It’s Official—Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2018 Season Over

I have a confession to make before we go any further here—I haven’t actually watched the game. And my son Adrian, who did, suggests that I might want to keep it that way. But not having actually watched the game certainly doesn’t prevent me from panicking. After all, the Steelers lost to the Browns!

Technically speaking, they didn’t exactly lose. A tie is what you make of it—half a win or half a loss. It’s one of those personality tests. But given all of the local pre-game commentary about how despite the depth and talent of the roster the Browns have managed to accumulate, they will find ways to lose, it surely counts as even more than half a loss.

And to once again speak technically, given that the Steelers were leading 21-7 in the fourth quarter, despite Ben being apparently determined to get all of his picks over with for the entire season in this game, perhaps this is more than half a loss. But even a cursory look at what actually happened in the game makes it pretty clear that the Browns’ defense, led by about 24 top-of-the-first-round picks, made life pretty miserable for the Steelers’ offense, or at least any member of the Steelers’ offense not named James Conner. At least up until a member of the Browns’ defense made Conner cough up the ball for the lone takeaway of the six not involving Ben. (To be fair, at least one of the five is definitely on Jesse James. Or so I gather.)

I will briefly pause to explain why I haven’t actually watched the game. I am in New Mexico visiting my aged mother. We were sitting in church when the game started, and I was shopping to stock her refrigerator, which was filled mainly with condiments when I arrived late Saturday night, while it was winding down to its painful conclusion. Thus virtue was its own reward, because I was spared yet another traumatic experience.

Will I ever watch the game? Let us draw a veil over this question, and return to our regularly scheduled program. After all, just because I don’t know what I’m talking about shouldn’t stop me from having firm, even hysterical, opinions on the matter.

So what have we learned? Here are some things:

    Chris Boswell is human after all.
    The Steeler defense looks better when they haven’t been on the field the entire game.
    And perhaps the Steeler defense looks better than anyone thought they would, even if, like Chris Boswell, they are human, and eventually get tired.
    Maybe Ben should play more in the preseason.
    Maybe part of Le’Veon Bell’s greatness can be attributed to Mike Munchak and his Merry Men.
    Sometimes stuff happens.

Now that I’ve tried to make a silk purse, perhaps we should stare the sow’s ear right in the face. A lot of people laughed when CBS Sports picked the Ravens to win the division this year. And maybe they shouldn’t have. It’s only one game, but 47-3 (Ravens/Bills) is a trifle alarming. Especially with Joe Flacco apparently looking like he’s remembered how to quarterback again. And it’s annoying that the Bengals won as well, thus having the Steelers begin the season in a hole. But from all accounts it is a hole they deserve to be in.

The thing about adversity is, it can get you down or it can provide a much-needed reality check (or kick in the pants, according to taste.) Let’s hope that reality check is the start of 15-0 from here on out. I’m scarcely counting on it, mind you. Even before today that would have been rather delusional. After today it’s delusional, period.

More to the point, as far as I’m concerned, perhaps it will cause the team to focus on the actual matter at hand and drop all the dramatics. As fascinating as the past few seasons have been, perhaps some plain old blue collar workmanlike attitude emanating from more of the locker room than Cameron Heyward would be welcome. Give it a try, guys. It surely has to work out better than the current plan.

If you’re wondering why there’s no picture, I think it’s better that way. Let’s push the reset button, and Go, Steelers.


  • Damn, that was ugly. I love Coach T but the game manager criticism is apt. While there were many mistakes, we were still well in control with a 14 point lead in the third quarter. We took our foot off the gas, got very conservative and predictably, the roof fell on again.

    I’m sick. So is my team. Let’s hope for better things next week.


  • Ben has always come out of the gate rusty. It takes him a few games to get into a good rhythm. Connor looked good enough that we can let Bell’s weekly salary expand our salary cap without any hand wringing. Watt is looking like something special.

    The continued undisciplined play is worrisome. Too many penalties has been a theme for too many years now. That falls on the coaching staff. It doesn’t seem players are held accountable for stupid, drive killing penalties.


