Steelers complete epic comeback to claim North!

December 27th, 2020
by admin

A familiar phrase which has appeared several times in this blog, was a “Tale of Two Halves” this was exactly that, the Steelers had a Jekyll and Hyde game where it appeared that the once promising season would hit rock bottom finally, it was close and after the first half it looked like the end was near. But that is not what happened. The offense came back from the dead, the defense tightened up and the Steelers completed a monster comeback against the Indianapolis Colts. Bringing a renewed sense of optimism to the Steelers and a long over due North Division Title!

Ben Roethlisberger, who was left for dead after the Bengals game, looked off considerably again in the first half. He had several miscommunications with his receivers, and he threw for an anemic 98 yards in the first half, the stats don’t even tell the story, it was considerably worst than that.

After the Colts scored again on their opening 3rd quarter drive putting the Steelers down by 17. Roethlisberger went to work; he drilled a brilliant 39-yard pass to Diontae Johnson to cut the deficit to 10 points. With a quick Steelers score, it gave them a chance to stay in the game. After failing to score in the red zone, Roethlisberger led another drive late in the 3rd culminating with an Eric Ebron touchdown eight seconds into the 4th quarter. Finally, the comeback was complete with a 25-yard pass to JuJu Smith-Schuster for the eventual game winner. Roethlisberger finished with his second-best stat line of the season, racking up 342 yards and three touchdowns.

The running game after showing some promise in the loss to the Bengals was nonexistent again. The Steelers finished with a horrendous 20 yards on the ground. James Conner and Benny Snell found little room to run and once the Steelers were down by 17, there was little opportunity to try. The offensive line has no push up front and failed to convert several short yardage situations. The last of which gave the Colts another shot at winning the game.

It was a respectable if not mediocre performance by the defense. After a lousy first half of football, they held the Colts Hall of Fame Quarterback Philip Rivers and prolific offense to just three points.

The front seven again was leaky on the running game, allowing 127 yards on the ground. Even the return of Vince Williams didn’t help stop the bleeding completely. The second half adjustments helped and the Steelers hold on.

T.J. Watt was a one-man wrecking crew in the first half and his big play strip sack led to the Steelers first touchdown, but more importantly kept them in the game. Watt had a monster day and was double teamed and held for most of the game. Mike Hilton had a big game as well with an interception that helped spark the comeback.

Philip Rivers had a big first half, but then was handled in the second half. The defense pounded him with five sacks and the secondary zone defense tightened. Rivers had only been sacked 16 times all season. He clearly was affected by the pressure and made some errant throws. Stephon Tuitt and Steelhead Heyward each recorded a sack. Heyward absolutely lowered the boom on Rivers in a key spot. Give credit to Alex Highsmith, who has been a solid disappointment so far, had two key pressures forcing the game clinching fourth down incompletion. It as a nice comeback. Avery Williamson got on the board with a sack as well.

Special teams continued its up and down season. Matthew Wright did a nice job filling in for Chris Boswell on extra points, but his kickoffs were horrible. The coverage units were plain awful and gave the Colts good field position all day. Nyheim Hines had 63 yards on three returns for the Colts. A costly Justin Layne penalty set the Colts up on a short field on a return. Ray-Ray McCloud showed some flashes of life with a 22 yard kick return.

The refs let both teams play and while they missed some crucial calls, it is preferable that they stay out of the way.

The coaching staff which is going to get creamed in the mainstream media, deserves a lot of credit for yesterday. Yes, they bungled the clock management at the end of the first half. Yes, they started again slowly and the offense looked terrible. The Steelers were awful but there was never a sense of panic on the sideline. It looked like a group trying to solve an equation, they did it. You could see the frustration, but everyone looked composed. The second half adjustments on defense were spot on and letting Ben call the second half offense really opened the scoring.

It was a great comeback, and the Steelers will win a minimum of 12 games and finish as either the two or three seed in the AFC, that doesn’t happen without great coaching.


My “GAME BEER” goes to: Ben Roethlisberger, He had another disastrous first half but then something clicked and then he led a tremendous comeback. Also Considered: T.J. Watt who was a wrecking crew. Diontae Johnson who made a great catch to begin the comeback!

Where I watched the game: At the house with KGB and the Tailgate Kids until half time. Little Miss Tailgate went to work, our 81-year-old aunt joined us for half time! “Steel the Snacks”, this week consisted of Prime-Rib Paninis sliced up. It was a great effort by KGB. They came out right when the comeback started! No Beer, which I know is odd for a group called Beer We Go Steelers, I was nursing a stomach virus (NOT COVID) so had to drink club soda. I also could only try the snacks so hoping to grab a leftover today! (Editors Note: I think Dante finished them)

My Stat of the week: This was completely different about 3PM yesterday, but going with 17 Points, the largest deficit ever overcome by the Steelers in the regular season under Mike Tomlin. The Steelers have now done it three times, beating the Colts yesterday, Bengals (2017, one of the Terrible Towel Incidents) and Broncos (2015). Largest Steelers comeback of all time is 21 points which they have done three times also. (Ravens 97, Bills 85, Cardinals 53)

Honorable Mention: Ben Roethlisberger now holds the edge in wins 4-3 over Philip Rivers with one of the wins coming in post season.

My Thoughts on next week: The division is wrapped up and the Steelers will finish in the two or three seed for the playoffs. The Browns are fighting for their playoff lives after laying an egg against the Jets yesterday. After getting hosed by the league with no actual bye week, the Steelers should treat this game as the bye week. Start Mason Rudolph who could potentially send the Browns home, after he was nearly brained with his helmet by Myles Garrett a season ago. Try and find some semblance of a running game and work on it against a solid Browns defense.

This week’s Jersey: Franco Harris, 32, Pro Football Hall of Fame Jersey black, it also inspired me to tweak next year’s BWG Steelers design (The original 2020 design which was shelved because of the Pandemic). The Jersey was a Christmas gift!

Posted in BWG Reporting | Comments (0)

No comments yet

Leave a Reply