I can’t imagine how a guy this huge gets injured playing quarterback, but in Sunday’s game vs. the Packers, Bears QB Jay Cutler was injured enough to….What? That’s not the Jay Cutler who plays for the Bears? Oh. Oh my. How…unfortunate. (more…)
The Steelers will host the AFC Championship game against the confident NY Jets this Saturday. They will be playing in the AFC Championship game for the 5th time in 10 years. In my lifetime, they’ve been to 3 Super Bowls, and have won 2, both with Big Ben behind center. (more…)
We are officially on our way to Pittsburgh for an epic weekend of tailgating, and the Steelers Patriots game at Heinz Field. We’ve got great LL tickets. Pictures will be posted. We’ll drink beer, play bags, toss the rock around, eat some Meckler Dip (family recipe, it’s tha bomb), and record a video blog specially for Pittsburghrick.com. Check back for news from the Burgh!
Although Troy may disagree, style points don’t matter. A win is a win, and the Steelers have outlasted the Bengals to go 6-2. They are neck and neck with the Ravens, and absolutely must keep winning.
That being said, our boys in Black and Gold must learn from their mistakes. They’ve blown fourth quarter leads against the Bengals too many times, and Monday night was too close for comfort. After leading by 20 pts in the 4th, the Steelers gave up a couple touchdowns to let the Bungles back in the game. Thankfully our D stepped up in the end and our big playmakers…well, they made big plays.
I live in MN. Fans here are ridiculous. They don’t understand the game, and if they do, their view on the rest of the NFL is skewed and inaccurate at the best. Every week people say the same thing, “Oh you’re playing [insert team here]? that will be an easy win.” I always respond the same way, “Yeah well, nothing is ever easy for the Steelers.” I believe that, I really do. I grew up listening to my dad talk about how it was like every game was the Super Bowl when the Steelers play, and I am beginning to understand what he meant. Teams know they’re about to face the greatest franchise in the history of professional football. The worst teams in the league get up and play like its do or die when they play the Steelers, regardless of their record. As well they should. A win against the Steelers can give you confidence and swagger, and can be a big momentum changer for your season. Just see this year’s New Orleans Saints after their win against the Steelers. All that really means is the Steelers need to be more prepared mentally and physically than any other team they play, because it is never going to come easy.
Aside from all of the atrocious calls the Steelers had to overcome, they also had to overcome injuries to some of their top offensive linemen, and a myriad of poor playcalling from our friend Bruce “the spruce” Arians. I’ve never liked that screen pass to Ward. I always feel like its a play they run to keep his (well deserved) consecutive catches streak alive. Running it two plays in a row though? When the max we’ve gained from the play after running it a million times is maybe 7 yards? I’d be willing to guess that play yields an average of two yards. Why run it twice in a row? As we saw Monday night, the second of two screens in a row (one to one side, and the second to the opposite side) to Ward resulted in a (albeit rare) Ward fumble. Brilliant.
I loved seeing Rashard pound it down their throats late in the 4th though. Just wondering why we don’t pass it on 3rd and 4 at the end of that drive? We spent $100 million on our savior Big Ben. Stuck by him when he made some very poor desicions, why not go for the first down and put the game away? After a Rashard 2 yard gain, Jeffy went ahead and missed the game-ender anyway.
I’m done with Jeff Reed. He’s been reliable for a long time, but he isn’t anymore. Plain and simple. Good kickers get it done when the game is on the line. Had he made that kick, he could have probably done anything in the upcoming weeks and we would have let him get away with it. He’s lucky our D was able to hold them off, otherwise I’m sure we’d being hearing even more cries from the Yinzers in Pittsburgh.
