Steelers Eliminated From Playoff Race With 13-10 Loss To Bengals At Home

The Pittsburgh Steelers still have one game remaining on their 2012 schedule against the Cleveland Browns, but for all practical purposes their season ended at Heinz Field on Sunday thanks to their 13-10 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.

Kicker Josh Brown kicked a 43-yard field goal with 4 seconds remaining to give the Bengals the win and a playoff birth. The kick came just two plays after Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw his second interception of the game to Bengals safety Reggie Nelson with 14 seconds remaining in regulation.

Roethlisberger\’s first interception of the game was returned for a touchdown by cornerback Leon Hall with 2:15 left in the first quarter and the Bengals never trailed from that point on. The Steelers quarterback finished the game 14-of-28 for 220 yards and a touchdown to go along with his 2 interceptions. He was also sacked 4 times in the game in addition.

The Steelers wasted perhaps the best performance of the season by their defense that was able to force 3 turnovers in the game to go along with 6 sacks of Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton. Dalton finished the game with 278 yards passing in the loss with no touchdowns.

The Steelers were able to muster 95 yards rushing in the game while the Bengals and running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis were held to just 14 yards rushing on 15 carries.

Both teams were putrid on 3rd downs in the game as the Steelers converted 2-of-14 while the Bengals converted just 4-of-14.

The loss drops the Steelers to 7-8 on the season and they must win next week against the Browns to finish at .500.

The Steelers also lost backup running Baron Batch to a broken arm in the game as well as tight end Heath Miller, who is believed to have suffered a torn MCL which will likely require surgery and a long rehab.

  • Mike Carroll

    Probably Ben’s worst performance in a big game, considering where he is
    at in his career and what is expected from him at this point. I said
    before the game it would be disappointing if he couldn’t find some way
    to lead to the team to victory. Well, he did a whole lot worse than
    that as he failed to capitalize on opportunities and threw the game away.
    That’s a fairly ominous sign moving forward. Straight F performance
    today for Ben.

    Offensive line, highlighted by the atrocious play of DeCastro, gets an F.

    Give Tomlin an F as well for his blunders:
    1) You go on 4th and 1 from 50 yd line, but not on 4th and 1 from 10 when
    trailing 7-0 on a day you can easily predict scoring will be at
    minimum. Are you really hoping to field goal the other team to death?
    2) You ask your kicker to set a personal and stadium record, right after
    the other coach gives you a break by doing the same asinine thing?
    The only thing Tomlin had going for him on this call was the fact,
    Suisham was the most consistent weapon all year – but he already showed
    in Tenn that 53 is beyond his range, no matter how accurate he is.
    3) EASILY THE WORST DECISION by Tomlin was the idea to go try to score
    from your own 10 yard line with less than 1 minute to go in a game that
    has been absolutely dominated by defenses to that point. Your offense
    has given you exactly one good play to that point – and nothing more.
    This is a personal pet peeve as I’ve watched coaches get a free pass on
    these situations way too much recently. 20 years ago it is almost
    standard to kneel the ball their and play OT. Not anymore. Which is
    fine, when the situation calls for it: you have a great offense, you’re
    in the middle of a shootout. That was not the case here. Kneel the
    damn ball and play for OT. Do not give Tomlin a free pass on this
    asinine decision.

    But, back to Ben. Hold the damn ball. Play for OT. Ultimately, it
    falls on Ben. Awful decision to complete a bad game and very
    disappointing season.

    The only good news: Steeler fans won’t be subjected to another long
    game rooting for this putrid offense to score. It was apparent during
    the game this offense is seriously deficient right now, and would stand
    little chance against a better team.

  • Mike Carroll

    Great game by the defense. One more year it was clear they were the best unit on the team. Nice to see Cortez Allen make some impact plays. Sign Keenan Lewis.

  • awlcohen

    Well put. Tomlin’s decision making this season, and this game in particular could not be much worse. He may be intelligent, but he is not a smart man at this point.

  • Big Ben’s ego cost us the last two games and the season. Defense showed up to play with 4 turnovers and the Offense cant convert.

