Steelers Report Card/Week 10: Lame Effort Has Stupor Steelers at Loss

Paul LadewskiCorrespondent IINovember 16, 2009

PITTSBURGH - NOVEMBER 15:  Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers is pressured by Frostee Rucker #92 and Michael Johnson #93 of the Cincinnati Bengals at Heinz Field on November 15, 2009 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Bengals won 18-12. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
Rick Stewart/Getty Images

Here’s my take on the Steelers’ 18-12 defeat against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday afternoon:

1. Let’s get real here. The Steelers season is over and done with for all intents and purposes. So long. Buh-bye. Nice knowin' ya.

At 6-3, the Steelers trail the Bengals by two games in the AFC North race because they lose the head-to-head tiebreaker. Have you seen the cupcakes on the Bengals schedule? If they don’t finish with a 12-4 record—minimum—then I’ll kiss Chad Ochocinco on the cheek.

OK, I won’t kiss Chad Ochocinco on the cheek.

The Steelers almost can’t help but win 10 or 11 games, which should be enough for a wild-card invitation, but that won’t cut it this time. This team isn’t good enough to beat the Indianapolis Colts and New England Patriots on the road, and that’s probably what it will take to be Super again. What I’m sayin’ is, go ahead and book that Caribbean cruise in mid-January.

2. What has to peeve off Steelers World as much as the final score was the way its heroes went about their most important game of the year thus far. The home team was blah from the get-go, and it makes zero sense given what was at stake here.

Where was the fire? The attitude? The intensity?

Ryan Clark, Santonio Holmes, Brett Keisel and a couple or three others brought it, as they say. Everyone else wimped out pretty much.

3. The key matchup paired Bengals d-coordinator Mike Zimmer against Steelers o-coordinator Bruce Arians, and I don’t have to tell you how that turned out, do I?

Zimmer and his bunch had two priorities: First, keep quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in the pocket, and second, keep Big Ben in the pocket. Rather than make adjustments, Arians turned and said, “OK, hit me here now!”

4. This season the no-huddle offense has been the Steelers most productive scheme by far, and it was obvious that they needed to change the tempo as early as the second quarter.

So where was it, may I ask?

The Steelers took a slingshot into the biggest game of the season, not a hammer and drill.

5. In fairness, Arians is handcuffed by an ordinary o-line that limits the game plan. But unless he screamed to personnel chief Kevin Colbert before the draft, “Get me a kick-butt o-lineman, dammit!” I don’t feel sorry for him one bit.

6. What is it that third-round draft pick Kraig Urbik does for a living, anyway?

7. Does anyone do less to get more publicity than Ochocinco these days? Other than Terrell Owens, I mean? Ochostinko finished with two pass receptions—two fewer than his number of illegitimate kids—and I barely recall him being on the field.

8. Is it as obvious to you as it is to me that placekicker Jeff Reed is intent to avoid contact because of his free-agent status? His feeble attempt to tackle some rookie named Bernard Scott wasn’t as pathetic as his whiff on Minnesota Vikings rookie Percy Harvin a few weeks ago, but it was darn close.

Then there’s safety Troy Polamalu, who refuses to avoid contact at all costs.

I hope that I’m wrong here, but I don’t expect Polamalu to play more than another one or two seasons. His kamikaze style won’t allow it. Plus, the guy has too much mileage on him already.

9. Head coach Mike Tomlin wants possible solutions for the pathetic kickoff team, and here’s mine: Kick the ball out of bounds every time. Better to give the ball to an opponent at its 40-yard line than your 2 1/2-yard line for the extra point, ya think?

10. Hey, look, the Kansas City Chiefs already took the opening kickoff to the house on Sunday!

The grades:

Offense regulars

WR Hines Ward: C

Weekly grades: B/B/C/B/A/A/D/A/C

Season average: B

LT Max Starks: C

Weekly grades: B/F/C/B/C/C/C/A/C

Season average: C

LG Chris Komoeatu: D

Weekly grades: D/C/B/A/B/B/B/C/D

Season average: C+

C Justin Hartwig: D

Weekly grades: F/C/B/A/B/B/B/A/D

Season average: C+

RG Trai Essex: F

Weekly grades: C/B/C/B/D/D/C/C/F

Season average: C

RT Willie Colon: F

Weekly grades: D/B/C/A/C/C/A/A/F

Season average: C+

TE Heath Miller: D

Weekly grades: A/B/B/A/A/A/A/C/D

Season average: B

WR Santonio Holmes: B

Weekly grades: A/D/F/C/B/A/C/A/B

Season average: C+

WR Mike Wallace: D

Weekly grades: B/C/A/B/B/B/A/A/D

Season average: B

QB Ben Roethlisberger: D

Weekly grades: A/B/A/A/B/B/B/B/D

Season average: B

RB Rashard Mendenhall: C

Weekly grades: C/B/INC/A/A/D/D/A/C

Season average: C+

RB Mewelde Moore: B

Weekly grades: B/C/C/A/B/B/B/B/B

Season average: B


Defense regulars

LE Travis Kirschke: DNP

Weekly grades: C/B/C/C/B/B/B/DNP/DNP

Season average: C+

NT Casey Hampton: B

Weekly grades: B/B/B/C/B/A/C/A/B

Season average: B

RE Brett Keisel: B

Weekly grades: A/B/C/B/B/A/A/A/B

Season average: B+

LOLB Lamarr Woodley: B

Weekly grades: D/D/D/D/C/B/B/B/B

Season average: C

LILB James Farrior: B

Weekly grades: B/A/C/B/C/A/A/B/B

Season average: B

LILB Keyaron Fox: F

Weekly grades: A/A/C/C/B/D/A/A/F

Season average: C+

RILB Lawrence Timmons: B

Weekly grades: DNP/B/B/D/B/A/B/DNP/B

Season average: B

ROLB James Harrison: C

Weekly grades: A/B/A/A/A/B/A/A/C

Season average: B+

LCB William Gay: B

Weekly grades: C/C/B/B/B/C/D/C/B

Season average: C+

RCB Ike Taylor: A

Weekly grades: C/B/A/A/B/D/B/C/A

Season average: B

SS Troy Polamalu: INC

Weekly grades: A/DNP/DNP/DNP/DNP/A/A/A/INC

Season average: A

FS Ryan Clark: A

Weekly grades: B/B/A/B/A/B/B/DNP/A

Season average: B+


Special teams regulars

PK Jeff Reed: C

Weekly grades: B/F/C/A/B/B/D/B/C

Season average: C+

P Daniel Sepulveda: A

Weekly grades: A/A/A/A/B/B/B/A/A

Season average: B+

KR Stefan Logan: C

Weekly grades: B/D/A/C/B/B/B/C/C

Season average: C+

PR Stefan Logan: B

Weekly grades: C/C/C/F/C/INC/C/B/B

Season average: C



HC Mike Tomlin: D

Weekly grades: B/C/D/A/C/B/B/A/D

Season average: C+

OC Bruce Arians: F

Weekly grades: C/D/C/A/B/A/C/B/F

Season average: C+

DC Dick LeBeau: A

Weekly grades: A/B/C/B/B/A/B/A/A

Season average: B+