Schedule Eases; Turnovers Don't

Dale Lolley's notebook from Heinz Field following the Steelers' 40-23 loss to the Bears:

PITTSBURGH -- If you're looking for sage advice in the Steelers' locker room, you go to defensive end Brett Keisel.

After all, Keisel's been in that locker room longer than any other player.

"I still thought in the fourth quarter that we were going to win it," said Keisel following the Steelers third consecutive loss to open the 2013 season, a 40-23 defeat at the hands of the Chicago Bears.

"I thought we were going to find a way."

History would have told Keisel that he was right. It would have told Keisel that the Steelers would have found a way, with momentum clearly in their favor, to make an historic comeback from being down 24-3 to beat the Chicago Bears at Heinz Field.

But it wasn't to be.

You can throw history out the window with this current group of Steelers.

Ben Roethlisberger is turning the ball over at an alarming rate. Pittsburgh has turned it over nine times (!) in the first three games, with Roethlisberger having a direct hand in eight of them.

Even turnovers that weren't originally put on him - the fumble into the end zone in the opener - were later credited to him on further review.

It's added up to an 0-3 start.

"I don't know if we can dig out of it," said Roethlisberger. "We're going to have to give it everything we've got to get out. It's a deep hole and it's getting deeper. I'm not going to quit."

But is he going to play better?

Roethlisberger's final stats - 26 of 41 for 406 yards, 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions - don't look that bad. But they don't even come close to telling the whole story.

One of the interceptions was returned for a touchdown in the first half. And then there were 2 fumbles, one of which was returned for a score, the other that set up a nice, short TD drive for the Bears, were killers.

You can blame the offensive line for that, and certainly, you wouldn't be wrong. But Roethlisberger arguably hasn't played behind a really good offensive line since 2005.

Remember the "Who's laughing now, o-line?" question from the Super Bowl 43 celebration? Seems now, the league is.

Roethlisberger in 2008 found ways to overcome shoddy offensive line play. Roethlisberger in 2013, at 31, now looks like just another quarterback being harried into mistakes.

It's not what you want out of a quarterback who's eating up 10 percent of the salary cap space.

@ Now I see what Jonathan Dwyer means when he said he's hungry. I thought he was talking about lunch.

Turns out that maybe he gets it now.

Both he and Felix Jones had some nice runs, and Dwyer had some huge blocks in pass protection.

@ The next time the coaching staff starts talking about the offensive line needing to play together to gel, I'm going to bring up the rotating tackles thing the Steelers tried in this game.

Maybe they did it to light a bit of a fire under Marcus Gilbert and Mike Adams. Or maybe they really just did want to take a look at Kelvin Beachum.

But if you're going to make a move, stick with it.

Then again, both Adams and Gilbert have been bad enough at times that they can't decide which one they want to replace.

@ The NFL is going to get the 0-3 Vikings vs. the 0-3 Steelers in London.

I guess somebody is going to get their first win. Then again, they could tie. That would be appropriate for not only soccer country, but how this season is going.

The guess here - and judging from how things have gone this season, it can only be a guess - is that the Steelers win. Roethlisberger has to be better than Christian Ponder, right?

Then comes the bye and a game against the Jets coming out of it. A couple of wins would go a long way toward turning this whole mess around.

(Dale Lolley appears courtesy of the Washington Observer-Reporter. Talk about Dale's column here on the message board.)


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