On the Steelers: Debacle blueprint of things to come?
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The Steelers began their search for answers Monday, answers to a listless offense and a defense that could not stop Tom Brady and his band of no-name receivers, including a rookie tight end from Woodland Hills High who caught three touchdown passes.
One thing the Steelers do know is that tapes of their Sunday night meltdown will be featured by all future opponents, starting with the revived Oakland Raiders, who Sunday will try to make it two victories in Heinz Field in two seasons.
"Oh, yeah, no doubt about it," linebacker James Farrior said. "Teams are definitely going to look at this game and it's definitely something we're going to have to address every week until we get this stuff stopped.
- Game: Steelers vs. Oakland Raiders, 1 p.m..
- When: 3:30 p.m., Saturday.
- Where: Field.
- TV: KDKA.
"We have to prepare ourselves for what's coming up next and be ready if a team wants to attack us the way New England did. We have to be ready to stop it."
What did the Patriots do that opponents might try to mimic?
"They can really take their pick," Farrior said of the Steelers' defensive performance. "It wasn't too much we did stop. I think they pretty much did what they wanted to so it's wide open for Oakland."
Some say they are concerned after New England handled them so easily.
"Definitely it's a concern," Troy Polamalu said. "We'll see how we react to this. It's incredibly humbling. And it's a good thing, I guess, that we may need right now."
Hines Ward, who failed to have a catch for the first time since his rookie season in 1998, saw nothing wrong with safety James Sanders' hit that left him with a concussion at the end of the first quarter.
"It was clean, I think. It was helmet to helmet, though. His helmet hit my helmet on the side. I don't know what the league wants. It was a good hit as far as I remember and I remember everything."
Ward blamed new policies by the NFL on concussions that kept him out of the game after he wobbled unsteadily off the field with the help of others.
"Me, prideful as I am, I want to get up fast when I probably should have just laid there for about a minute, walked it off. I guess my pride got me from going back out on the field.
"I was fine. Got my bell rung a little bit. Had to hurry up, get up, get off the field like I always do. I guess I stumbled a little bit. Took all the tests. I was fine to go back in but I guess the NFL's got their rules or something. You got to abide by the rules, I guess."
Ward said he would have returned in past years, before the NFL adopted policies that prevent a player from re-entering the game if doctors determine he had a concussion.
"I'd been back in there. The doctors know it too, but it is what it is. The league's concerned about concussions. As a player, I know my body best. They wouldn't let me out there."
Ward said the end of his streak at 186 consecutive games with a catch did not bother him. It's the third longest in NFL history.
"It was a good ride, 186. I'm more concerned about the loss. We got our tails whipped."
Jeff Reed, who in the past has refused to publicly knock Heinz Field as a poor place to kick, ended his diplomacy after he missed a 26-yard field goal Sunday night, his seventh of the season.
And he tossed in a few critical remarks about Steelers fans as well.
"I'm not one to make excuses," Reed said. "I'll take the credit for the miss. It was a great snap, a great hold, great protection. It's kind of hard when you plant your foot and the hole -- a piece of ground moves where the ball's under the holder. I almost missed the ball completely.
"I'm not going to make excuses. If you've played any kind of sports in your life, you realize that what we play on is not very good turf. It happens."
It was the seventh missed field-goal attempt this season for Reed, who missed just 10 total in the three previous seasons combined. He is 15 of 22, the most he has missed since he was 20 of 27 for the 2006 season. He only missed more in 2003, his second season with the Steelers when he was 23 of 32.
Reed said he's not in a slump.
"Not at all, man. Some big kicks, I've missed some important kicks. It's sports. It's not an excuse, but it's life. You can't sit here and say man you've been an 85 percent here and there and now you're whatever percentage. I've lost track. It hurts me that I don't help this team get points. But percentages are way overrated, and on a night like tonight when I felt great, kicked off well, did everything I was supposed to do and you miss a 20-something yard field goal, everyone wants to focus on that in a game like this."
Reed's short miss came late in the third quarter with the Steelers behind, 17-3. When he next kicked, an extra point after a touchdown early in the fourth quarter, fans in Heinz Field let out a loud, seemingly mock cheer.
Did he notice that reaction from the fans?
"I don't really know what you're talking about but it doesn't surprise me. If you're not perfect in this city, man, then you're going to hear about it. It's been like that for nine years, and why would they stop now?
"Like I said, there's 95 percent of those fans that got my back totally and then 5 percent you always hear. They're right by the kicking net, they were bashing me, but that's life man, you got to move on. The worst thing for me to do would be to fight back at them.
"They started before the game even started. You know, like I said, they buy tickets just to bash me and Dan [Sepulveda] and Greg [Warren]. It's more me because points come off my foot."
• Mike Wallace set career highs with 11 receptions for 136 yards. His previous high was seven receptions in his third game last season. His five receptions last week in Cincinnati had been his high for this season. He has seven touchdown catches. Ward and Louis Lipps share the team record with 12 in a season.
• The Steelers had no update on the injuries, including a hip pointer that knocked linebacker Lawrence Timmons from the game.
First Published November 16, 2010 12:00 am