Lolley: Roethlisberger overplayed his hand

Ben Roethlisberger didn't break down crying following the Steelers' 24-20 loss to the Indianapolis Colts here at Heinz Field Sunday, but he was close.

Roethlisberger had just thrown three interceptions, two of which the Colts turned into touchdowns, perhaps costing the Pittsburgh Steelers a chance at victory.

And after promising during the week that he would play better in the second half of the season, Roethlisberger was understandably shaken.

He didn't deliver.

Roethlisberger hasn't had all too many disappointments in his young career. Heck, even his sub-par 2006 season was explained away by his offseason motorcycle accident.

Certainly his shoulder injury could be partially to blame for Sunday's effort. But Roethlisberger was 30-of-42 for 284 yards, pretty much picking the Colts apart with short passes.

The short-passing game is what you are supposed to do to beat the Cover-2. It's only when you get greedy or start having to force the ball down the field against the Cover-2 that interceptions happen.

Roethlisberger overplayed his hand, got greedy and he paid for it - at least on the first interception.

That first interception at the end of the first half came on third-and-two. Roethlisberger was going for the home run instead of taking the single.

The second interception, he admitted to forgetting that Santonio Holmes was supposed to break back to the outside instead of continuing to run the crossing route. That one, I guess, we can chalk up to a lack of practice.

And we'll give him a pass on the third interception.

Roethlisberger is really struggling right now and the Steelers need him to snap out of it – soon.

© The Steelers ran the same play on third-and-goal from the one in the fourth quarter that they had used to get Mewelde Moore into the end zone twice in the first half.

That's either really smart or really stupid - depending on whether or not you like offensive coordinator Bruce Arians.

Moore had gone into the end zone untouched twice in the first half on that play.

This time around, defensive tackle Eric Foster caught Moore in the hole before Moore could get airborne and get into the end zone, forcing the Steelers to settle for a field goal.

said afterward that it came down to Foster beating the guy in front of him. That may be true, but it does help if you know what the play is.

© Ike Taylor's having a pretty good year. He'd be having a great year if he could catch the ball.

But he can't and he doesn't.

© The injury to Deshea Townsend may end up being a good thing for the Steelers but only if Bryant McFadden is ready to come back next week against San Diego from his broken forearm.

Townsend is one of my favorite players in that locker room, a good guy who's always available and insightful.

But he's been playing hurt this season and has been a liability in coverage. It's doubtful that head coach Mike Tomlin would have sat a respected veteran like Townsend down to put William Gay into the lineup, particularly with the defense playing so well overall.

Townsend's injury gives Tomlin a reason to do it. Now, they just need to get McFadden back in the lineup this week as well.

© Willie Parker's got a torn labrum in his shoulder, something that's going to bother him the rest of the season.

But it's something he should be able to play through. The Steelers could have used him Sunday.

© The two short touchdowns Moore scored in the first half made the coaching staff forget that their best short-yardage back was sitting on the bench. Those two touchdowns were so easy that the team figured it didn't need Gary Russell to get the ball into the end zone.

At least the coaching staff figured out Russell can handle kickoff returns, something he did quite well Sunday.

© A healthy Heath Miller would have helped in that situation.

© The Steelers are now tied with Baltimore for the AFC North lead at 6-3, but a win over a struggling San Diego team puts this team in good position.

Heading into the four-game stretch that started with the loss to the Giants, I figured the Steelers needed to go 2-2 to get to 7-3 heading into the final six games.

Sunday's loss makes next week's game against San Diego very important, but it is a very winnable game.

As for the Ravens, they head to the Meadowlands to play the Giants. They then go home to face the Eagles before making the short trip down the road down I-95 to play the Redskins.

Then the Steelers head for Baltimore in Week 15.

The Ravens will be fortunate to go 2-2 in that stretch.

F. Dale Lolley appears courtesy of the Observer-Reporter.

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