What You See Is What You Get

The Steelers lost to the Houston Texans, 17-10, under a blizzard of mistakes. Mike Prisuta has some harsh words for most, if not all of them.

HOUSTON – The mood of what had just become a 2-2 football team was best revealed by Hines Ward, who exhaled, did his best to collect his thoughts and then declared, "We all gotta look each other in the mirror."

In addition to being the leader of the wideouts, Ward is an All-Pro at mixing metaphors, maybe even a first-ballot Hall-of-Famer in that category. But this was fairly goofy even for him.

Seemingly less confused but every bit as exasperated was James Harrison, who assessed, and I quote, "We played like garbage. We stink right now. We suck."

"Suck" might be a little strong, but there's little arguing that the Steelers have become the type of team they used to regularly exploit, one that's capable of being pushed into mistakes and misplays and one that at times can't get out of its own way.

Forget the philosophies or the play-calling.

"It's not scheme," Harrison insisted. "It's none of that other B.S.

"It's each man doing his job and right now every man's not doing the job."

What the Steelers are doing rather than that is play like a team that has forgotten how to keep its eye on the ball, something that used to be as certain as the turning of the earth.

Instead, all of a sudden, we get:

* Mike Wallace wasting what should have been a 22-yard gain by taking an unconscionable, 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for taunting.

* Maurkice Pouncey negating a 14-yard run by Mewelde Moore to the Texans 6-yard line by drawing a foul for unnecessary roughness.

* Ben Roethlisberger continuing to play as if he regards ball-control as optional. Roethlisberger's only turnover was a last-second Hail Mary. But he was spared another sack-strip-fumble by an illegal contact penalty and a pick-six due to a roughing the passer flag.

* LaMarr Woodley leaving a cutback lane for Arian Foster so wide that Ramon Foster could have exploited it on what became the game-winning touchdown.

* Antonio Brown making plays one minute and running down the field blissfully unaware of where he's supposed to be the next, which is the spot where Roethlisberger is throwing the ball.

* A field goal attempt of 30 yards being blocked and returned for touchdown (another lucky flag for an illegal block prevented the Steelers from surrendering points there).

This team used to be buttoned down, on point, focused and precise.

Now, it's slappy.

And that's a far bigger concern than pass protection or run defense.

Granted, those are issues, as well. But unless focus is regained and the overall operation is tightened up considerably plugging those leaks won't be enough.

At 2-2 the Steelers are the team they deserve to be.

The scary aspect of what's transpiring is they've yet to show much urgency or intent associated with becoming anything more than that.


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