Game 16: Rewind

By: Mike Bires
Beaver County Times

Sunday January 3, 2009 11:48 PM
http://www.timesonline.com/sports/sport ... ewind.html

THE HERO

The Steelers’ offensive line paved the way for a balanced offensive attack. With Ben Roethlisberger throwing three TD passes and Rashard Mendenhall (94) and Willie Parker (91) each close to 100 rushing yards, the O-line deserves credit for making the win possible. The 202 rushing yards was a season high.

THE GOAT

Granted, Tyler Thigpen is a third-team QB. He was playing only because Miami’s first two QBs (Chad Henne and Pat White) left the game with injuries. Still, with the Dolphins at the Steelers’ 16-yard line late in the fourth quarter with a chance to take the lead or tie, Thigpen committed a cardinal sin by throwing into double coverage. Steelers free safety Ryan Clark made Thigpen pay for his mistake with a diving interception.

PLAY OF THE GAME

In the first quarter, Ben Rethlisberger made it 14-7 Pittsburgh with a 54-yard bomb to the team’s rookie of the year, Mike Wallace. The Steelers had 12 pass plays of 40 yards or more this year. Wallace was on the receiving end of six of them.
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THE BIG NUMBER

2: That’s the number of interceptions the Steelers’ cornerbacks had this season. Both of them came against the Dolphins. Deshea Townsend got the first one in the second quarter. Ike Taylor got the second late in the fourth.

UP NEXT

There’s nothing next for the Steelers. Now that their season is over, they’ll meet one-on-one with coach Mike Tomlin for interviews over the next few days.

BOTTOM LINE

Though the Steelers won their last three games to finish 9-7, their season was a flop. They are now the 13th Super Bowl champion that failed to make the playoffs in their championship defense. What’s especially disappointing is that after looking like possible repeat champions after a 6-2 start, the Steelers went on a five-game losing skid. Three of those losses were to the Chiefs, Raiders and Browns, three of the worst teams in the league. Ultimately, those losses doomed the Steelers’ season.