Archive for October, 2021

Steelers edge Seahawks…

October 18th, 2021

The Steelers edged the Seahawks after a bizarre finish.

It wasn’t a great performance in any facet of the game but in the end the Steelers did enough to edge out the Seahawks 23-20 on Sunday Night Football. The Steelers jumped out to a big early lead and then had to hold off the Seahawks and their second-string quarterback Geno Smith, and second string running back Alex Collins. No one played particularly well or poorly. It was a mediocre performance, but enough to get it done and get the Steelers back to .500.

The offense managed two touchdowns in the first half, the first a tough catch and run by Najee Harris and the second a nifty Tight End inside handoff to Eric Ebron. Then there was very little after that for the rest of the way. Ben Roethlisberger had a workman like effort and mustered only 224 yards on the day with a touchdown. He never seemed to be able to get the passing game fired up.

Despite playing one of the worst run defenses in the league, the Steelers struggled to move the ball early on the ground, but they stuck with it and eventually wore down the Seahawks defense. Harris rushed for 77-yards, 33 of them coming late in the second half. Harris also chipped in with six catches including the first touchdown of the game. His development continues to impress. The offensive line deserves credit for keeping the pass rush to a minimum, they had their best game this season and finally broke down the Seahawks front.

Diontae Johnson had nine catches but also recorded his first drop of the season, crowd favorite Pat Freiermuth had seven catches, no one else really contributed. The play calling was again lacking on third down. Ray-Ray McCloud is seeing an expanded role in the offense with JuJu being out. He needs to make more of his chances.

The defense looked unstoppable in the first half, but then fell apart after half time. The Seahawks banged out 129 yards on the ground in the second half and dominated up front, after being pushed around early in the game. The tackling was suspect and the coverage was lacking. Minkah Fitzpatrick, Cam Sutton and Terrell Edmunds all missed big tackles that helped keep the Seahawks in the game. Edmunds lost Will Dissly in goal line coverage for the Seahawks second touchdown. Joe Schobert and Devin Bush both had trouble getting off block in the running game and had trouble stopping the run.

The bright spots on defense were Cam Heyward, who had a great day and was dominant when the Steelers needed him to be, he finished with nine tackles and a sack. T. J. Watt all but saved the game in overtime, first recording a huge sack to knock the Seahawks out of field goal range and then punching the ball out on a Geno Smith scramble to set up the game winning field goal.

It was an uneven performance at best for the defense.

The Special teams also struggled and like the defense had its’ best player step up. The coverage units had their worst game of the year, Ray-Ray McCloud was unspectacular and Pressley Harvin III, was again inconsistent. Although the latter continues to flash signs of greatness blasting a monster 58-yard punt. The bright spot of course was Chris Boswell. Little Bos notched three field goals including the game winner.

The coaches had a good game plan but needed better execution and better tackling to make it work. When the Seahawks changed their approach, it took almost the whole second half to adjust and stop the running game.

The referees absolutely botched the last call of regulation and gave the Seahawks a chance to tie it up with no time left. It appeared the Seahawks ran out of time on a fumble, but the refs called for a review and gave the Seahawks the time they needed to kick the tying field goal. Give the coaching staff credit because they stayed mentally tough and were able to keep the team from melting down.

In the end the Steelers get back to .500 going into the Bye week…

BEER WE GO STEELERS, BEER WE GO!   

My “GAME BEER” goes to: Giving out two this week, originally it was going to Chris Boswell until the “gift” overtime was granted to the Seahawks. Boswell once again delivered in a clutch situation and drilled all three of his field goal attempts, he was 3-3 with the actual game winner and what should have been the game winner. Then came OT and T.J. Watt saved the game and the embarrassment of losing to the Seahawks backup quarterback Geno Smith.  Also Considered: Cam Heyward who is the anchor of the defense and Alex Highsmith who had his breakout game finally.

Beer of the Game: To be technical, the beer of the game was consumed before the game and went with Pabst Blue Ribbon again, 16 oz pounders. Because of the time of the game and being a Sunday night, we didn’t drink beer during the game…yes we are becoming more mature here.

“Steel the Snacks”: Again, we consumed before the game and “Steel the Snacks” were made by our friend Mike, he made homemade sushi and Captain Crunch Tuna in honor of Seattle, the Tuna was fresh from the ocean around the corner of my house. It was phenomenal and a great way to spend a Sunday evening.

My Stat of the week:  Since drafting Ben Roethlisberger in 2004, the Steelers stand 111-1-1 (I was at the tie) when leading by 14 points. That stat was in serious jeopardy last night. Also considered, Eric Ebron’s touchdown was the first rushing touchdown by a Steelers Tight End in team history.

