´ Steel Curtain Rising: Watch Tower: Second Annual Steel Curtain Rising Goofs Column

Why Did the Steelers Lose to Tampa

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Watch Tower: Second Annual Steel Curtain Rising Goofs Column

Everyone likes it when they’re right. To some extent, that is impetus driving the sports blogging and fan website phenomenon – people write on the internet because they think they have something to say that no one else is saying.

That sentiment is fine, as long as it is balanced with a dose of humility.

Today that does of humility comes in the form of Steel Curtain Rising’s second annual goofs column (click here to read last year's edition.)

Inspired by the example established by the legendary Washington Post reporter/columnist David Broder, I now take a look back at a year's worth of my work and own up to some of my more egregious errors.

The 2009 Steelers Won’t Succumb to Complacency

Unasked Questions of Camp Tomlin 2009” included this ill-fated observation:
The Steelers may falter in 2009, but don’t bet on compliancy being a cause.
It might be too harsh to condemn the 2009 Steelers for being complacent, but as we observed after the season, they certainly lacked the edge that they enjoyed in 2008.

Tumbling Down the Stairway to Seven

My prognostication skills got no better as the Steelers opened the 2009 regular season.

First I offered this gem:
Curtain’s Call: The Steelers defense can be more dominating.
Maybe of Lawrence Timmons had been more consistent, maybe if Aaron Smith doesn’t go down, maybe if William Gay’s attitude doesn’t get the best of him, maybe if Troy Polamalu doesn’t get hurt. Maybe, maybe, maybe… At the end of the day, the 2009 Steelers defense was a shadow of its former self.

Then came this one about special teams:
If Dan Sepulveda’s preseason performance is any indication, the punting unit should be giving the defense significantly longer fields to work with.

As for the kick return unit? Well, if the return magic that Stefan Logan showed in preseason is no mirage, then Steelers fans could be in for something special.
The Steelers special teams were anything but special, and easily cost the team two games and made a few others closer than they should have been.

Finally, I finished with this:
The road to Lombardi Number 7 is long and difficult…

Curtain’s Call:…But Steel Curtain Rising likes our chances!
Need further comment be made?

Age of Youth on the Defensive Line

In the middle of the 2009 season, Steel Curtain Rising hailed the ascension of youth on the Steelers offensive and defensive lines. It turns out the prediction was only half correct.

The Steelers 2010 opening day roster will include a healthy mix of youth and veterans on the offensive line.

That same mix will be absent on the defensive side of the ball, as both Sunny Harris and Doug Worthington got cut in favor of 30 year old veteran Nick Eason.

The Turning Point that Never Was

The Steelers 8th game of 2009 brought them to Denver and in many respects it was their best game of the season. Despite some early hiccups, it seemed like this was the game when the Steelers would finally get it together.

Afterward, I wrote this:
Bruce Arians accomplished something special with his unit. The 180 degree 2nd half turn around was nice, but you expect that from defending Super Bowl Champions. It was the way Arians turned things around – by finding balance. It has been a long, long time since the Steelers have been able to combine precision, vertical passing in the air, with persistent, punishing power rushing on the ground.

They did that in the second half against Denver last night. They did it against the NFL’s number one defense. And they made it look easy. Repeating that feat over the next eight weeks won’t be easy. Finding balance never is.

But if they can consistently achieve that balance on offense, the Steelers will give themselves a serious shot at making 2009 just as special as 2008.
As we now know, the Steelers then went on to lose the next five straight games, with three of those losses going to NFL bottom dwellers….

Spiraling Out of Control

Following the Steelers loss to Cleveland, Steel Curtain Rising offered this conclusion:
It is difficult for a coach to pull his team out of a total tailspin. Tomlin has clearly not been up to the task.

[I then compared Tomlin’s experience with the ’09 Steelers to the lessons Bill Walsh learned from his own Super Bowl hangover during the 1982 season.]

Hopefully [Tomlin] can learn from this. Perhaps he can follow suit.

But first he needs survive the next three games, which do not look to be pretty.
This is one occasion when you’re glad to be wrong. The Steelers not only fought tooth and nail during their last three games, they won all three of them.

Thankfully, Tomlin was in fact, up to the task.

Thanks Everyone Who Has Lent a Hand

Undoubtedly a thorough review of everything that has been written here in the past year would reveal even more errors and goofs.

And that is not counting typos and other mistakes which in another life would have been dubbed “copy editing errors.” Those have been, and will be plentiful, as editing your own work is never easy.

But on any number of occasions readers have pointed these out via the comment box, and for all of those corrections, in addition to your continued readership, let me extend to all my deepest thanks.

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