Category Archives: Game Analysis

The Pittsburgh Steelers Play Real Football—Sort Of

Photo via Steelers.com

I suppose my title is not quite accurate. The players were playing real football, but a good many of them were very likely (hopefully?) not the guys that will be suiting up for the regular season. This is, presumably, part of why so many people hate the preseason. Me? I love it. The games are almost worry-free (other than the injury issues) as the end result doesn’t actually matter very much. And it is exciting to see how the youngsters perform in game action.

As for the players, as David DeCastro said, they enjoy the chance to hit other people. I laughed when Tunch Ilkin said the same thing the other day in a post-practice report, but I can see that especially for the veterans it would be a relief. When you’re hitting your own guys you don’t want to be the one that injures someone. While presumably you don’t want to injure other people’s players either—after all, the guy you obliterate could end up being a teammate later on—it surely doesn’t have the same impact as possibly taking out someone you know and whom your team might need down the road.

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On Second Thought: Browns @ Steelers

FE0B3163-EFDD-43D9-BDBE-EE3524C2E306Photo via Steelers.com

By Homer J

I would like to respectfully suggest to Homer that the computer lose his homework more often. This is some of his finest work. Enjoy. You have quite a treat in store…Ed.

Homer watched the Steelers “B” Team (NOT to be confused with the Killer B’s) defeat the Washington Generals, AKA the Cleveland Browns, and took copious game notes. Unfortunately, it was New Year’s Eve, and somehow they were deleted instead of copied. Seriously, the computer ate his homework. Apple, why dost thou mock me??? Read more

Browns @ Steelers: The Factory of Sadness Outdoes Itself

Just suppose that a few weeks ago I had told you that the Browns’ defense will have given up the fewest points per game in the NFL this season. And then I told you the Steelers’ offense would play those same Browns without Ben, Le’Veon Bell, Antonio Brown, Maurkice Pouncey, and David DeCastro. And then I had told you that center B.J. Finney would be injured partway through the game and would be replaced by Chris Hubbard, who would give clear and frequent demonstrations as to why he isn’t the backup center. And then I told you that the Browns’ defense would force a fumble and recover it, and that they would pick off Landry Jones early in the game. And then I told you the Browns’ offense would manage to score 24 points. How confident would you feel that the Steelers had pulled out a win?

Probably not very confident. And with excellent cause. But in fact that’s what happened. To do so they got a little help from the refs, who overturned a fumble call on Ridley (and rightly so, as his arm was clearly down before the ball moved) and called a rather ticky-tacky roughing the passer call on Myles Garrett. They also got help from a couple of receivers—JuJu Smith-Schuster not only had a heck of a game on offense but took a kickoff 98 yards for the Steelers’ first kick return touchdown since Antonio Brown did it in 2010. They also received help from a player who has been more than generous in that way throughout this season—Browns’ receiver Cory Coleman, who dropped what would have been a huge fourth-down conversion in the last few minutes of the fourth quarter, thus more or less giving the game to the Steelers, who hung on to a tenuous 4-point lead for the last 25 minutes of the game or so.

Given that the only starter on the defense to not play was Cameron Heyward, it’s hard to feel very good about a Steelers’ defense who gave up 24 points to the worst offense in the league. Or so I assume, and checking with the NFL offensive stats,

The Steelers’ Christmas Gift to their Nation

Photo via Steelers.com

By Ivan Cole

Last season the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens provided Steelers Nation, and the rest of the football loving world, a high-stakes, high drama matchup for Christmas, capped by Antonio Brown’s Immaculate Extension, a division title and a playoff berth. For that positive bit of holiday entertainment, the scheduling gods at the NFL decided that it would be good for business if the Steelers worked on Christmas Day for the second consecutive year. One wonders if somewhere someone is mulling the perverse notion that Christmas for Pittsburgh could be what Thanksgiving is for Detroit and Dallas. Let’s hope not.

The Steelers delivered again, only this time the gift was for their fans alone. What they gave them, appropriate for the occasion, was peace.

Pittsburgh has been enjoying one of its most successful seasons, but it has been a mostly unrelenting, high stress affair. The endings have been mostly happy and satisfying. Steelers fans have gotten the wins that we crave, an early seat into the playoffs, and a tie for best record in the conference. The football watching public has gotten a consistent diet of high drama and last second heroics.

While Steelers Nation can appreciate this kind of play as disinterested observers, they neither need or want this kind of thing when it involves their own team. So, while the game was almost certainly a boring, disappointing blowout to most fans, for followers of the Steelers it was just what the doctor ordered—a dominating performance that did not disturb the good feeling of not just the day, but with a Bye secured, pushed back any feelings of anxiety for a fortnight, which is the most likely time anything of significance will occur.

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On Second Thought: Homer J’s Game Notes and Grades

EB61AEF4-8F9F-482F-A84D-3E2D5B773543Photo via Steelers.com

By Homer J.

In Pittsburgh, Monday night games throw everything off. Even the trash collection is delayed a day this week. Therefore the 5 Smoldering Questions will appear tomorrow, which, last time I checked, will be Thursday. And as usual my comments will be in italics..Ed.

Are you ready for some football?  Not looking for a Christmas miracle. Just a win over a badly depleted opponent. And keeping everyone healthy. That, and a Red Ryder B-B gun. Is it too much to ask for?

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Steelers @ Texans: Taking Care of Business

Photo via Steelers.com

The recurring theme of the coverage of this game is “business-like.” The Steelers were supposedly reeling from a last-minute, emotional loss to the Patriots. Furthermore, this is a team who under Mike Tomlin has proven, at least in recent years, that they are capable of losing to anyone. The Texans’ roster was banged up almost to the point of being unrecognizable, and the Steelers, by contrast, got back a couple of important players, Marcus Gilbert and Joe Haden. But the general feeling prior to the game was that while the Steelers should easily handle the Texans, despite the absence of Antonio Brown, the big question was, would they?

The answer was a resounding “yes.” Let’s look at some of the details, and see whether it seemed like “business as usual” for the players.

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Acme Fake Spike Kit Fails Steelers, Who Fall to Screwjob in Dusty Finish

Photo via Steelers.com

By Homer J.

Pregame remarks:

All right. Cue the music. It’s Cliff Friend’s 1937 classic “The Merry Go Round Broke Down.” When the Steelers face the Patriots, it’s Looney Tunes, and too often the Steelers are Wile E. Coyote and the Tom Brady is the Road Runner. So cue the Looney Tunes music….Gotta wonder what Coach Tomlin has purchased from the Acme Corporation this time around, and whether it’s gonna work.

Either that or we’re the Washington Generals and the Patriots are the Globetrotters. But, as Krusty always says, “the Generals are due.” Rooting for the Steelers is the triumph of hope over experience, but hope, talent, and home field advantage can go a long way.

Why the hell are they running commercials locally when the game is getting underway? We missed the first entire minute of the game while they ran commercials…

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