Archive for December, 2022

Steelers deliver for Franco!

December 25th, 2022

On a frigid Pittsburgh night every Steelers fan in Pittsburgh got an early Christmas present as the Steelers rallied and beat the Oakland….ahem Las Vegas Raiders 13-10 on a fourth quarter comeback. It was hard not to think about Franco Harris as the Steelers pulled off the win.

Kenny Pickett looked a little rusty and adversely affected by the weather and he struggled most of the night, but when it counted most, he orchestrated a 10 play, 76-yard drive that resulted in the winning touchdown. It was a performance that would have made Franco smile. Pickett finished the day with 244 yards passing, a touchdown and one interception. What was most impressive was watching his maturation and the moment did not seem too big for him.

George Pickens just makes plays, and he did not disappoint Saturday night. He had five catches including the winning touchdown grab. Pat Friermuth made two spectacular catches and led the team with seven total for 66 yards and Diontae Johnson quietly put together a masterful performance hauling in five catches for 64 yards. It was clear the Raiders intended to stop the run and the receiving group stepped up and made the plays.

The Steelers struggled to run the ball, averaging just under four yards a carry, but they gained enough yards to keep running the ball and that helped them keep the offense balanced. Najee Harris struggled early but turned it on in the fourth quarter. He led the team with 53 yards rushing and he had three big catches on the game winning drive. Jaylen Warren contributed 23 yards on the ground. The running play of the night was Connor Heyward taking a tight end inside handoff for 21 yards to seal the victory! Overall, the running game did not find much room to run, but did enough to help pull out the win.

While the offensive line struggled to open up running lanes, they did a very good job in protection not yielding a sack and Maxx Crosby was held mostly in check. He was credited with four qb hits, but was neutralized on the last drive of the game.

Like any great Steelers v. Raiders game, the defense set the tone. Cam Heyward had a monster day and absolutely set the point of the attack, slowing the Raiders rushing attack down and recording two sacks. The Raiders finished with only 58 yards on the ground with Josh Jacobs being held to a paltry 44 yards. Larry Ogunjobi had a nice game up front and had four tackles. Robert Spillane led the team in total tackles with 12 and did a nice job slowing down the run. Alex Highsmith added a sack!

After a lousy opening drive, the secondary stepped up and made some very big plays. Minkah Fitzpatrick, Arthur Maulet and Cam Sutton all had interceptions. All were timely, especially Sutton’s outstanding catch that ended the Raiders final drive. Damontae Kazee did a nice job filling in for Steelers ironman Terrell Edmunds. Derek Carr finished with only 174-yards, and he turned the ball over three times.

Special Teams had another uneven performance. Even Chris Boswell is not immune anymore, he missed two field goals albeit on a difficult night to kick. The punt and kick return teams were non-factors.  One bright note, Pressley Harvin III had a nice night averaging over 46 yards per punt.

It was an emotional night with treacherous weather conditions. The Steelers had a great defensive game plan and were able to execute it.


My “GAME BEER” goes to: Cam “Steelhead” Heyward, who put on an absolute exhibition of Steelers toughness. He had two sacks, and completely led the team in shutting down the running game. Honorable Mention: Kenny Pickett who struggled most of the game but then rebounded nicely in leading the game winning drive.

Beer of the Game: Lighten Up by Long Island Farm Brewery, it is a local beer from where we live. On a side note, saw a person with a Primanti Brothers shirt and several Steelers fans when I picked it up.

“Steel the Snacks”: Christmas Eve was of course the Feast of the Seven Fishes, Italian style at my dad’s house, we needed to come home during half-time and it was fun listening to Bill Hillgrove and Craig Wolfley in the car on the ride home. We historically haven’t done well watching the game there so it was nice to pull out the win.

My Stat of the week:  Have to go with 13 points, the exact same number of points the Steelers scored on December 23, 1972. While the win wasn’t quite that dramatic, it was VERY important.

My Thoughts on next week: I find it funny that the Steelers were flexed out of primetime and now got flexed back into it. This time they will draw the Ravens. The Steelers let them off the hook last time, this time they need to close the show and bring home the victory.

Jersey of the Week: No Jersey this week again, went with my Steelers Cardigan and an Iron City Ugly Sweater.


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Immaculate Reception Day….just doesn’t feel the same!

December 23rd, 2022

This is usually one of the happiest day of the year for Steelers fans, a Steeler day of obligation if you will. On 12/23/72 the Same Old Steelers changed their fortune forever. Fifty years after the “Immaculate Reception” Franco Harris explained that it still “Blows His Mind” in an interview he had hours before his untimely passing.

