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Tennessee Titans v Pitsburgh Steelers

This is why I hate the preseason.

Nothing good  ever happens. If the starting offense marches down the field and scores an easy touchdown, so what? Then the starters come out and you end up watching guys who are either about to be cut or are so far down the depth chart they only see the field in desperate situations. What’s worse is you actually pray for the starters to come out because as long as they’re playing, the only significant thing that can happen is somebody gets injured.

Guess what happened Sunday?

Pittsburgh Steelers Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey broke his foot in yesterday’s preseason victory over the Packers at Heinz Field. It’s the second catastrophic injury for Pouncey in three years as his 2013 campaign ended after one quarter thanks to friendly fire from teammate David DeCastro. At least this time an opponent was responsible as Green Bay’s Ha Ha Clinton-Dix rolled him up from behind on a run blitz. Continue reading »

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Steeler Dog

Two important things were learned from the Pittsburgh Steelers 30-17 loss to the Baltimore Ravens in the Wild Card round of the NFL Playoffs.

1 – The Steelers high-powered offense is a collection of burned out light bulbs without running back Le’Veon Bell.

2 – Whatever concussion protocols the Steelers have in place, they might want to look into changing them.

The second point became extremely apparent when Ben Roethlisberger‘s head bounced off the Heinz Field turf during the last of the Ratbirds five sacks. Ben went to the sideline while Bruce Gradkowski came in and calmly converted a 3rd and 21. After three plays from the Polish Rifle, Ben returned and promptly threw a game-ending interception into triple coverage in the end zone. I have to think he wasn’t playing with all his marbles when he made that pass because otherwise I have no idea why he’d throw that ball into a crowd of Ravens with literally nobody open. Continue reading »

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Martavis Bryant 94 TD Catch

Well, that was unexpected…

A week after a miserable showing against the Saints, the Pittsburgh Steelers went out and crushed the Cincinnati Bengals 42-21 to tighten the race in both the AFC North and AFC Playoffs. How convincing was this victory? So convincing Andy Dalton watched the final five minutes from the sideline after Marvin Lewis all but threw in the towel.

Of course, if the Black and Gold hold to 2014 form, I fully expect them to crap the bed next week in Atlanta. Continue reading »

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B2sgJnrCIAAPRHh

Thank goodness for byes because I don’t think my blood pressure can take another week of this.

After playing the first two and a half quarters like a bunch of extras on the Walking Dead, the Pittsburgh Steelers rallied late to edge the Tennessee Titans 27-24. For a long stretch, it appeared we were headed for yet another instance of the Steelers losing to a bad team as has become all too common during the Mike Tomlin era. If you stuck around for ESPN’s post-game show, well, you were treated to the glorious sight of Ray Lewis losing every last bit of his street cred by wearing an Elmer Fudd hat. You also got a chance to see Steve Young react with extreme exasperation over the Steelers’ annoying habit of playing down to their competition.

Try watching this team week in and week out, Steve. Continue reading »

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So this is what if feels like to have seen a UFO. Or Bigfoot. Or the Flyers win the Stanley Cup.

Here we are over twelve hours later and I still can’t believe what I saw yesterday afternoon actually happened. Is this real life? Is it just fantasy? I have no idea who those guys in bumblebee jerseys were but I’d like to see more of them.

The Pittsburgh Steelers, behind a record setting passing performance from Ben Roethlisberger, outgunned the Indianapolis Colts 51-34. The two teams combined for over a 1,000 yards of total offense. Big Ben became only the second QB in NFL history with 500 passing yards, 6 TD, 0 INT in a game. His 522 yards tied him with Boomer Esiason for fourth most in NFL history, thirty behind Norm Van Brocklin‘s record set back in 1951. Continue reading »

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Ben Roethlisberger, Domata Peko, Marcus Gilbert

Tuesday was Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin‘s press conference. I talked a bit about the nonsense that tends to come out of Coach T’s mouth yesterday. One thing I neglected to mention was an entire line of questioning from the local media cheerleaders/reporters regarding whether a benching might be in order for right tackle Marcus Gilbert. Gilbert, it should be noted, has already surrendered four sacks through the first two games.

