Steelers wasting superb season by Big Ben

Steel City wake-up: morning links

The Steelers’ odds of making the playoffs can be characterized as fourth-and-long with one month remaining in the season. The Steelers need to win their final four games and may need a little help to avoid missing the playoffs in back-to-back seasons for the first time under seventh-year coach Mike Tomlin.

The Steelers’ find themselves in this precarious situation despite the play of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. The 10th-year veteran is having one of his best seasons, and Roethlisberger is one of the main reasons the Steelers at least have a chance to make the playoffs following the first 0-4 start in franchise history since 1968. If the Steelers miss the postseason they will have wasted what is shaping up to be a superb season by their franchise quarterback.

Outside linebacker Jason Worilds is in the midst of a breakout season, and the fourth-year veteran appears to have played his way into the Steelers’ future plans. The problem is Worilds will be an unrestricted free agent in March, and he may be pricing himself out of Pittsburgh unless the Steelers make some tough decisions with some of their veteran players, including outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley.

Worilds is one of a handful of potential free agents whom the Steelers have four more games to evaluate. That is why the stretch run will be about taking a close look at such players while also trying to make a furious push for the playoffs.

The Steelers at least got some help Sunday in regard to the postseason with the Chargers losing to the visiting Bengals, and they will get a chance to pull even with the 6-6 Dolphins in the standings next Sunday when they play Miami at Heinz Field.