I am a little concerned, I must admit. Big Ben seems like he’s not all there yet. Where most QBs have had 8 or 9 games with their team, Ben has had 4. Against the Bengals we started to see for the first time Big Ben going out there and changing the play at the line of scrimmage on a more regular basis. Its a sign that he is starting to feel comfortable in the offense, and that he’s getting his head wrapped around the feel of the game again. Something else seems to be missing though. That old time Big Ben magic we’re used to seeing seems to be a thing of the past, at least for now. We see flashes of brilliance, but he’s still making very poor throws, and under throwing Mike Wallace nearly every time Mike gets fee down the field. Ben is big and strong enough to get it to him, I wish he’d just chuck that thing down field! Some of this may not be Ben’s fault, as we did experience some injuries to the already struggling offensive line, and the usually inept pass rush of the Cincinnati Bengals was all over Big Ben all night.
Rashard looked pretty good, though. I liked how instead of bouncing him outside like we tried to do too many times, we just started running it right at them. Rashard is showing agility, quickness, and vision, and running him up the middle seems to be much more productive than some of these other running plays (22 Double excluded) have been.
I am always hesitant to blame the defense for anything since they’ve given us so many things in the past decade or so, and I feel we should be able to beat anyone in the NFL if we can keep them 20pts or less, but something is amiss here as well. Our pattern of giving up 4th quarter leads started over a year ago, and is creeping back again to haunt us. We blamed it on Aaron Smith being out, and Troy being out, but there is something else going on here. Our secondary still seems extremely vulnerable. I have never liked the way Willy Gay plays, and I never will. He makes a big play here, and then gets burned for a touchdown or two there. McFadden is getting beat too often, and Ike Taylor is making costly mistakes. Its also been a while since Troy has come up with a huge interception at a big moment that we are so used to seeing from him. TO is an aging veteran. Smart, but slower than he used to be, and there is no excuse for him having the kind of game he had Monday night. I follow a lot of Steelers players on Twitter, and of the ones who tweet regularly, namely Ryan Clark and LaMarr Woodley, I can hear their frustration in how they are playing. Clark is always saying something like “Well, a win is a win, but we know we need to get better. About to go hit some game tape.”
Bottom line: We need to get better.
Props to Emmanuel Sanders for having another huge game with a forced fumble on special teams. This guy is going to be good, and if he keeps playing like this, we won’t see Antonio Brown again until Ward retires. I’d really like to see Sanders running all of El’s routs. Never been a huge fan of Antwaan as a wide-out, though its nice to have him back for some trickery.
Jon and I head out to Pittsburgh to attend the game at Heinz Field this weekend. Can’t wait to cheer on our boys in person. The Patriots have been winning, and under the radar. I really hope we come prepared, cause I really don’t want to drive 17 hours to see us lose to the Patriots <-Maybe the team I hate the most in the NFL.
There will be video and pictures from the game next week. Until then, I leave you with this:
So, better late than never I suppose. First things first Dennis Dixon has been placed on injured reserve by the pittsburgh Steelers. This effectively ends dennis dixon’s year with the pittsburgh steelers and locks in that Charlie Batch will be starting quarterback.
I’m proud to say that I was right after seeing charlie batch play last week. He threw for the most part with accuracy and for 3 touchdowns, a record in his career. The steelers defense looked solid once again, and this week we face a hated rivalry: the Baltimore Ravens.
In order to go 4-0 the steelers will have to stop Ray Rice (who, sources say, will play this week despite his knee injury) and play great defense not allowing Joe Flacco to throw any touchdowns to Anquon Bolden.
The Steelers offense will have to score points again this week, and this time they’ll have to do it aginst who is now listed as the #1 defense in the NFL. Last week was fun, but in order to beat the Ravens, we’ll have to play better. Now that Charlie has had a chance to run with the starters for a few weeks, he needs to make some better decisions throwing the ball. Last week, he either threw it on the money, or right to a defensive player.
Ed Reed will be out this week, which lightens the load on Batch, and allows the Steelers to take a couple more stabs deep to Mike Wallace. I hope to see some shots early so we can effectively open up the blocks for Rashard to have a little more freedom and bigger holes at the line.
Let’s have a big week and make some noise against the Ratbirds! And those of you who took the 50-1 odds that the Steelers would go 4-0, good luck this week!!