For his part, Tomlin said he has nothing but faith in Gilbert, even likening him to movie icon Rocky Balboa.

I’m not going to get into the whole issue of whether Gilbert should start or sit. I did that last year and it took five weeks and four losses before Tomlin decided that maybe it was time to tweak the line-up. Gilbert’s going to play and play and play some more until (unless) he proves to be a total liability. What I’m interested in is the reason the Steelers will afford Gilbert all this leeway. Continue reading »

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tytyt

Catching up on some stuff I missed last week, it was announced late Friday night that the Pittsburgh Steelers had fired offensive line coach Jack Bicknell Jr. This announcement came as a bit of a surprise to most as Bicknell has generally been credited for doing a pretty good job this season. If there was ever an example of making chicken salad out of chicken shit, what Bicknell did with our crew of journeymen and underachievers was it. I can’t fathom how much more the Steelers expected from him.

That is, if he was coaching the line at all. Our old friend Ian Rappaport, through his ever-popular “anonymous team source” – who we know is just the kid in the Steely McBeam costume feeding that nobody bogus scoops – tweeted that he heard Bicknell had been stripped of all on-field duties by the end of the year. While not a single one of the crack local beat reporters bothered to report this during the season, Jerry Dulac at the P-G did mention – shortly before Rappaport broke his “news” – that he had heard offensive line assistant Shaun Sarrett had taken over around mid-season. If that’s true, I guess we already know who the next O-line coach is. Continue reading »

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bengalspunter

If ifs and buts were candy and nuts, every day would be Christmas…

The Pittsburgh Steelers laid a mighty whuppin’ on the Cincinnati Bengals, temporarily keeping their slim playoff hopes alive with a 30-20 victory on Sunday Night Football. The final score doesn’t accurately reflect how one-sided this game actually was. The Black and Gold roared out to a 21-0 lead in the first quarter and basically coasted the rest of the way. Meanwhile, Cincy never seemed to get on track, repeatedly shooting themselves in the foot with mistakes or ill-timed penalties. As Cris Collinsworth, a former Bungle, said after one of their players got flagged for taunting down while down 20 points, “Well, it’s the Bengals.” Continue reading »

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The Pittsburgh Steelers host the Miami Dolphins this Sunday at Heinz Field. Ordinarily, I’d begin this preview by trying to come up with some compelling reasons to get fired up for the game. In this case, hype really isn’t necessary. For the Steelers’ razor thin playoff hopes to live another week, they quite simply must win on Sunday.

Miami is currently one of the two remaining 6-6 teams in the AFC. I know I’ve been saying all along that the AFC’s second Wild Card might be 8-8 and I still believe that. With four games remaining, can anybody confidently predict ANY of the AFC teams in the hunt will run the table? Regardless whether that second Wild Card is 8-8 or 9-7, the last playoff spot is almost certainly going to come down to tiebreakers. Which is why the Steelers must beat the Dolphins – if they lose they can possibly make up the  game in the standings but they will never be able to make up the tiebreaker. Continue reading »

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yahoo_JasonWorilds

The Pittsburgh Steelers have managed to claw their way back into the AFC playoff discussion. As I mentioned in yesterday’s game recap, a large part of their resurgence is due to recent line-up changes. A few of those changes were coach Mike Tomlin demoting guys due to poor performance but most of them came about because of  injuries. In nearly every instance where a starter has gone down, his replacement has come in and been an improvement.

Baseball has what is called a Lou Gehrig situation. Basically, Gehrig was a bench warmer until one fateful day when the starter was ill and couldn’t play. Gehrig took his place and performed so well he’d play every game thereafter for the next fourteen years. It’s a tremendous achievement but also a cautionary tale about how quickly and unexpectedly a player can find themselves replaced. Continue reading »

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