Homer Hears a “What Was That?” – Steelers Win and In

via Steelers.com—let’s let a Special Teamer have a little glory for once.

As usual this is Homer’s game notes plus his grades. I just got back from church (as noted, I’m in Hawaii which is five hours behind the East coast,) and won’t have a chance to watch the game for a while, as I “have” to go out for a hike on the beach with my lovely, long-suffering husband. But I’m sure it will be all the sweeter when I do get to it, and I’ll have some thoughts about it tomorrow. Ivan will undoubtedly weigh in as well, so keep Going Deep on speed dial : ) Here’s Homer, with comments and/or abridgements by me…


This is the first time in Tomlin’s tenure I have felt that his status is at stake. Not his job security, but rather how much freedom he will have….

[Ben] complete to AB, who is stripped of the ball, fumble. Recovered by Cleveland.

Wow. Not a good start…

Austin Davis hits Travis Benjamin on quick pass for 5.

Run up the middle for nothing. Runs right into Timmons.

Incomplete pass hits Mike Mitchell right between the 2 and the 3. Ike Taylor called. He wants his damned hands back. 4th and 5.

Davis going on 4th and 5….Quick pass complete, but one yard short of first down….Will Allen with assist by Jarvis Jones

This game looks like something you’d find in the clearance section of the Big Lots store just off the interstate…

AB was out having his hand looked at…..Comes back in and gets soft coverage. Ben hits to him a pass and run for 24 yards…Ben hits Brown who had double coverage. Perfect pass, down to 8 yard line.

Ben fakes play action, throws to Miller who outfights Desir for the ball and a touchdown. Once again, Ben threw into double coverage, and this time he got lucky. Ben 7 for 7, 84 yards on that drive.
Cleveland starts on the 20. Ross Ventrone special teams sighting.. Drew the [illegal block in the back] penalty.

Antwan Blake makes huge hit on Travis Benjamin on short first down pass—Blake illegal contact against Benjamin…First down at 36

Shazier outruns Davis. He and Timmons sack Davis…2nd and 16.

Will Allen delayed blitz destroys Austin Davis on sack. Davis ducks under and is not hurt.

[Next series:]

Ben intercepted again on quick pass….Picked off by Jordan Poyer. Yet another pick by Ben. He looks like anything but elite.

Buffalo leads Jets 7-0

Crowell off the left side….Cuts inside Dupree, who is completely fooled. Inside red zone for first down. Crowell stopped on run to right. Davis incomplete. 3rd and 10.

Davis scrambles and looked like a drunk trying to find something… Throws it away, so that they can try a field goal. Travis Coons kicks the field goal. With that name, he belongs in Mayberry RFD or someplace down in the Delta.
End of first quarter…..7-3 Steelers

D-Will runs up the middle for 6, but is on the ground.
Williams hurting….holding his shin….maybe shin or high ankle sprain…..This is not good at all. How frustrating would it be to slip into the playoffs, and not have either Bell or Williams?

Ben on pass…Fitz misses block…No first down. The thing most concerning is that Toussaint missed his block, and the blitzer had a free shot at Ben.

Boswell misses field goal attempt as wind pushes it off to the right from 48 yards.

Ben throws another near pick. Behind Wheaton. Gotta punt.

Huge punt….But Benjamin scrambles…..Returns to near midfield.

Two runs for first down…. Davis 9 for 13. Slow flurries starting to fall.


Coons from 39. Right down the middle. 7-6 with 1:56 left in the half and all three time outs.

Steelers have had two turnovers, Cleveland none. And a missed field goal. Ben has made some terrible decisions. They have simply been ugly on offense for the last six quarters.


Ben gets great protection….Fitz holds back blitzers….Ben threads the needle to hit AB in end zone for a touchdown. 14-6, with :58 left in half. A few more flurries in the Mistake by the Lake.

Here comes Coons again. 14-9.

Simply ugly first half…..Ben was off the mark time and again….
Two turnovers and a missed field goal….And the defense has not yet managed a turnover. However, I’d still rather be up five than down five.


[Third quarter]: Ben picked on second down by Robertson. Roethlisberger gets into fight with Robertson, who is tackled at the 8. Another turnover for Ben. On third and five from the five yard line,
Deebo with huge int at the goal line….Returned to the five.


Ben goes real long to Darrius Heyward-Bey…who runs under a rainbow and holds on to it to the 21. Ben throws just off DHB’s fingertips on 3rd down…Means another 39 yard attempt…..Right down the middle……17-9.


Browns going for it….4th and 1….Davis sneaks for 1st down at 24.

On 3rd and 5, davis hits Barrnidge for first down at 13.

