Some Random Observations from Steelers @ Patriots

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Hmm, uncalled face mask penalty, you think? (Photo via Steelers.com)

During the game, which I actually watched in my brother’s basement, I jotted down some things which got my attention, for whatever reason. Some of them are pointless, or just dumb, and I will attempt to excise them. You can let me know if I was successful with my editing. I can tell you, however, that I’m eliminating about 80% of what I wrote. In fact, looking through these has confirmed my opinion that I’m better off just watching and getting the details later…

Before I plunge in I will explain about my brother’s basement. It probably should be a Cowboys’ man-cave, as my brother is a big fan, but it isn’t. My brother lives right next door to my mom in New Mexico, and my mom doesn’t have a TV. So I headed over to the empty house—empty of humans, that is, as they are on vacation while I parent-mind. I managed to figure out how to turn on the TV.

All fine so far. But finding the right channel was a challenge, as I’m remarkably inexperienced and inept with remote controls and, for that matter, televisions. As a result I ended up watching a few momens of Terry Bradshaw asking fatuous questions of the victorious Falcons. But obviously I got there in the end, just in time for the national anthem.

Many of my comments were along these lines:

Oh, c’mon Sammie. Ben threw it right to you. It might have been a touchdown.

I will spare you the rest of this sort of comment, although they were all G rated, other than the one I began and had to backspace over. The stronger language was reserved for the cats who surrounded me, and I must say they didn’t seem shocked, although some of them did run off after a particularly forceful S-word.

I’d almost forgotten this—I think it is the guilt which expunged it from my mind. As noted, I only found the game as it was beginning, and didn’t notice immediately that I had left both my Terrible Towel and Terrible Scarf over at my mother’s house. I couldn’t bail on the first Patriots drive, but fortunately they didn’t test my patience too long. Or, I suppose, unfortunately. It was, after all, just a field goal. If only we could have held them to a few more of those…

Some of my comments were about the commercials, since I see relatively few of them. I am including a few for local color. The first was the USAA commercial:

I must say Alejandro is gorgeous, and his wife is beautiful too. Makes the USAA commercial easy to watch.

But it was mostly about the game:

Bell sets the postseason Steelers record. Hopefully he wil have another game to blow away the league record.

If only. How does the ditty go? “For all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these, ‘It might have been.'” (Turns out that is a John Greenleaf Whittier quote.) But there was still hope at this point:

Ben! Heeaath! Oh wait, Jeeesssseee?
Le’Veon Bell gets three yards out of nothing…
Oh man, Malcom Butler is going to be a pain in the butt, I can see. Actually, thanks to AB it wasn’t a pick.

Tom is looking annoyed on the sidelines. What else is new? But he looked more annoyed than usual. Was he made about the missed pick? Who cares, really? Just take the ball away from him, guys, and hit him while you’re at it….

On the ensuing series:

I’m getting sick of 3rd and 1, guys.
Dang.
[The Pats convert.] Oh bother. [Patriots TD.]
How was Hogan completely uncovered? [I’m guessing this was a question many were asking throughout the evening.]

And then L. Bell leaves the field, more or less for good as it happened:

D-Will – ready when called upon. And then shortly thereafter: Boy, the protection was amazing. D-Will, I love you!!!!!

The following comment was sort of in line with my remarks about how people assume the Patiots are cheating somehow or other. After Trey Flowers sat on the field for a while and was led off, I thought this might be a help to the offense. But next thing you know, he’s back:

I guess Flowers is okay. A ploy to give the defense a rest? Nothing would surprise me…

After the touchdown:

Mr. Cool [Chris Boswell] misses the extra point. Wow. Hope he hasn’t got the yips. Interesting that he missed to the left. He usually misses to the right. Maybe he was overthinking it, just like he said you shouldn’t do…

I think I have another part of the explanation for why things didn’t go well:

One of my bother’s innumerable cats is messing with my Terrible Towel. Must be a Patriots fan. Just like the jag off who pulled the fire alarm in the team hotel last night…

I wrote the following, which just goes to show you shouldn’t write such things down:

Wow, 12 straight completions postseason record for. Ben, and now it’s 13 in a row. [Short pause] Oh, man, Cobi. That was a perfect pass.

The cat is now attacking me from the back of the sofa. Definitely a Patriots fan...

At halftime:

Hopefully Ben will continue to be great. But a few more of the young guys are going to have to step up. This could be the difference one way or the other.

And then:

Really. Why do we have to watch all these ED commercials? I suppose it is their demographic.

