When an NFL team wins, there is much credit to pass around. But when one loses, the blame must be spread about as well. For the Pittsburgh Steelers, when they lost this week, I took to the Internet, Facebook, Twitter, and the message boards, to see where the Steelers fan faithful felt it should fall.
There were the 4 obvious finalists. First was quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who made some tremendous plays, but on one key drive, forced a throw on a short out, and it turned into the pick 6 that marked the beginning of the end.
Next was cornerback Keenan Lewis, who saw target after target go his way. Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning was using Lewis as a guide for which way to begin his reads, because he was just sure his man would end up open.
The old faithful is the offensive line. I will say that for about 2 and a half quarters the group didn’t do too bad. But once they had to replace two injured starters with the only other lineman the Steelers even brought to the game, and you saw it all unravel. At the end of the game, on that final drive, just after giving up the pick 6, but still 2 minutes to play the line crumbled giving up back to back to back sacks.
A final sleeper pick I saw several fans mention was wide receiver Mike Wallace. Fans blamed his holdout for his lack of production and even though he had 4 catches and a touchdown, sometimes there is just no pleasing fans.
So, with these 4 finalists, I had to give one the nod over the others, and for me the answer was obvious. Yes the offensive line was bad in the second half, and yes Lewis got picked on, and I have no idea where the hate for Wallace came from, but the goat of the week this game has to be Roethlisberger.
That interception was a dagger. This was a defense that was short-handed, an offensive line that was banged up, minus a starting running back, and they still outplayed the Broncos for the entire first half, and the bulk of the third quarter. With a chance to drive down the field and win the game, you just don’t force a throw like that. It was inexcusable, and falls firmly on Rothlisberger’s shoulders. Leading up to that, he had more than one occasion, Roethlisberger held the ball too long, and put an undermanned offensive line behind the 8-ball and got himself sacked. But even that aside, the pick did him in.
I understand that with Roethlisberger, Steelers fans have to take the bad with the good, but this was just too much for the rest of the team to overcome. Next week I hope I am picking someone else, because this team can’t win very many games with the starting quarterback as the goat.
You have someone else in mind? Come find me on Twitter @nfldraftboard