Sunday, January 06, 2008

2007 Steelers Postmortem

Do you want to know why the Steelers lost to Jacksonville on Saturday night? Well, I hope that you aren’t looking to me to provide the answers. I apologize that I’m still in a bad mood following the game, but if you have watched the Steelers over the past month or two, you already know the team’s problems. The offensive line was useless as the Steelers rushed for a pathetic 43 yards on 26 carries and Ben Roethlisberger was sacked six times. The special teams gave up another big return and did nothing to really help the team. Besides Allen Rossum’s kickoff return for a touchdown against San Francisco in September, did the special teams do anything, well, special this year? I can’t remember any other big punt or kickoff return or a blocked kick. The play-calling, especially the Roethlisberger’s run on 3rd and 6 late in the fourth quarter, was questionable, as was Mike Tomlin’s decision to go for two after Sean Mahan’s “holding” penalty. Roethlisberger reverted back to his 2006 season in the first half with some poor decisions. While I thought the defense played well overall, they couldn’t make stops when it mattered.

You can read much more analysis about the Steelers throughout the internet, but I wanted to put the season in perspective by going back to my season predictions from September.

The team will finish 10-6 and earn a Wild Card playoff spot. They will win the first playoff game but lose in the second round.

The record was correct, but I was one round off for the playoffs.

Clark Haggans will lead the team in sacks. Ike Taylor will lead the team in interceptions.

Haggans only had 3 sacks this season. That’s a terrible number for a starting outside linebacker in the Steeler defense. Even last night, I don’t remember Al Michaels announcing his name. Meanwhile, Taylor did lead the team in interceptions with three and made a huge pick to help propel the fourth quarter comeback.

Ben Roethlisberger will have more touchdowns than interceptions. He will also not be involved in a motorcycle accident or have an appendectomy this year.

32 TDs and 11 interceptions in the regular season, but had 2 TDs and 3 interceptions last night. There were no known surgeries or motorcycle accidents.

Nate Washington will have at least six touchdowns.

I was close as Washington had five touchdowns. However, he really is hit or miss. Washington had 5 touchdowns in 3 games, but in the other 13 games, caught only 23 passes for 309 yards.

Chris Gardocki will not have a punt blocked this season (or any other season).

Neither Gardocki or Daniel Sepulveda had a punt blocked this season. In case you were wondering, Sepulveda’s punting average of 42.4 yards was 21st in the NFL and net average of 37.9 yards was 11th in the league. In 2006, Chris Gardocki finished with an average of 41.3 yards (30th) and net average of 36.7 yards (tied for 19th). That’s certainly an improvement but that needs to get even better next year.

Fast Willie Parker will have another 200-yard game rushing.

This one was wrong. Although Parker had 8 100-yard games, his high was 133 yards. Let’s hope Fast Willie has a speedy recovery.

Considering the fact that the Steelers had a rookie head coach, multiple injuries to key players and an ineffective offensive line, a 10-6 record and a division championship is a successful season. Of course, Saturday night’s loss still hurts.

Two final comments:

Boo to NBC. Instead of showing one of my favorite things about Pittsburgh, which is driving out of the Fort Pitt tunnel and seeing the city’s skyline, NBC covered the bottom of the screen with an American Gladiators promo. All you could see was the lights on the bridge.

I watched the Pitt-Villanova basketball game in attempt to cheer myself up. That didn’t help. Pitt had a 63-62 lead until Villanova hit two free throws with 10 seconds left. With a chance to win, Ronald Ramon lost the ball, Pitt’s 22nd turnover, to end the game.

No comments: