With Steelers Loss, It's Official: The Underworld Has Frozen Over

Joseph SirimarcoContributor IDecember 6, 2009

"We will unleash hell here in December because we have to." —Mike Tomlin

Well, it's official.  With the Steelers loss to the Raiders, hell has frozen over. 

Three times the Steelers had the lead in the fourth quarter.  Three times the defense surrendered the lead because of inattentive, inept or just plain idiotic play. 

This pitiful defensive performance was against a team that ranked 31st in the NFL in total offense and 32nd in points scored. 

Think about that. A team that couldn't score more points than the hapless trio, the Cleveland Browns, St. Louis Rams or Tampa Bay Buccaneers, scored more points than the Pittsburgh Steelers, who supposedly have one of the best defenses in the league. 

There was little or no pressure on the quarterback when intense pressure and disruption was needed.   

There was little or no coverage on the receivers when tight coverage and contested passes were needed. 

Dick Lebeau should be ashamed of himself. 

First-and-goal from inside the Raiders 10-yard line after the Steelers best kickoff return of the season to start the game.  The Steelers have the opportunity to put the Raiders down early, but have to settle for a field goal because the offense cannot figure out how to move the ball against a defense ranked 29th in NFL, and 31st in rushing.  

Rashard Mendenhall was averaging five yards per carry for the season, and more than six yards per carry in the game.  Yet on first down from the Raiders' 12-yard line, the Steelers offense tried to pass.  The Raiders intercepted a pass in the end zone, taking more points away from the Steelers. 

There was very little play-action, deception or misdirection when the Raiders had seven or more defenders at the line of scrimmage to stop the run or pressure the quarterback.  There was no attempt to avoid the Raiders' defensive pressure with quick, short passes.  There was no attempt to take advantage of over-aggressiveness or poor positioning of the Raiders defenders, even though we watched the Raiders do exactly that to the Steelers all game. 

Bruce Arians should be ashamed of himself. 

But most of all, Mike Tomlin should be ashamed of himself.  He was the "game manager."  He was the one who saw the failures of his coaches' decisions, and saw the successes of the Raiders coaches' decisions.  He was the one whose job it was to correct the failures and turn them into successes. 

Yet he did nothing.

The failures that have been occurring all season continued to occur against the Raiders. There are no acceptable excuses. 

It's time for Mike Tomlin to put up or shut up.