Archive for December, 2018

Steelers end disappointing season!

December 31st, 2018

The Steelers put together a mediocre performance to snatch a victory from an over matched Bengals team, but the playoffs are not in the picture as the Ravens held on to beat the Browns. Ironically, it was a stout fourth quarter defense and timely kicking that won the game for the Steelers…something missing all season.

The defense held Jeff Driskel and the Bengals to a measly 196 yards of total offense, with 70 plus yard coming on two plays from Joe Mixon. The Bengals never found any kind of groove and were completely out manned all game. The Steelers recorded four sacks and never gave up a pass longer than 15 yards. It was a good performance for the defense led by T.J. Watt who had a sack and a forced fumble and Cam Heyward who had two sacks!

Playing without Antonio Brown, the offense was off all day. James Conner returned to limited action and had 14 carries were 64 yards. He finished a solid season with 973 and 12 touchdowns. The running game never got going despite playing against the worst run defense in football.

Ben Roethlisberger passed for 287 yards and one touchdown. He never found his rhythm and had a pick six on what he thought was a free play. The offense was held to its fewest points of the season scoring only 13 against the worst defense in football. Eli Rogers had a nice game with seven catches and Jaylen Samuels chipped in with seven tough catches.

Matt McCrane, who signed on Friday, had three field goals including the game winner and was called “the top of a participation” trophy by Steve Tasker. He did a nice job given the circumstances.

Why the Steelers didn’t jump the Bengals off the bus, is going to be the conversation in the press this week. They played an uninspired game given what was on the line. Blowing a 2 ½ game lead with six to play is a complete embarrassment. Needing a Browns victory and the Ravens getting the necessary stop, is insult to injury.

It will be a long off season!


My “GAME BEER” goes to: Ben Roethlisberger who didn’t play a great game but finished with 5000 plus yards and 35 Touchdowns. Also considered: Matt McCrane who came off the couch to kick three field goals, Joe Haden who played a great game while his wife was in labor.

Where I watched the game: At the house with a fire and my new Steelers quilt! The beer of choice was Samuel Adams Winter Lager and we had left over six-foot hero from a party we had the night before. I had Chicken Cutlet with roasted red peppers and fresh mozzarella and KGB had Italian.

My Stat of the week: Going with Ben Roethlisberger throwing for 5,129 yards the most in Steelers history and he is one of only seven people in NFL history to do it.

My Thoughts on next week: The Steelers will have to contemplate a long off season and think about how a Super Bowl contender got ousted in the regular season.

This week’s Jersey: Ju-Ju Smith-Schuster, #19 Golden Jersey. It might be one of my favorites now and was a gift from KGB

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Steelers blow it in New Orleans…playoffs in doubt!

December 24th, 2018

In what has been a microcosm of the season, the Steelers blew a fourth quarter lead and made too many mistakes to overcome the New Orleans Saints.

The Steelers played hard and were able to move the ball at will but once again turnovers proved to be the downfall. Clinging to a four-point lead Stevan Ridley fumbled on a third and short. It marked a big turning point in the game.

The Steelers held on and were driving when Mike Tomlin elected to try and keep the ball away from Drew Brees by attempting a fake punt. Roosevelt Nix was stuffed and the Steelers gave Brees a short field to capitalize on. He did with some questionable help from the refs. Brees was able to score and put the Saints in the lead for good.

Ben Roethlisberger made a valiant effort putting up his best game of the year. He finished with 380 yards passing with three touchdowns and led three consecutive TD drives. He put the Steelers into position to tie the game up, but a JuJu Smith-Schuster fumble ended the game.

Up until the fumble Smith-Schuster and Antonio Brown had masterful games. They combined for 25 catches and 300 yards. There wasn’t much room to run and Jaylen Samuels had only 53 yards on 12 carries.

The defense surrendered the lead at the end of the first half with 40 seconds left before halftime and surrendered the game winning drive in the fourth quarter. There were two highly questionable calls that cost the Steelers dearly. The first led to the Saints first touchdown in the first quarter, the second was a garbage call on fourth down, that would have netted the Steelers victory. There was a third questionable call on the Steelers last drive, where New Orleans should have been called for pass interference but instead were given a holding call. That was a big difference on the spot of the ball.

The front was able to stop the running game for the most part holding the Saints to just 57 yards on the ground, but the pass rush was a step too slow and the secondary just couldn’t hold on giving up 326 yards passing.

Coach Tomlin is going to get crushed on some of the decisions. With the way the defense was playing, the fake punt was a smart coaching decision and he has put the Steelers in position to win all but two games this season. The execution is where the Steelers are falling short.

After a great stretch of the season where the Steelers looked like Super Bowl contenders, they are now on the outside looking in.



