Tough Season for the Men of Steel.
Ben made the Pro Bowl and had the second highest QB rating in the League(104+).
He threw 32 Touchdowns eclipsing the former record held by Terry Bradshaw(28 in 1978).
He threw just 11 Interceptions..with a YPA of over 7.8.
Willie Parker was well on his way to an NFL rushing title before going down for the year in week 15.
Santonio Holmes made some strides towards becoming an elite NFL receiver.
The Steelers defense, though much maligned(and rightfully so)....was the #1 defense in the NFL.
Anthony Smith established himself as one of the hardest hitting safeties in the League...although his mouth...and his blown assignments got him in trouble late in the year.
The offensive line was less than stellar once again...with the bright spots being Pro Bowler Alan Faneca, Youngster Willie Colon(for the most part)...and a resurgent Kendall Simmons.
Left tackle was a problem this year due to injuries and poor pass blocking.
Ben was once again at the top of the League in terms of times sacked.
Alot of this is because he holds onto to the ball so long...attempting to make a big play.
So the high # isn't the complete story...but the line did a poor job protecting Ben all year.
Sean Mahan also struggled at times replacing the retired Jeff Hartings.
Overall..he was just OK.
With the seemingly imminent departure of Alan Faneca...Pittsburgh needs to address that O-line come this April.
If any hope remains for Faneca resigning...it's a last hour Phone Call from Big Ben.
Faneca and Ben have become great friends since Faneca's comments during Ben's rookie year.
The comments came more from his solidarity with Tommy Maddux...then his doubting of Ben.
The linebacker Corps, while aging...has some youth to it.
James Harrison emerged this season and is a force.
Farrior and Foote are aging...but can still hold their own(perhaps in '09 we go MLB).
Lawrence Timmons was a disappointment this season...but should push for Clark Hagans vacated linebacker position.
His competition will be Standout Rookie Lemar Woodley.
Lemar played well in limited duties this year....but showed some real potential and made the most of his playing time.
Defensive line must also be addressed come April.
A nice big 290+ stud to place next to Casey Hampton and Aaron Smith would be preferable.
As for this playoff loss to Jacksonville....
Mike Tomlin and Bruce Arians cost the Steelers this game.
It was Tomlins 1st playoff game so I'll give him a bit of a pass.
Ben Roethlisberger proved his worth by claiming the lead with the ball...with less than 3 and half minutes left.
Mike Tomlin chose to run the ball 3 TIMES!
This is after Ben has just shredded the Jaguar defense 3 TIMES IN A ROW....FOR 3 TOUCHDOWNS!
This game could have been over with just 2 1st downs.
All Tomlin had to do was stay with the hot hand.
2 throws to Miller or Ward ends the game.
You can argue all you want about running the ball on 1st down....you'd have as legitimate a point as I do....but running into the line on 2nd down is just bad playcalling.
And then....that 3rd down call was just the stupidest playcall I've seen in a playoff game this side of Leon Johnson!
Mike Tomlin chose to run Ben to the left side...and punt the ball back to a team who needs just 3 points to win.
A team that would need just 30 yards to win the game....WITH OVER 2 MINUTES LEFT!
What a TERRIBLE....TERRIBLE SERIES BY THE ROOKIE COACH!
He cost them the game right there.
But it wasn't the only instance of Tomlin killing the Steelers last night....
After the Mahan "hold" on the Ward 2-pt conversion....YOU HAVE GOT TO KICK THE EXTRA POINT!
You've got to make it a 4 point game!
This was one of the stupidest 2-pt attempts I've seen in a long time!
I didn't begrudge him the 1st attempt....hell we made it!
But after the 10-yard penalty.....YOU HAVE GOT TO KICK THE EXTRA POINT!
This was a decision that also cost the Steelers the game.
Now the defense could have held on that 4th and 2.
James Harrison allowed himself to over-pursue to the outside...and he could not get back in time to grab Garrard.
