Steelers rookie running back Le'Veon Bell had 13 carries for 24 yards against the Raiders.
By Bob Smizik / Special to the Post-Gazette
Second-day thoughts on the Steelers' loss to Oakland:
* The fawning of CBS analyst Rich Gannon over Le’Veon Bell, which continued into the second half, shows even the professionals can make mistakes. This isn't to say Bell might not have a good or even excellent NFL future. But attempts to gauge his future based on what he has shown thus far make no sense. Suffice to say his performance vs. the Raiders -- 13 carries, 24 yards -- negates the 93 yards he ran for last week against Baltimore, which had many proclaiming him the answer at running back.
* In 2009, in what amounted to his rookie season, Rashard Mendenhall ran for more than 1,000 yards and had games in which he gained 165 and 155 yards. As with Mendenhall, the test of time, not an above-average showing vs. the Ravens, will be the jury on Bell.
* If injuries to starting guards Ramon Foster (concussion symptoms) and David DeCastro (ankle), which forced them to leave the game and not return, keep them out of the lineup for multiple weeks, the season could turn even uglier.
* The decision of Ben Roethlisberger to call a timeout with 1:43 remaining in the game was monumentally stupid. In that circumstance, a 5-yard penalty for delay of game is far more acceptable than blowing a precious time out. If it had been a rookie making such a decision, it might be somewhat understandable. But coming from a 10-year veteran of many late-game dramas it was stunning.
* When was the last time the Steelers -- or any team -- lost when the opposing quarterback had a 25.7 passer rating?
* And on the subject of Terrelle Pryor, he of the 25.7 rating, he is what he is: A terrific athlete who is not likely going to make it as an NFL quarterback.
* It will be interesting to see if injured center Maurkice Pouncey makes the trip to New England this weekend. His brother Mike, a center for the Miami Dolphins, was in New England yesterday and after the game was served with a grand jury subpoena. According to SI.com, ''The subpoena is related to the investigation into Aaron Hernandez, Pouncey's close friend and former teammate at the University of Florida.’’ The investigation involves the potential involvement by Hernandez in interstate gun trafficking. Maurkice Pouncey is also believed to be a friend of Hernandez and with his brother famously posed wearing "Free Hernandez" caps.
* It worked, though not as designed, but the wisdom of having Emmanuel Sanders throwing a pass to secure a crucial two-point conversion does not seem to be the wisest of play-calling.
* Most ridiculous post-game comment came from linebacker LaMarr Woodley: ''This is no step back for us; we're still movin' forward. We just had some mistakes out there and the Raiders capitalized on it. So, we're still a good football team, but we gave up some big plays. That's the only thing you can really look back on. You gave up some big plays. I wouldn't question us as a football team." Good grief!
* Please, please, please drop the Wildcat. That’s a formation for a team lacking a quality quarterback, which does not describe the Steelers. Flanking Ben Roethlisberger wide, which is the case with this formation, puts the Steelers in the position of playing 10 vs. 11. Since they’re 2-5 mainly playing 11 vs. 11, that doesn't make a lot of sense.
* The New England Patriots, Sunday's opponent, are not as good as they once were and it looks like Tom Brady, either due to age or absence pf outstanding receivers, has declined from his level of all-time greatness to merely being good. Which means the Steelers have a better chance of winning than they would have in the recent past. It does not mean they have a good chance.
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