Archive for September, 2022

Browns handle the Steelers!

September 23rd, 2022

On a short week, it was a rough night for the Steelers as they were basically pushed around by the Cleveland Browns. After sweeping the series last year, the Browns got some much-needed revenge leaving both teams at 1-2.

The loss really sits on the the coaching staff. They had a rough night. Time management has been a Tomlin era problem and last night it was absolutely brutal. The Steelers wasted two valuable timeouts in the first half, that they could have used on the last drive of the first half to extend their lead, instead they went off without points. The Steelers down by two scores with 4:26 left opted to punt. The Browns were able to drain a portion of the clock and didn’t give the Steelers time to work. Teryl Austin’s defense had no answers for plays over the middle and struggled with the pass rush. Matt Canada’s play calling was horrendous as has been the through his entire tenure.

The offense did show signs of life but continued to fail in executing any kind of sustained play. The Steelers were atrocious on third down efficiency going only 1-9 and the play calling is baffling to frustrating on any given series. Mitch Trubisky is going to get roasted in the press this week and his play was less than stellar. He was not the reason though the Steelers struggled, he executed and was the victim of some dropped passes. He finished with 207 yards and no turnovers. The offensive line which has been in rebuilding mode, is starting to come together and the run blocking was improved. But a costly mistake by Chuks Okorafor negated a long pickup, he compounded it by dropping a WWE splash on Cleveland’s linebacker Anthony Walker, Jr., who was forced to leave the game.

The Steelers rushed for 100+ yards for the first time this season and Najee Harris led the team with 56 very hard-fought yards. Jaylen Warren contributed with 30 yards and despite almost losing a fumble, was a bright spot. Diontae Johnson led the team in catches with eight for 84 yards. George Pickens had a highlight reel catch and pitched in with 39 yards. It is clear the offense has playmakers but the game plan was awful and disjointed.

With a series of three and outs by the offense, the defense just wore down. The run defense came apart at the end after holding strong for three quarters. Cleveland banged out 171 yards on the ground, with 48 coming as part of an 11 play 80-yard drive. Nick Chubb led the way with 113 yards, the majority coming in the second half.

It is clear without T.J. Watt the Steelers pass rush has been non-existent, this gave Jacoby Brissett plenty of time to pick apart the secondary. David Njoku and Amari Cooper combined for 190 yards and 16 catches, they also had three key drops, so the numbers could have been worse. Akhello Witherspoon struggled in coverage as did Terrell Edmunds. Alex Highsmith got on the board with a late sack, combined with Malik Reed though, they never generated any kind of pass rush.

After a stellar first week, the special teams again hurt the Steelers for the second week in a row. Gunner Olszewski struggled with the return game. Chris Boswell missed a field goal, although to be fair it was a wind issue not a Bos issue. The onside kick try was valiant but as is always the theme with special teams, completely undisciplined.

It was a tough loss, but one thing to be optimistic about, there is something here. The Steelers have what they need to be successful, the question is can the coaching staff do what is needed to execute.


My “GAME BEER” goes to: Dan Moore, who all but shutout Myles Garret, he had help but his development continues, and this was a big step forward. Also considered; Myles Jack, he hung in there for the whole game and played tough, he has the potential to be a Pittsburgh folk hero. Cam Heyward is everything a Steelers should be, he ate about 15 double teams last night.

Beer of the Game: Being back at the house, went back to IC Light for me, KGB went Bud Light lime again, and Dante did A&W Root Beer. Tried to catch the first week magic, clearly it didn’t work.

“Steel the Snacks”: KGB made Cleveland Po-boys, complete with Kielbasa, Fries our family Cole Slaw recipe on a pretzel role, we did them as dinner because of the night game.  I might make it breakfast as I write this, going to throw a fried egg on it to make it legit.