My Thoughts on next week: The Steeler will have a bye-week, I will be posting the snacks so far this season AND I will do the Bye Week report.

This week’s Jersey: Jerome Bettis, 36, Home Black, the second jersey I ever purchased for myself in my life. It still fits and I thought it made sense for alumni weekend!

 

 

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Steelers snap the losing streak!

October 10th, 2021

The Steelers snapped a three-game losing streak beating the Denver Broncos 27-19, by playing solid defense and running the football. The Steelers got up early, never trailed and made the big plays when needed.

Despite facing a top five run defense, the Steelers ran the ball effectively, going for a season-high 147 yards and taking the air out of the football for most of the game. Najee Harris had the breakout game everyone was waiting for, grinding out 122 yards and averaging 5.3 yards per carry. He missed part of the fourth quarter with what looked like leg cramps, Benny Snell picked up the workload and added 20 more yards. It was the best performance by a Steelers running back tandem in well over a year.

Ben Roethlisberger had a solid if unspectacular game. He passed for 253 yards with two touchdowns. He managed the game well, hit most of the big passes he needed including an opening drive strike to Diontae Johnson that gave the Steelers the lead. The Steelers have now scored on the opening drive twice in two weeks. Johnson had only two catches but raked in 72 yards, and Chase Claypool continues to prove he is a big threat with five catches for 130 yards including a touchdown. With solid protection and running lanes being forced open by the offensive line, the Steelers played their most balance offensive game in over a year. The only negative Sunday is it looks like JuJu Smith-Schuster could be done for the season.

It was a tale of two halves for the defense. The first half, the Broncos had little room to operate and only managed two field goals, one of which was on a Roethlisberger turnover on the Steelers side of the field, the other was a busted running play that went for 49-yards by Javonte Williams late in the second quarter. The front seven held the Broncos to just 57 more yards on the ground and harassed Teddy Bridgewater, Devin Bush chipped in with a huge sack before leaving the game with an injury.

The defense however struggles when the pass rush struggles and in the second half, it was just a step too slow. Teddy Bridgewater racked up big second half numbers and put together a huge fourth quarter, he passed for 232 yards of his 288 yards in the game. In the fourth he connected on two touchdowns, one to Courtland Sutton on a 39-yard catch, where Sutton burned James Pierre and one to Kendall Hilton on a big fourth down conversion. The pass rush all but disappeared, none of the outside linebackers recorded a sack. Crowd favorite Henry Mondeaux recorded the only sack of the half.

The Broncos converted three of four, fourth down tries and were driving for the tying touchdown when James Pierre picked off Bridgewater, thwarting the comeback. It was a good effort by the defense, but they need to react better to adjustments and fix the ailing pass rush.

Give the special teams credit again, they had another good week. Pressley Harvin III had a great bounce back week, nailing two punts for 119 yards including a booming 63 yarder that flipped the field around. Chris Boswell continued his excellent 2021 campaign hitting two field goals. The coverage units were strong, the return units had some penalty issues, but all and all it was another good week.

This was the offensive performance that everyone has been looking for over the last two season. The Steelers need to run the football, play solid defense and take the pressure off Ben Roethlisberger.

Beer We Go Steelers, Beer We Go!

My “GAME BEER” goes to: Najee Harris, he had his first 100+ yard game and solidified the long dormant running game. Also Considered: Little Bos, who again drilled a clutch field goal and was 2-2 (48, 43) on the day and hit a 50+ that was taken off the board on a Broncos penalty.

Beer of the Game: Went with two different Beers this week, Pabst Blue Ribbon Pounders and went with Yuengling Lite from Pottsville Pennsylvania. Both are solid drinkable beers, much like the Steelers defense yesterday, not spectacular but good.

“Steel the Snacks”: KGB was on the shelf this week! I stepped in and made a few different kinds of sliders. Cheeseburger Sliders with American, Hot Sausage Sliders with Provolone and Turkey Burger Sliders with Cheddar. My Dad came for the game for the first time in several season. Hamburgers are a signature dish of Denver and quite frankly I was not interested in making Bull’s balls as a snack, the other Denver ‘favorite’.

My Stat of the week: Of course it is 122 yards for Najee Harris, making him the first Steelers running back to run for 100+ yards since week six last year (James Conner, 101-yards) and the first 100+ yard rushing game for a Steelers rookie since Jaylen Samuels did it against the Patriots in 2018.

My Thoughts on next week: This is a winnable primetime game. The Steelers need to run the ball and they can beat the Seahawks.

This week’s Jersey: L.C. Greenwood, 68, 1933 Throwback, while no one has any idea that it is a Steelers jersey it is one of my favorites and I wear it when we need a big win!

 

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Steelers go down again, this time in Green Bay!

