On Second Thought: Colts vs Steelers

via Steelers Wire

 by Ivan Cole, with interpolations by Homer J. and [Rebecca]

Some quick thoughts on a late night.

R.I.P.—Jacoby Jones’ Pittsburgh Steelers career

The source of the only real drama of the evening, Jones pulled a ‘Scobee’ (Can we trademark that term?) and, in essence, ran himself out of a job. I and, I suspect, everyone else was through with him on the opening kickoff, but would tolerate him for the rest of the night as long as he kept a low profile. But on the fumbled punt, everyone from Mike Tomlin to toddlers sleeping in their mother’s arms were of one voice; ‘You’ve got to go, Jacoby! Not later. NOW!’

Or as Homer J. said:

Oh great heavenly days, what a way to start the game. The smoke still hasn’t cleared from the nonsensical fireworks crap and they’ve already fumbled it away with Jacoby Jones making us miss Dri Archer even more. Jones looked lost and tentative as hell out there, hesitating like a deer in the headlights. And he ended up a hood ornament, just like the deer. 

And on the next kickoff, Homer notes: Jones takes a knee two yards deep in end zone and crowd lets out huge cheer.

And later: Colts will get the second half kickoff, which is good in that Jacoby Jones won’t be able to fumble it...Sideline reporter quotes Tomlin saying Jacoby Jones is done for the night. Tomlin, once again, master of understatement.

Oh, by the way, Jacoby:  Ike Taylor called. He wants his hands back.

As I am writing this I am unaware of Jones’ status, but would anyone be surprised if someone drove him to the airport at halftime? [If I were Jones I would have called a cab right after that second fumble and saved the team the trouble. Personally, I would want to be well out of town before 70,000 Steeler fans emerged from the stadium…]

Antonio Brown

Greg, who runs the Wiener Circle restaurant where we normally assemble for games (but not tonight) almost certainly went into a full-fledged rant when AB hugged the goal post. Greg is one of those old school guys who believes that proper comportment consists of handing the ball to the ref after the play, and perhaps saying ‘Thank you sir’.

His grade for Brown tonight would have been a C-, maybe a D+. The three touchdowns were just him doing his job, with points taken off for showboating.

Homer said:

Punt….returned for TD by AB…..who humps goal post for a penalty. Guess we can let it slide. 45-10. Homer has a slight hearing impairment and is pretty good at reading lips, and he just saw Ben say, “I thought I told you about that kinda stuff,” to Brown, with a big smile on his face. Not sure about the “that kinda stuff,” but am pretty sure about the first half of the sentence.

Ivan adds: I guess I’m a more permissive grader. Brown’s performance on a national stage was just sick. The only sore spot for me was that the narrative from last week’s game is apparently that Richard Sherman got the better of Brown. I guess you can get the better of AB when the refs lose their flags on those mugging penalties. [Personally, I thought some of Sherman’s “pass defenses” would have been felonies in some states…]

Markus and Martavis

The crazy thing is, Wheaton and Bryant had really good games, but were relegated to a supporting cast status given the level of play by Brown. I think this was really the first game in which we saw the top three receivers all playing up to their potential at the same time. Good thing for the Colts that Pittsburgh was without its starting tight end, running back, center and left tackle. That (and Jacoby Jones’ invaluable assistance) allowed Indianapolis to hold the score down to 45.

The Anti-LeGarrette

The only problem I have with DeAngelo Williams at this point is that as much as I’m loving his game, every time I see him it reminds me that we have lost Le’Veon Bell for the season. Can you imagine what this offense would be like at this point if we had Bell? Congress would be forced to pass some kind of legislation outlawing the Steelers offense. Something like the Mel Blount rule.


Anybody see Villaneuva make any mistakes out there tonight? I didn’t. Nor did I see any hand holding by Ramon Foster or anyone else. I think he’s got this left tackle thing under control against a pretty savvy veteran (Robert Mathis) tonight.

As Homer noted:

NBC has fallen in love with Villanueva. They’re a little late to the party. Steeler fans have been lovin’ AV for two years. Character counts, especially when you are 6’10”, tough as hell, smart as a whip, and willing to work your ass off. He’s giving Ben all night to pass. They all have. 

The rest of the offensive line

Homer J likes to call him Dr. Wallace. The only major miscue by the O line was unnecessary roughness penalty. Anyone else it would tick you off, but that was just Cody being Cody. Remember when everyone seemed to find something wrong with Marcus Gilbert’s play? Has anyone noticed him lately?


