Sunday, September 8, 2013

The Lost Weekend

If you are a fan of classic old movies, you will know that the above is a picture of Ray Milland in his Oscar winning role in 1945's "The Lost Weekend".  I felt that there was no better metaphor than this for what Pittsburgh sports fans experienced this weekend.  As a matter of fact, I mixed myself a high ball after the final whistle blew at Heinz Field this afternoon.

First, the Pirates.

A sweep completed by the Cardinals today extends the team's losing streak to four, and they face the unpleasant task of having to beat Yu Darvish in Texas tomorrow night.  To make it even worse, the Cardinals laid waste to the Bucs' three best pitchers this weekend, Francisco Liriano, AJ Burnett, and Charlie Morton.  It also seemed that every time you looked, the Cardinals were doing the little things - going with the pitch and hitting to the opposite field or getting the opportunistic sacrifice fly - that the Pirates have been unable to do all season.  

A few weeks back, someone asked me who I thought would would ultimately win the NL Central, and my answer was the Cardinals.  They certainly were a better team, and a much better team at that, than the Pirates this weekend.  I still feel that the Pirates will make the play-offs, and that will mean that this season will have been an unqualified success, but unless they turn things around beginning in Arlington tomorrow night, it will begin with that one game crap shoot of a wild card playoff.

On the home front, however, the Steelers did all in their power to take the attention away from the Pirates' woes by putting forth one of the worst efforts of a Steeler team in recent memory.  In a word, they stunk today, and I'd hate to think what it would have been like if they were playing a really good team like Denver or San Francisco instead of the Tennessee Titans.

I won't recite play-by-rancid-play, but I have to say a word about the running backs.  Two seasons ago, King Art II decreed that the team was going to return to "Steeler football" and emphasize a strong ground game, and they fired Bruce Ariens and brought in Todd Haley to put such a ground game in place.  The results last year were awful, and this year, it is shaping up to be more of the same.  Why is Isaac Redmon the feature back in this offense? He has never shown anything to merit this, and today, with the Steelers driving for a first quarter TD, he fumbles into the end zone and costs the team the chance to go ahead 9-0. Who knows how the course of the game might have been affected had the team scored at that point?  We can only hope that Le'Veon Bell's foot injury heals and he can get on the field for the Steelers soon.  He's got to be better than what they are running out there now.

Oh, and to make it really bad, Maurkice Pouncy gets hurt four minutes into the game with what appears to be a season ending injury. 

It is shaping up to be a very long season at Heinz Field in 2013.

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