Tag Archives: Baltimore Ravens

5 Smoldering Questions on the Pittsburgh Steelers: Week 14

A1FC1295-1AED-4025-9825-4AC2339004C3Photo via Steelers.com

By Hombre de Acero

Watching the Steelers win over the Baltimore Ravens was watching a legend in the making. The victory at Heinz Field clinched yet another AFC North title for Pittsburgh, but hold off on breaking out the celebratory kielbasa and Iron City Beer (yes, I’m serious about the latter one) as the New England Patriots are coming to town. But before we can see if the Steelers can corral the elephant in the room, this corner of Steelers Nation must first resolve these 5 Smoldering Questions on the Steelers.

1. While Pittsburgh prevailed against the Ravens, the Steelers defense looked like it sorely missed Ryan Shazier at several points. Yet, for as badly as they played overall, the Steelers defense stopped the Ravens cold on 3 of 4 fourth quarter possessions.

Do you think that Mike Tomlin and Keith Butler will be able to coax enough consistency out of this defense for the Steelers to be competitive against New England? Justify your answer.

2. Surprise, Surprise! The Patriots lost to Miami on Monday Night Football. Do you think this loss unmasks a vulnerability or do you fear that it will only serve to strengthen New England’s resolve?

3. After his first stint at returning kicks, Mike Tomlin indicated that Martavis Bryant would get more chances to do so. Against the Bengals, Bryant did it again and had a touchdown called back on a penalty.

Yet, against the Ravens, Bryant only narrowly avoided disaster. When asked about it, Mike Tomlin responded this way:

Do you think that our esteemed head coach is guilty of, as we would say in Spanish double discurso (speaking out of both sides of one mouth.)

4. Hombre asked me to include a question based on the idea of rituals. Players tend to be quite superstitious, but they have nothing on the fans. I mentioned several weeks ago the Steelers T-shirt I wore for the Titans game, and was advised not to wash it. Well, I didn’t wash it, but I didn’t remember to wear it for the next few games either. (Generally I watch the games in whatever I have on at the moment, which is usually church clothes…) You all might note that the only game the Steelers have won by a comfortable margin is the Titans game…

Hombre mentioned the following: 

The Steelers are 11-2 when he watches on tape delay (even if the delay is only via pausing the game for a handful of minutes). His concern is this:

“Although no one’s mentioned it, my guess is the locals will suggest we get together to watch the game, which would mean no tape delay!”

These sorts of decisions aren’t easy. I was quite concerned last Saturday because I needed to dust underneath the Steelers nutcracker which overlooks the computer screen where I watch, and I was afraid I wouldn’t get it back in the exact same position. 

What about you all? Do you have rituals that you believe, in your heart of hearts, can influence the course of a Steelers game, for good or ill?

5. Sometimes in the present it becomes too easy to forget the past. The Pittsburgh Steelers once actually owned Bill Belichick, albeit a long time ago. Recent, Steelers history against the Patriots has been fraught with nothing but frustration for Pittsburgh.

The Steelers have won 3 times against Belichick 2.0, have beaten Belichick-Brady twice with only one win coming in the Mike Tomlin era and the other coming when Ben Roethlisberger was a rookie.

The Steelers average margin of loss to the Patriots has been by 13.5 points, or just shy of two touchdowns (although that margin “improves” to 9.6 at Heinz Field).

What, if anything, makes you think that this time, things will finally be different?

There you go folks.

Ravens vs Steelers: Sober Observations

By Ivan Cole

At what point is it appropriate to acknowledge a team and their season is special, even magical? Yes, there is the CONFRONTATION this week with the Patriots, as well as the hoped for happy ending in Minnesota. But forgive what might seem like lowering the bar by saying this—there is no way that what has transpired to this point could be viewed anyway other than a triumph of the collective spirit of the Pittsburgh Steelers organization.

