The Steelers couldn’t have asked for more. The Baltimore Ravens and Houston Texan both lost this week, giving the Steelers an opportunity to take possession of the #1 seed in the AFC playoffs. All the Steelers had to do was win on Monday night.
The lights in San Francisco went out right before the game was supposed to start, and they never seemed to come back on for the Steelers.
The 49ers Marched up and down the field, and the Steelers’ defense seemed incapable of stopping them. If Alex Smith weren’t their quarterback, the 49ers probably would have scored even more than the 20 points that they put on the board against the Steelers.
But the Steelers defense wasn’t the biggest problem. The offense looked completely inept. And that’s being kind.
The biggest problem was that Ben Roethlisberger was still nursing a high ankle sprain. With first place on the line, I understand the coaches’ decision to start Big Ben. After all, the Steelers have several players who are nursing injuries, and securing a 1st round playoff bye would have been a nice luxury to have. So while some may question the decision to start Roethlisberger, it’s easy to understand why the coaches did it.
What I DON’T understand is why they kept him in the game after he threw his 3rd interception. Or why they kept him in the game after he made his second fumble. Or why they kept him in the game when the 49ers had an insurmountable lead, and there was not enough time left for the Steelers to win the game. Why did the coaches keep Ben in the game until the bitter end?
I know that Ben doesn’t like to come out of games. Ever. But it’s the coaches job to make decisions for Ben that he’s unwilling to make for himself. That’s why they’re coaches, and he’s a player. Besides, why does the team pay Charlie Batch and Dennis Dixon if they don’t have confidence in their ability to come in and win a game? Is Ben on one leg better than Charlie or Dennis on two healthy legs? If so, then we need better backup quarterbacks.
What if Ben had broken his arm with 2 minutes left in the game and no chance for the Steelers to win anyway? Wouldn’t we all be screaming about what a poor decision the coaches made? Well it was still a poor decision, even though Ben didn’t sustain any serious injuries.
So now the Steelers have two games remaining, and the coaches have another difficult decision to make. Do they rest their players who are nursing injuries, or do they play them and try to win their final two games?
What do you say, Steeler Nation? Should The Steelers try to win the next two games, or should they rest players like Ben, LaMarr Woodley, Maurkice Pouncey, and Troy Polamalu, who have all been nursing injuries? Let us know your opinion.