  • I think i will just chalk this up to bad weather and the first game of the season. There was some sloppy play, but i don’t think a lot of it would have happened had it not been pouring rain the throughout the entire game.

    I rewatched most of the game, to when the browns tied it up and each team had 10 penalties. There were A LOT of penalties called, though I did not really see anything badly called, save TJ Watt’s roughing the passer penalty which didn’t affect the game. Artie Burns losing his cool was not a good showing and needs to be addressed.

    I cannot believe the refs didn’t call originally, nor overturn the ball hitting Chubb’s helmet on the punt in the 4th quarter. That changed the game entirely. Who knows what would have happened had we taken over at our 45 yard line at that point. At minimum it would have changed field position drastically. Upon watching the replay from the different angles, you can actually see the ball start to spin faster after it makes contact, not to mention Chubb flinching away from the ball after it hit him. That one hurt.

    Good news is that Conner looks to be awesome, we committed 12 penalties, had 6 turnovers, and allowed a 4th quarter comeback, yet still didn’t lose the game. Also, the defense looked good, especially T.J. with 4 sacks and lots of tackles behind the line, and the secondary with the amount of passes defensed.


  • My take :

    1. For many years I’ve been hoping the Browns would become “respectable” again. No, more than that… I’ve actually wanted them to become very good, because, having followed the Steelers since the 50s, I have missed the intensity of one of the NFL’s best rivalries. (Yeah, before you remind me, I realize the Ravens are the “old Browns”…. but they’re not the Browns, not in name & not in geography, and that means something.) We’ll know more about the Brownies in a few weeks, but I think I’ve gotten my wish. They’ll really be a bundle to handle when that QB from Oklahoma finally takes over.

    2. Fully agree with the previous comment re Ben and his rust. Maybe he needs more time in pre-season, like in days past when the starting lineup would usually play at least the first quarter of every game. I guess this falls on the head coach…. which leads me to…

    3. Coach Tomlin. What decisions are his? What decisions does he make, and what does he overrule? Why, when the running game (Conner…. what a great game he played!… for 3 quarters) began losing its effectiveness, shouldn’t the game plan have changed just a little bit? Why did he “run the wheels off Conner” and not hand it off to Ridley or Samuels for even a single play? Why not throw a single pass to Nix, or hand the ball to him once or twice? When it’s Conner, Conner, Conner the defense will of course start to key on him. Why not more variety? Why not some fresh legs to push a tired defense?
    There was frequent criticism of Arians when he was around for coming out in a second half and not changing his game plan. Haley was guilty of that also. LeBeau had such frequent success, that when the defense wasn’t succeeding, there were still almost no half-time adjustments. That’s why the Patriots always get the best of the Steelers… Belichick often brings his troops out in a second half looking like a different team. Does this ultimately fall on Tomlin, or does he hand over full control to other coaches? (I’m questioning Tomlin, not criticizing him, because I don’t know the answers any more than you do.) With such tight coverage of the receivers, wouldn’t the height of Washington, and his ability to get up there, been of benefit? Just for a few plays? Why not try? Just once?
    We all know Tomlin is often called a “player’s coach.” But where should the line be drawn on leniency and that which is not acceptable? I forget which coach, but last year one of the head coaches told his team that they were no longer to do the job of the refs by signaling first downs. He told them that if they thought they’d done a good thing by getting a first down, that they should prove it through repetition, not by celebrating a single event.
    “When you go into the end zone, act like you’ve been there before.”
    I don’t know, and many argue, to whom this quote is attributable: Paterno, Paul Brown, Lombardi, Landry, ‘Bear’ Bryant? Doesn’t matter, but it is something that needs to be adopted by Tomlin… the celebrations last year may have been fun, but they were eventually way over the top, and shows a lack of discipline. (Go ahead and berate me = It’s a game and celebrations are an integral part of the entertainment!)
    Artie Burns’ burning, flaming, losing control. Does this fall on Tomlin? How far does Tomlin go with discipline, and why isn’t it enough… or effective? C’mon Coach, put your foot down once in a while!
    Don’t know what responsibility is Tomlin’s, but there were far, far too many…..