My “GAME BEER” goes to: Ben Roethlisberger who played a heck of a game and did enough to win. Also considered: Antonio Brown who was an absolute force.

Where I watched the game: At the house with the tailgate kids and KGB. The beer of choice was finishing off the Narraganset in the 1975 can! I was hoping it would bring some luck…it didn’t. We had Patty Melts and Perogies at half time.

My Stat of the week: The Steelers have now blown FIVE fourth quarter leads, resulting in a record of 0-4-1. If they split that, they would be comfortably in the playoffs fighting for a first-round bye. Now they need a win and some help to get in!

My Thoughts on next week: The Steelers should absolutely throttle the Bengals and need a lot of help from the Cleveland Browns who will take on the Ravens. The near impossible has happened and the Steelers are on the outside looking in.

This week’s Jersey: Jack Ham, #59, 1935 Throwback Jersey (The Bumble Bee). In honor of his birthday.



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Steelers hold on to beat the Patriots!

December 17th, 2018

It was called “Redemption Sunday” but it was more like “Throwback Sunday” when the Steelers, in their color rush uniforms, used a punishing running game, timely passing game and a stout defense to beat the nemesis New England Patriots, keeping their playoff hopes alive.

It was a masterful and somewhat vintage performance for the defense. They played a complete game and were able to make plays when needed. The secondary had their best game of the season led by Joe Haden, who missed the 2017 game. He made his presence felt with the biggest interception of his tenure in Pittsburgh on a tremendous toe-tap catch. It was Tom Brady’s first red zone interception in two seasons.

Brady was 3 of 10 on third-down conversions and the secondary held Rob Gronkowski and Chris Hogan to only four catches. Hogan had a huge touchdown on a busted play on the Patriots first possession and was never heard from again!

The front seven had pressure on the Patriots all day and held the running game to less than 100 yards. T.J. Watt had a tremendous game despite a soft stat sheet. Jon Bostic put together a complete performance and helped sure up the middle.

The offense took a much more balanced approach and Jaylen Samuels answered the call. Samuels finished with 19 rushes for 142 yards and had one of his two catches on a big third down play.

Ben Roethlisberger didn’t play a great game but made the plays he needed. He converted two HUGE third downs with completions to Vance McDonald and Samuels. He hit eight different receivers and finished with 235 yards and two touchdowns! The receiving core clearly felt the return of Eli Rogers who had four catches.

Chris Boswell struggled again missing a chip shot field goal that would have put the Patriots down by two scores. The Steelers auditioned several options at kicker and chose to stick with Bos. He did get some redemption by nailing a 48 yarder that helped protect the lead but his future in Pittsburgh seems uncertain.

Mike Tomlin was skewered in the press this week somewhat fairly and unfairly. He responded by putting together a great game plan and when you out-coach Bill Belichick you have done something! It was a great game for Tomlin who seemed to at least for one game, finally solve the Patriots.


My “GAME BEER” goes to: Since we didn’t give away one last week, we are giving away two this week. First is Joe Haden, he made the biggest play of the year and not only that, he adds an energy to the team that was palpable. Jaylen Samuels who just dominated and ran the Patriots over with a monster 7.5 YPC per game. The highest in the NFL this season. Also considered: the offensive line, T.J. Watt and Eli Rogers.

Where I watched the game: At the house with the tailgate kids and KGB. The beer of choice was Narraganset in the 1975 can! Normally I wouldn’t buy a New England Beer on a New England week, but had to try something new! KGB and I collaborated on Sausage and Peppers and a side dish of Pasta.

My Stat of the week: With yesterday’s win Mike Tomlin assured himself his 12th straight season as a head coach without a losing record. That makes him by any measure an elite coach!

My Thoughts on next week: This team is very capable of marching in and out-gunning the Saints. They are also capable of laying an egg. This is another must win for the Steelers and it is close to a throwaway game for the Saints. Look the for the Steelers to slug it out!

This week’s Jersey: L.C. Greenwood, #68, 1933 Throwback Jersey.

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Another 4th quarter collapse dooms Steelers!

December 10th, 2018

The Steelers continued a disturbing trend losing to an inferior opponent in Oakland, with another fourth quarter defensive collapse and horrible performance by Chris Boswell.

The defense generated very little pressure on the last two drives and the middle linebackers struggled in coverage again. It was a total breakdown across the board by the defense. The secondary just doesn’t make any big plays and they are beginning to yield them again.

They were torched by Derek Carr for 322 yards giving up several big plays. The Raiders are the most sacked team in the NFL starting two rookie tackles, but the pass rush disappeared in the 4th quarter and Carr took advantage. It was an overall terrible performance.

The Steelers defense has given up 39 points in the fourth quarter over the last three weeks…all losses and they have surrendered the lead in all these games.

