Steelers demolish Carolina!

December 18th, 2022
by admin

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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