Homer’s Report Card for the Steelers Divisional Round Playoff Game
It is with a heavy heart that I give you the following. I will have more to say tomorrow, but for now I’m going to post this and go watch Downton Abbey. As usual I will give you a smattering of Homer’s game notes and his report card.
And I want to second Homer’s comment—I am so proud of this team. Has any team ever gone into a playoff game missing both their starting (or even backup starting) running back and their best wide receiver, with their quarterback hurt, and made a game of it? The Steelers did. This was a game they very plausibly could have won, against the top defense in the league. It’s hard to accept that they lost, but also difficult to do anything but admire them for the way they did it.
Madjack58 put it best….the only thing fully functioning on this team is heart and guts.
The question in our hearts is whether it’s time for the clock to strike midnight, or whether heart and guts and magic dust will keep it all going.
Ben hit SAMMIE COATES, who gets 35 yards through great YAC. If the Steelers are going to be successful, the young guys are going to have to step up like that.
Fitz MOOOOVES the pile for five out to the PIT 8 yard line.
Heavy side wind on long snap….almost gets away from Berry…shanks kick to 30.
Note: This became somewhat of a narrative in this game—the young punter got a bit freaked out by the wind…And part of the corollary to this is the amazing job the Steelers D did when the Broncos were presented with fabulous field position time and again. I’ll have more to say about this tomorrow.
43 yd FG …BOZ IS PERECT….aimed it five yards to the right…goes right through.
And finally: Berry with excellent punt…50 yards to 5 yard line.
Gotta admit: I’m simply stunned that we’re up at halftime. Steelers are responding to the pressure better than Denver. And no matter what happens from here on, I’ve never been prouder of any Steeler team since that fine day when Pete Rozelle handed the Chief our first Lombardi Trophy.
Anybody think Tomlin can’t coach?
Key to second half is the young guys stepping up and no turnovers.
Homer was, of course, prescient. Not that it took much to figure out. A lot of people were saying that the key to the game was the turnover margin. As we all know, there was in fact a Steelers turnover, and the exhausted defense finally gave up a touchdown. A turnover on downs gave the Broncos another field goal, and an unsurmountable lead.
Teams stay on field, and congratulate one another. What a huge difference from last week.
Clean game. Great sportsmanship.
I still say I have never been more proud of the Steelers than what they did with all the adversity they faced.
OFFENSIVE LINE: C+ OR B-. Gave up three sacks, but two were coverage. Decent run blocking.
QUARTERBACK: A. Clearly outplayed Manning in 35 mile per hour crosswinds that negated sideline passes. Threw for 339 yards against Denver’s top-rated defense, without any interceptions, without AB, in horrendous conditions.
RUNNING BACK: B-. Toussaint ran well, blocked well, but the fumble ended up costing the game.
RECEIVERS: B+. Bryant and Coates were electric. DHB was solid. Wheaton was fine in receiving.
SPECIAL TEAMS: SPLIT GRADE: BOSWELL A. Rest of special teams: F. Punt coverage awful. Punting awful. Punt returns worse than awful. Special teams, in the long run, cost them the game.
DEFENSIVE LINE: A. Stopped the run. Put good pressure on Manning. Plenty of hurries.
LINEBACKERS: B+. Harrison was a beast, and so was Shazier. Gave up only one big run.
DEFENSIVE BACKS: B. Gave up only 200 yards to Manning. Didn’t do anything wrong.
COACHING: A. They didn’t have any dumb plays or penalties, and overcame a crushing amount of adversity. How Tomlin held this team together without Pouncey, without Bell, without Bryant, without Beachum, without DeAngelo Williams was absolutely amazing.
They ran out of gas in the fourth quarter in the high altitude of Denver, and have nothing to be ashamed of. The only thing fully functioning on the team was heart and guts, and they were still ahead in a game where no one gave them a chance with 3:01 to play.
This season will pay dividends. The young lions have grown up. This team is Ben’s team and Tomlin’s team and Peezy’s team and Munch’s team and Heyward’s team…..they are incredibly tight…..