Today though, it is hard not to feel a tremendous sense of sadness and loss about the untimely passing of Franco Harris. We dedicated this year’s shirt to Franco and the now famous (or infamous if you are from the West Coast) play. I feel blessed to have met all the men who played key roles in the famous play, oddly enough befriending the villain in our story Phil Villapiano!

Franco was kind enough to pose with a Beer We Go Shirt which he absolutely loved! (We never got a chance to give him this year’s)






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Steelers demolish Carolina!

December 18th, 2022

Deep inside a lost season the Steelers shined bright on Sunday in Carolina, dominating the Panthers in impressive fashion. When this team was architected at the beginning of the season, this is what management had envisioned. A careful athletic quarterback with a powerful running game, combined with a tough defense. Of course, that is not what happened, but Sunday gave a brief glimpse into what could have been.

One week after being bullied up front by a mediocre Ravens team, the Steelers bounced back and absolutely crushed the Carolina Panthers up front. The offense controlled the game grinding out a punishing 156 yards on the ground. Najee Harris led the way with 86 yards on 24 carries, followed by Jaylen Warren who followed with 38. Both scored rushing touchdowns. They controlled the clock with their first drive and their opening drive of the first half eating up a whopping 18 minutes and 49 seconds of clock.

Mitch Trubisky bounced back nicely after his soul crushing three turnover performance last week. He had to have been on a short leash and he delivered what was asked of him, he converted 12 for 16 third downs had a rushing touchdown and most importantly stayed within himself to deliver his best performance as a Pittsburgh Steeler. He kept the offense rolling and his passing opened up the running game.

The Panthers by comparison found NO where to run, and only had the ball eight times the entire game, they finished with 21-yards on the ground total for the day. That doesn’t happen without a great up-front performance of the Steelers front seven, who were vilified all week for last week’s loss to the Ravens. The Panthers had been averaging 147 rushing yards per game since appointing Steve Wilks as Head Coach. There was no room to run on Sunday. Larry Ogunjobi had a big game, leading the front with five tackles and helping free up Cam Heyward, who had a huge game. Heyward finished with three tackles and one and a half sacks.

Because the run game was non-existent, the Panthers needed to rely on Sam Darnold. Darnold found some success early, but eventually the pass rush and the defense caught up to him and he did not recover. Darnold finished with 188 yards net passing and was sacked four times. Alex Highsmith in his homecoming to Carolina had a good day, racking up four tackles and a monster highlight film sack. T.J. Watt’s recovery continues, he clearly is not where he was, but still had an impact on the game.

The special teams continues to absolutely stink and this week was a new low on how bad they can be. Marcus Allen who at best was a bubble player to begin with, made one of the biggest bonehead plays in recent history. The Panthers were facing 4th and a mile and were lining up to punt got new life when Allen inexplicably walked into the Panthers huddle during one of the many interminable commercial breaks and cost the Steelers a first down. The Panthers were able to turn their fortunes and kept a small glimmer of hope alive when they kicked a field goal. It was an astonishingly bad situation. Throw in the usual penalties, this time a blind side block by Miles Killebrew that backed the Steelers up and of course an errant punt that James Pierre couldn’t corral on the one-yard line. The usual Steven Sims punt return adventure, the near fumble of the onside kick, mediocre coverage on the kickoff and it was Steelers special teams as we know it. Only bright side was Chris Boswell drilled the game clinching field goal from 50 yards.

Keeping Mike Tomlin’s non-losing streak alive seems like sufficient motivation to keep this team running. After Sunday’s game the question that lingered was what might have been.


My “GAME BEER” goes to: This was hard but going with Mitch Trubisky for putting together a good bounce back game. He is very capable and will get a chance somewhere next season to compete. Loudmouth jag Mark Madden mentioned in his column that if the Steelers stuck with Trubisky they would have a better record, I hate to admit up until last week I agreed. Either way he wins this week’s player of the week. Honorable Mention: Diontae Johnson, who had another solid game leading the team in catches but took a costly penalty. Cam Heyward and Larry Ogunjobi for outstanding play up front.

Beer of the Game: Yuengling Light from Pottsville Pa. It did the job and was tasty.

“Steel the Snacks”: We had a party that KGB had to prepare for, so snacks consisted of me pilfering bread to dip in the Sunday Gravy pot (Amatriciana). It was a great dish and held me over! The dinner was outstanding albeit later in the day.

My Stat of the week:  There were a lot of great ones to choose but I chose this one, 21 plays for 91 yards eating an astounding 11:43 seconds off the 3rd quarter. It was an impressive drive by any standard and resulted in a Steelers touchdown.

