Photo via Steelers.com
Last Sunday virtue was its own reward, something that seems to happen rather infrequently. [It generally seems that no good deed goes unpunished…] I’m visiting my aged mother, and we went to church. She always goes to the 11 o’clock service, and so we went to the 11 o’clock service, even though that’s when the Steelers game began, out here in the beautiful southwest. (Not that the Steelers’ game was broadcast anyhow, here in Cowboys/Broncos territory.)
And after church my mother always goes out to lunch with some old friends. When I say “old friends,” I mean people she has been friends with since 1959. We had a nice lunch, and drove back home. I finally then allowed myself to check the score, because I knew I would have to wait the rest of the day before the game would be available on GamePass. The game was over, and the Steelers had won. Little did I know how much drama (and trauma) had occurred during those three hours. Read more
Photo via Steelers.com—Nice stiff-arm, JuJu…
You know the drill. Heavily edited game notes—Homer writes comments on each play—and his grades…Ed.
Homer began his notes with this, emphasis his:
JUJU’S BIG ADVENTURE. A 97-YARD BIKE LANE COMES TO THE MOTOR CITY AND LOOK AT JUJU’S PEDALS.
I’m still busy processing this game. Strangely, I don’t quite know how to feel about it yet. On the one hand I’m glad the Steelers weren’t completely embarrassed, but on the other hand I’m frustrated that they seemed to have a genuine chance until the last half of the fourth quarter or so, but couldn’t capitalize on the gifts they received from the Patriots or from their own players.
On the one hand I’m disappointed in some guys I thought should have shown more than they did, but I’m pleasantly surprised by the unexpected contributions of some unheralded players. So I guess for the moment I’m just going to throw some of those things out there, good and bad, and give myself (and all of us) time to digest things a bit more.
It was another minimally inspiring preseason game. The backup quarterback for Carolina, Joe Webb, played the whole game.
The Steelers sent out an assortment of back-ups as well. DeAngelo Williams made it on the field only once, for the coin toss, as the Steelers made him the sole captain for this game. He spent most of the time hugging his former teammates.
Landry Jones played three series, resulting in a three and out, a six and out (if there is such a thing) and a three and out.
Just about the only many busier than Jordan Berry last night was the Panther’s kicker Graham Gano, who was six for seven on the night.
It was a big day in Going Deep land. Homer J., Ivan, and his brother Andy drove up from DC and we met up at Saint Vincent. Ivan has met me for practices before, but not Homer or Andy. I asked Andy when the last time he had been to training camp was, and he told me this was the first. Homer said he hadn’t been to camp for a very long time. He didn’t say how long that time was, but the bleachers upon which we were sitting and the fields in front of us were not part of the experience the last time he went. He also said that Loren Toews was showing everybody up his last time at camp. A bit of Googling reveals that his last time at Steelers camp must have been in about 1973.
It was a gorgeous day, and we had great seats, or as great as narrow aluminum bleacher seats which you are sharing with many, many people can be. But we were in the shade, the breeze was blowing a good bit of the time, and the humidity was low enough that not only could you see the surrounding hills, you could see the trees on them. That’s a good day in August in western PA.
In fact, it was so great altogether that at one point Homer called over to Ivan and me as we were intently watching the action on the field and said, sweeping his arm in a careful arc to avoid taking out the people behind him, “Just look around for a minute and appreciate how remarkable this is!” So we did, because when Homer speaks we all listen.
photo: Mark Watson
As W. S. Gilbert, the librettist half of the Gilbert and Sullivan of operetta fame might say, a punter’s lot is not a happy one. Few fans appreciates what a punter does until he does something unfortunate. Even fewer fans want to “waste” draft selections on a punter, and some misguided (in my opinion, at least) fans are still bemoaning the use of a fourth-round pick on Daniel Sepulveda. Just in handsomeness, Sepulveda more than paid his way, at least for a certain segment of the fan base of which I am a member.
And when the game is on the line and you need to pin the opposing team deep in their own end zone, like, say, in the Steelers-Broncos game last January, all of a sudden it would be really nice to have a punter who could reliably do so. Someone like, say, the Ravens’ Sam Koch, who was one of the top punters in the league last season. And whatta you know—the Ravens spent a sixth-round pick on him. The top punter in the league, or close, most years seems to be the Colts’ Pat McAfee, and they spent a seventh-round pick on him. I’m not casting aspersions on our recent punters, just noting that it is easy to undervalue the position.
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.