Updated Oct 23, 2011 - 10:23 pm
Four Down Territory: Unhappy times vs. Steelers
Hey, at least somebody left the building in a good mood after the Steelers took care of the Cardinals. It certainly wasn't the Cards and judging by the phone calls I heard on the postgame show, it most definitely wasn't their fans. A five game losing streak have everyone in a justifiably crappy mood. An even half-dozen can't be too far behind; you gotta figure they're doomed the moment the wheels touch the ground in Baltimore. Before that trip though, let's take a trip into four down territory.
There were two biggies. In the first half, once again Kevin Kolb has a wide open Rob Housler running free down the seam and once again Kolb just flat missed him, as he had in Minnesota two weeks ago. The very next drive for the Steelers? 95 yard TD pass from Big Ben to Mike Wallace. Then in the 2nd half, Kolb and the Cardinals had just put together a drive to cut the Steelers lead to three. A perfect moment for the Cardinals defense to put their stamp on this game and get the offense back on the field. Instead the Steelers converted two third-downs and Heath Miller gashed them with a couple of big catches and the Steelers got their padding right back on a touchdown pass.
It wasn't just the whiff to Housler. There was another miss to Fitz that was nearly picked off. And don't forget the interception that led to the first Steeler touchdown. In an assessment that sounds revoltingly familiar to that of Derek Anderson, Kolb just isn't making the plays that are there to be made and it's costing the Cardinals. On a positive note - on the 73 TD pass to LaRod Stephens- Howling - while LSH may have done most of the work, Kolb did a nice job of willing himself to stay in the pocket and step up in the pocket.
You've heard the phrase "willing and able?" It's not the "willing" part I'm concerned with. It's the "able." That distinction is a blurry line for some who think that such a statement questions Beanie's toughness or commitment. Not me. I don't question either. I do wonder, and think it's perfectly fair to wonder, if the Cardinals will ever be able to rely on him. His ability to impact a football game has never been more evidentů..if he can stay on the field.
Four of the next five are on the road and three of the four (at Baltimore, at Philly, at San Francisco) feel utterly unwinnable for this football team. I fear that losing at home to a good-not-great Steelers team will plunge this team into the abyss. The bye week solved nothing. The defensive breakdowns are borderline chronic, the offense is like a symphony where all the instruments are out of tune, and the special teams continues to exacerbate the problem.