By Kristen Wagner
The November 14 game against the New England Patriots proved to be a truly daunting game for the Steelers.
According to Steelers.com, Ben Roethlisberger regarded the game as “a good old-fashioned whooping.” Quite a whooping it was. The Steelers gave up yardage and scores consistently, and for fans the game was a hard one to watch. Although the Steelers started to progress towards the end of the game, the final score was 39-26, with the Patriots still significantly ahead.
Defensive ends Brett Keisel and Aaron Smith, offensive guard Chris Kemoeatu, and tackle Max Starks were all missing during the Steelers vs. Patriots game. The injury to Hines Ward during the game was the most recent, and perhaps the most detrimental. Ward was hit late in the first quarter during an attempted 5-yard reception. Coach Mike Tomlin ruled that the hit caused a concussion, and Ward was sidelined for the rest of the game despite his wishes to play.
According to Steelers.com, Ward’s streak of 186 games “was a team record and was the longest active streak in the NFL.” Ward was not happy that he was unable to participate in the rest of the game but is optimistic for the next saying, “I have to take a concussion test which I will pass and I will be out there next week playing.” According to Steelers.com, Coach Tomlin believes that Ward will play against the Oakland Raiders on November 21. Although Ward did suffer a slight concussion he passed the concussion test.
Furthermore, kicker Jeff Reed was released from the team due to a missed 26-yard field goal against the Patriots. According to USA Today, Reed made only 68.2% (15 of 22) of his field goals this year. According to Steelers.com Coach Tomlin said, “The kicking position is one that merits a special consideration. It is unlike other positions where you can simply bench someone and go to the backup. There’s only one kicker on a football team, so you don’t take these decisions lightly when you have to make a move. We are very respectful to the work that Jeff has done here, but at this time we thought it was appropriate we make a change.”
Shaun Suisham has taken over Reed’s position, and began practice on Heinz Field Tuesday, November 16. According to USA Today, Suisham was immediately signed after practice. According to Steelers.com, Suisham is a veteran and has played with the Washington Redskins and the Dallas Cowboys, making 87 out of 110 field goal attempts.
The game against the Patriots was a game that resulted in some big changes. As Pittsburgh Steelers fans, we can only hope that Pittsburgh didn’t make a mistake in cutting our 9-year kicking veteran, Jeff Reed. The next game is scheduled for November 21 at 1:00 p.m. against the Oakland Raiders.