There are so many storylines coming off the Monday night matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs that it was hard to know what to settle in on. First there was the Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde play of Willie Colon. On the one hand, he literally cursed the Steelers into losing a touchdown to the Chiefs. Someone is welcome to correct me on this, but I do not ever recall an official actually citing the infraction as “cursing”. I know it is deemed an unsportsmanlike penalty, and even if that wasn’t the case, I would think any player who has been around for a while would know that directing a curse directly at an official is not the smartest thing to do. I am sure at that point I was not alone in calling for his benching. Later in the game, he more than redeemed himself and his play was stellar. This is not the first time I have both loved and hated his play in a single game.
However, even with an official having been told something that would probably get Willie’s mouth washed out with soap if his mother was on the field, calls seemed to be going the Steelers way. As much as I am critical of the officials, as all of the Steeler Nation is, when calls go against the Steelers, there were a couple of calls that went against the Chiefs Monday night that raised an eyebrow or two, particularly late. Again, a suspicion arose in my mind that there is a mandate at work during certain games that teams who are supposed to win should win. Maybe it is because the officials are human and naturally biased toward the events surrounding any game. Maybe it was as simple as they were watching a little more carefully to protect a back-up quarterback. Maybe it is none of those things, but there was in particular a holding call in the second half that negated a touchdown that, had it gone the other way, would have brought the house down. It was the back breaker, but there were a couple of other calls late that raised my eyebrows, as biased as I am.
There was the play of Ike Taylor, so completely different from the first part of the season. There is the maturation of Will Allen, the contribution of Ryan Clark and so on. There was the aspect of Todd Haley facing his old team, and how much that impacted how well they seemed to defense the running game. Yes, there was a lot of drama with even Mother Nature adding an interesting aspect to the affair, but of course the largest story, and the only one that the city is talking about is the injury to Ben Roethlisberger and what that means as the team prepares to face its biggest rival twice over the next few weeks.
Ben Roethlisberger suffered a Sternoclavicular (SC) joint injury on his throwing shoulder, which consists of ligament trauma to the joint connecting the breastbone and the collarbone. Immediately it was being stated as an unusual injury. When I did a little research on what it is, the website of the Washington Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine, in the very first paragraph they describe it as an “uncommon injury”. It is not unprecedented in the NFL. This is the same injury that broke Brett Favre consecutive start record back in 2010. He only missed one game, which is the glimmer of hope that the fan base is grabbing on to this morning, but what a game to miss. The Ravens, the current division leaders, come to town for a Sunday night primetime match-up. Even with a banged up defense, can the 32-year old Byron Leftwich carry the day? If he cannot, can the 37-year old Batch step in? Neither are mobile QB’s and both are rusty. And neither will have two powerful offensive weapons: Mendenhall and Brown, both already announced as out for Sunday. Monday’s storm has blown out of the area, but the dark clouds surrounding the team have certainly remained.
One glimmer of hope to leave you with: during Roethlisberger’s suspension, Batch lead the team to a 3-1 record.