Tomlin thought they should have had more against the Titans.
“We didn’t operate very well on third down. I thought Charlie made some plays, particularly in the second half, and we had an opportunity to make some plays that we didn’t make. They were competitive catches, no question.
“There wasn’t really one guy; if you look at it, all of our guys –very reliable people. Heath Miller, I thought, had an opportunity to deliver a play or two for Charlie. Mike Wallace had an opportunity to deliver a significant play that would’ve put us in scoring position on a third down. I thought Hines was capable of maybe catching that touchdown on that little short fade. Those are the kind of plays that need to be made.”
Couple of things before I get in to what everyone wants to talk about.
1) Defense just looks so good. Who can argue with 7 take aways? The Steelers’ D is back, and in full force. They are exciting to watch again, and at any moment they can change the game with a big sack or int. Thats a feeling I don’t ever remember having during last season. Its so nice to see them back to the way we are accustomed to seeing them. And Chris Johnson’s consecutive 100 yard game streak stops here.
2) Special Teams had some tricks up their collective sleeve. A reverse to rookie Antonio Brown on the opening kick-off turned in to a game break, and 6 points on the rookie’s first ever touch in an official regular season NFL game. What a way to start, eh?! The Titans were able to run back some balls with some yardage, but it seemed that Stevenson Sylvester (quickly becoming recognized as a total beast) was everywhere, including punching the ball out to force a fumble during a kick-off return. The Special Teams look a lot more special this year than they did last.
3) The Offense looks anemic at best. Everything that could have possibly gone wrong with our QB situation, has gone wrong. Rashard Mendenhall was still able to crush out 60 some yards, even with the Titans crowding the blocks. Rashard needs to carry a heavy load for the offense, but if we can’t air it out every now and then, or rather if there is no threat that we might air it out (how about a play-fake long ball to Wallace??) then Rashard is going to have a lot of trouble being effective, no matter how great his vision/speed is.
So now we come to current issues. Charlie Batch is our only healthy quarterback. Period. Yet in Pittsburgh, “the verdict is still out” on who will be the starting QB against Tampa. WTF? I’ve heard a lot of people talk about Charlie Batch’s poor play in the Titans game. Never mind that he hasn’t taken any snaps with the first team. Never mind that Mike Wallace, Heath Miller, and Hines Ward all dropped perfect passes thrown by Batch. Never mind that every time Batch looked down at the offensive line he was looking at different personel. Never mind all that. The numbers say he didn’t have a good game, so thats that.
I’m sorry, but numbers aren’t everything in this game, and this case is no exception. Yes, Batch only completely like 5 passes. Yes, there was a fumbled snap. But why? Batch hasn’t had any time under center with Pouncey. He hasn’t thrown hardly any passes to the starting receivers in years. He was thrown in the middle of the game with the direction to hand the ball off and stay healthy. All of those things contributed to poor numbers, but when I look at the tape, I see Batch putting the ball on the money, and our recievers dropping the ball. Thats what I see. So, based on what I see, why not just decide to start Batch now, and let Leftwich rest another week? There is no one on this Pittsburgh Steelers team that knows the play book better than Batch, and we know that he’s done it before. We should be spending this time now just getting Batch under center and getting as many snaps as he can get with the starters before next week’s game. Why should we waste time working out Leftwich when he’s just going to find out that he’s not ready to go. What if that happens? Then Batch is thrown in the game last minute with no snaps (again), and we have another disastrous performance.
This is important: We need to score points. We need an offense that can, at the very least, function while Ben is away. We saw from this game that if you don’t score points, even though it was such a huge ass-whoopin and no matter how great the defense is playing, you can’t win consistently! The Titans were still in the game at the end, after ONE SCORE! If we put one TD on the board the game is a total blowout. TOTAL. WE NEED TO GET IN THE ENDZONE! …And to me, the best way to do that is to work out one guy with the starters, who we know is healthy NOW. That guy is Batch.