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Mehno: Injury is a big blow for Pittsburgh

November 14, 2012
By John Mehno - For the Mirror

PITTSBURGH - There was an epidemic of unqualified medical advice on Tuesday.

It was the day after Ben Roethlisberger's shoulder injury, and everyone had an opinion.

The consensus was this was extremely bad news for the Pittsburgh Steelers and their hopes of winning the AFC North.

The Steelers play the first of two games in three weeks against the Baltimore Ravens at Heinz Field this Sunday night.

For at least this week, it's likely they'll have Byron Leftwich at quarterback, backed up by Charlie Batch. Roethlisberger is officially listed as questionable for the game, but nobody expects him to play at this point.

How important is Roethlisberger to the Steelers? The big question last week was who other than Roethlisberger was the team's most valuable player at the mid-point of the season.

It's a huge issue if he can't go, as the Steelers' season may be defined by the next three weeks, the two Baltimore games with a visit to Cleveland in the middle week.

Leftwich has won before in the NFL, and so has Batch. It just seems like too tall a task for them on a team that has been close to ordinary in so many other ways.

Other leftovers from Monday night:

n Once again Mike Wallace had a magic moment. This time he made an unlikely one-handed grab of a pass in the end zone, then shifted the ball between his knees, maintaining control as he fell to the ground and ultimately tumbled out of bounds.

It was a phenomenal play, and the Steelers' only touchdown in the game. It was also the only significant contribution Wallace made. It would be nice if he could be involved with three or four important plays during games.

n Guard Willie Colon, who was called for four penalties in an earlier game, hit the bad jackpot again with flags. After he was called for holding, he added another 15 yards by getting an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for cursing the official.

This is completely unacceptable. Colon has been around long enough that he shouldn't be giving up 30 unearned yards on one snap. That kind of mistake would be bad enough for a rookie. It's inexcusable for a veteran to lose his composure like that.

n The Chiefs really enjoyed running at the left side of the Steelers' defense. The NFL was watching and taking notes.

n All's well that ends well, but how did an inept Kansas City offense drive 51 yards for the tying field goal with no timeouts in the last two minutes? Ike Taylor gave up a 27-yard completion on fourth down to let the Chiefs get in field goal range.

n His field goals of 35, 31 and 23 yards weren't especially tough, but thank goodness for the consistency of Shaun Suisham on a night when the offense wasn't clicking.

Mehno can be reached at

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