Two games into their supposedly make-or-break four-game stretch the Steelers are 2-0.
But this offense continues to look like it's stuck in neutral.
One week they come out and run the ball like they really want to establish a running game, the next, it's run, pass, pass, or pass, run, pass.
Even when the run on first down picks up four or five yards, they still go right back to the air. You just can't establish a running game that way.
You also can't establish a running game when you hand the ball off to the backs just 21 times.
Maybe they were afraid of getting into third-and-longs against the Dallas pass rush. But because of the weather conditions that limited the passing for both teams, they did anyway.
Dallas picked up five sacks Sunday, but really, only two were the fault of the offensive line.
The first sack came on a corner blitz and two others were a case of Ben Roethlisberger holding the ball well past the point he should have.
Then again, Roethlisberger made a play scrambling around in the fourth quarter, so once again, things have a way of evening out.
But it sure is frustrating at times to watch him hold the ball and take a sack when he could have gotten rid of it.
Roethlisberger did throw a couple away Sunday as well, but all of this passing against a team that rushes the passer well just doesn't make a lot of sense to me.
© Was there a worse use of a challenge in the history of challenges than Wade Phillips’ decision to challenge whether Roethlisberger’s knee was down late in the third quarter?
Phillips had already used a challenge in the first half and loss and even though he won the second challenge – giving Jason Hatcher a sack – was there really any difference between second-and-10 from the 18 and second-and-18 from the 26?
Phillips probably realized that with about five minutes to go when Nate Washington had a questionable catch in front of the Dallas bench on the Steelers’ game-tying touchdown drive.
© Mike Tomlin is the first coach in team history to win 10 games in each of his first two seasons.
Just in case you were wondering.
Can he win a playoff game in his first two seasons as well? Bill Cowher didn't do that either.
Not that anyone is keeping track of such things.
© The Steelers defense has now held 13-straight opponents under 300 yards of offense this season, the second-longest such streak since the NFL merger in 1970.
Dallas finished with 289 yards and rookie running back Tashard Choice hurt them a couple of times. But forcing five turnovers in back-to-back games against quality competition more than makes up for that.
The Steelers are a good bet to make it 14 in a row next week at Baltimore.
In fact, the first team to 200 yards or 10 points wins.
© Fans who were booing punter Mitch Berger needed to take a closer look at the conditions.
The wind was definitely in their face going into the close end of the field and when both teams were moving in that direction, that’s when bad things happened.
All three touchdowns were into the open end zone - including Deshea Townsend’s.
And every bad punt in this game was booted toward the closed end. That’s why the Steelers deferred after winning the coin toss and chose to open the game kicking toward the open end zone.
That's not to say Berger is a great punter. He's not.
But let's be realistic. It's not like the next Ray Guy was out there waiting to be signed after Daniel Sepulveda was injured.
© The Steelers’ kick coverage teams are the best that I’ve seen in the 16 seasons I’ve covered this team. And I’m talking about opposing teams as well.
And we’ve even begun to see some flashes in the return game in recent weeks, most notably Santonio Holmes’ 35-yard punt return in the fourth quarter.
Rookie linebacker Patrick Bailey has been a big part of that, which is why he'll get my vote as the team's rookie of the year.
© We’ve now seen James Harrison and DeMarcus Ware on the same field together and Harrison is by far the more disruptive force.
Ware had five tackles and a sack Sunday, while Harrison had eight tackles, a sack and a forced fumble. He also had a big stop on a fourth-down run.
And then he nearly killed Adam Jones on a punt return early in the game.
Harrison has to be the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year.
He'll get a chance to be on the same field in a couple of weeks with another of the leading candidates, Tennessee's Albert Haynesworth.
Here's guessing he dominates that performance as well.