Random Thoughts on Panthers @ Steelers

Thursday night football. Soooo slow. Soooo boring. It took the Steelers 17 seconds to score two touchdowns! C’mon, guys, this is unacceptable.

Especially when you consider that one of those touchdowns was scored by the defense.

Well, I suppose that was pretty okay after all. I was a bit nervous when the Panthers drove right down the field for a touchdown, but one pass to JuJu took care of that. Here are some other random thoughts:

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Pittsburgh Steelers 2018 Second Quarter Report

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By Ivan Cole

It’s hard to argue with 4-0, though we know that some will manage to overcome this challenge. As we pass through the first weekend in November and into the second half of the season the September stench has dissipated considerably. The landscape has changed dramatically in Pittsburgh, the AFC North and around the league. Indeed, when both football and non-football occurrences are considered, who could have predicted where we find ourselves as we enter the heart of the holiday season.

In the NFC the Rams are proving themselves the class of the conference, if not the whole league. As Philadelphia suffers a particularly harsh Super Bowl hangover, Washington emerges as the Beast of the East. Similarly, another team with high expectations, Atlanta, has yielded to more robust divisional rivals in New Orleans and Pittsburgh’s Thursday night opponent, Carolina. The Bears impress in the North.

In the AFC the Patriots appear to continue to have an unfair advantage in that they are spotted six victories due to their inept divisional rivals. Jacksonville show themselves to be paper Jaguars as the Texans surge. That loss to the Chiefs looks more forgivable with every passing week.

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An Entangled Meditation on Browns vs Steelers Part Two

By Ivan Cole

It would have been a difficult weekend, even for those of us with the lightest, most superficial ties to the city and its culture (not to mention that of humanity writ large). However, for me and several others of this little online family of Steelers fans, it cuts closer to the bone.

Although I did not live in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh, I am an alum of Taylor Allderdice High School, and that community was a major player and influence in my adolescent coming of age. I need not go through the mental gymnastics of trying to imagine the physical layout of the place, its rhythms, the mysteries of the bonds of relationship that define Pittsburgh or that particular part of the city. I lived it.

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Random Thoughts on Browns @ Steelers

Photo via Steelers.com/Karl Rosen

As fate would have it, I was only able to follow the score updates on NFL.com during the actual game. (It’s complicated.) But I did manage to watch the condensed version on Gamepass last evening, which it may interest you to know took 33 minutes total. There seems to be a lot of wasted time in a football game.

Which was, I guess, my first random thought. Here are some more, in no particular order:

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Some More Random Thoughts on Steelers v. Bengals

Photo via Steelers.com/Karl Rosen

By Ivan Cole

Unlike Rebecca I saw the game in real time. These are the things that impressed me about this performance:

Meanness.

Rebecca and some others might have not have understood my comments in a previous post about Pittsburgh lacking a certain quality of meanness. I think this is because we often conflate ‘mean’ with ‘dirty’. This is, I believe, the Bengal’s fatal flaw. Cincinnati, as usual, was the dirtier team. Pittsburgh was the meaner team. What the highlights did not adequately convey was, despite the closeness of the score, how thoroughly the Steelers beat the Bengals up. The difference could be most clearly seen when comparing the play and effectiveness of Vance McDonald, who connects with Ben Roethlisberger through Bible studies and cancer survivor James Connor with that of Vontaze Burfict. Burfict played dirty. McDonald and Connor played mean. The result was a parade of Bengal players forced to the sideline, the locker room, and concussion protocol without roughness or unsportsmanlike penalties, while, despite threats and Cincinnati’s best efforts, the Steelers came through relatively unscathed. Read more

A Few Random Thoughts on Steelers v. Bengals

Photo via Steelers.com/Karl Rosen

These thoughts are not deep. That would be difficult, being as I couldn’t actually watch the game. They were garnered as I watched the highlight reel a couple of times.

There is one small factor which makes them slightly more valuable than my thoughts for many weeks previous—I can now actually see reasonably well out of both my eyes. It seems to me this ups the validity of my musings at least a little. (In case you’re wondering, I had cataract surgery on Tuesday. I have what they call “young person’s cataracts,” which is a nice way of saying “you’re old but not quite ancient.”)

So here they are, in no particular order:

  • Vance MacDonald has a lot of competition, but he may be my new favorite Steeler. How fitting it was that the first guy he took out on his little 29-yard scamper would be Vontaze Burfict. Another contender for my favorite, James Conner, put some hurt on Burfict himself, or he perhaps would have lost his place in line this week.
  • Why would any defensive coach in his right mind leave AB uncovered? Not that I’m complaining.
  • In his post-game conference, Ben said “What a great game!” about James Conner, and went on to say “I know it’s his last game, with Le’Veon coming back and all,” and that it was nice for James to have a game like this as his last one. The assembled media got a good laugh out of that. But it made me think how lucky the Steelers are that such statements are jokes—that the team isn’t hanging on desperately to hope that Le’Veon really will return this week. (No one, as far as I know, really knows when or if he will come back, perhaps even including Le’Veon.)
  • A bull in a china shop is a scary image. A bull in a china closet is just weird. Sometimes the broadcasters should think before they speak…
  • I didn’t know that volleyball was approved by the NFL, but there it was, two Bengals defenders batting the ball right to Ben, who said “Thank you very much” and took it across the line of scrimmage. Very entertaining.
  • What was with the Dr. Jeckell/Mr. Hyde special teams? Last week they were awesome; this week they sucked. A “foolish consistency” may be the “hobgoblin of small minds,” (an appropriate thought as Hallowe’en approaches) but I happily agree to be considered small-minded if special teams will agree to be consistent. Preferably consistently good.
  • Another Steelers/Bengals game, another cheap shot by Vontaze Burfict. As one of the local writers put it, if T.J. Watt was fined $20,000 for his “hit” on Matt Ryan’s “knee,” (emphasis mine), Burfict should be fined approximately $7,000,000,000 for his after-the-whistle elbow-to-the-head on AB. Personally, I think Burfict needs to be protected from himself. A nice long suspension—say 15 years—ought to do it.
  • I did follow the last three minutes or so of the game on the NFL site, and was tempted to repine when the Bengals scored. However, several things gave me hope: 1) the Steelers had all of their time outs, 2) there was still more than a minute, and 3) Cato, the fair-weather Steelers fan who leaves the room when the Steelers are losing too badly, came and sat on my lap for the final minute of the game. Phew!

Well, folks, I’m getting the other eye done in a week and a half, so for the first game after the bye I should be seeing on all cylinders, to coin a not-very-useful phrase. Hopefully I can actually watch the whole thing. That would be a treat. In the meantime, do check out the video on Steelers.com of Ryan Shazier visiting the hospital he was taken to last December. It is very touching. And it is way more important than football.

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