My Thoughts on next week: I hate the Raiders on so many levels. Beside all the rivalry stuff, which is enough, I just hate the entire franchise. They are a very beatable team; the question is which Steelers team shows up?

Jersey of the Week: No Jersey this week, went with my Steelers Holiday sweater, also had Santa come through on a fire truck so I felt it was festive!

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The story of a lost season encapsulated in one game, the Steelers fall to the Ravens.

December 11th, 2022

It has been the theme all season, too many mistakes doom the Steelers in a very winnable game. The Steelers lost to the Baltimore Ravens for the first time in five meetings. The all too familiar script that was written all season and the game summed up exactly why this team is headed for its’ first losing season in nearly 20 years. The Ravens made the plays, the Steelers did not.

In his first matchup v. the Ravens, Kenny Pickett suffered what looked like a possible concussion, and ignominious start against a team he will likely battle for years to come. Mitch Trubisky the early season starter jumped right in and led the Steelers to a touchdown on his first drive. That would be the extent of his heroics however, the wheels came off the bus after that as he turned the ball over three times on the Ravens side of the field. Trubisky finished with 276 Yards passing but he looked rusty at best or indecisive at worst. It was a golden opportunity for him, and he came up short with three costly turnovers.

The rejuvenated running game took a step back this week. The five-game streak of 100+ yards came to a crashing end. The Steelers finished with just 65 yards on the ground with Najee Harris leading the team with a paltry 33 yards and a touchdown. The offensive line never got the lanes open to move and the pass protection was mediocre. Mason Cole and Kevin Dotson had a breakdown on the protection scheme, and Cole missed both blitzers on a pivotal play that sent Pickett to the blue medical tent. Dan Moore Jr. had another holding call which was waived off. It was a tough week for an offensive line that seemed to be improving.

The passing game was on the move and all over the Ravens secondary. George Pickens and Diontae Johnson dominated Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters and demonstrated the Ravens Achilles heel. The Steelers outgained the Ravens, had more first downs and fewer penalties but had so many costly errors that doomed this game and has doomed the entire season.

The defense held the Ravens to just 16 points and on the surface that would seem like a winning effort. But again, as per the season script they just plain ran out of gas in the fourth quarter. T.J. Watt had a respectable stat line, but he is clearly hurting and not the same player from the first game of the season. He missed several big plays to snuff out the Ravens. When the opposing team just absolutely runs the ball down your throat, it is on everyone, the defensive line had no answers. The Ravens final scoring drive consisted of 13 plays and 57 yards eating up close to eight minutes of clock. With a third string Quarterback, they took very few chances, and the Steelers still could not stop them. When your defensive backs lead the team in tackles, you know you have a problem.

The special teams are the longest running joke in Steelers history now. After a good week, once again they were a huge factor in the loss. Chris Boswell, returning from injury had a field goal blocked. Pressley Harvin who looked like the greatest punter in team history last week, “booted” a 17-yard punt that set the Ravens up for their only touchdown of the day. The return game produced next to nothing and throw in a holding penalty of course this time on James Pierre and you have the story of the season as well.

The Steelers simply do not make enough plays to outrun their litany of mistakes. This was a statement game, and it was easily winnable. What is most frustrating is the Ravens almost looked overmatched at times and somehow, they make enough plays to win and the Steelers do not.

The Coaching staff again failed to make any adjustments to thwart the Ravens victory. Now the Steelers must win out to salvage a winning record. Something that is possible but seems very unlikely.


My “GAME BEER” goes to: George Pickens, he talked big last week and had a sideline tirade, he backed it up this week. While he didn’t lead the team in catches, he clearly is a big play threat that Trubisky knew how to use. Honorable Mention: Diontae Johnson, who had a solid game.

Beer of the Game: We had a winter street fair in town this week. We purchased the local Beer at tent they had at the festival. Westhampton Beach Brewing company Jetty 4 Lager. Happy to give a local company a free plug

“Steel the Snacks”: KGB was back at it, and we went with Crabcake Sliders with Honey Mustard and Chipolte Mayo. Awesome snacks by KGB who was in the middle of a project when she cooked them. It was the highlight of a dismal game.

My Stat of the week:  The Ravens pummeled the Steelers on the ground with 215 yards including a six-yard run at the Baltimore 28 to seal the win. Everyone in the stadium knew what was coming, the Steelers did not have the answers to stop it.

My Thoughts on next week: This team honestly can beat anyone, but they make so many costly mistakes they can lose to anyone which is exactly what has happened multiple times this season. It is hard to predict who will show up?