Nine yard pass…and Pryor gets 15 yard penalty…2nd and 17.

On short pass to Duke, illegal contact against Deebo, 1st down.

2nd and 6 — no gain…..End of quarter 17-9, with Browns deep in red zone at the 11.

Cleveland had the ball for 11:32 in the third quarter. Steelers 3:28.

[Fourth quarter:] Davis misses Pryor on slant…4th and 6. Coons again good. 17-12.

[Ben] hits Heath over the middle. Miller snatches another interception away from a defender. First down at the 30…Ben gets greedy again going long to DHB…Gotta punt. ..Biiiig play by Ross Ventrone, who knocks ball back from the goal…Cleveland has the ball on the one yard line.

Davis over the wide open middle from the one for twenty to the 21 yard line to Barnidge.

Timmons on the strip sack…Moats with the recovery on the 8.

Ben hangs back in pocket, rolls to left, hits Wheaton for the touchdown. Going for two….To Fitz Toussaint…first NFL score….25-12.

Browns fumble kickoff return…Boykin recovers.

Ben hits AB after great protection…To CLV 7.  Ben fakes everybody out, but misses a wide open AB, so they’ll try a field goal — Boswell good — 28-12. Up by 16.

Davis leading Browns downfield with short passes….Steelers appear to be playing a prevent. Now on PIT 42.

9 yard pass.. Penalty…..Then Tuitt sacks Davis, making it 4th and 14.

Gay with the pick…..That’s all she wrote, folks. [Now on to Buffalo:]

Buffalo with a 5 point lead, intercepts.  Buffalo beats Jets….22-17….Christmas comes two days after New Years – right between the 25th and the Orthodox Christmas.

Not since Ralphie saw that Red Ryder b-b gun behind the table has there been such an unexpected, wonderful delayed Xmas present.

Report card:

Quarterback: C. Two touchdown passes, two interceptions, and Heath Milller stole two interceptions away from defenders. He looked anything but elite.

Running back: Inc. D-will got hurt early, after some great blocking. Fitz started shaky, but did a decent job.

Tight ends: A+. Heath Miller caught a touchdown pass and stole two INTs away from defenders. Simply spectacular.

Offensive line: B. Zero sacks. But no real running game. Solid game.

Wide receivers: B. DHB had a great game. Wheaton and Bryant were uneven. Brown had 187 yards and a touchdown, but a fumble and turnover.

Defensive line: B.  A- Another A pretty good day at the office.

Linebackers: C+. B. Really poor pass coverage, and a lot of missed tackles, but Moats had a couple of huge plays and Deebo had a pick at the goal line that was one of the biggest plays of the game.
Very uneven play by linebackers. [But get a load of all those sacks!]

Defensive backs: C-. Will Allen had a big sack, Gay had an interception, and Blake had a couple of big hits, but the tackling was abysmal and the pass coverage was uneven.

Special teams: B+. Missed field goal, but a big fumble recovery on a kickoff return and Russ Ventrone downing a punt on the one yard line were key plays. Didn’t see any penalties on special teams, either.

Coaching: B-. It was the Browns they beat…And with Cleveland’s third string quarterback.


  • Game was too close for comfort. I’d give BB a little better grade. Yeah, it was the Browns and he wasn’t super sharp, but without Deangelo, there was no running game. I give him B-/C+.

    With Ben, we have a shot of moving on. He needs to be sharper, needs to spread it around a little more. I’m not sure we can win without Deangelo. But hell, we’re dancing and have a punchers chance, quite a bit more than I thought we would get. Stranger things have happened.


  • I was lobbying Homer for a higher grade for the linebackers, but PaVaSteeler was obviously more convincing.

    Liked by 1 person

  • cold_old_steelers_fan

    I don’t know if Ben has been one of the people affected by the flu that is running through the team or if the issue is mental. He is too important to this team for it to succeed when he is less than his best. I hope this is a temporary thing but I suspect it is evidence of his aging. He is still relatively young but he had a lot of mileage and it may be that the wheels may be getting ready to fall off.

    I feel sorry for D-Will. I think he stepped up big time for this team. I hope the injury is minor. Like Ben, I don’t see this team having a lot of success with out him being healthy.

    This is a 10-6 team with a lot of upside but depth at many positions is still paper thin and the secondary needs work. They might be scary in the playoffs but unless they play differently against the Bengals, it will be the off season for them pretty soon.


  • Upon further review, Homer notes the Steelers’ defense had SEVEN sacks for 63 yards. Most of those were by linebackers and defensive backs, with the front three taking up blockers. That’s a good afternoon’s work, by anyone’s standards. And that should have been reflected especially in the grades for the linebackers and front three.

    Liked by 1 person

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