Monthly Archives: November 2015

On Second Thought: Steelers at Seahawks Throwback Sunday?

AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

by Ivan Cole, with interpolations by Homer J. and his famous report card

Today’s theme comes from a remark from Homer J as the game ended. He said that at the beginning of the year this would be how we would have expected to lose.

It is no way near as simple or clear cut as that, but there were enough of a resurfacing of some past concerns that it brings into question a lot of the revisionist thinking that surrounds this team’s strengths and weaknesses.

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Steelers at Seahawks: Giving It Away

AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

I realize we’re coming into the season traditionally considered the one for gift-giving, and maybe that’s what was going on today. Whether the Steelers meant to present the Hawks with a win or not, they did, thanks to the generosity of Ben and Landry Jones, both of whom threw two picks. (Roethlisberger would have had a third had the 2-point rules not negated Sherman’s pick in the end zone.)

The more egregious offender, despite this, was definitely Jones, who threw twice as many picks as completed passes. I just had to look, to torment myself, I suppose. To my astonishment his passer rating for the game is 22.9. Seems overly generous, but whatever.

The frustrating thing about this loss is, like pretty much all of the Steelers’ other losses, it looked for a considerable portion of the game as if they had a very good chance to win it.

The first half was the offense we expected to see. The Seahawks, as expected, took away Antonio Brown, and so Ben just threw it to whoever else was handy—Roosevelt Nix, Will Johnson, and so on. I think the Gator Ade guy even had a completion at one point. Oh wait, I think that was supposed to be a secret.

But there were a lot of passes which should have been complete which weren’t. The Seattle secondary is very aggressive, and they made a lot of good plays on the ball. Read more

The Bye Week Pro Bowl: The Prognosticators Among Us

Part of the fun of being a football fan is making pronouncements on all sorts of things, including some we probably know nothing about.

If we turned out to be right, we can call everyone’s attention to this. If we don’t, we keep very quiet and hope no one notices.

Unfortunately, one occasionally has the bad luck to make such predictions close enough to the proof to the contrary that it isn’t possible.

There are no quiet corners on this site. I have gone through your comments with a fine-toothed comb, and your predictions are now front and center. Naturally, most of these are from a while back, since it’s easier to see whether they were correct or not. Are You Ready?

At the end of the article you have the opportunity to vote for your favorites, and we will declare the champion afterwards. I suppose we really ought to vote for who was the most (or least) prescient, but that seems like a lot of trouble.

The numbering is, as always, reverse chronological.

Category 3: Prognostications: Psychic, or Not So Much:

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Steelers Opponent Preview: the Seattle Seahawks

via Fansided

Well, folks, it’s 3:42 on Friday afternoon, and unlike my usual practice I haven’t written anything but the title for this preview. I would like to say it’s because I’m full of turkey, but actually it is because I’m full of indolence.

So before we get going with the actual fact-finding portion of this post I’m going to attach the following exceedingly lovely tweet from the last Steelers game we watched. Doesn’t it seem like about a million years ago since then? It was tweeted by the punter of the Indianapolis Colts as he enjoyed (apparently) his bye week. Or maybe he thought he was working…

Pat McAfee tweet

 

And without further ado, here they are, ladies and gentlemen, the Seattle Seahawks!

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The Bye Week Pro Bowl: Insights ‘n At

via Fansided

The Bye Week is almost over. Officially, it is over, but it won’t really be over until the game begins this Sunday.

The Steelers have been back at the Southside facility since Monday, and I’m guessing that, unlike a week ago, the practice has not featured a DJ, player introductions, or radio-controlled cars.

Click here if you have no idea what I’m talking about. The relevant portion begins right around the 1 minute mark. My favorite part? Craig Wolfley talking about how Chuck Noll would feel about this.

The Steelers may be back into full practice mode, but the rest of us are likely still, well, resting. As a result, I’ve axed this week’s AFC North Stats ‘N At, being as not only the Steelers but the Browns were off. Last Sunday’s stats for the Ravens and Bengals will be in next week’s post, never fear. And this week’s opponent preview will air tomorrow. But for today I’m once again going to let you all do the heavy lifting.

At the end of the article you have the opportunity to vote for your favorites, and we will declare the champion afterwards. The numbering is strictly reverse chronological.

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Mike Tomlin’s Top Five Thanksgiving List

via footballnation.com

I suppose it is rather presumptuous of me to tell Mike Tomlin what he should be thankful for. My excuse is, in looking at what Mike Tomlin has to be thankful for, Steeler Nation will also have an opportunity to examine their blessings in this oh-so-challenging season. Some of them will be hard blessings, some of them may seem like small things, and some of them are foundational.

And isn’t this like the blessings we enjoy in our lives? Many, even sometimes the greatest ones, are only truly discovered in retrospect, and may not seem like blessings at all in the moment. Some are small and barely noticed until we reflect back and realize that if it weren’t for that “small” thing some much bigger things would never have happened. And some of them prove themselves to be the aspects of our lives which made all the other blessings possible.