Like the Immaculate Reception, the story of this season deserves to be shared for decades hence as a salute to soaring feats of achievement, dogged determination and resiliency in the face of both competitive challenges and straight up tragedy. If it were easy it would be a more unambiguously pleasant experience, but would lose the true and deep resonance of its impact. This is a spiritual event authored by an organization that has unapologetically embraced the spiritual—they hold training camp at a monastery.

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Steelers reach into their pocketful of miracles to win eighth straight,  so that they can give the game ball to Ryan Shazier

Photo via Steelers.com

By Homer J.

As per usual, heavily edit (and occasionally commented-upon) game notes will be followed by Homer’s report card. I’m amazed he had the strength.

The mood was jubilant at first:

LET’S WIN THIS ONE FOR RYAN! If emotion can win football games, the Steelers will win this one by fifty. But a defense without Shazier and Haden is suspect, to say the least. It’s Sunday Night Football, and the best rivalry in the NFL. Let’s get started….

Rosie Nix plants Chris Moore on the opening kickoff at the BAL 17…and then…

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Ravens @ Steelers: A 38-Tums Game*

Photo via Steelers.com

If you watched the game you have no need of an explanation for the headline. If you have watched the Steelers at all this season you probably don’t need an explanation either. I had the joy of watching the game with both my sons, and it was a corker. After taking a 14-0 lead in the early going, the Steelers had to make it interesting for the next 45 minutes or so. And the Ravens managed to make it interesting by seemingly Bungling the end of the game, not at least going for a Hail Mary pass in the waning seconds. But in fact it was T.J. Watt’s strip sack that decided their fate. And a timely play it was, too. It was, I believe, the only sack of the game by the Steelers’ defense, and it couldn’t have been more welcome. Except, perhaps, to Joe Flacco.

There’s just something about this team. They are scarily slow on defense in the middle of the field without Ryan Shazier. The tackling was improved tonight, enough to come up to perhaps junior varsity level, but Alex Collins frequently ripped through them like a hot knife through butter. Or Javoris Allen. Or the friggin’ fullback.

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A Quick Look at the AFC North, Mid-Term

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Photo via Steelers.com [Doesn’t this just sum up AFC North football?]

Thank heavens there is football this weekend. All the sordid discussion about compensation packages and injuries was getting me down. And that was just Ivan. Heaven only knows when Homer is going to chime in. But as they say, “idle hands are the devil’s playground.”

So instead let’s have a look at how things are going in the glorious AFC North.

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A Brief History of Time—in the AFC North

photo via Steelers.com

I hope you all realize I’m not claiming to be the Stephen Hawkings of football. Au contraire. Not even about the AFC North. But after four games it’s worth taking a look at where we are and seeing if we can find some trends.

As I’m quite sure everyone reading this is aware, the Steelers are currently in sole possession of the divisional crown—for the nonce. But it’s still a long way to January. So let’s look at the other teams and what potential threats might lurk. Because as we all know, when it’s AFC North Football anything can happen.

I’m going to try not to be too stats-nerdy with this. For one thing, stats only tell you what has happened, in a completely un-nuanced way. The interpretation of them can result in very diverse potential scenarios. So I’ll give some numbers just to keep myself honest, and commit myself to what I think they are telling us. I will update them at various points throughout the rest of the season.

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5 Smoldering Questions on the Pittsburgh Steelers: Week 5

photo via Steelers.com

Once again Hombre de Acero is pottering around the globe, with no consideration whatsoever for the needs of this little corner of Steeler Nation. I may have to cut his salary in half. (Although it wouldn’t make much difference, however much I cut it down.) But seriously, Hombre, be safe and come back with a brain bursting with awesome questions! In the meantime you all will have to make do with 5 Spluttering Questions on last week’s triumph in the Charm City and next week’s tilt with the Jaguars. I am at least going to avoid the low-hanging fruit, so thus there will be nothing about Ben, Bell, or AB:

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