October 3rd, 2021

The Steelers regression continued Sunday with another lousy performance across all facets of the game losing to the Green Bay Packers 27-17 and falling to 1-3 on the season.

Before everyone buries Ben Roethlisberger, keep in mind that it all starts up front and the offensive line is awful. What has happened to this unit? Last year they couldn’t run the ball, but the protection was solid, this year they can’t do either. The line was absolutely wrecked against a respectable but non-dominant pass rush of the Packers, including watching Trai Turner getting clobbered into Roethlisberger for a strip sack. Dan Moore has played admirably but is clearly not the answer at Left Tackle. They had created early running lanes but being down, allowed the Packers to tee off. Najee Harris had a nice game and was playing well. He racked up 60+ yards on the ground but the Steelers abandoned the running game during the third quarter.

Ben Roethlisberger had a rough game, missing two wide open touchdown passes to JuJu Smith-Schuster. Roethlisberger was harassed all day and could never get set. He clearly is having issues with the lack of protection and had some drive killing miscues in the pass game. The play calling is unoriginal and seems hauntingly similar to last year. Once again, the Steelers faced crucial fourth down conversions, once again they threw short of the sticks and didn’t convert. James Washington and Diontae Johnson both had solid performances in a tough loss. But the offense is simply just a mess.

The defense even with the return of T.J. Watt had a mediocre day. If it all starts up front on offense, the same can be said of the defense, it is clear the Steelers front is missing Stephon Tuitt and Tyson Alualu. Chris Wormley, Isaiah Buggs and Isiahh Loudermilk are not cutting it. The front was thrashed for 130+ yards on the ground. The pass rush was ineffective, T.J. Watt had trouble all game and was basically relegated as a non-factor, despite getting two sacks. Melvin Ingram and Alex Highsmith were also ineffective and were never a factor in the game. Devon Bush checked in with a sack but struggled in coverage.

The secondary without a pass rush, couldn’t hold up. Aaron Rogers carved up the Steelers for a tidy 248 yards but what was most disturbing was the inability to get off the field on third down. The Packers converted 60% of their third downs. The ineffective third down defense doomed any chance of a comeback.

The Special Teams had an uneven performance at best but there is some cause for optimism here. The good, Little Bos drilled a 52-yard field goal on wet grass, using the upright for an assist. Ray-Ray McCloud did a really nice job on returns. Christian Kuntz had a tackle and looks like a nice fit as the Long snapper. The bad; Pressley Harvin had a tough day, booting three punts including one for a paltry 20-yards, nearly guaranteeing a Packers score. Jordan Berry must be clearing his calendar. The Steelers were absolutely hosed by the referee on a blocked kick. Haden was clearly not offsides on the blocked field goal by Minkah Fitzpatrick and of course that isn’t a reviewable play.

The gameplan was terrible and one of Mike Tomlin’s achilleas heels is clock management. The Steelers were trailing by three scores and punted on fourth and short early in the fourth quarter. They also decided to kick deep despite the fact that the defense couldn’t get off the field all day. It sealed their fate. Matt Canada’s offense is strangely familiar to Randy Fichtner 2.0. There is little creativity and way too many pass plays. The Steelers need to figure out how to run the football and figure it out quickly. Forget the idea of Ben getting benched, he will undoubtedly get injured with the protection he is being afforded.

It is going to be a long season.

Beer We Go Steelers, Beer We Go!

My “GAME BEER” goes to: Najee Harris, he had a very good game and again you can see what the Steelers see in him. He was for the most part the lone bright spot in the game. Also considered: Diontae Johnson who had nine catches for 93 yards.

Beer of the Game: Went with IC Light hoping to bring some luck…not so much. KGB went with Corona Light with a lime. D-man had A&W Root Beer!

“Steel the Snacks”: We went with traditional Beer Brats (Grilled) and homemade Cheese Curds made by KGB. Outstanding stuff, we will provide a photo gallery during the bye week of all the “Steel the Snacks”

My Stat of the week: Despite a loss and the mainstream media and fans calling for his head, Ben Roethlisberger racked up his 400th Touchdown Pass in a Hall of Fame career. He is the eighth quarterback to do it. Roethlisberger is seventh all time with 61,149 career passing yards. Roethlisberger’s 170 total victories as a starter is fifth all-time, behind Brady (266 wins), Manning (200), Favre (199) and Brees (181). Between Terry Bradshaw and Ben Roethlisberger the Steelers wandered the quarterback desert, remember that when asking for his benching.

My Thoughts on next week: This team looks extremely mechanical and unoriginal. They need much better play calling and need to get some help on the offensive line. They can pull this out, but need a much better game plan.

This week’s Jersey: “Steelhead” Heyward, 97, Away Jersey, Hoping to spark some pass rush, again clearly didn’t work.

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