Yes, he is a tight end that wears a number that begins with an ‘8’. And yes, he’s white. But that is where the resemblance ends. Jesse James looks nothing like Heath Miller. Neither does Matt Spaeth, or in recent years, David Paulsen. Miller wasn’t even dressed for the game. So what’s up with the “Heeaathh” chants? [Come on, Ivan, you know all white guys look alike… Besides, I thought we agreed a while back that “Heeaathh” is shorthand for “A white guy did something impressive”…]

Tough guy Boswell

Well, Shaun Suisham still has hope as Boswell missed on one of his field goal attempts. What impressed me was his take down as the last line of defense on a kick return. As Homer said:

Boswell’s kick returned long…Boss saves a TD with a tackle worthy of Sweet Cheeks. He nearly ripped the returner’s head off…face mask penalty. Ball inside PIT 30.

[Boswell definitely saved a touchdown there. But can you imagine the angst we would be suffering this morning had Boswell been injured on that tackle?]


Hasn’t been as dominant and noticeable since returning from his injury earlier in the season. He’s not playing badly, but the more spectacular level of play doesn’t seem to be here currently.

Brandon Boykin

Got a chance to join the party and made the most of it by getting an interception. I suspect his role will continue to grow as we go into the stretch run. As Homer noted:

Jailbreak blitz picked up, pass deflected by Gay…BOYKIN comes up with it, as ball is about to hit the ground. Play under review. BOYKIN sighting. Where you been, man??

Steelers have been putting excellent pressure on Hasselbeck, and have outplayed Indy on both sides of the ball…..except they haven’t been able to hold onto the ball. At least Boykin has been able to hold onto the ball. 


As far as I could see, didn’t have a bad game, but quieter in terms of his impact than he’s been for most games this season. On the other hand, something of a big game for Will Allen, though his more spectacular plays came via his blitzing.

The Number Ones

Jarvis Jones had an important interception. Ryan Shazier was pretty active throughout the evening. Think the bust talk will subside? Doubt it.

Homer says: 

On third down, Jarivs Jones leaps as high as he can reach and still comes down with a terrific INT at the one yard line….saving at least three and maybe seven. What a huge break for the Steelers. Probably Jarvis Jones’ biggest play yet as a Steeler.


If you were expecting James Harrison to begin to fade at this latter point of the season, you would be disappointed. Some impressive plays, including a forced fumble.

As Homer said so poetically:

Harrison with the strip sack, and Vince Williams with the recovery. DEEEEBO!!!!!

Do not go gentle into that good night, RAGE, RAGE, against the dying of the light!

Because lawman has put an end to my running, and I’m so far from my home.

I’m not sure how many more strip sacks James has left, but it certainly a joy to see an 84 year old man kicking the hell out of a 102-year old quarterback.

Pittsburgh at night is beautiful, and so is James Harrison tonight. It is such a joy to see him putting on this kind of a show on a nationally televised game. 


Homer had a lot to say about Ben:

Ben hits AB quick down and out in EZ for TD…80 yards, 10 plays. Nice block by Villanueva to give Ben room. Going for 2 – Ben hits Johnson in end zone after getting solid protection….

Ben hits Wheaton just inside the pylon in the end zone for a TD. Perfect throw.

3rd and 3…….Ben leads Bryant, who outruns defense down right sideline…buh-BYE! 68 YARD TD.   28-10.  The killer B’s are swarming tonight!!!  Ben has tried at least three bombs earlier, but this one connected. It’s a beautiful thing. 

Ben scrambles for the first down at 31. Okay everybody: exhale.

AB runs a little curl pattern for the TD.  It is a thing of beauty and amazement to see how Ben and Brown work together so perfectly….


Have to fault him for something he omitted, something that seems to reflect what practically amounts to a religion with a certain portion of the fan base. Shouldn’t he have publicly executed Jacoby Jones after the fumbled punt? We need a sacrificial victim!


Report Card:

[I said in my game recap that I was leaving the more stringent grading to the guys. But apparently the game put them in an excellent mood. Here’s Homer’s report card:]

Steelers have absolutely controlled the line of scrimmage tonight, both on offense and defense. On defense, in short yardage situations, they have stuffed Indy repeatedly… 

This was the most complete performance they’ve had all year.

EVERYBODY GETS AN A. And, Mr Harrison, you can pick up your Lifetime Achievement Award (and the Irving Thalberg Humanitarian Award) before you leave the stadium tonight. 

Homer started the day with a 7 a.m. call on the set of a major motion picture being filmed here in DC, hobnobbing with rich Hollywood stars. The confidentiality agreement forbids him from saying more, but he will say that – while the food was better on the set – the entertainment was far, far better on Sunday evening. It was “light up night” in Pittsburgh, and didn’t we have a great time lighting up the Colts?

Back to Rebecca now, who is going to have to get a little severe since the guys are clearly punch-drunk. There were three things I saw to concern me. The first, which I presume has already been taken care of, is Jacoby Jones. I presume he won’t be suiting up anymore as a Steeler. For all the good he did the team he might just as well have still been a Raven.

