On Second Thought: Patriots at Steelers
I’m afraid I haven’t had the time to have many second thoughts about the game. I’m getting ready to catch a plane and all that entails, and there just wasn’t time to review the tape. But I do have a few more thoughts, in a sort of “Good News, Bad News” format.
But first, here is a link to Hombre de Acero’s writeup of the game. He gives lots of stuff to chew on, and some really interesting perspectives. Do check it out.
And now, here’s the Bad News (which I always like to get out of the way as soon as possible.)
1. Depth at the wide receiver position takes a major hit every week, it seems. For a good chunk of the second half they were down to Cobi Hamilton (signed off the practice squad just last week, lest we forget, ) and Darrius Heyward-Bey. (Sammie Coates played a few snaps, but was largely ineffective, given he couldn’t actually hold onto the ball all that well with a broken finger and a big honking cut which was only partially healed.)
2. There are still major and inexplicable communication breakdowns in the defense from time to time, which led to way too many yards for LeGarrette Blount and Rob Gronkowski. This really needs to be fixed, but I suppose it is inevitable when there are so many neophytes playing.
3. The Steelers lost to the Patriots. That always sucks.
4. This could be found either in the Good News or the Bad News column, depending upon the game, but Landry Jones isn’t Ben Roethlisberger. In fact his stats were considerably better than Ben’s in either the Miami or Philly games, and only just a tad lower than Ben’s in the Week 2 game.
And now, the Good News:
1. Next week is the bye week. Nobody ever loses during the bye week (although technically I suppose you can lose in the standings if your rivals win.) And seldom has a bye week been as welcome, I suspect.
2. Antonio Brown only has a bruised thigh. It must be a pretty nasty one, but he should be good as new by Week 9.
3. And speaking of healing, hopefully a lot of other guys are going to be ready to come back. Although frankly I don’t expect Ben Roethlisberger to be ready, Cameron Heyward, Markus Wheaton, Marcus Gilbert, Sammie Coates, and DeAngelo Williams would seem to have a reasonable chance to play in Week 9.
Furthermore, it’s possible (although not probable) that one of the long-term injuries (Bud Dupree, for instance) will be at least close to returning. Although perhaps not…
4. Landry Jones was, despite the pick in the end zone and the near-picks later in the game, way better than most of us thought he would be. Another week+ of practice and he should be even better. He’s got a really nice long pass, and as long as the line protects him he makes mostly good decisions.
5. Jarvis Jones is showing real signs of dominance. The fact that James Harrison isn’t on the field all that much lately (he only had 24 snaps last Sunday, after a high of 43 in Week 4) indicates this. Of course, the pessimists among you might feel that this merely indicates neither of them are getting the job done, but in fact Jarvis Jones had an excellent game vs. the Patriots.
6. The Steelers’ D actually managed to sack Tom Brady a couple of times (I think one was negated on a holding penalty against NE) and hit him several other times. Whatever the outcome of the game, that’s always gratifying…
7. The AFC North continues to accommodate the Steelers by mostly losing. Last week somebody had to win, as the Bengals were playing Cleveland, and despite what one might hope, beat them. But this glorious victory only moved them up into a tie with the Ravens at 3-4, and Cleveland, who had to throw their sixth quarterback of the season out on the field after No. 5 went down, are 0-7. I can’t imagine being the guy who has to answer to the ownership for the decision to trade with the Eagles so they could take Carson Wentz. And I can’t imagine how relieved Wentz must be…
That will do it for now. I don’t know about you all, but I’m not viewing the bye week with the usual sense of dread (because there will be no Steelers football.) I think we, along with the Steelers, can use a break.