2012 Steelers In The Books, On To 2013

By Jeremy Hritz

It’s all over now.

Another Ben Roethlisberger interception, another loss, except this time, it put to bed any hope for postseason play. While the potential for the 2012 season was great, it never materialized, and the last gasp at manifesting a playoff berth fell a few yards short off of the toe of Shaun Suisham.

The Cincinnati Bengals, led by Andy Dalton, left Pittsburgh with a 13-10 victory and are now in the playoffs as a Wild Card team. And the fate for the Pittsburgh Steelers you ask? They are staring at either an 8-8 or 7-9 record, depending on the outcome of their game against the Cleveland Browns next week.

The Steelers played well on Sunday in spurts, but could never achieve any sense of continuity offensively, something that has been a thorn in the side of the team all year. The running game was patchy, though there were a few solid carries, the protection was pathetic, and Roethlisberger could not lock into a rhythm. The defense however, as it had done all year, played well, and limited the Bengals, and this time around, they even forced three turnovers and racked up six sacks. Sadly though, as has happened all year, the offense could not match the performance of the defense, and the only accounted for ten measly points, definitely not enough to win a playoff-atmosphere football game.

This game summarized the problems on the offensive side of the football from the entire year and serious questions have to now be addressed about the fit of Todd Haley with Roethlisberger and company. Throughout the season, the offense was inconsistent, and it did not even come close to rivaling the offense that Bruce Arians coordinated in previous years. Imagine that. The speculation during the offseason last year was that running backs coach Kirby Wilson would serve as the new offensive coordinator, yet the burns that he experienced from a house fire kept him from stepping into that position. Considering the performance of the Rosetta Stone offense this year, especially in Sunday’s game against the Bengals, it would not be surprising to see Haley let go and Wilson step in for next year as the new offensive coordinator.

There is so much to talk about and examine over the next several months before the beginning of the 2013 Steelers season, and who will coordinate the offense is just one of them. This offseason promises to be one of great turnover, as many players who have become fixtures on this team, will be gone, and several new faces will climb on board.

And what about the schedule for next year? It doesn’t get easier as the Steelers will take on the NFC North and match up against the Packers, Bears, Vikings, and Lions, plus, if the season ended today, they will play a third-place AFC schedule and will battle against the Jets, Titans, and the Raiders, opportunities to avenge two of the terrible losses from the 2012 season.

More importantly, our attention needs to shift to the NFL Draft and the many needs of this Steelers team, and it raises the question for next week, win and finish 8-8? Or lose, finish 7-9, and have a better draft pick. While the goal is never to lose the game, if they happen to lose to the Browns next week, getting a first round draft pick one to two spots higher definitely can’t hurt.

Nobody saw the 2012 season ending this way, but the results are the reality. The good news is that the Steelers are not that far away from being a contender. The bad news? We’ll have to wait over eight months before we can see how much ground they have made up.

  • Chris Maxwell

    Did the Rooneys actually bring this guy in for the ole run run pass punt offense.

  • Mikey Hoje

    this team along with new players, new attitude also needs an EXCORCIST, plus a FUNG SHUI evil-chaser to clean out the “dark matter”…

  • TJimmy

    They may end.up losing Haley to Arizona…and bringing back Whisenhunt as OC

  • zyzak

    Whisenhut hates the Steelers, he ain’t workin for Tomlin who he considers inferior

  • steeltown

    They wont intentionally lose next week.. but either way we look to get a high teens draft pick presumably. They have a good track record picking that high… last three were Ben, Timmons and Pouncey

  • SteelerDave

    Yes, Haley should go to AZ but Wisenhunt will never be with Pittsburgh again. I look for Kirby to take over as OC and one more season of Leabeau before Butler takes over.

    My serious concern is actually Tomlin. Yes he is a players coach and has had success but he way too often makes questionable calls, does not seem to motivate his men, is average at best at drafts and manages the game clock as well as my 9yo could.

  • Its gonna take a bit of time before Haleys offense really takes off. People just need to stop blaming haley; he called the plays an everyone dropped passes, fumbled the ball away of INTs were thrown along with no holes to run through. If Haley had the Cardinals crappy team an he took them to the Superbowl then he will get us there since our team is 1000% better than them. Hang in there people

  • Pete

    “Throughout the season, the offense was inconsistent and it did not even come close to rivaling the offense that Bruce Arians coordinated in previous years.”

    Really? Give Haley a break. Wallace holds out of camp and wonders why he can’t hold onto balls thrown his way. Brown drops balls and under performs. Same with Sanders. The receivers as a whole were a disappointment this season. Way too many dropped balls and that is saying nothing of timely fumbles.

    Next, the enormous amount of injuries to the O line resulted in lack of a running game. We all know Dwyer and Redman can run. We’ve seen what they can do. But they need a hole to run through. Look at what the Bengals did on Sunday. There were no holes and the D line manhandled the O line. When you have constant penetration in the back field, the O line isn’t getting the job done.

    Give Haley a break and see what the team looks like when the guys who need to perform do it on a consistent basis.