Here’s my list. Please feel free to add to it in the comments, if you aren’t too busy sleeping on the couch. Read more

5 Smoldering Questions On the Pittsburgh Steelers, Week 11

via USA Today

by Hombre de Acero

The Steelers are coming out of their bye week and headed to Seattle where they’ll take on the defending AFC Champion Seattle Seawhawks. But before we can see if the Steelers are able to shake their “West of the Mississippi Jinx” twice in one season, Steelers Nation must first resolve these 5 Smoldering Questions.

1. In the spirit of Thanksgiving leftovers, our first question is a left over from the Cleveland game. During the Browns game, Neal Coolong observed this:

While Neal’s logic is hard to argue with, if you’re a Steelers defensive coach, do you ever instruct a defender NOT to intercept the ball?

2. When the Steelers last played the Seahawks in September 2011, they were still smarting from the Debacle in Baltimore, and rebounded with a 24-0 win. How would you described the journey this Pittsburgh team has been on since that day?

3. Looking forward to the Steelers final six games, which six Steelers do you think need to step it up the most for Pittsburgh to make the playoffs?

4. If you haven’t read it yet, please go and read Ivan Cole’s Steelers All Bust Offense and Steelers All Bust Defense, which notes players who were prematurely written off as “busts” by fans, the media and even coaches. Now let’s turn the tables. Name some of your favorite Steelers who were regaled by either fans, the media or the press as saviors and superstars who didn’t live up to the label?

5. Finally, starting in 2009, yours truly decided to pick a current Pittsburgh Steeler each Thanksgiving who gave Steelers Nation reason to give thanks. For example, last year it was Le’Veon Bell and in 2013 it was Cameron Heyward. Which Steeler would win your “Reason to Give Thanks” award for 2015? You’re limited to one choice. Defend it.

Just because the holidays are upon us does not mean that 5 Smoldering Question quiz rules get relaxed. No multiple choice answers. You must show your work to get full credit. Consulting outside sources and looking at your neighbors paper is not only allowed, but encouraged.

Have at it and Happy Thanksgiving!

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

 The Good Guys: Defensive Tackles and Nose Tackles

The good, the bad and the ugly; three dissimilar personalities.  Yet as different as they are, they share qualities that go beyond team and position.  Each had a great  passion to excel and to win.  Each was admired by their teammates, not just as players, but as teammates and as men.

They are: The Good – Chris Hoke. The Bad – Mean Joe Greene. The Ugly – Ernie Holmes. If you’re scratching your head, allow me to explain.

3. The Good – Chris Hoke

Chris Hoke is one of the nicest men to wear a Steelers uniform. An undrafted free agent from Brigham Young, Hokie was a reserve nose tackle, spending eleven years with the Steelers.  He had sixteen career starts, all in place of injured Casey “Big Snack” Hampton.

Hokie played his college ball at BYU. He completed a two year missionary service in Brussels, Belgium. He was named to the Academic All- Mountain West Conference team in 1999.

As a reserve, not much has been written about Hokie during his career. In 2004, Chris started the last ten games in place of Hampton, who went down with a season ending knee injury. Hokie, barely hanging on to a roster spot was determined to do his best to fill the large shoes of the all-pro Hampton. Read more

Homer’s Monday Post-Bye Week Wrap Up

USA Today Sports/Mark J. Rebilas photo

by Homer J. 

Christmas came early for Homer this past week.

The Poo-pourri he ordered from QVC arrived. That’s the stuff in the spray bottle that you spritz in the toilet before you do your business, and it makes it smell like lemongrass. Actually, speaking of lemongrass, it makes your business smell better than some Thai restaurants Homer has frequented on a single occasion.

There’s a holiday connection here, as one of the four spray bottles is called Santa Poo, and the bottle says it is a delightful blend of “holly, evergreen, and citrus.” So it’s beginning to smell a lot like Christmas when Homer wallows in his own crapulence.  Read more

Things Bigger than Football: Head Coach Mike Tomlin

steelers.com

steelers.com

I’ve really enjoyed the feature “Asked and Answered” on steelers.com. In it Bob Labriola fields an astonishing variety of questions. This question from October 29th got the normally phlegmatic Labriola a little fired up:

PAUL CUZ FROM FRANKLIN SQUARE, N.Y.:
Bill Cowher won with average quarterbacks. Mike Tomlin has a franchise quarterback. Tomlin is a defensive coach like Cowher and the Steelers defense is below average. Do you think Tomlin deserved a contract extension?

[Bob Labriola answers:]

I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess you don’t believe Mike Tomlin deserved a contract extension, but let me ask you a few things: Exactly what did Bill Cowher win with an average quarterback? Not the Super Bowl, because the Lombardi Trophy won during his tenure came after Ben Roethlisberger was drafted. Certainly not the AFC Championship games – at home – in 1994, 1997, and 2001. And let me take this discussion in a different direction and ask you: What did Bill Belichick ever win, either in Cleveland or in New England, without Tom Brady? What did Chuck Noll ever win without Terry Bradshaw? Tom Landry never won anything until the Cowboys went with Roger Staubach. Read more

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