With the Steelers trailing badly in the second half of Sunday's 41-10 loss at Cincinnati, captains Ben Roethlisberger and Cam Heyward refused to be substituted.
“I didn’t ask [Coach Mike Tomlin] to come out because there’s a Steeler way,” Roethlisberger said. “It’s fighting to the end.”
That’s hokey, rah-rah bull***t. It certainly isn’t common sense.
Said Heyward, “Hell, yeah, I’m here for four quarters. You will never see me shy away from that. I don’t care if a game is out of reach. There’s a lot to be learned.”
Yep. For example, the Steelers learned that unnecessarily leaving in a starter when a game is lost can result in injury: Like a concussion to tight end Pat Freiermuth. That happened in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s game.
The Steelers are down to one legit NFL-caliber tight end: Zach Gentry, who started the season as their third-stringer.
In Week 2 against Las Vegas, wide receiver Diontae Johnson caught a late pass in an unwinnable game, hurting his knee. He missed the Week 3 loss vs. Cincinnati.
You can’t bench everybody when a game is lost. Somebody has got to play.
But you need to think ahead, too. Brains > bravado. If the result is determined, clear the bench and play it safe with as many impact players as possible.
Start with those that are aging. Roethlisberger is 39, Heyward 32.
BTW, if we’re talking about the “Steeler way,” getting ***t-kicked 41-10 by Cincinnati is decidedly not the “Steeler way.”