It reminded me of watching a game during the 2015 season with our son’s friend in Colorado Springs. She’s a transplanted Yinzer, and tough as nails. She’s probably in her mid-70s, perhaps more, and has been widowed for a number of years. The obligatory ED commercial(s) were airing, and someone made a comment about how annoying they are. Donna agreed, and then said that, personally, she was a big fan of ED. She knew exactly what she was saying, too. The rest of us weren’t sure where to look…

The first series of the second half:

Three and out isn’t optimal. Somehow this isn’t feeling good…

A plaintive comment from a Patriots series:
Crap.
Why is Hogan always open?

Didn’t get to enjoy this stat, regurgitated by the commentators, for long:
[Legarrette] Blount has 7 carries for 3 yards.

All too soon:
That Blount run was unbelievable.
Crap.
I seem to be writing that a lot.

Man, do I even want to watch the rest of this? Unfortunately I can’t help myself…
I guess when you don’t have L Bell it changes the equation. I just didn’t think the Pats D was quite that good…

And shortly afterwards:
The other cat just left. I don’t think he likes the vibes I’m giving off.

And speaking of not liking something:
Charming. Nothing like seeing Tom Brady blow his nose into the ground. [I guess he at least didn’t wipe it on a teammate’s jacket, like Mark Sanchez…]

Another announcer blooper:

Don’t forget to miss the Pro Bowl”. Good advice from the commentators, for once…

Partway into the fourth quarter:

One thing you can say – it’s never garbage time against the Patriots. I’m sure that Belichick would love to run the score up to a billion and giving the Steelers nothing…

I think I was getting a bit crabby at this point:

Okay, that Gain commercial was disturbing. And would somebody please shut down the Diet Dr. Pepper commercial? It’s possibly one of the most stupid and annoying commercials I’ve ever seen.

I’m guessing we were all crabby by then. Or depressed. Or both. It’s funny to look back through and see that perhaps the high point of the game, the point in which hope still was alive, was the early Javon Hargrave sack.

What does it all mean? Well, basically, that the Steelers weren’t quite good enough and quite healthy enough to overcome the loss of Le’Veon Bell, and that the defense isn’t quite experienced enough to overcome their lost veterans—Cam Heyward and even possibly Ricardo Mathews.

It’s easy to say “if only,” but I’m going to do it anyhow. If the Steelers hadn’t lost the services of Martavis Bryant, if Markus Wheaton hadn’t been injured, if Sammie Coates hadn’t broken two fingers and had his development interrupted as a result, and if Ladarius Green had joined the Steelers partway through training camp and played the season as originally assumed, who knows? If any one of the four had been available essentially for the whole season, that might have been enough. The “what if” about L. Bell is too obvious to even bemoan. All we can do is look to the future.

And there’s one trendline for the Steelers with a highly encouraging trajectory. In 2014 the Steelers backed into the playoffs with a wild card berth, thanks to several enormous bits of luck in Week 17. They lost the wild card game @ Baltimore. In 2015 the Steelers missed their chance to win the division and had to play a wild card game on the road. They won the game @ Cincinnati thanks to a Bengals meltdown of major proportions, and then lost the Division round on the road, @ Denver.This year they won the AFC North, handily and decisively won the wild card round, squeaked past the Chiefs in the Divisional round on the road, and lost the AFC Championship game on the road.

So does this mean that next season the Steelers will win the AFC North, play the first two games at home, win the AFC Championship game on the road, and go to the Super Bowl? Of course it does. Statistically, it’s a lock.

The only problem with that theory is presumably the Steelers would then lose the Super Bowl, and wouldn’t win it until the 2018 season. But perhaps they can move the clock ahead just enough to win it next season. We can only hope…

3 comments

  • Toronto Steeler Fan

    With respect to the trend line, I think just like Schwartz, the Steelers will commit a slight breach of etiquette by skipping the triple dare and going right for the throat with the triple-dog-dare, winning the Super Bowl next year.

    Like

    • Actually, skipping the triple dog dare is a serious breach of etiquette that can end up with someone’s tongue stuck to the flagpole. I know one of you people them up to this, but they refuse to say who. But those who do it know their blame, and I’m sure that the guilt you feel is far worse than any punishment you might receive. Now, don’t you feel terrible? Don’t you feel remorse for what you have done?

      Meanwhile, don’t YOU feel great that so much of the finest movie in modern times was shot in Toronto? OMG, how we love A Christmas Story!

      Like

  • Yeah, a step forward but it still hurts. To me it was more competitive than the score would indicate — a call here, a catch there, and obviously a healthy Bell.

    I actually like that Diet Dr. Pepper cowpoke ad even though I’ve seen it a jillion times. It seems to me subversive of the usual masculine roles we’ve seen on soooo many truck ads. But then I also still have a crush on Flo and enjoy her commercials, too.

    Like

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