- Sorry to report no one asked Bill Cowher about the playoffs yesterday, thus no Mora-like explosion to match the pitiful 4-8 record.
- It's a sad day when even Cowher doesn't erupt over giving big, home games away. Sure, he found time to blast his kicker but that's old news with a tough guy who'd rather blast a punter than a defensive captain that has as many zeroes on his paycheck as he does on the stat sheet.
- No, we didn't come to blast Jason Gildon today. In fact, we're of a mind to rip the special teams, at the least for their ridiculous introductions before Sunday's loss to the Bengals. Jeff Reed, Josh Miller, Chris Hope, Troy Polamalu, Clint Kriewaldt and Antwaan Randle El ran out onto the field with their helmets on, appropriately modest, but guys like Lee Mays, Clark Haggans and Ike Taylor did silly dances and told the crowd "I don't even know I'm a friggin' backup!"
- Hey, it set the tone for the game, and then when the short kickoff and subsequent long return by the plodding Brandon Bennett set up the Bengals' last-minute rally, it gave us all reason to squawk.
- He had a net punting average of 44.3, and as previously mentioned didn't really bug us during intros, but let's make a statement today and cut Josh Miller. Yeah, just cut him. Then I would have reason to smirk like a little rich punter boy.
- Sorry. Lost my head a little bit there, but allow one more rant about field hijinks before we dust off a few antiques. To the guy playing the music at the stadium, this is not the Midwest and these are not the 1970s. The music we hear at the most important moments of the game - "the defining moments" as Chin says - is coming from a band called Styx. The Steelers also had those pretentious retreads in to sing the national anthem earlier this season.
- Falsetto, artsy chops and football have never gone together. We need to put this on the list of banned substances because I'm CERTAIN it's behind the 4-8 record.
- Trust me, the front office agrees with this writer that running back is the biggest problem on the team. The Steelers realize you don't need five No. 1 picks on the O-line for it to work. Restocking the stable of running backs will be a top priority this season, but, wow, Chad Scott's making this difficult.
- A great running back makes the line not only look better, but the perception - through confidence - eventually becomes reality. It also opens up the passing game and keeps the defense off the field. But great cornerbacks just might be more difficult to find, and this team must find a shutdown corner at some point if it hopes to return to its former level of stoutness.
- The first Bengals touchdown was the fault of Scott, the corner who peeked in the backfield while blazing rookie Kelley Washington zipped behind him.
- We were in a forgiving mood since Scott played so well the previous week, but then he whiffed on an easy tackle before allowing Chad Johnson to get behind him for the second touchdown. Showing veteran savvy, Scott immediately commenced pointing fingers and head-bobbing at teammate Deshea Townsend.
- After that maneuver, no one was really sure if Scott was at fault. It was, after all, back in his little corner of the end zone. After the game, it was learned that Johnson was supposed to be doubled on the play. Instead, he was zeroed.
- Anyway, the X-man was burned a few more times, and since we know so little about Ike Taylor, and we know Townsend is nothing more than a No. 2 corner, and we know Dewayne Washington will be released after the season, it adds up to the need for a top-notch corner to develop as Scott plays his final season in 2004.
- Guess the running back will have to wait until the second round. Remember the name Mewelde Moore of Tulane. He's 6-1, 210 and rushed for 114 yards on 21 carries behind a hideous offensive line against Texas. That was one of several 100-yard games for Moore, who runs a lot like Emmitt Smith.
- Had to laugh at the frequent media discussions over Cowher's control in the organization. They're saying Cowher has 51 percent of the power and personnel chief Kevin Colbert has 49 percent. How about adjusting that just a little bit? Try 100 and zero.
- The solution is not to take away Cowher's power. That won't happen unless he's fired, and that won't happen. The Rooneys won't fire someone for a surprising dip in performance. They have more patience than those of us living in the Internet.
- Still, why no blitzing on the final Bengals drive? Where was the middle linebacker on the draw by the plodding Bennett? These are questions Cowher should be answering.
- Agree with Cowher, however, on the hammering of Hamer, Dale Hamer, who refused to review the first-half fumble after quarterback Charlie Batch's arm was hit. The insinuation, though, that the locally based Hamer should've given the Steelers a break, was a little much.
- If you're going over the edge, go Mora or don't go.
- In the biggest game of the year, at home, with the offensive line intact for at least half the game, the Steelers allowed the Bengals their season-high of six sacks.
- Saw where Ravens cornerbacks Gary Baxter and Chris McAllister, "were in the faces of (Terrell) Owens, Cedrick Wilson and Brandon Lloyd," according to Baltimore Sun columnist Mike Preston after the Ravens' 44-6 win. Owens, given free release a few weeks ago by the Steelers, had 23 yards receiving against the Ravens. "Poor Owens," concluded Preston.
- Shutdown corner, franchise quarterback, game-controlling running back, a real pass rusher and a cornerstone tackle. That's really all the Steelers need right now.
- Keep the faith, though. The dumbest team in America cometh.
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