My Stat of the week:  Trying to lighten up the mood here, how about 21 Coaches for the Cleveland Browns against three coaches for the Steelers since 1969! Keep in mind that the Browns left the league after 1995 and returned in 1999. Cleveland turnover is the most in the NFL in that time period, even with missing 1996-1998.  Fun fact that I always knew but I guess never thought about, two of the three coaches played for the Brown. (Noll and Cowher)

My Thoughts on next week: The Steelers will have time to recover and get back on track. The Jets are no longer a guaranteed win, and they will be tough. The Steelers are ready to bust out, perhaps the Jets are the team to do it against.



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Steelers lose to Patriots

September 20th, 2022

The Steelers dropped another to the New England Patriots in a poor performance on both sides of the ball. The game had a malaise and the Patriots picked up all the big plays when the Steelers couldn’t. 

The chants for Kenny Pickett have already started and Mitch Trubisky had his first bad day as a Steeler. He went 21-33 for 168 yards with a touchdown and a brutal interception. Despite having a great cast of playmakers Matt Canada has kept the offense shackled.

The defense couldn’t pressure Mac Jones and the front struggled to stop the rush. The Patriots took the air out of the ball and were able to run out the final 6:33 of the game.

After a great week, the special teams fell back into old issues. Gunner Olszewski muffed a punt and it setup a Patriots touchdown drive. The kickoff coverage team had a terrible day and surrendered over 85 yards.

Beer We Go Steelers, Beer We Go!


My “GAME BEER” goes to: Not a lot of bright spots, but Myles Jack had double digit tackles for the second week in a row and he has the Steelers attitude you want to see. Also Considered: “Little Bos” Chris Boswell who hammered both his kicks including a 52 yarder.

Beer of the Game: Miller Light for me at the West Side Sports Bar and Grill in Saratoga and I had to watch the game on the app, KGB did Bud Light lime, and Dante did A&W Root Beer.

“Steel the Snacks”: So being out of town for business made this a tough day for me, KGB kicked off the Steel the snacks tradition with New England Clam Chowder and New England Lobster rolls. Everything looked spectacular.

My Stat of the week:  Pretty simple, ZERO sacks without T.J. Watt. All the pressure the Steelers showed off week one, looks gone right now without Watt. It is a stark contrast.

My Thoughts on next week: It is two days from now, so not next week. The Browns are coming off a horrible and embarrassing loss to the Jets. They will be amped up pretty good and looking for revenge. This to me is the litmus test for the Steelers because this will tell us what the Steelers will be this year. I can discount the loss against the Patriots because Belichick seems to have Tomlin’s number. The other huge factor is the Steelers need to find a running game.

This week’s Jersey: This is tricky, I had a jersey ready to go, but because of several factors never got to wear it, going to save it for Thursday night football. I did wear the Beer We Go 2014.

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Steelers outlast the AFC Champion Bengals!

September 12th, 2022

Yesterday’s game was reminiscent to a great page turning novel, with well flushed out characters, tremendous storyline, each team’s Achilles heel being exposed, the loss of iconic people along the journey, and an epic unexpected finish. The Steelers went into the defending AFC Champion Cincinnati Bengals home, pummeled them, and then out lasted them to hold onto victory on Kickoff weekend for the 2022-2023 NFL Season.

The victory comes at a heavy cost as the Steelers lost both Najee Harris and T.J. Watt during the game. Both players absence was felt during key moments of the waning seconds, but depth carried them through.

The mainstream press has been trying to create the narrative that the Steelers are no longer the bullies in the division. That didn’t ring true yesterday as the Steelers defense dominated the Bengals up front and hammered them all over the field. Joe Mixon coming off torching the Steelers last year, found very little room to run averaging 3-yards a carry and he was forced from the game. Joe Burrow passed for 338 yards but needed 53 attempts and an extra quarter, while he did look spectacular at times, he was clearly uncomfortable all day, turning the ball over a whopping five times, with four interceptions, and two fumbles. The Bengals recovered one but were taken out of game winning field goal range.