  • Sven_Hunkstrom

    Team hasn’t shown an interest in scoring points in years. Strategy is to keep it close. Lead NFL in scoring in last 2 min of half because they actually tried. Only scored 30 points once all year, next to last in league.

  • JT

    Gonna be a long off season. Need a good Draft, some good work by the guys like DeCrastro, Adams, and Spence, and to retain Kenan if at all possible.

  • Sven_Hunkstrom

    Tomlin needs to change team’s philosophy. Cannot survive in modern NFL by being passive/scared on offense, waiting until :01 on play clock the majority of time, running (futilely) on so many first downs, etc. Mindset needs to be one of aggression, not just passing time until desperation kicks in.

    Special teams are horrible. Butler not a viable pro punter.

  • Ben missed alot of easy check downs to rbs.

  • Reader783

    DeCastro got beat up today, but no blame to him in his second game back against Atkins. Defense looked like it should win a Superbowl, but offense…well they lost us another game. 4 turnovers for them to work with AND field position and they stunk. Marvin Lewis said to Todd Haley, “If I miss this kick, you can’t go 15 yards for the win.” And he was right. Need to draft DLine, OLB and CB and S to groom. I wish I could say what we need to fix on offense, but I just don’t know.

  • Reader783

    Butler is awful. So bad. Never, ever gives us an advantage, only hurts us.

  • Tony

    This was Ben’s only terrible performance of the season, and it could not have come at a worse time. Against Dallas he was pretty good up until OT, and he was decent against Denver until the last play. Why couldn’t the defense have played like this against Oakland? the Titans? Denver? San Diego? The D lost as many games for us as Ben did. Special teams,except for Suisham, was a killer all season long.
    Before you draft another QB shouldn’t we get a pass rusher, a play making corner/safety or a receiver who can actually hold onto the ball? Ben was not the problem this year.
    At least next year it’ll be like we’re getting 2 draft classes if De Castro, Spence, and Adams don’t suffer any more God awful freak injuries.

  • Reader783

    Woah, woah, woah. The defense lost us literally only two games, Denver and Tennessee. Do not even try and put San Diego or Oakland on the defense. How about Antonio Brown’s 2 fumbles against the Raiders in the 4th or the countless turnovers against San Diego, including a fumble return. The first loss against Baltimore? Punt return. Dallas? Offense was awful. Browns? Offense again. The defense was #1 in the league again for the same reason: they dominated.

  • Maurice_hill_district

    This game’s blunders were familiar.

    Ben’s INTs – Ben’s 1st int Ben stared at Miller too long, Bengals hav no CurtisBrown or Victorian to cover Miller, instead a decent vet Leon Hall who therefore read the QB & made a clean pick. Then many of Ben’s passes were batted or dropped, we were just lucky Ben wasnt INT’d more. Then Ben’s last int Ben Neil O’Donneled away another big game. QB & Wallace not in same page, same as most of the year. Our coaches allowed that all year, instead of practicing timing more between games.

    How did our coaches again not know whats the maximum distance our kicker can kick a FG? Supposed to know that rightBefore the game starts!

    There is NO EXCUSE for Keisel chose to go to the ground to rub it in after a sack. I said before ref called it thats a penalty. That rule is not new, teams know it awards opponent a 1st down & 15 yds. The beard went all season whiffing at RBs instead of tackling, this season he lived off his good years of long ago.

  • Sven_Hunkstrom

    Defense was solid all year, but dominance is a bit much in face of lack of sacks and turnovers. And as good as they were today, with season on line on one play they gave up a twenty yard pass.

  • Buccos9

    I agree completely about Tomlin’s decision making. In a tight game where field position was critical, the decision to try for a 54-yard field goal was ridiculous. Tomlin is among the worst game managers in the league. The offensive line has been shaky most of the season, but they can blame injuries for some of their problems. Ben used to be the guy who led the late comebacks. He is becoming the guy who gives games away with late turnovers. That’s two games in a row where he has thrown the sideline pass to the inside rather than to the sideline. He and the team paid a big price both times. If he overthrows, but to the sideline, the ball just sails out of bounds. Or just play cautiously to get into overtime.The pick six was awful. Ben seemed to be trying to force feed the ball to Miller, even when he was covered, much of the game. I have to assume that the injury set Ben back a lot because he was so good early in the season. He seemed tentative, late, and innaccurate with many of his throws after his return from injury. Great effort by the defense. That’s two games this year where the D has allowed 7 points or less and the Steelers lose. This team was headed for a first round loss even if they made the playoffs. Disappointing ending, but they really didn’t deserve a better fate.

