Kovacevic: Enough of these Steelers already
TribLIVE Sports Videos
There's no longer any sensible need to lash the 2013 Steelers with some savage litany of critical adjectives.
Not now. They're done as done gets.
And if it's actual analysis anyone would still seek, try the first two words out of Mike Tomlin's mouth at his news conference following the 34-28 loss Sunday to the Dolphins at Heinz Field:
That's it, man. Loud and clear. There's nothing else to hear because it applies across the board.
For the Steelers as a whole, for the franchise that within the past decade won two Super Bowls and constructed a second coming of the iconic 1970s, they're now 5-8 to clinch a second straight nonwinning season and are all but formally out of the AFC playoff picture.
That's not good enough.
And for these Steelers on this day, playing with peak motivation against a team from South Beach in a swirling snowstorm and 15-degree chill, a setting for which the traditional Steelers would lick their frozen lips and salivate, they got manhandled. Thrown on their backs. Left in the dust. You saw it.
That's not tough enough.
Cortez Allen, the corner expected to make Keenan Lewis look expendable, allowed a crushing 40-yard catch by Miami's terrific tight end, Charles Clay, then let Clay slip from his grasp twice on the decisive touchdown.
“I have to make more plays,” Allen said in a hushed tone at his stall.
That's a matter of not enough talent, largely because of a long lull in quality of drafting. Allen's hardly alone.
Troy Polamalu scored on a 19-yard interception capped by a flying leap that reminded of the Troy of old. But at the end of the day, it was more of the old Troy as he shared in Allen's embarrassment on the decisive TD — “I went for the ball,” Polamalu said — and was blown up on Daniel Thomas' 55-yard run, one of a bazillion such plays against the Steelers this season.
That's not good enough production, regardless of the history of Polamalu or any other past-his-prime player.
Emmanuel Sanders had a ball thrown his way in a clutch situation in the fourth quarter, the kind Antonio Brown and Jerricho Cotchery had been pulling down all day. You know how that turned out. Same as last week. Same as ever.
That's actually plenty enough of Sanders. Let some other team overpay.
LaMarr Woodley lost his spot at left outside linebacker in being shifted to the right for Jason Worilds, already humbling for a $61.5 million player, then turned in a total of three tackles and zero QB hits from the right.
“I think it worked out pretty good,” Woodley said, oblivious as ever to his own shortcomings.
Lawrence Timmons, the anchor of the Steelers' run defense, watched the Dolphins run for 181 yards while recording five tackles and later lamented, “We left a lot of plays out there.”
Five tackles at inside linebacker!
And it isn't just the athletes. It never is when things go this far awry.
Tomlin, who couldn't manage a clock with an apprenticeship at a watch repair shop, called a timeout with 2:33 remaining. The Steelers were down by three and had the ball at their 10-yard line. Ben Roethlisberger threw three incompletions, and Tomlin decided to go for it on fourth-and-10.
I don't fault him on that one. As he explained, the defense “hadn't done a great job” with second-half stops.
But calling timeout when the clock already stopped for the incompletion?
When most of the field lay ahead?
When any intelligently run offense calls more than three plays going into that critical series?
When the same offense didn't have a clue how to conduct itself near the goal line the previous week in Baltimore?
“We didn't have enough communication to get the type of call we were comfortable with,” Tomlin explained.
That's not smart enough.
And this team isn't, in any capacity, good enough.
Not on offense, defense or the 1-yard-punt special teams.
Not in player selection, instruction or discipline.
Not at the bottom, and certainly not where the buck stops.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com 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.
- Reagan shooter Hinckley closer to permanent freedom
- Cole overcomes rough start as Pirates sweep Brewers
- Monessen man wounded in afternoon shooting
- Pirates notebook: GM sticking to plan with Kang
- Steelers won’t be backed into a corner at NFL Draft
- Service marks 20 years since Oklahoma City bombing
- Crosby’s 2 goals lift Penguins past Rangers, even series
- Sutter steps up for Penguins in series-tying victory
- News Alert
- Man beaten, robbed in South Side, police say
- Coming off hill revives Seton Hill University, downtown Greensburg