I'm going to forgo the traditional "pick out a few spots on the team and rate them from one to five" MMCNY recap style for that 21-18 loss to the Raiders. It just seems like too much of a chore after that sloppy a game...one that was available for the taking the entire 60 minutes. In my seven seasons of covering the Steelers on PSAMP, Pittsburgh has played the Raiders three times not counting last season's preseason tilt, and yesterday was the second of three which ended in a mind-altering loss.
In 2010 the Steelers crapped out a 35-3 win at Heinz Field. And in 2009, now-backup Bruce Gradkowski led a 27-24 comeback win for the Raiders in Pittsburgh with :09 remaining. Let's spot the "Raiders game" similarities.
That 2010 game recap uses the word "sloppy." despite the win.
The Steelers went 2-5 in the red zone in 2009...their record now sits at that pitiful ratio in 2013.
2009 and 2013 had the Steelers losing to an amped-up local kid playing the hometown team.
And both 2009 and 2013 had the Steelers losing to an awful Raiders team with failure after failure to take control of the game.
Terrelle Pryor had 88 yards passing and two INTs. Ben Roethlisberger had 275 and a TD and two INTs, only one of which really hurt with the Steelers in FG range in the 4th quarter. And the defense forced three turnovers! Only that Ben pick (or AB giveaway) happened. And the defense letting up the longest run by a QB in NHL history on the first play of the game. And last week's Special Teams Player of the Week Shaun Suisham missing two FGs in critical spots.
So with as sloppy as this game was, to borrow that word again from 2010, the Steelers still should've won the game and it pains me that they channeled 2009 and lost. Factor in the Bengals winning to get to 6-2 and the division is pretty much out of reach. Next week brings the Steelers and Patriots together while the Bengals play the Dolphins. I'm an eternal optimist about my Steelers but Miami flushing a big lead and losing by 10 to New England yesterday sorta has me feeling blue about the chances of a Steelers win AND Bengals loss to get the team back to only two down in the loss column. Sometimes it takes the Raiders to show you just how bad the season has gone.
You can go back in the 2013 season archives of the MMCNY recap and see the moments I've pinpointed in every loss that would've turned the game in the Steelers' favor. But the harsh truth is that the losses occurred, and the 2-5 record is very real for this team. And as hot as it burns to accept your team's mediocrity by just the midpoint of the season, doing so brings the reality needed to accept the 2013 season as it currently stands. The team will still play every game to win and I will cheer for them because it's football and watching it is better than the wasteland of the offseason. Only expectations and hope for 11-5 and a playoff spot turn to prayers for no major injuries and maybe a handful of competitive games.
And no, I don't and won't cheer for the Steelers to lose to improve our drafting spot. I cheer for the team, not the players that won't be drafted for another six months and won't dress in Black and Gold for another 10.
The Steelers lost on Sunday, and the awful Raiders were the ones to kick the corpse. 0 of 5 motorcycle helmets for the entire team for that result. Suisham, man.
Again, the Steelers travel to New England Sunday and something will happen. That's all I got.