Friday, October 02, 2015

Put this Steelers loss squarely on the kicker

Friday, Oct. 2, 2015, 1:15 a.m.
 GTY 490924572 S FBN SPO USA PA
Josh Scobee (8) reacts after missing a field goal in the second half of the game against the Baltimore Ravens at Heinz Field on October 1, 2015 in Pittsburgh(Photo: Jared Wickerham, Getty Images)

Obviously, the Steelers have a kicker problem.

Coach Mike Tomlin acknowledged it. Didn't sound willing to accept it, though.

Something about “exploring all options” is how Tomlin termed it after the Steelers' stunning, if not season-shifting 23-20 overtime loss to the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday night.

If Tomlin wasn't speaking in code, he should have been.

Josh Scobee, a standup guy, cannot be allowed to stand behind another Steelers' placeholder, to attempt another kick for a team that is 2-2 instead of 3-1 because of him.

Usually, win as a team, lose as a team is the way it actually goes down in football.

Quarterbacks get too much credit. Coaches take too much blame. A bunch of sequences, not one play, determines the outcome.

Not this time.

Not even close.

The Steelers lost because their kicker missed twice in the final two-and-a-half minutes. Or, to put it another way, the Ravens had a chance to win because the Steelers' kicker missed twice in the final two-and-a-half minutes.

From 49 and 41 yards out, each time into the reconfigured and now not-so-open end zone, Scobee blew it for the Steelers.

“Frustrating,” Scobee said.

“I let the team down. That's not something I ever want to remember doing.”

Like anybody is going to forget.

This was the Ravens, the most hated team for a couple of decades in the home base for the Steeler Nation.

This was Jerome Bettis' Hall-of-Fame night, too.

And against the Ravens, with “The Bus” and Bill Cowher back in the 'Burgh, a kicker cost the Steelers.

Goodness, was that tough to watch a day after seeing the St. Louis Cardinals clinch the National League Central a few parking lots away at PNC Park.

You might argue the Steelers' offense could have created easier attempts by Scobee.

Save your breath.

Mike Vick could have been better but not a lot better considering the circumstances.

He's been the backup for about a month. He had all of one practice as the replacement starter for injured franchise pillar Ben Roethlisberger.

Vick wasn't intercepted. He was sacked four times.

The Steelers should have won with what Vick gave them because he steered them to a 20-7 lead.
The Ravens rushed for 191 yards, averaging 4.9 on 39 carries.

But this loss isn't on a Steelers' defense that has performed well above any reasonable expectations given all the offseason changes.

This loss is on Scobee.

Though, it might also be on Shaun Suisham.

After all, Scobee wouldn't have been kicking into Heinz Field's reconfigured open end zone if Suisham hadn't stupidly tried to make a tackle in a preseason game.

But he did, because … well, apparently Suisham thought he really was a football player.

He's a kicker.

Kickers aren't really football players.

They sure as heck can really lose football games, however.

They might be responsible for the Steelers really losing out on a return to the playoffs.

Suisham can't kick because his ACL was torn. Garrett Hartley can't kick because of a torn hamstring.

And all Scobee can do is cause Steelers super-fan Snoop Dogg to kick it with the kind of expletive-laced online rant once only reserved for offensive coordinator Todd Haley.

Laid back the Dogg was not after this loss.

He's not the celebrity fan to take seriously.

Meghan Klingenberg is.

Before anybody laughs at the prospect of a women's soccer player replacing Scobee, remember something.

She's having a better year than anybody who has tried kicking for the Steelers.

Rob Rossi is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at or via Twitter @RobRossi_Trib.

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