Steelers Fever Exclusive Editorial
|Wednesday, October 16th, 2012
By Tiger Rowan
Steelers Fever Columnist
Sometimes, games just simply come down to one play. That one play can be magnified when it is the last play of the game (e.g. a Hail Mary touchdown; a Scott Norwood missed field goal). At other times, that one play can happen earlier, yet still change the outcome of a game (e.g. a hundred-yard pick six by James Harrison in the SuperBowl). I get that and understand that; the ball is oddly-shaped, and does not always bounce the correct way. BUT, against a very poor team, such as the Titans, the balance of the game should NOT lie in that one play. In other words, the Steelers should have already been far enough ahead, that that one play would not have ruined their night.
Speaking of Scott Norwood, let us venture back in time, and take a look at the 1990 New York Giants. That team was barely eking out games. They played in a multitude of close games (games decided by less than three points), but regardless of whether the games were pretty or not, the Giants still won. That team always seemed to have that “one play” that went in their favor, which launched them into victory… with the poster-child play being the aforementioned Scott Norwood missed field goal.
Back to the Steelers.
Not only does this current Steelers team not establish much of an early lead and/or make game-changing plays throughout the course of the game, it seems that, more importantly, at crucial moments (specifically, at the end of games), they can not make that “one play” needed in order to seal a victory.
In Denver, despite the ups & downs of the rest of the game, at the end, Ben Roethlisberger looked prepared to tie the game… only to throw a pick six. In Oakland, towards the end of the game, Pittsburgh’s offense sputtered, while its defense simultaneously allowed the Raiders to score on their final five possessions… with nary a game-changing play during that final stretch. And, in Tennessee, well, it was a heart-breaking, last-second, game-winning field goal by the Titans.
Simply, all three of these losses could have been avoided, with one play.
I know, I know: I have heard time & time again that the course of a game has many twists & turns, and that one play can not decide a game… but, think about all of the following plays, which could have made a difference, in the Tennessee game.
-Big Ben misses Emmanuel Sanders.
-Keenan Lewis has an interception bounce off of his chest.
-Ike Taylor plays hot & cold/Kenny Britt bobbles, but catches a touchdown
-Big Ben scrambles & almost hits Heath Miller
-Suisham gets 53 yards of a 54 yard kick
Let us go back about thirty minutes, for one more…
-Big Ben throws an interception before the half; Tennessee scores a field goal
And, truthfully, if the history of this current season is any indicator, either of those other two options (punt, go for it) would have failed, as well. The punter would have been too close to pin Tennessee deep (i.e. it probably would have been a touchback). Thus, going for it makes just as much sense… but, we all “know” that going for it would have resulted in a Big Ben sack. Why? With three of Pittsburgh’s offensive linemen out, the Titans were going to go for broke (send everyone). More importantly, considering that Ben had missed Sanders on the previous drive (as mentioned earlier), as well as the interception that Ben had thrown at the end of the half… well… it seems like Ben (as well as everyone else on the Steelers) is just a little bit “off” this year.
So again, it should never have come down to that one play… because, sometimes, that one play can make you a champion (the 1990 Giants), and that same play can ruin your season (Scott Norwood). Alas, the Steelers are currently smack dab in the middle of dealing with a whole lot of the latter.