But while cutting him is surely a simple thing to do, the question of how to replace him is not so simple.I started to write another article showing why it isn’t, but decided to leave that for another day. The short take is, there isn’t an obvious solution to what is definitely a problem.

And on the other side of the special teams equation, I can’t imagine the coaching staff is very thrilled with what they are getting from their kicker outside of field goals and extra points. While this is surely the most important job for the place kicker, giving the opponent a short field on a regular basis isn’t a great idea. And the same could be said, in spades, to mix a metaphor, about Jordan Berry, since his only job is punting. He’s been uneven, to put it charitably.

It is difficult to fault the special teams coverage when their kickers are putting them in difficult circumstances. Perhaps the coverage is at fault as well, but it seems as if when the kick is decent the coverage is just fine.

That’s all the harsh things I have to say. I will just send out my good wishes to William Gay, who is in the concussion protocol. It would be pretty disastrous to play Cincinnati without him, I’m guessing…


  • cold_old_steelers_fan

    Heath is just the name we give all our TEs now regardless if their given name is Earl or James or Matt or David. I think of it as an homage to Earl Heath Miller.


  • Two additional comments:

    To Rebecca on racism: Martavis Bryant and Markus Wheaton are both wide receivers, they are both black, their names each begin with the same letter and they hair is in a similar style and people don’t mix these two up to the extent that they do Heath and every tight end not named Will Johnson. And the other point, why aren’t they yelling Heath when Ben does something? Is he some sort of honorary black guy? The only thing I heard yelled at Ben last night was “Get down!” when he was running the ball.

    Watching the Colts was a source of pleasure for another reason. Safety Mike ‘Pops’ Adams is a family friend, my son in law’s college teammate and roommate. He wasn’t personally humiliated last night, so it was all good.

    Liked by 1 person

    • : )

      That’s awesome about Mike Adams, although Bryant did outrun him. Bryant outruns everyone, so that’s hardly embarrassing.


    • If people realized Will Johnson was a tight end (I’m not sure he even knows what he is) they would probably yell “Heeaathh” at him as well. As for Ben, well, he was there even before Heath, so he gets his own yell. Generally when he screws up. Which is patently unfair, but I thought we had already established that fans aren’t known for logical thinking or fairness.


      • cold_old_steelers_fan

        Will Johnson holds a special place in my heart if only because he shares a name with my maternal grandfather. In theory he is a TE but I think of him as a fullback or H-back instead.


  • The couple sitting behind me kept call him Heath. I finally turned around and said for 1, Miller is #83. For 2, he isn’t even dressed tonight. They didn’t care…..


  • The three-man rush we saw often on Sunday night looked to me like Butler’s answer to Hasselbeck’s quick-release passing game – drop eight and give him nothing to throw at. If so, I’m liking how Butler thinks and prepares for his opponents. It doesn’t always work, but you can see he’s in the lab cooking up stuff every week.

    I swear I heard Bryant say “meep meep” as he sped past that poor Colt cornerback on his way to the end zone.

    Antonio Brown and his hijinks – just pure entertainment. 15 yards for being too funny.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Joe Starkey and Chris Mueller (on the Fan) are in your court. They loved the celebration. They act like adolescent boys half the time anyhow, and they were having a lot of fun contrasting the Tomlin quote about Frank Gore (“one of the legendary ball-toters in the league) with Antonio’s stunt (legendary ball-crushing, or words to that effect…)


  • Such a fun game – nice to be able to watch one without wishing for Xanax or nitroglycerin! It didn’t start out that way…but once they caught fire, they couldn’t be stopped! It was a joy to watch. I am not a huge fan of the AB antics, because I don’t want to see him get hurt, but he is never boring — and it was pretty darn funny.

    Biggest complaint I have is all of the empty seats. I say that at almost every home game, unfortunately. We travel well (plus we’re everywhere), but we never seem to be able to fill all of our own seats. It’s embarrassing. Why can’t people donate or sell the tickets they aren’t using? Of course, sometimes things come up unexpectedly, but nearly 10K no-shows on a clear, but not too cold December night, when we are in the thick of the fight for the playoffs? Come on!! That is just sad.

    Liked by 1 person

  • I really enjoy these articles. Steel34D did a lengthy and detailed commentary about Villanueva’s play today at the other site, I have always found him to be one of if not the most knowledgeable users to come along, and not only is he knowledgeable but he writes in a way a regular fan can understand. He used to write for the other site but I believe he became discouraged for the same reason a few others have over there. Any consideration of asking him to start writing for GoingDeepSteelers?

    In his opinion Villanueva is doing well but still makes more than a few mistakes, which is of course to be expected from a guy with his limited experience playing the position. Thank goodness Mike Munchak is the O-line coach.

    Liked by 1 person

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