What has happened to Chris Boswell? One year removed from a Pro Bowl season he has become a liability. His performance is erratic, and he missed two field goals including the game tying field goal. He also nearly missed another extra point. If he played halfway better the Steelers would be sitting in the number two seed.

The offense struggled most of the day, but keep in mind Ben Roethlisberger sat for most of the second half and they were down to their third string running back. What was frustrating was the complete inability to run the football against a horrendous Raiders run defense. JuJu Smith-Schuster and Antonio Brown had solid days in what was an under inspiring performance.

This team is in a full free fall and needs to be shaken up. That is on the coaches and the leadership to put this thing back on track. How many times will this team play an inferior opponent and come up short? The Raiders are a terrible team, and this should have been a sure win. Again, that is a poor reflection on the coaches.

The season is slipping away.


My “GAME BEER” goes to: NO ONE Seriously this game was that bad.

Where I watched the game: At the house with the tailgate kids. The beer of choice was Samuel Adams Winter Lager. The dinner was Cheesesteaks prepared in the slow cooker and KGB hung around doing home improvements. It was a horrible game to watch.

My Stat of the week: A very dubious one…again…23.5% is the difference between Chris Boswell’s percentage from this year to his career. He has missed SIX field goals and FIVE extra points. It is the difference between the Steelers winning a few of these close games. (Cleveland, Los Angeles, Oakland)

My Thoughts on next week: Who knows at this point? The Patriots are a scary proposition with the way this defense is playing and they are coming off a huge upset.

This week’s Jersey: The first great Steeler, Ernie Stautner, #70 Home Jersey.

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Steelers blow it on Sunday Night Football

December 3rd, 2018

The Steelers dominated the Chargers in the first half, then suffered an epic collapse thanks to a lousy defensive game plan, several costly mistakes and questionable officiating. The Steelers have now lost two in a row and their once comfortable Division lead is down to a ½ a game.

For the second time this season the Steelers blew a 14-point lead in the second half and the defense all but vanished after the second quarter. This was also the third home loss of the year.

Philip Rivers passed for 299 yards and made EVERY big play he needed when called upon. Led by Keenan Allen who had 14 catches and torched the Steelers defense for 148 yards. This was the second time in six games that a quarterback threw for over 200 yards. The secondary faded and what looked to be an interception by Joe Haden was negated by a Sean Davis hit. Allen grabbed the deflection.

As dominating as the run defense was in the first half was as soft as it was in the second half. Justin Jackson racked up 63 yards on only eight carries. L.J. Fort had a nice game but was completely out of his depth covering Keenan Allen on the game breaking play. The pass rush was a step to slow all night registering only two sacks.

The offense moved the ball at will but made several costly mistakes. The offensive line all but shutout Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram. Roethlisberger had all day to pass and he threw for 281 yards and two touchdowns. It was the plays he didn’t make that will haunt the Steelers, he chucked up a lame duck intended for Vance McDonald that would have all but put the Chargers away in the first half and he missed a wide-open Justin Hunter for another score, Hunter was injured on the play.

Antonio Brown finished with 154 yards and 10 catches. He was a bright spot all night long. The Steelers had seven different receivers in the passing game. Both Vance McDonald and Jesse James need to be more consistent.

James Conner was having a nice bounce back game, but the situation dictated abandoning the running game. He finished with 60 yards and was forced from the game with an injury.

The Special Teams was another disaster giving up a game changing 73-Yard Punt return for a touchdown to Desmond King. The return teams were flagged on nearly EVERY return. Chris Boswell missed his fifth extra point of the year and of course the field goal defense team was offsides on all three Chargers attempts, absolutely embarrassing.

The officiating was the worst this season…which is saying something. The Chargers first touchdown should have been negated by a false start. The special team’s touchdown, there was a clear block in the back on Brian Allen. They were awful all night.

At some point the Steelers need to play more consistent or this season will be over. That falls squarely on the coaches who need to turn this around.


My “GAME BEER” goes to: Antonio Brown, who had a vintage performance and showed why he is the best in the game. Also Considered: Matt Feiler, who almost completely shutout Joey Bosa.

Where I watched the game: After delusions of going to a local bar, KGB and I stayed home. Had Spaghetti and Meatballs for dinner but no snacks at game time. Beer of choice was Leinenkugel’s Octoberfest…which we will never drink again during a game. I texted with Bill the whole time and of course had a horrible night’s sleep!

My Stat of the week: A very dubious one…174-1-1 the Steelers record when leading by 16 points. Last night was biggest blown lead in Steelers history absolutely gut wrenching. Ironically, I was at the tie.

My Thoughts on next week: The Steelers have got to blow the Raiders off the field if they have any shot of making the playoffs.

This week’s Jersey: The Bus, Jerome Bettis, #36 Home Jersey.




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