I suppose there remains a remote possibility given enough things shaking in their favor that the Steelers COULD make the playoffs, but they don't deserve it. This is a team content to play up or down (usually down) to whomever they're facing. And refuse to make the play that will finish off the other team. That's not a tendency teams often shake in the course of a month, let alone a season.
Kudos to Bruce Gradkowski. He was able use his mobility to thwart the pass rush and exploit the various defensive Pittsburgh breakdowns. He got a little fortunate at times - having Louis Murphy come down with an ugly float and have Joe Burnett drop an easy would-be game-clinching interception on the final drive. - but, the winners often take advantage of such things.
There's usually one clear-cut scapegoat in these games, but the fuckuppery was roundly distributed in this remarkable bed shitting. And the special teams wasn't actually one of them.
Mike Tomlin: Even without the comments last week, it was too evident from his decisions that he really wanted this to be a statement game. Going on 4 & 1 in the red zone by having your recently concussed QB trying a head first dive? Really? Against a team that wasn't supposed to be able to put up any points? And the decision to try the 53-yard Jeff Reed field goal was mindbogglingly stupid. You're up 10-6 in a field position game with a kicker who doesn't have particularly good range in Heinz Field and you want to try that? As soon as they lined up for that kick I knew he would miss and it was going to kill them.
Ben Roethlisberger: Stupid interception in the endzone capped a miserable first half of play in the red zone. He played fairly well otherwise, but that's a mammoth mistake.
Dick LeBeau: As has been the case in these losses, the Steelers are having red zone difficulties while the opposition has not. That's three consecutive games they've surrendered leads in the final minutes. Twice it happened today. And there were a number of huge coverage breakdowns, none worse than the lack of safety help on the 75-yard Louis Murphy touchdown. If he can get credit for the defense when it plays light-out, he can get the knock for when they fail to close out for the third straight game.
Of course Limas Sweed was in position to make a catch on the Hail Mary and let the ball get by him. It was just gonna be that kind nutpunch today. Speaking of amazing hands, Joe Burnett has 'em. I know the cliche goes that if defensive backs had hands, they'd be receivers. But that was a dart into his chest that would have secured the game. Brutal. And what happened to Heath Millers'? He had a ball clank off his just weeks after having flubbed a catch to lead to a costly interception against the Chiefs.
Did anyone play well? Rashard Mendenhall continues to impress, even if Arians doesn't want to use him inside the 20. His touchdown run where he bulled into the endzone after what looked to be a broken play on the edge lets me think he'll be good for a long while. Santonio Holmes had one of his better games of the year in what ended up bring a wasted effort. Stefan Logan showed some of the first flashes of his potential as a kickoff returner. As a punter returner, however, he's still a liability. LaMarr Woodley is one of the few defensive players who's shown up in recent weeks. He registered the only two Steelers sacks (granted that the first was on a play that James Harrison blew up) and has six of his eight on the year all in the last four weeks.
Maybe the team can win out and get lucky and get into the postseason. I wouldn't hold my breath at this point. With another game in four days, they don't have a lot of time for them to dwell on what just happened. Hopefully it's enough to learn something though, but then if some of this stuff hadn't gotten through in three straight losses, I don't know why a fourth would be any different.