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Steelers find a way to reach another low


As in eight turnovers.

The Pittsburgh Steelers' offense had more turnovers than points (7) in Sunday's brutal-to-watch 20-14 loss to the Cleveland Browns.

The day was better served to prepare for Cyber Monday shopping than enjoying a Steelers game.

Charlie Batch looked like, well, Charlie Batch.

The running game was 4-for-4, as in four different running backs with four lost fumbles.

And despite all of the deficiencies on offense, the Steelers still had a chance to win the game in the closing minutes.

I guess that chance existed in theory only. If you turned on the television late in the fourth quarter, you might have clung to the hope of a last-minute touchdown drive.

The rest of us knew how it was going to end -- a loss to the lowly Browns.

And while I just called them lowly, they are better than their 2-8 record coming into the game indicated. Their problem was closing out games, something they were able to do against the Steelers.  

At least the defense looked strong, and they converted a Brandon Weeden interception into a touchdown, something that wasn't happening this season.

Now the Steelers head into Baltimore with a 6-5 record that seems very likely to turn into 6-6.

Pittsburgh is clinging to a wild-card spot, but they could be on the outside after next week.

If they miss out, and despite my Monday-morning Steelers hangover lamenting they still have a shot to make it, they have a season's worth of errors to look back on.

The Steelers' 34-31 loss to the Raiders (3-8), their 26-23 loss to the Titans (4-7) and their loss to the Browns will all stand out if they miss the postseason.

All of those games should have been wins.

It's been that kind of season.


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So much for Byron the great backup

I never understood the Steelers' fascination with their backup quarterbacks.

They've had either Charlie Batch and Byron Leftwich for what seems like ages now.

And when the Steelers really needed a backup, Leftwich couldn't deliver.

Leftwich rambled 31 yards for a touchdown Sunday against the Ravens, but other than that burst, the Steelers couldn't do anything on offense in a 13-10 loss that puts them in a bad position in the AFC North.

Leftwich, with his long delivery, looks better suited for the Pirates' bullpen than behind center.

He went 18-for-39 passing for 201 yards, but couldn't help a Steelers' offense that looks lost right now.

The Ravens came into the game with a weak defense. The thought was Leftwich could manage the game, the Steelers could find a running back to rely on and they'd escape with a win.

It didn't work out that way.

And it looks like we could see Batch at QB this week -- or someone else.

The Steelers are worried about Leftw…