The Little Darlin’/Roxanna Firehall Football Jamboree, Part 3: Gameday

AP Photo/ Billy Hurst: Yes, that is the Rams’ stadium, pre-fire…

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Day 5 – Game Day

Wow! Steeler Nation travels as big and bold as everyone has told me it does. This was Roxfire’s first Steeler road game ever. It did not disappoint. I am usually last minute for everything, but I was waiting on Little Darlin’ this fine morn.

We drove into downtown St. Louis and the streets were jammed with yinzers in their black and gold. I started looking for Primanti Brothers and a Dirty O. I said to LD, “are we in the ‘Burgh?” There were road whites and black Steeler home jerseys from every era everywhere. There were plenty of bumble bee jerseys, too. There was even a lass in bumble bee cover-alls. LD scowled a bit, but I appreciated the look.

We met fans Steeler fans from California, Witchita, New York and Pittsburgh, of course. We met quite a few from the St. Louis area, including Larry and Tracey from Springfield who sat in front of us. They told us about camping at the Casino Queen which sounded a tad more appealing than the Roaring Asphalt Campground.

IMG_0223We got to the Edward Jones Dome about ninety minutes before game time. The dome is a great venue. We walked in and were impressed. I’ve never been to an indoor stadium before and while weather has its charms, the comfort of the dome is nice. We had excellent seats, third row from the field, 45 yard line. [Picture taken from their seats. Nice indeed.] While seeing the plays unfold was difficult depending on field position, the ability see the players on the sideline closeup was a great experience.

If you watched the game on TV, you would definitely have a better vantage point to dissect and analyze the game. And, since analysis is not really part of my skill set, I leave that to those who already do it well. The following are my random impressions as a fan sitting closer to the action than I ever had before:

The Jones Dome had the feel of a big high school game. The Rams fans were all behind their bench and Steeler Nation was behind our bench. It really was home and visitors, though we were louder overall than the Rams fans. There were many times when I would look around in our section and struggle to find someone in Rams gear.

IMG_0183There were a lot of empty seats at the game. [Picture also taken from their seats. This looks like PNC Park in the old days before the Pirates were good.] I saw a report that the count was 13,000. That explains why a couple from Wisconsin offered that St. Louis is most reasonably priced venue to see an NFL game.

The Steelers looked unbeatable on the first two drives. Our fans were loud, very loud. The towels were waving. I told LD we might score 50 points. Of course, the game progressed much differently as the teams settled into a defensive slugfest after we went up 9-0 early.

Stephon Tuitt was a beast, particularly in the first half. He is getting better every week. Pro Bowl?

We did not get nearly the pressure on Foles as we did on Kaepernick last week. Nevertheless, the defense was stout when it counted.

I was intrigued by the amount of coaching by the vets to the youngsters. I had a great view of the outside linebackers and defensive linemen while the offense was on the field. I don’t think Jarvis Jones was ever more than four feet away from Deebo. Arthur Moats was coaching up Bud Dupree a lot as well.

I thought Mike Mitchell played well and was instrumental in firing up the defense.

Le’Veon Bell looked just fine against a Rams defense that played well, especially the run.

Ben’s injury silenced our fans. After the hit – shocked silence. When he first went down, I was really scared; he didn’t move for way to long. While it was great to be so close to the field, seeing Ben limp off while being assisted was gut wrenching. You could see all the pain, fear and disappointment in his face. He’s a tough guy and a gamer. He knew he was injured.

I don’t think our fans recovered until it was 9-6 in the 4th quarter. There was almost a feeling that the game and maybe the season was slipping away. Reserve RB Jordan Todman helped get the fans on their feet. He urged us to make some noise and get on our feet during the defensive stand at the beginning of the fourth quarter. The yinzers got jazzed and chanted “Let’s go dee-fense.” [You could hear it on the television broadcast!] The defense held and forced a punt. That stand seemed to lift everyone, coaches, players and fans.

Will Allen’s pick went a long way toward sealing the win. It sounded like Heinz Field with LD high fivin’ Rox and both of us high fivin’ everybody around us.

The defense saved our bacon today. I just heard a report that Ben will be out 4-6 weeks. Knucklehead Rodney Harrison (once a Patriot, always a Patriot) predicted we will not win a game without Benny. Rox does not buy his half-baked opinion. Little Darlin’ and I are undefeated this season and we’re taking our towels to the ‘Burgh on Thursday.

Anyway, Little Darlin’ and me sure did have a high old time today. While today’s game did not inspire a lot of humor, it did bring us a lot of joy. We met a lot of nice people and got a win, a road win at that! That’s good enough for any Sunday.

Tomorrow is a travel day to Dayton. Only God knows what the road will bring. We’ll see. I’m looking forward to the Hall of Fame on Wednesday!

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