It always starts up front for the Steelers and their defensive line set the tone with a strong and at times dominating performance. They had consistent and strong push up front. Cam Heyward had four tackles and recovered one of the Burrow fumbles. He was in Burrow’s face all day. Larry Ogunjobi was a major factor against his former team. It was great to see Tyson Alualu back as he provided much need push and clogged the running lanes. The Linebackers had a monster day, T.J. Watt was his usual game changing self. Alex Highsmith had his best performance as a Steeler with nine tackles, three sacks and a forced fumble. Myles Jack did a great job as a run stuffer in the middle.

The secondary performed well led by Cam Sutton, Ahkello Witherspoon. Both managed interceptions as did Minkah Fitzpatrick who grabbed a pick six that got the Steelers on the board early. While his stats were not huge, Terrell Edmunds had a workman like game with six tackles and played almost every snap. The secondary chipped in with 14 tackles total and never allowed the Bengals to get off.

The Special Teams also was a big contributor to the victory. Chris Boswell hit the game winning field goal after nearly pulling it out with a 55-yard game winner earlier in the game. Bos was 3-4 on Field Goal tries and blasted a 53 to win the game. Pressley Harvin III had a good day punting and helped the Steelers with field position. The coverage teams were solid and new return man Gunner Olszewski chipped in with a 20-yard return, setting a short field for a scoring drive. Minkah Fitzpatrick made a game saving play when he blocked the extra point try. The Bengals backup long snapper Mitchell Wilcox was terrorized by the Steelers special teams.

The offense had an uneven performance at best. The problems from last season continued to plague the Black and Gold.

On the positive side, Mitch Trubisky had a good performance and did what he was called upon to do, he managed the game, and his mobility helped the Steelers stay active. He hit two clutch passes to Pat Freiermuth on the game winning drive and never turned the ball over. His longest pass was a catch and run to the big man Zach Gentry. Diontae Johnson led the team in catches but was relatively quiet most of the day. Rookie starter George Pickens didn’t have much of an impact.

The running game continues to be non-existent. There were no running lanes and the best the team could manage was a 15-yard end around by Chase Claypool. The line had no push and Najee Harris was injured during the game. Jaylen Warren looks like he will be fun to watch this season and he hit some great blocks, but his stat line was miniscule. The offensive line protected Trubisky with the only sack coming on a busted play, but they didn’t make any headway moving the ball on the ground.

The defensive coaching staff deserves credit for having the answers for Joe Burrow. He looked ordinary and confused for most of the game. Teryl Austin and Brian Flores executed a great game plan and Cincinnati took nearly three quarters to figure out anything of circumstance. The Steelers offense is still a work in progress, the management of the clock particularly at the end of the day was awful and they need to figure out a way to run the football without all the trickery. One thing though, the Steelers staff clearly out coached the Bengals staff, who made several questionable calls.

A victory is a victory and the Steelers get to be 1-0 without much of a performance from the offense and beat the AFC Champions.


My “GAME BEER” goes to: Minkah Fitzpatrick, whose interception return for a touchdown set a defensive tone all day, he also had the game saving extra point block. Also Considered: Alex Highsmith, the “other’ Steelers Outside Linebacker was a force and hammered the Bengals all day!

Beer of the Game: IC Light for me, had to go classic, KGB did Bud Light lime, and Dante did A&W Root Beer.

“Steel the Snacks”: Later in the season we will do Coney’s and Skyline Chili for Cincinnati, we went with Primanti Brothers Sandwiches made by KGB. It was Corned Beef and Provolone.

My Stat of the week:  Seven sacks and four interceptions, Teryl Austin put together a vintage virtuoso Steelers game plan. The Steelers dominated up front and the Bengals, who ran all over Pittsburgh last time were completely stifled.

My Thoughts on next week: I always worry about the Patriots and next week will be no different, a wounded and down Patriots team is a scary team and the Steelers most likely will be without T.J. Watt and possibly Najee Harris. This is the most beatable Patriots team in the last ten years, the Steelers need to make a statement.

This week’s Jersey: Cameron Heyward, 97, Away Jersey, starting the year off with a new tradition and couldn’t think of a better person to start with.

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