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.
Photo via Steelers.com
I have a confession to make. I haven’t actually watched this game. Nor am I going to try and write it up, even though I did watch the highlights, twice. (We had friends over for Christmas dinner, and they couldn’t come until early evening, as they were driving in from a considerable distance.)
I’ve recorded the game and will watch it tomorrow, but it’s just too late tonight. And besides, it’s Christmas. I will make just one small observation, gleaned from the highlight reel, which makes me think there wasn’t a lot of suspense in the game—the vast majority of the “highlights” when the Texans’ offense was on the field were the numerous sacks by the Steelers’ defense. That has to hurt. Almost as much as the fact that the crowd at the stadium appeared to be 90% Steeler fans.
So we can all rest easy, safe in the assurance that the Steelers have a first-round bye clinched. Since the Patriots still appear to have the replay ref firmly in their pocket, there’s probably no need to risk Ben, Bell and so on next week in the Browns game on the off-chance the Pats lose next Sunday. Although I note the Pats play the Jets next week, also at 1 p.m., and Tomlin might have pause for thought should the Jets actually be allowed to score a touchdown or two against the Pats while keeping Brady in check. I have a suggestion to Josh McCown—you might want to throw the ball to someone besides Austin Seferian-Jenkins, just in case…
Photo via Steelers.com This is from the session in which the Steelers recorded their annual Christmas carol video. You can watch it here if your stomach is strong enough. Strangely, the kicking unit was better at singing (if you can call it that) than any of the others. Which isn’t saying much. And Robert Golden should never, ever be put front and center again. That was a crime against nature.
The Texans seemed to be one of those Cinderella stories earlier this season. After years of trying they had finally found a franchise quarterback at the top of the draft in Deshaun Watson. And then he got injured. The face of their defense, J.J. Watt, big brother to rookie T.J. Watt—you may have heard of him—is also injured. There are many more reasons than those two for the Texans’ 4-10 record, but those make a pretty good start.