Tomlin Too Quick To Pull RBs

Dale Lolley believes the Steelers' revolving running game was unnecessary.

On the drive back from Cleveland, I thought of a couple of topics I wanted to bring up he here. But I'm going to drop them.

Why not? The Steelers dropped balls all day long.

* Seriously, I don't get Mike Tomlin's decisions with these running backs.

I know, I know, you fumble, you get pulled. But guess what? Fumbles happen.

And I believe that when you start pulling guys for fumbling, you put it in the back of everyone else's mind.

Plus, Chris Rainey fumbled at the end of the first half. Only he didn't get pulled because the ball trickled out of bounds.

So the rule is now, you get pulled if the other team recovers your fumble? Or does that only happen on Thursdays?

Tomlin is grasping for straws here. Besides, Antonio Brown and Mike Wallace have both lost critical fumbles this season as well. Neither have been benched.

The rule must only apply to the running backs. Or maybe the receivers get pulled if they fumble on a Saturday.

* I don't have any idea which running back the Steelers will use next week in Baltimore. Then again, at this point, it doesn't seem as if Tomlin does, either.

* Tomlin could use the four dogs and one bone theory. He could throw the bone to them and whichever one doesn't drop it, starts.

* That was one dejected locker room following this game.

This is a team that has gotten used to beating the Browns as if they were their little brother.

But that look in the locker room was like the big brother that just lost his first game of one-on-one to the little guy. And he was trying. Sort of.

You know, like Mike Wallace sort of tried to come back for Charlie Batch's third interception.

* Fact of the matter is, without Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown, Troy Polamalu and Willie Colon - who was a surprise scratch with a sore knee - the Browns were probably a better team.

I know that doesn't mesh with some people's the Steelers play down to their opponent theory, but seriously, look at what the Browns started Sunday vs. the lineup the Steelers put out there.

They weren't that different. And the Browns were at home.

And, the little brother was sick of losing to the big brother, who kind of took another win for granted.

* Charlie Batch actually didn't play a bad game.

That's right, I wrote it.

He really only threw one pass that should have been intercepted - the deep ball to Wallace into double coverage.

Wallace batted another ball into the air that was picked off, while Plaxico Burress rounded off a route, allowing Sheldon Brown to get underneath him for another.

I thought the play calling was way too conservative in the first half - until just before the two minute warning.

And with the backs throwing the ball on the ground, it wasn't working.

The Steelers looked like a team playing not to lose - or at least not to see Brian Hoyer in the game.

After going 86 yards at the end of the first half in the hurry up, I thought the Steelers would come out in it to open the second.

But the first of 25 holding penalties in the second half - this one on Mike Adams - put the Steelers in a 1st and 20 right away.

* Seriously, was Ron Winter's crew being paid per flag?

* As bad as things seem right now, this team is going to get healthy in the next couple of weeks.

Sure it lost Adams to an ankle injury - he was in a walking boot after the game - but LaMarr Woodley didn't look as bad with his ankle injury.

And maybe watching his backup, Jason Worilds, chase the QB around all day motivated Woodley.

After all, the much-maligned Worilds now leads this team with 5 sacks in limited play.

Brown and Polamalu should be back this week against the Ravens, with Ben Roethlisberger saying that there's a chance he could come back as well.

As for me, I'd sit Roethlisberger this week at Baltimore. I know, the Steelers have very little chance to beat the Ravens in Baltimore without Roethlisberger, but with him, there's a good chance the Steelers will win their final four games.

Beat Cincinnati twice and this team is likely in the playoffs - assuming it holds serve in its final three home games.

A win at Dallas is also a good possibility.

And then you're looking at a team rolling into the postseason on four consecutive victories as the No. 6 seed. Sounds like 2005 all over again.

(Dale Lolley appears courtesy of the Washington Observer-Reporter. To comment on Dale's column, please click here.)

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