Woe is the O ... Again

Mike Prisuta heard Ben Roethlisberger dropping F bombs as he described the Steelers' offensive performance Sunday.

Ben Roethlisberger repeatedly resorted to an F-word while summing up a victory over Jacksonville that almost wasn't.

No, not that one.

"It's frustrating," Roethlisberger exhaled. "My expectations for this offense are high."

Alas, the expectations of Roethlisberger and anyone else who still envisions a 30-points-a-game juggernaut leading a weekly assault on scoreboards were left unrealized once again on Sunday at Heinz Field.

The Steelers still won the game, 17-13.

But they did so despite scoring zero points after taking a 17-0 lead with 10:58 left in the second quarter, despite completing one pass and achieving only three first downs in the second half.

In doing so, the offense put way too much pressure on a defense that was without James Harrison and Casey Hampton, and for the last half of the fourth quarter was also without Troy Polamalu.

Good thing they got 113 first-half rushing yards out of Rashard Mendenhall on the way to a 146-yard day.

Otherwise the F-words might have really been flying at Heinz.

Even the first half was ugly in that the Steelers led by only 14 points at 17-3 despite outgaining the Jaguars 315-68 in the first two quarters.

Missing one field goal and kicking another on a possession that included a first-and-goal from the 2 will keep a game closer than it ought to be.

But so, too, will an offense that six games into a season still hasn't consistently clicked.

"We felt like we could have had a very explosive, productive day offensively running and throwing the ball," Roethlisberger said. "It's just frustrating it didn't finish up that way."

More frustrating still is that it remains difficult to understand and identify why the offense continues to underachieve. If it was one thing, presumably, they'd fix it.

But the Steelers seem to keep finding different ways not to score points, sometimes all at once.

It's more than just philosophy or play-calling, more than just injuries or "miscommunication," the malady Roethlisberger cited for his failure to connect with Antonio Brown on third-and-goal from the Jacksonville 3-yard line.

After establishing themselves as almost unstoppable during the first two quarters against the Jaguars, the Steelers groped unsuccessfully for competence.

That's gotta stop.

But they have to want it to stop.

"We have to come out in the second half and just keep grinding, keep putting points on the board," Roethlisberger said. "The sense of urgency needs to stay there."

Apparently that, too, was a problem against Jacksonville.

"It's hard t tell," Roethlisberger said. "We started really strong. Maybe that's on me. Maybe I need to keep the guys going, kinda keep a fire under them.

"I felt like I tried to do that but maybe I didn't do enough."

And that to the list of stuff the Steelers' offense needs to fix, and subtract one more week from the available time left to fix it.

While groping for answers afterward Roethlisberger even cited weather conditions -- specifically the wind. I think the last Steelers QB to do that after a game against Jacksonville was Tommy Maddox.

That's clearly not the type of company Roethlisberger ought to be keeping.

"I gotta make the necessary adjustments to really focus on driving the ball and spinning it through the wind," he said. "It's something I can easily change."

If only the same could be said for the offense.


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