Okay, so you lost to the Denver Broncos at the last second in their stadium. You never play well out west anyway, right? And you had some crazy things happen in that game. A fumble at the goal line and all that. And who expects a defensive lineman to get an interception in the end zone?
That was bad, and alright, so you lost to the Los Angeles Chargers the next week. I mean, they were a good team after all and Philip Rivers really knows what he’s doing. Sure, you had a big lead that you blew, big time, but again, there was the officiating, and then a fluky would-be-interception turned into a touchdown. Weird stuff.
You’re not going to lose to the Oakland Raiders, eve out west. Even though you did the last three times you were out there, and they had records that were just as bad on those occasions. It’s not going to happen again.
Of course it is. And it’s going to be just as weird as all the other games. I mean, really? Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger missed most of the second half because the team couldn’t get a clear enough image on an outdated X-ray machine to feel comfortable with putting him back in the game…unless they had to?
And then they had to, and then Roethlisberger came in and did what he needed to do, but the defense didn’t do what it needed to do—even if they ultimately lost on fourth down. But there are four downs for a reason and you have to defend all of them if the offense chooses to make use of all of them.
This is the game that people are going to look back on more than the rest for sure given the quality of opponent and the circumstances under which it fell. Joshua Dobbs’ substitute performance left much to be desired, and the decision to without Roethlisberger until the Steelers lost the lead will be questioned in perpetuity.
When the Steelers drew the AFC West this year, they surely didn’t think they would go 0-4 against the division, especially considering that two of them had had a losing record the year before and there wasn’t an obvious level of improvement from one year to the next.
That that is what happened after losing in three consecutive weeks to the Broncos, Chargers, and Raiders, having previously lost to the Kansas City Chiefs back in Week Two. They could have literally won any one of those games and made the postseason.
To think that a better X-ray machine in the Raiders’ obsolete stadium in which a professional football game will never be played again could have been the different between a postseason berth and an offseason filled with drama is enough to make the stomach churn.