  • Sven_Hunkstrom

    Not to beat dead horse, but offensive personnel, including coordinator, will make no difference until the philosophy changes from passivity to aggression. Purposely playing it close then waiting for the QB to pull it out at the end every week is not a viable long term strategy.

  • Steelers offense sucked all season, got all this talent and can’t seem to use. The damn offense look like they was in preseason, that’s bullshit. Mike Tomlin and Todd Haley needs a reality check because the play calling sucks. Ben still holding the ball too long, killing the defense. It was like watching Groundhog Day, the same game 7 weeks in a row

  • I agree that guy sucks

  • Maurice_hill_district

    Agreeing it was stupid to try a 54 yd fg if from that end of field yur kicker cant kick that far. Sleepwalk coaching too many games, & poor planning way back in the offseason.

  • zyzak

    Tomlin or Rooney made a calculated gamble firing BA and hiring Haley. It backfired big time, pissed off their franchise QB and cost them their offense. They will have to start over with a new OC next season and it won’t be easy

  • Maurice_hill_district

    Who says we wont be injured next season?

    Who guarantees DeCastro & Spence & Adams will be solid in NFL & not injured?

    Im not thumbs-downin ya, just sayin you’ll probly use that same excuses next year. Browns this time of each season probably say No problem we’ll automatically be better next year.

  • Chris92021

    Goes to show how crucial injuries are. Jeremy Kapinos was injured for the entire training camp, thus we had no choice but to sign Butler. I have a feeling Butler will play his last game in the NFL next week.

  • The defense rarely made any (as Tomlin calls them) splash plays this season. Very few sacks and turnovers all year. Dominant defenses change the game with huge impact plays, like the Steelers defense in recent Super Bowl runs. This defense was good at limiting yards and points, but never changed the tide of the game, until today at least.

  • Kevin Gobleck

    All Star defense this year wasted by the O.C i say dump Haley and have either the QB coach or the Raiders Ex-H.C from 2011, what do you guys say?

  • Chris92021

    Hell of a time for Big Ben to play his worst game of the season. Thing is, he’s saved the team so many times I can’t get too angry. What a shame though…the defense forced three turnovers, held the Bengals to 14 yards rushing, sacked Dalton 6 times, and yet they could not make the play that would have sent the game into OT. They could not stop AJ Green when it mattered the most. Still, I am not gonna push for any firings, especially of Todd Haley. Give him one more year. Haley’s second year as OC in Arizona? Super Bowl appearance. Haley’s second year in KC? Division title. Next season the team will be more focused and will only get better…mostly because it can’t get any worse.

  • Not sure how you called it before the ref that Keisel’s celebration was a penalty since he has used that exact same celebration for his entire career. He does it all the time and this is the first time it was ever called a penalty. I’ll give him a huge pass on that one. There are probably no players on that team more team oriented than Keisel.

  • Your comment doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. You say that the defense looks like a Super Bowl defense and the offense is the entire problem, but then follow that up with a laundry list of defensive positions you want to replace and no offensive positions. So you want to replace most of this “super bowl defense” and none of the offense that “stunk?”

  • Garrett Hunt

    He said he didn’t know about the offense, meaning their is a lot of work to do other than just the personnel.

  • Well if we spend all our draft picks addressing all the positions he listed, we won’t have any left to address the much more pressing offensive problems.

  • You can thank Art Rooney II for that. He is still stuck in the ancient NFL and wants this team to play like the Steelers have for decades instead of evolving with the rest of the NFL.

  • Garrett Hunt

    They prob won’t address every postion he noted, but we do get more than 4 picks….

  • Henry

    The Steelers pooped the bed and rolled around in it all season.

