (this time bringing the ball out of the end zone after he muffed the kick and only getting to the 15 yard line), Anthony Madison should be signed by Thanksgiving.
The Steelers have seen too many games lost on special teams play and this year, it could happen again.
With Mike Wallace returning one kick today, it might have been a preview for future change in that position.
Logan has not done anything to cement his role as the kick and punt returner so I think if he does nothing again or worse, keep bringing the ball out of the deep end zone like he has done the past few weeks, then cut him loose and sign Madison to bolster the special teams.
The Steelers have the Chiefs next week, which could be a good thing. For one, the Chiefs are not a very good team and it could help to work out all the kinks.
However, if Arians does not change his playcalling philosophy and run a balanced offense, the Steelers could drop one in Kansas City. Let's all hope some changes come before it's too late.
Next game: Sunday, Nov. 22, at Kansas City Chiefs @ 1 p.m.
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