USA Today Sports, Charles LeClaire photo
The start of this game was not promising. Nor the middle, for that matter. You could excuse the Steelers not moving the ball as efficiently with Joshua Dobbs at quarterback as the Falcons did with Matt Ryan at quarterback.
But it got more and more difficult to excuse the Steelers not moving the ball at all as the first teamers for the Falcons stayed on the sideline.
photo via Steelers.com
The Steelers won their first game of this young (pre-)season. We all know these games are meaningless, or so we’ve been telling ourselves for the past however many years, when the Steelers have lost most of them. It might not mean much, but it’s nice to see them win one, especially under the circumstances.
As we knew going into the game, many of the starters didn’t even see the field, except where their feet might have strayed onto the turf on their way to the sidelines. Those starters on the offensive side included Ben Roethlisberger, Landry Jones (abdominal strain,) Le’Veon Bell (who of course wasn’t even there,) Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant (who was there but not playing,) James Conner (putative second back,) Maurkice Pouncey, and Alejandro Villanueva (concussion.) Did I miss anyone? Is anyone left? From last year’s starters, at least the majority of the season, the only guys on the field were Marcus Gilbert, David DeCastro, Ramon Foster, Jesse James, and Eli Rogers (if you considered him a starter.) And of course there were the extras—Xavier Grimble, Cobi Hamilton, Darrius Heyward-Bey, et al.
In other words, given they were working against the Giants’ first-team defense (with a few exceptions such as Jason Pierre-Paul) you might think the Steelers’ offense, led by the first rookie quarterback to open the preseason for a very long time, would be overmatched. And of course you would be right, although it might be just as fair to say many of the wounds were self-inflicted.
Geoff Burke, USAToday Sports
by Homer J
“I am sore wounded but not slain
I will lay me down and bleed a while
And then rise up to fight again.”
The storied words of Sir Andrew Barton seem appropriate in the aftermath of Sunday’s battle at Foxboro. Sore wounded, indeed.
The Steelers were outmatched, outgunned, outcoached, and out-executed by the arch-nemesis New England Patriots. There’s no getting around it.
Hmm, uncalled face mask penalty, you think? (Photo via Steelers.com)
During the game, which I actually watched in my brother’s basement, I jotted down some things which got my attention, for whatever reason. Some of them are pointless, or just dumb, and I will attempt to excise them. You can let me know if I was successful with my editing. I can tell you, however, that I’m eliminating about 80% of what I wrote. In fact, looking through these has confirmed my opinion that I’m better off just watching and getting the details later…
Before I plunge in I will explain about my brother’s basement. It probably should be a Cowboys’ man-cave, as my brother is a big fan, but it isn’t. My brother lives right next door to my mom in New Mexico, and my mom doesn’t have a TV. So I headed over to the empty house—empty of humans, that is, as they are on vacation while I parent-mind. I managed to figure out how to turn on the TV.
I’m not going to say much of anything right now. The hurt is still too fresh. There is plenty to be said, and I suspect we’ll all dissect it when we emerge from our depression, but at the moment I just want to celebrate the guys that came up big.
Chief among them was Ben. He didn’t always receive the help he needed from his motley crew of guys, but he made the throws and looked, at least temporarily, like Heinz Field Ben. And he passed Terry Bradshaw’s record of 300+ yard games in the post-season, which, given the recent history with Bradshaw, is a really good thing. Read more
by Ivan Cole
A successful season
Yes, I know, I know. The line is that the only successful season is one that ends with the hoisting of the Lombardi. That would mean that there have only been six successful seasons in the history of the Franchise. It would also mean that some franchises have never had a successful season ever. So, let’s be realistic.
I am on record as stating that the standard for success for this particular collection of talent is to make it to the Conference Championship Game. Though familiar territory for fans, for some players, like Bud Dupree, winning a division championship was a new experience. For the majority of the roster, participating in a conference championship is something only a relative handful of players know about. Doing so would be novel for coaches such as Todd Haley and Mike Munchak.
It was an odd game, and this is going to be an odder-than-usual post-game article. Here goes:
10. Touchdowns are way nicer than field goals, but 18 points is still more than 16.
9. An opposing player has to essentially decapitate James Harrison before the refs call a hold on him. Luckily the tackle didn’t quite manage to completely remove his head.
8. Le’Veon Bell is amazing, but as we have seen in Landry Jones-led games and/or drives, there has to be some threat of a passing game for him to do his best work.
7. If things aren’t going so well, I need to remove the vintage Steelers button from its spot on the Terrible Towel and pin it to my Terrible Scarf. It’s the road game version of playing Renegade.
6. As Tunch Ilkin says, it’s always the second guy that gets the penalty. Apparently no one told Travis Kelce this.
5. Even James Harrison gets winded on occasion.
4. I’m all in favor of Ryan Shazier continuing to get an interception in every game—this makes four in a row.
3. Apparently an immense amount of crowd noise interferes with the referees’ ability to correctly ascertain where the ball should be spotted.
2. The Killer Bs have added a new member. Soon we’ll have a whole hive.
1. Ben may not have had his greatest game, but he came through when it mattered.