The Last fumble of the game came from the blind side....NOT BEN'S FAULT!
Ben Roethlisberger validated everything I said about him.
With my life on the line I want that guy with the ball in his hands.
He did the same thing he did in Denver earlier this year...and the same thing he's done all his career.....He brought his team back from the dead and put them in a position to win the game.
He will be an ALL-TIME GREAT...and is well on his way.
His stats dont tell the whole story...29/42 337 2/3....he did make 2 bad throws that hurt the Steelers today.....but he made 29 throws that put them up by 1 point, with the ball...with less than 4 minutes to go!
HIS ROOKIE HEAD COACH CHOOSE TO TAKE THE BALL OUT OF HIS HANDS!
He had just scored 3 straight touchdowns...and hadn't thrown a pick in the second half.
He played a GREAT GAME...made 2 horrible mistakes...but overcame them and would have won this game in spectacular fashion if not for his ROOKIE HEAD COACH!
He scored 3 straight touchdowns when the coaching staff finally loosened his reins and went no huddle....allowing him to what he does best...
He hit Heath Miller and Ward at will...and was unstoppable....and yet when the defense makes a heroic stand....and We get the ball back with less than 4 minutes left in the ball game....MIKE TOMLIN inexplicably takes the ball out of his hands!
He runs the ball 3 straight times....punts...and LOSES THE GAME!
Ben Roethlisberger had a tremendous game...and is a Top 4 QB in this League.
He is a game changer....and gamebreaker....a bonafide SUPERSTAR at the QB position!
He will be back to claim his 2nd NFL TITLE...right after Barack Obama claims the Presidency!
I'm EXTREMELY proud of Ben...he took the lead back and would have gotten the 2 fiirst downs EASILY!
Mike Tomlin Lost us this Game.
But He will come back and learn from this....Mike Tomlin is no longer a ROOKIE!
We were missing one of the biggest rushing threats in the League!
That's like SD playing without Tomlinson....although Phil's no Ben and they rely on LT more....but a devastating loss nonetheless.
We were also playing without out 1st and 2nd string Left tackles.
Ben got sacked 6 times...and this was big reason!
The last fumble of the game came from the blind side...and Marvel Smith could have made all the difference.
We were also playing without the Captain of our defense line...Pro-Bowler Aaron Smith.
A monster of a man who meant so much to that defensive front!
My hat is off to my Defensive unit!
We played admirably and shut down that Mighty Jacksonville rushing attack!
They played inspired football in honor of Aaron Smith....and Travis Kirchke and Lemar Woodley stepped up.
Besides Tomlin's egregious errors....the Special teams play killed us!
This game was gonna be a BLOW-OUT if not for Maurice Jones-Drew's game changing Kick Return!
This was probably the play of the game!
For some reason Tomlin got tight after that and moved away from the Pass-centered attack of the dominating 1st drive.
He got conservative and wasted much of the 1st half.
Down 2 Td's at the start of the 2nd hald...Tomlin finally realized it was time to get back to throwing the ball.
He switched to the no-huddle in the 3rd quarter and we all saw what happened.
This is just a crushing...crushing defeat!
It's the worst one since the Dwayne Washington penalty!
It hurts as Bad as any playoff home loss to the Patriots!
It feels like Alfred Papunu is streaking down the field once again!
But I'm a Steeler fan.....made of hardened STEEL!
Hardened by years of devastating Free Agent losses....and crushing playoff defeats!
But Ben Roethlisberger is here!
And he's brought with him a SuperBowl Championship in just 4 short years!
The future is bright!
Come April we will land ourselves 2 Big O-linemen...a big D-Linemen...and some cornerback help.
A backup runner might not be a bad idea as well(4th,5th round).
2007 was overall NOT A GOOD SEASON....because we didn't win the SuperBowl.
But there was certainly some bright spots.
Primarily....The strides Ben made on his road to becoming the All-time great that we know he will become.
Here we go Steelers here we Go!