Jersey of the Week: L.C. Greenwood #68, 1933 Throwback Jersey Gold, it looks like a soccer jersey which I thought with the World Cup going on, would be cool. I love this jersey, but funny thing is people have NO idea this is a Steelers jersey.


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Steelers hold off Falcons!

December 4th, 2022

The Steelers ran the football, played timely defense and were able to hold on and beat the Atlanta Falcons 19-16 on Sunday.  The Steelers have now won back-to-back games for the first time this season.

The Steelers game Sunday was the intended blueprint for the 2022 season. It all starts with the running game and for the fifth week in a row the Steelers were able to absolutely grind out 154 tough yards on the ground. Najee Harris had the flashes of why he was a number one pick. With strong power running, complete with a highlight reel stiff arm. He paced the running attack with 86 of the yards and looked great doing it. The Benny Snell revival tour continued as well, he chipped in with 24 yards on only six carries. The offensive line continues to get better each week, including allowing zero sacks.

Kenny Pickett’s development also continued Sunday. He missed some throws but played strong and mature football. He stayed within himself and made the plays he needed to make. The numbers aren’t gaudy, but he did the number one thing asked of him; he protected the football. Pickett finished with 197 yards and one touchdown. It was a solid if unspectacular effort.

The wide receivers had a strange game despite the success of the team. George Pickens had an Antonio Brown like meltdown on the sideline and looked like a distraction. He finished with only one catch for a meager two yards. Diontae Johnson had an off day as well, Johnson finished with five catches for 60 yards, but he never looked comfortable and he nearly fumbled. Pat Freiermuth led the team with 76 yards and Connor Heyward had his first career touchdown, the only one of the game for the Steelers.

The defense did a good job containing the Falcons. The Falcons rushed for only 146 yards the fourth lowest mark of the season and Marcus Mariota could only muster 167 yards in the air. Cam Heyward had the only sack of the game and played well. Larry Ogunjobi had four tackles and clogged the middle running lanes.

The defensive line faded down the stretch but never let Falcons establish the run in the first half. T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith were shutout Sunday, Watt has not looked the same since his return, but teams still gameplan for him allowing others to make plays. They kept Mariota in the pocket, and he was held to just 17 yards rushing, with nine coming on one play.

The secondary was buttoned down and made the plays they needed to. Minkah Fitzpatrick dropped the curtain with the game clinching interception and led the team in tackles. The often-maligned Arthur Maulet saved a touchdown and Cam Sutton had a very good day.

The special teams finally contributed positively again after two very harsh weeks. Matthew Wright in what will most likely be his last game did a great job banging out four field goals including a long of 48 yards. The coverage units with the return of Robert Spillane and Miles Boykin bounced back. Pressley Harvin only punted twice, but his second punt helped seal the victory pinning the Falcons on their own two. The return game…still stinks.

Give the Coaching staff credit, they had a solid gameplan and executed it nearly flawlessly. Finally seeing a run first offense is something that all fans have been clamoring for. The defense has bent but doesn’t break. Given the fact the Steelers controlled the ball most of the game it allowed the defense adequate time not to run down.


My “GAME BEER” goes to: This one was tough but have to go with Pressley Harvin for absolutely sticking a dagger in the heart of the Falcons with a punt that pinned them down on the two yard line. I was critical of the decision, but the Steelers pressed the right button and Harvin delivered. Also Considered: Najee Harris, who looked like the back the Steelers drafted! Kenny Pickett for solid if unspectacular play and Minkah Fitzpatrick for the game winning interception.

Beer of the Game: Picked up some Sam Adams Winter Lager, both KGB and I went with the same beer, which is somewhat unusual. A GREAT beer by any measure!

“Steel the Snacks”: We went back to “Steeling” the snacks, I made Fried Chicken Sliders with country gravy, country style mac and cheese and finished it with spicy grits. All and all I was the Matthew Wright of snacks filling in admirably for KGB.

My Stat of the week: The Steelers won back-to-back games for the first time this season. The Stat of the week however is the Steelers running for over 100 yards for the fifth straight game. That is the longest streak since 2016! The running game has been a priority and it finally looks like it is paying dividends.

My Thoughts on next week: RAVENS’ WEEK! The Steelers have what it takes to beat the Ravens, right now it looks like Lamar Jackson is questionable Sunday. I hope he plays because we don’t want any excuses.

Jersey of the Week: Heath Miller, #83 Steelers Blackout Jersey, I actually wore it work outside as well. One of my favorites in my collection.


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