  • Maurice_hill_district

    Yes this does still look like preseason, so u might hav somethin there. Our OLine & RBs not much talent, but to have all our receivers with Ben still look like havent practiced was a disservice to our defense – which can say overachieved.

  • Maurice_hill_district

    Shakespear couldnt hav said it better.

  • Maurice_hill_district

    I hate to say it but all that is appearing true.

  • Garrett Hunt

    I guess we should just fire Haley and hire one of the commentors, they all seem to think they know how to fix the offense.

    Tomlin is the worst coach ever the same year he was voted coach most players would like to play for, and has won more super bowls than most coaches around today.

    Special teams are terrible, fire the coach! Well, actually that sounds about right.

    In actuality the Steelers will be alright. The offense wasn’t as bad as it could have been with Ben going down, a current mess at RB, beat up OL, and first year coach. I feel like with a good offseason, next season can still be a successful season (super bowl bound) without any major roster or staff changes. Turns out the NFL has some other pretty good players on pretty good teams. A 500 season (assuming we beat the Browns) should at least help give more appreciation to the double digit wins season after season I have grown accustomed to.

  • Garrett Hunt

    Yea to me the offense actually performed worse and worse over the season. Seemed at the beginning of the season they were showing pretty good promise with ball control and long drives.

  • Mike Carroll

    The defense clearly had a huge hand in the Oakland loss. They did not stop Carson Palmer once in the second half and gave up 34 points!!!

  • Mike Carroll

    Not sure, but it seems to me Jared Allen always drops to one knee for his sack celebration.

    Either way, it’s bullshit that Tom Brady spiked a ball in the middle of the field last week against SF and had a hissy fit, cursing out the ref on national TV, but no flag was thrown — where’s the sportsmanship there? Yet, Keisel gets flagged for his knee touching the ground? One more sign the NFL rulebook is way too convoluted, and lacks common sense.

  • Maurice_hill_district

    Amazing that u guys didnt see what Keisel did. The guy ran around the field like a nut, attracting all refs to see him then wallow on ground. U make it sound like Keisel just kneeled down & prayed.

  • JT

    Very level headed comment. I see some people talking about rebuilding and I dont get it. Some moves need to be made, for sure, but this is still a very talented team. I’m not worried….yet. Next season is a new season.

  • WilliamSekinger

    I think you missed the OPs intent. I’m pretty sure he think Ben didn’t “miss” those throws but ignored them. I happen to agree.

  • B.J.Weaver

    The Pittsburgh franchise risks alienating its fan base if it doesn’t make serious changes to its coaching/players rosters in the off-season. The team seemed “old” and too passive all season long.

  • JT

    Other than Amos Jones and whoever the hell WR coach is, I don’t want many coaching changes. Too many O-cords can be trouble. Give Haley at least another year. And if they were dumb enough to touch Tomlin, I would lose serious respect for the Rooneys.

  • Maurice_hill_district

    Now that we’re out if it, Tomlin should treat this upcoming Browns game like a preseason game. Only play guys which we need to find out if they can play in NFL. That means play these guys at positions instead of just special teams:
    Robinson & Johnson at OLB.
    Sylvester at ILB.
    Golden at safety.
    Malecki, Al Woods, etc.

    The worst that can happen is we would get a higher draft pick! So doesnt this make sense, or will Tomlin instead mail it in or he’ll do a pride game trying to win at all costs.

  • Reader783

    Thank you g-hunt. I said we need to draft players to groom, not replace guys. We need to replace polamalu and Harrison soon, and next year is the year to start grooming guys. I didn’t mention things to draft for offense, because I jut don’t know what we need. I don’t get why it didn’t work this year.

  • Reader783

    Only issue I have is that I can’t ever think of losing to the Browns twice in the same season in my lifetime. I hope to keep it that way

  • Reader783

    I mean Palmer started on the 50 every time because Lechler punted to our 2, we did nothing and then butler punted 30 yards

  • Reader783

    No he didn’t…he did the bow and arrow celebration he had done for years. Got a sack, jogged towards the sideline, dropped to a knee, shot an arrow, left. Bs penalty, per usual. And Mike, how dare you say something negative against Tom Brady… Don’t let goodell hear you.