Category Archives: Game Analysis

The Final Battle of Peyton Manning and Tom Brady

AP photo/Frank Victores

Disclaimer: I should have added “or so we fervently hope” to my title. But of course this is a website dedicated to all things Steeler, so the Manning/Brady battle is not a sight which gladdened our hearts.

The main reason I mention it at all is because it could have been quite a different game. It would have been a home game for the Patriots, of course, and Foxborough got 10 inches of snow on Saturday. The high on Sunday was 33 degrees.

By contrast it was a balmy 40-something degrees at Mile High Stadium, with sun and not a flake of snow in sight. And once again the home team prevailed. But I noted some things which interested me in comparison to last week’s contest.

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On Further Review: Why Injuries Really Were the Story of the Steelers Postseason

photo: Pittsburgh Steelers

The site Man Games Lost, which attempts to rank the impact of injuries on each team throughout the season, based upon not just how many games are lost to injuries but how important the players are, said that while the Ravens and the Steelers did not end the season as the most-injured teams in 2015, they could argue they were most impacted nonetheless.

Obviously there is no perfect metric for such things, because there is no way to know how a team would have performed differently under different circumstances. But there is no way to write the story of the 2015 Pittsburgh Steelers without talking about injuries. But injuries were also a major storyline of the post-season.

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On Second Thought: Divisional Round

USA Today Sports, Matthew Emmons photo

by Ivan Cole

The purpose of it all

There are those who say that winning the Lombardi is not the most important thing but the only thing. If you honestly subscribe to that line of thought then being a devoted fan of any particular NFL team is an exercise in masochism.

If we just examine those teams that qualified for this season’s post season tournament, four (Cincinnati, Houston, Minnesota and Carolina) have never reached the Promised Land of being the last team standing. Perhaps it will happen for the Panthers in February.

Four others have championships (not all Super Bowls) as artifacts of their history but no real experiential relevance to the vast majority of their current fan bases. The Cardinals, for example, won once, before I was born, when they were located in Chicago and Harry Truman was president. Kansas City won during the first Nixon administration. Washington and Denver won sometime in the nineties. Of the four remaining, the successes of New England and Seattle have been strictly recent.

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Homer’s Report Card for the Steelers Divisional Round Playoff Game

Ben_Roethlisberger_2015by Homer J.

It is with a heavy heart that I give you the following. I will have more to say tomorrow, but for now I’m going to post this and go watch Downton Abbey. As usual I will give you a smattering of Homer’s game notes and his report card.

And I want to second Homer’s comment—I am so proud of this team. Has any team ever gone into a playoff game missing both their starting (or even backup starting) running back and their best wide receiver, with their quarterback hurt, and made a game of it? The Steelers did. This was a game they very plausibly could have won, against the top defense in the league. It’s hard to accept that they lost, but also difficult to do anything but admire them for the way they did it.

Madjack58 put it best….the only thing fully functioning on this team is heart and guts.

The question in our hearts is whether it’s time for the clock to strike midnight, or whether heart and guts and magic dust will keep it all going.

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Another Look at the Bengals/Steelers Wild Card Game: Did the Referees Decide It?


via The Big Lead

Before the Wild Card game I had a lot of respect for head coach Marvin Lewis and for the vast majority of their players. Despite Steeler fans jokes about the “criminal element” on the Bengals, there are a whole lot of good guys on the team, and a whole lot of talented players.

Now, I feel sorry for the good guys and talented players who play within the lines, as it were. Because what we’ve been hearing from the Bengals is a whole litany of excuses as to why they lost a game they probably should have won, although even that has a caveat attached.

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On Second Thought: Steelers vs Bengals, The Rubber Match

via Post-Gazette/ Lake Fong photo

by Ivan Cole

A special team

Those who have been paying attention to my thoughts about the 2015 Pittsburgh Steelers know I stepped out on a limb and expressed an intuition I had that this might be a special campaign for this team.

As we awaited the beginning of the Wild Card game with Cincinnati, my companions were eagerly reminding me about this assertion. It was done in the spirit of those who were seeking some level of reassurance that everything would be okay, more specifically, that the Steelers would prevail. My response didn’t have a resonance of certainty about the outcome, and they didn’t like that.

It all centered on the ambiguity of the term ‘special’. The unspoken assumption was that the translation would be ‘Super Bowl run’, but I had never really been that explicit in statements on the matter. That seemed prudent as the season unfolded. How many times had it appeared this season that this team was on its way, only to have that possibility snatched away in some heart rending manner?

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Homer’s Obiter Dicta: Steelers at Bengals

perils of pauline

by Homer J.

Homer sent me the usual game notes, which I don’t have time to edit, as I’m still between flights. But here are his thoughts and  his famous report card, which I’m sure is locker room material at the Southside facility…

Final pass incomplete.  Who dey cryin’?

Vengeance is mine, sayeth the Lord.

I haven’t seen a game like that since the Immaculate Reception game.

The magnificent irony of Cincinnati literally giving away a game they had won….by dirty play…..and Burfict, of all people. It was altogether fitting and proper that he cost them with his criminal behavior.

Marvin Lewis lost control of his team…and they lost the game because of it.  And he may lose his job because of it. He left Burfict in the game.

Report card: Read more

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