Patriots @ Steelers: The Ecstasy and the Agony

Photo via Steelers.com

There was great rejoicing at Greg’s house in Herndon, VA, as a great number of the gathered faithful, including Ivan, Homer and myself hugged, screamed, high fived, and so on according to taste. The Outlaw had won the game! Touchdown! Surely the Patriots couldn’t score in 28 seconds!

But Tony Corrente’s Grinch Crew stole Christmas on a rainy night in Pittsburgh.

The mood (and the language) quickly changed from elation to anger. And to be honest, some of the anger was directed at the Steelers. PaVa Steeler noted, with great passion and great frequency, that all it would have taken was one first down. (That isn’t actually a quote, as I removed a number of colorful modifiers…) There was also the moment in which Sean Davis let the game-finishing interception fall harmlessly to the ground. You could also ask yourself if the fake spike followed by the interception that actually ended the game was a good idea. In short, the Steelers had several opportunities to get the Patriots monkey off their back, and in the end they didn’t.

There is one factor which might be considered mitigating, according to taste. Antonio Brown’s injury relatively early in the game was not as much of a game-changer as we feared it might be, right up until the last few minutes of the game. Does anyone doubt he would have gotten first down yardage on the infamous third down? Or that the attention paid to him would have allowed someone else to do it?

There were things to celebrate in this game. Martavis Bryant had some very nice plays, including an unbelievable touchdown reception. He still seems to struggle with the concept of running in the correct direction, but all was forgiven after that touchdown. It was good to see Eli making some plays. The line gave Ben about as much protection as he could expect. The defense did more or less manage to stop the run. Sort of. And just seeing Ryan Shazier in the stands was heartening.

But James Conner going down with a knee is ominous. We are sall going to be on tenterhooks until we hear about AB. But mostly, the defense hasn’t managed to solve the problem of losing Ryan Shazier. It’s perhaps unreasonable to expect this in less than two weeks, but it is going to be difficult to feel comfortable about the playoffs if something isn’t figured out very soon.

I’m writing this as we drive home from DC. I wasn’t writing it at first. At first I was softly whimpering in the passenger seat. But a goodly amount of chocolate revived me to the extent that I could pen these words. It’s about all I’m capable of at the moment. There will be more in the coming days. But somehow this was even more distressing than I expected a loss to be. To be so close and have it slip out of our hands, rather like the ball trickling through Sean Davis’ fingers. But we have to move on. Now we just have to keep ahead of Jacksonville and hope of the best. Because, as Mr. Momma said, (or perhaps I should say Herr Doktor Professor Momma, now that he has his chair) at least one has the sense the Patriots can be had.

And perhaps in the meantime someone can explain to me why Rob Gronkowski didn’t get a taunting penalty at the two-point conversion. I say suspend him until next season.

I’ll be burning the Lucky Steelers Shirt tomorrow….

4 comments

  • cold_old_steelers_fan

    I saw the bobble on the first replay and I knew it wouldn’t stand. I didn’t mind the fake spike but I did mind Ben trying to force the ball into a covered receiver.

    Earlier, I was with Tony Romo (who knew I would like him as a commentator) on the, why are we running the ball when we need to get first downs, I thought the Steelers offence was too conservative for most of the 4th quarter.

    I thought the Steelers were the better team that shot itself in the foot. Assuming AB is healthy and available, we should beat them in the playoffs. Too bad we gave up control of where we will play.

    Liked by 1 person

  • We can all be mad about the TD reversal but bottom line is the Steelers couldn’t put the Pats away….. again. It was encouraging watching the Steelers actually beat the Patriots in a football game even if the Pats got the W. If they meet in the playoffs I feel pretty good about our chances, and I haven’t felt that way for many years.
    Brady is the GOAT for a reason and you have to take away his main weapon when he’s driving for a tying score with two minutes left. Sean Davis joins the cast of Steeler DB’s over the years who have been abused by Gronk. He should be asking Butler why he wasn’t given help covering Gronk on the final drive. Crucial mistake given that the Steelers were actually getting pressure on Brady. It’s an impossible task for the pass rush when Brady can throw it to Gronk wide open 20 yards downfield less than 2 seconds after the ball is snapped. At least hit him at the line before he releases for crying out loud.

    Had Ben thrown that ball away at the goal line and let Bos kick the tying field goal, we might be having a different conversation today. That confidence in his abilities is one of the reasons he will be in the HOF and is why we are always in the hunt for a championship so I’m fine with taking the occasional bad decision along with all the big plays.
    We outplayed the Patriots basically without AB. If AB is back at full speed for the playoffs I think we have the psychological advantage for the first time in years.

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  • So mad last night that I couldn’t have typed this comment because my hands were literally shaking. I couldn’t even listen to post-game interviews or comments.

    I had calmed down by this morning but my blood pressure shot right back up as I hear for the first time this morning that Ben was going to spike it with 14 seconds but the coaches wanted him to run a play. MAYBE THE NEXT TIME THEY WILL GET ON THE SAME #@!$% PAGE AND MORE THAN ONE RECEIVER WILL RUN A PASS PATTERN!!!!!!!!!

    !@#$$%%^ &*(&^%$%$ C^^&&***(*(((^%$#@@!@$

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  • Tough loss. Ok, that’s an understatement. I’m not sure how the Patriots always seem to benefit from these relatively “obscure” calls – although this one has made it’s presence felt a few times.

    I guess I have three reactions from the game:

    1. We got outcoached on both Offense and Defense with about 7 minutes to play in the 4th. I get that it’s pressure filled and hard to always make good decisions. But anyone who has watched the Pats play knows 2 things: A) you can’t play zone B) you can’t trick them.

    2. Some industrious Steelers fan / blogger should look at all of the TD’s in the final 2 minutes of a game and see how many of them involved a bobble and “not surviving the ground”. My guess is there are quite a few. Won’t change anything. But it would feel good.

    3. My long standing gripe with the NFL is that there is no consistency. The Refs mostly “let them play” during the game. But when it came down to it, they went with a “by the book” call to decide the playoff seeding. If this rule matters, so did the holding by the Pats offensive line. So did some of the push offs.

    But consistency is not a concern of Roger Goodell. He’s more interested in “drama” and the ratings that “drama” allegedly generates. However, sitting here as a fan, I’m tired of the inconsistency. Too many games every week are determind by a random set of opinions. It’s just not fun anymore. And I’ve felt this way for a long time. It’s just this painful loss, plus watching MORE injuries around the league that might truly be that final straw.

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