Random Thoughts on Steelers @ Jaguars
Sorry for the lateness. Once again I’m in the Land of Enchantment [this is a reason, if not an excuse.] Two points if you know, without Googling, which state that is. Five points if you can name the State Bird. 10 Points if you can name the State Cookie. (Yes, they have one.) 20 points if you can name the State Song, and 100 points if you can sing it. Answers may be given in the comments below, and you may post a video of yourself singing the state song if you want to go for the Big Kahuna. It will probably go viral. But back to business:
This article was supposed to be titled “Random Thoughts on the Steelers’
Major Collapse Epic Comeback,” but the title box doesn’t allow for strikethroughs. And perhaps it’s best to dwell on the positive. So let’s begin, and I will endeavor to do so. No promises, though…
I guess Stephon Tuitt was even more important than I thought. And Daniel McCullers was even less ready than anyone thought. (Which in many cases was already not much.)
James Conner’s haircut is, I gather, one of a class termed “business in the front, party in the back.” Perhaps it is time for Conner to be all business. [Low blow, I know, but stay with me…]
Good Ben is unbelievable. Bad Ben isn’t even “decent, at best.” If only Bad Ben could be completely exorcised.
Watching the “Mic’d Up” version of the Panthers game (you can find it on NFL.com—I’m in too much of a hurry to post a link) is wayyyy more fun than watching anything but the last five minutes or so of Sunday’s game. (Actually, it’s way more fun than an awful lot of things which are way more fun than most of Sunday’s game. It was MT and Ben who were mic’d up, and it’s definitely worth the trouble to find it.)
Er, I’m not doing a very good job at staying positive. Let me reset and try again.
Positive Takeaway No. 1:
This team finds a way to win. That’s huge. Kevin Gorman, one of the local writers, had predicted the Steelers would lose this game, because he thought it was a bad matchup. It clearly was, and yet they pulled a win out of a game in which they had been held scoreless for almost three full quarters of football. Wow.
Positive Takeaway No. 2:
The epic comeback at the end was possible because the defense, while bloodied, was unbowed, in the sense that they managed to hold the Jaguars to three field goals in the first half, thus meaning that the deficit was nine points to begin the third quarter, instead of the forty or so points it felt like it ought to be. When the defense is willing to keep fighting when your offense can barely muster a first down, let alone a point, that means they believe.
Positive Takeaway No. 3:
Painful as it was, I think this game gives us more to be hopeful about than the Panthers game did. Last year they would have lost this one. In fact, last year they lost this matchup—twice.
Positive Takeaway No. 4:
I’m not as certain now as I was before yesterday’s game that the Steelers are going to lose the Raiders game. (They still might, of course…)
Positive Takeaway No. 5:
Your Pittsburgh Steelers are currently the No. 2 seed! All the Steelers have to do is win out to keep it that way. They might even end up No. 1 if the Chiefs should by some chance falter down the stretch. Of course, there is the small matter of playing the Saints, who at this point are the consensus Best Team in the League, and for that matter the Pats…
Positive Takeaway No. 6:
Gravedigger, as Homer J. calls him (Javon Hargrave) had what I hope is a breakout game.
Positive Takeaway No. 7:
I’m guessing that James Conner won’t be taking his eye off the ball just before he catches it anymore. And honestly, it is worth speculating whether he came back a little too soon from the concussion. The problem with the whole concussion protocol thing is that at the moment it is almost entirely based on self-reporting. When you are hard working and driven, I’m guessing there is considerable temptation to keep minor symptoms to yourself.
Would the Steelers have lost the game without Conner? On paper, before the game, one might think so. But the games aren’t played on paper, and there appeared to be little respect amongst the Jaguar D for pretty much anyone in a Steelers uniform. I don’t know that putting Ridley or Samuels in the backfield would have made much difference.
Positive Takeaway No. 8:
Six sacks. Gotta love it. The defense sacked Blake Bortles once for every four times he attempted a pass.
T.J. Watt now has double digit sacks on the season, which is the first time since 2010 any defensive player has that many—for the season.
Postive Takeaway No. 9:
How sweet it must have been to see the faces of the Jaguars’ defensive players, (or Jags, as I prefer to call them,) who had been trash-talking the whole time, one gathers. I would love to know whether Ben sought out Telvin Smith, who had been following Ben off the field and enumerating the total number of interceptions, to give him a hearty handshake, or whatever. He did land a little jab during his press conference, to the effect that a lot of talking was going on during the game, but he (Ben) was taking the game ball home.
Well, that’s all I’ve got. Add your own thoughts, positive or negative, in the comments. But as you can see we prefer to look on the sunny side of life here…