The Pittsburgh Steelers came out of the gate doing what we expected them to do in the snow Sunday at Heinz Field.
Against the visiting Dolphins, Pittsburgh ran the ball down Miami's throat early, handing the rock to rookie Le'Veon Bell eight times on the team's 12-play touchdown drive in the opening quarter. The formula worked -- so why did the Steelers drift away from it in a game they eventually lost 34-28?
"Their scheme, I don't know, there was no particular reason," quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said, before "tersely" directing reporters to offensive coordinator Todd Haley, per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Bell finished the game with 15 carries and "just shook his head" when asked why he vanished from the scene on a day that seemed made for the Steelers to lean on their supposed bell cow.
The problem in Pittsburgh is not Bell, or Big Ben -- but Haley. While former offensive coordinator Bruce Arians allowed Roethlisberger to call his own plays and lean on his innate strengths, the Haley-led attack too often this season has lacked rhythm or shifted focus in-game away from what's working.
The Steelers, on Sunday, abandoned the run, but not the head-scratching calls from Haley. Trailing 31-28 on its own 10-yard line with 2:53 left, Pittsburgh dialed up three consecutive passes before going for it on fourth down. That came with two timeouts left and the two-minute warning ahead. The Steelers failed to convert, handing Miami the ball, and the game -- and Pittsburgh's season.
It's hard to imagine "Haley & Ben: Part 3" in 2014.