Well, that was disappointing.
Of all the things that have gone wrong for the Steelers this season - and it's been a myriad of issues - seeing Ben Roethlisberger implode in back-to-back games wasn't high on the worry list.
To be fair, Roethlisberger played a great game in Dallas a week ago before his gack in overtime cost the Steelers a win.
Against Cincinnati Sunday, he never looked like a quarterback who was in control of the game.
Sure, the Bengals did their best to take Heath Miller out of the game, but Roethlisberger was just off, forcing the ball to covered receivers and missing open ones.
The other thing to note here - for all of the Todd Haley bashers - Roethlisberger has thrown four interceptions in the past three games, all of his interceptions in the past two games came in the no-huddle, when he was calling the shots.
That's not on Haley, that's on the quarterback.
Roethlisberger had been highly successful early in the season running Haley's offense, which called for quick throws and check downs to the running backs.
But after coming back from his rib and shoulder injuries, it seemed like he was intent on doing things his way, scrambling around, making stuff happen, both good and bad.
That didn't work so well Sunday when the Bengals took his security blanket, Heath Miller, out of the game, first figuratively with double teams, later literally with a torn ACL and MCL.
Roethlisberger will have a whole offseason to digest what's happened here. And he'll have a whole offseason to digest Haley's offense once again.
Roethlisberger looks awfully silly right now for complaining about the playcalling last week and then going out and laying another egg.
@ Sure, Roethlisberger was under heavy pressure from the Bengals on Sunday, who took advantage of the inexperience on the right side of the Steelers' offensive line.
But the Bengals had four sacks - and had one was nullified by a defensive penalty. The Steelers had a season-high six sacks.
The Steelers also turned the Bengals over three times, with Keenan Lewis hobbled and Ike Taylor standing on the sideline.
Cortez Allen had a coming out game working on the outside, instead of the slot, picking off a pair of passes - and just missing a third - and forcing an A.J. Green fumble - yes, other team's receivers fumble too.
The Steelers now have three long, tall corners to work with. And if Allen can prove to be a playmaker when given more opportunity, they have to find a way for him to play more.
This team proved to be a couple of playmakers short of being a solid team this season.
Lawrence Timmons is one on the defensive side, but there weren't any others - though Troy Polamalu showed he still has it, for those who were doubting him.
The Steelers don't often dip into the veteran free agent market, but given the results this season, maybe it's time, especially if this team has to replace wide receiver Mike Wallace in the offseason.
@ Roethlisberger isn't the only one who should feel silly right now.
How about all the people who were saying the Steelers should cut Troy Polamalu in the offseason. Or that he should retire.
I've been saying for the past couple of weeks that Polamalu has been playing fine. The only issue was that his return coincided with the team losing Ike Taylor and then nearly every other corner on the roster getting banged up.
He was playing a lot of deep safety.
Sunday, Dick LeBeau changed things up and turned Polamalu loose in the Steelers' biggest game of the season.
The results were there for all to see. Polamalu still has it.
That doesn't mean that you don't have a better option at safety to back up both he and Ryan Clark - Cortez Allen anyone? - but Polamalu has earned the right to able to let the Steelers know when he's done, not the other way around.
And he's not done.
@ If you were going to put together a list of the biggest disappointments for the 2012 season, LaMarr Woodley would have to be at the top.
James Harrison had a reason for his slow start, and his play down the stretch has been solid, so much, in fact, that the Steelers have to consider bringing him back in 2013, contract allowing.
But Woodley hasn't been a factor rushing the passer at all this season and you have to wonder if his hamstring issues of 2011 have robbed him of his explosiveness.
If that's the case, the Steelers have some issues. Jason Worilds showed in limited playing time this season that he isn't the bust some thought he was, but he also might never be a star.
And the Steelers need their outside backers to be stars.
@ Keenan Lewis, hats off to you. That was a Jerome Bettis-like performance Lewis put forth Sunday, limping out of the huddle and then playing some solid cornerback.
Lewis has earned himself a lot of money this season - though he might be more valuable to the Steelers than another team due to his lack of interceptions.
I know that sounds crazy, but he's why: Lewis is just what the Steelers look for in their corners, long, strong and a solid tackler.
His speed is underrated, and as LeBeau said this week, the more he plays, the more confident he will get coming out of his breaks to get interceptions.
@ Ah, Shaun Suisham. Sorry for mushing you this week.
I wrote Saturday on this blog that Suisham was quietly having a Pro Bowl season. He then went out and missed 24 and 53-yard field goals.
Actually, the 24-yarder wasn't his fault. Usually reliable Greg Warren had a bad snap.
@ Brett Keisel said the officials told him he was penalized for doing his bow-and-arrow sack celebration because he was simulating a weapon.
That's insane. And if the league was going to crack down on that type of thing, perhaps somebody should have informed Keisel, who's done that same celebration since, oh, around 2005.
@ Rashard Mendenhall looked better than he has all season on Sunday, gaining 50 yards on 11 carries.
@ Just so you can start planning for next year, here's the Steelers' schedule for 2013:
Home: Cincinnati, Cleveland, Baltimore, Tennessee, Buffalo, Miami, Chicago and Detroit
Away: Cincinnati, Cleveland, Baltimore, Oakland (Again!), New England, N.Y. Jets, Green Bay and Minnesota (in London)