Today's game makes one realize what the following teams have in common: Rams, Titans, Redskins, Buffalo, Cowboys, Bears, Chargers, Jets, Chiefs - answer to follow.
The Steelers were successful in winning the War with the Ravens Sunday, but may have signaled the rest of the league as to where this team is. They have won five straight games with an aggressive defense and a conservative, near mistake free offense, but their inability to execute simple pass patterns is atrocious.
This is a fundamental.
The Steelers on several occasions seemed out of sync - either Kordell threw the ball high or his receivers could not catch the ball. These types of plays are routine for the better offenses in the NFL, yet it looks as if the Steelers rarely practice simple slants and 10 yard ins and outs. It will soon dawn on other teams to once again ignore the "Threat" of the Steeler passing game and stack the line with 8 or even 9 men. The "Threat" of Kordell running the ball has become more cliché than reality as well.
Still, the men of steel have improved their position quite well in the Central division. By beating the Ravens, they now stand poised for a playoff spot and even an outside shot at the division title.
An incredible, character building turn-around this year!
The questions concerning the offense will haunt this team the rest of the year, however, and will doom them to a .500 record at best. They do not have a QB or any semblance of a passing game and, while the rest of team is improving - the passing game is not.
Kordell cannot be blamed for this - the coaching staff should be. For all of his offensive "genius" - Kevin Gilbride has not produced a modern, forward thinking offense. Instead, the offense can barely execute the simplest of plays.
Cowher is also to blame. Though he will distance himself from the offense, as he has done throughout his career, he will take full credit for the resurgent defense.
This is the classical Cowher use of the scapegoat - Gilbride will be the latest casualty in a long line of victims including Ron Erhardt, Donahoe and Odonnel. Billy has purposely not involved himself in the offense because he knew it would be a problem, but the fault should be his.
What is the error that Cowher has made?
Well, the answer to the what all of those teams have in common is this: They all have two QBs better than any QB on this team.
Cowher backed Stewart and got him a big contract when there were plenty of real free agent QBs available the past couple of years. We settled for Graham.
I'm not sure what the motivation was to bring in Graham: A starter, a backup or to just compete, but he is as miserable at football as I can tolerate.
Then again - was he really given a chance?
His signing was a half-hearted effort to get a real QB and perhaps a compromise between Rooney and Cowher, He was not afforded near the time Stewart has been to master this offense. Whatever the case, Cowher should not get upset when the offense lets him down at a crucial moment later in the season.
The fault is his.
What a great turn-around, though - Thanks Defense, Thanks Bill. Go Steelers.