ShareThis Page
Mark Madden: Stupidity, stubbornness undoing Steelers season |

Mark Madden: Stupidity, stubbornness undoing Steelers season

Mark Madden
| Monday, December 3, 2018 6:39 p.m
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Chargers’ Michael Badgley hits the winning field goal with no time on the clock to beat the Steelers Sunday, Dec. 2, 2018 at Heinz Field.

Boy, are the Steelers stupid.

A linebacker covered Keenan Allen on nine targets Sunday. He’s the Los Angeles Chargers’ No. 1 wide receiver. As a result, Allen had 14 catches. That’s stupid.

Joe Haden was about to snatch an interception. Sean Davis went for a big hit on Allen, the intended receiver. Instead, he jarred the ball from Haden’s hands and into Allen’s for a Chargers touchdown. Was Davis even aware Haden was there? What was Davis watching? That’s reminiscent of Mike Mitchell. That’s stupid.

The Steelers jumped offside three times on the Chargers’ game-winning field goal. That’s a rookie kicker. Let him miss. He did, the first time. But he kept getting do-overs. That’s stupid.

Don’t blame the officials. That’s stupid. Some decisions were egregiously bad, especially the noncall on the obvious false start that preceded Los Angeles’ first touchdown. But Franco Harris trapped the ball, and the Steelers got every call possible in their Super Bowl XL win.

So don’t whine, especially when the Steelers led 23-7 at halftime. Prior to Sunday, the Steelers had 220 wins and two ties when leading by 14 or more at home. They are now 220-1-2 in that situation.

It was the biggest choke in Steelers’ history. If it wasn’t born of stupidity, abject idiocy certainly suckled that disaster.

If stupid was the Steelers’ defining characteristic, weird wasn’t far behind.

Ben Roethlisberger played well, except for a couple throws. That’s becoming his defining characteristic this season. He served up an easy interception off a snap just outside the red zone, and he overthrew Justin Hunter when Hunter had broken free for what should have been a simple touchdown toss.

Hunter got hurt diving for that throw and had to leave the game. Weird.

The Steelers’ defense was rock solid in the first half. In the second half, the Chargers drove 88, 79 and 64 yards for two touchdowns and a field goal.

The Chargers got another touchdown on a punt return. (Aided by a block in the back that was not flagged.) But that wasn’t weird, because the Steelers’ special teams are too often ineffective, penalized (24 times, most in the NFL) and disorganized. Again, witness the chorus line of Steelers going offside on the Chargers’ game-ending field-goal tries.

So, can the Steelers fix it?

That depends on what you mean by “fix it.”

The Steelers lead over Baltimore in the AFC North is down to a half-game. The Steelers’ remaining schedule looks slightly tougher than the Ravens’, but going 2-2 to finish 9-6-1 likely wins the division.

Home field is out of the question. A bye is out of the question. Anything better than the No. 4 seed is unlikely.

That would almost certainly get a rematch with the Chargers at Heinz Field. Uh-oh.

It was going so well, and then it all turned so stupid. The Steelers won six straight, then lost two games they were favored to win.

That bounces back to coaching, except it can’t. Mike Tomlin will never get fired. (That’s your cue to scream his regular-season record at the top of your lungs.) Nor should Tomlin be, because his replacement would be inferior.

But that doesn’t mean the Steelers are up to snuff when it comes to structure and accountability. It doesn’t mean Tomlin coaches perfectly. (Not even close.)

As noted, linebackers covered Allen, the Chargers’ No. 1 wide receiver, on nine targets. It didn’t work, and it just kept happening.

That’s not just stupid. That’s stubborn. Both are traditional Steelers opponents.

Mark Madden hosts a radio show 3-6 p.m. weekdays on WXDX-FM (105.9).

Mark Madden hosts a radio show 3-6 p.m. weekdays on WXDX-FM 105.9.

Categories: News
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.