    4. Penalties. As I watched the season opener between the Falcons & Eagles I was thinking it was one of the worst ‘professional’ games I’d ever seen. In their playoff game last year each team committed 4 penalties. There were 26 penalties in their opener, 18 more than the previous contest. And there were 23 penalties in the Steelers-Browns match-up, for over 200 yards. I’m increasingly losing my interest in the game with all the stoppage. Hue Jackson was up in the air on more than a couple occasions because of how the flow of the game was disrupted. I agree. Of course safety is important, but….. sometimes we need to shout out “Put a dress on ’em!”
    On the other hand, it was a sloppy field, probably very challenging to get footing, especially in the trenches, and it was the first game against a very aggressive opponent, so let’s see what the penalty count looks like in a few weeks.

    5. Bud Dupree. I’m not a Joey Porter fan. I don’t know whether he is a good coach or not. But what took so long, and whose decision was it to flip flop our OLBs? Big Al previously was a tight end and defensive lineman, and then the coaching god of the offensive line got hold of him. A good coach sees talent and matches that skill set to a position. Why aren’t players moved more often? Why did it take so long to try Bud on the other side? I thought he played the kind of game we’ve all been waiting for, and hope it wasn’t an anomaly, but a glimpse into his future. Yes, he made a few mistakes, but overall I think he looked promising.

    6. That other guy at OLB… T.J. is the real deal, and we can only hope he becomes the player his brother is!

    7. Cleveland was all over A.B. He was visibly upset on the sideline. Next week we can look forward to watching him wreak havoc.

    8. The Wizard of Boz, like the Wizard of Oz, is a mortal man, and not a magician. Field conditions & footing? He’ll be okay!

    9. The offensive line, and the defensive line…. they’ll be stellar this year.

    10. The defensive backs look like they are capable of doing good things, even if Haden is out for a few games.

    11. Danny Smith is still the special teams coach? Really? He hasn’t been dumped yet? He should be praying to the football gods for bringing him a young guy named Switzer, who will certainly help him keep his job. And speaking of Switzer…..

    12. Colbert…………. thanks for a good trade!

    13. It’s the first game of the season. Not only Ben, but this team hasn’t had great starts for the past few years. Could there be an ongoing reason? Are they overly confident early on, an easily acceptable reason considering the talent on this team? Are they not prepared in the right way? Are they in need of, and not getting, “inches” speeches for the first few games? Do they lack inspiration?

    14. Twenty years ago I’d have punched something when the game ended. Maybe a few things, probably my remote, would have been thrown during the last quarter.
    But over the past decade or two I have lived in many different places, several different countries, and have met sports fans from many countries, cheering for a wide variety of teams in many different sports. I’ve learned to be grateful. I spent summers in Forbes Field, mostly in the right field bleachers to be near Clemente. I went to many, many Steelers games in the 70s, lucky enough to see many of those games from the Allegheny Club. I watched the Pipers win a championship. When Pitt won the national championship I was in New Orleans at the Sugar Bowl to see it.
    I attended the first ever playoff games the Penguins participated in. While disappointed the three-peat didn’t happen last year, I think the Pens had a great year. Considering what they’d done to Washington in previous years, and how hungry those Caps players must have been, it was hard to be upset that the Pens didn’t win the cup again.
    And now here come the Browns. Like the Caps, they’ve been dominated by the Steelers. They’re angry. They’re hungry. And they were obviously more motivated yesterday than the Steelers were.
    It’s going to be a fun year.
    Be thankful for being able to watch great players like Ben, A.B., Conner, Watt, Heyward & Tuitt, week after week, and year after year. Winning a championship is icing on a cake, but it’s not the cake. It’s about entertainment, and if there’s one thing I believe we can all agree on……….. it’s that the Steelers have been, currently are, and will be in the future one of the most entertaining teams in all sports.

    15. Rebecca…. I hope you’re enjoying your visit, and not visiting your aged mother due to health. I dealt with an aged father last year, so I know what that can entail, and wish you & your mom the best.

    16. Pittsburgh has a large Jewish population. Happy New Year to you.


  • Sunday we proved we were just as good as the Browns. Ouch.


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