I hope everybody got what they wanted for Christmas because yesterday the Steelers left coal in all our stockings. In the latest in a long string of embarrassing losses to bad teams, the Baltimore Ravens upset the Pittsburgh Steelers 20-17, placing their playoff hopes in serious jeopardy. In a year where we started our third string quarterback and played some of the best teams in the league, naturally they save their worst game of the season for right when everything is coming together. The standard is the standard, right?
No, you haven’t been sipping too much spiked eggnog, it’s Thursday. I’ve traditionally posted Know Thy Enemy on Friday going all the way back to my NicePickCowher days but tomorrow’s a small little holiday some of you may be celebrating with friends/family. While I’d like to think your first stop with your new iPads and smarty phones would be this site, I realize you may have other interests. Besides, posting something titled “Know They Enemy” on Christmas just feels all kinds of wrong.
As you can tell from that long preamble, I don’t have a whole lot to say about this week’s game. The Pittsburgh Steelers visit the Baltimore Ravens as they continue to fight for a berth in the NFL playoffs. If things fall into place – meaning a Steeler victory and a Jets loss to the Patriots – the Black and Gold will find a playoff spot under their tree. There’s also a scenario where they win the AFC North but that’s a bit more remote.
Thank you Bruce Arians.
Despite the Flying Circus leaving town four years ago, BA continues to do his former team favors. Earlier in the year, he thoughtfully brought his typical “Pile up a ton of yards but settle for field goals” style of offense to Pittsburgh and let Landry Jones beat him with a series of big plays. Last night, he did us another solid by guiding the Cardinals to a last second victory over the Cincinnati Bengals. After starting the season 8-0, the Bungles have suddenly lost two in a row.
Which means the Pittsburgh Steelers are officially back in the hunt for the AFC North.
Yeah, I’m late. I was up late on a work night for obvious reasons. Besides, I’m sure everybody saw what happened last night. There will be much talking about and digital ink spilled on the Baltimore Ravens 23-20 overtime win over the Pittsburgh Steelers but to me it’s a bunch of sound and fury signifying nothing.
We lost because our kicker sucks. Period. End of story.
I hate to be *that* guy but after Josh Scobee missed an extra point in our week 2 victory over the Niners, I wrote the following:
“I’m so glad we traded a 6th round pick for a totally useless kicker that probably should be cut before he costs us a game (and, mark my words, he WILL cost us a game eventually).”
And, sure enough, eventually finally happened (RIP Yogi). I understand sports is not a knee-jerk business. I get as frustrated as anybody when a player makes one bad pitch or one bad play and 200 yinzers on Twitter want him cut. But at the same time, there are times when you can clearly see somebody doesn’t have it. And it’s annoying that teams seemingly ignore the obvious hoping it’ll go away until something so catastrophic happens they’re forced into action.
Once upon a time, an AFC North match-up promised to be a tight low-scoring game between two teams with hard-hitting ferocious defenses. My how times have changed. The North now features two of the top five offenses in football and three of the top fifteen. Plus the Browns!
Defense? We don’t need no stinkin’ defense.
The North also features two of the bottom tier defenses in the NFL. One of those belongs to those loveable Browns. The other? It’s held by the 0-3 Baltimore Ravens. Times have changed indeed.
Nobody has to tell the Pittsburgh Steelers about change. Our defense has a new coordinator for the first time since 2004. Troy Polamalu has retired as has Ike Taylor and every other defensive luminary from our two recent Super Bowl winning teams. James Harrison is the last man left standing.
…and the Browns are still the Browns.
With the Pittsburgh Steelers idle after playing on Kickoff Thursday, the first Sunday of football season was a good chance to put on Red Zone, agonize over your fantasy team, and do a little scouting of our AFC North opponents. Last year, the once mighty North was a bastion of mediocrity. Record-wise it may have looked impressive in sending three teams to the playoffs with the Steelers taking the division crown with an 11-5 record but that was somewhat misleading. Four other AFC teams finished 9-7 and probably would’ve won ten or eleven games had they enjoyed the soft schedule gifted to the North.
I’m sure the Pittsburgh Steelers have a plan – I just have no idea what it is.
On the second day of the 2015 NFL Draft, the Steelers selected cornerback Senquez Golson and wide receiver Sammie Coates in rounds 2 and 3. Neither player is quite what I expected. They needed a corner. I know it, you know it, they know it. I’m just not sure they needed *this* corner.
Then again both Mel Kiper and Todd McShay were ecstatic about Golson’s selection so maybe I just don’t get it. He’s certainly a fascinating player. The word “ballhawk” doesn’t do Golson justice as he hauled in a whopping 10 (!?) interceptions last season at Mississippi. Blazing 4.46 40 speed combined with superior ball skills make for what appears to be an ideal cover corner. What’s more, he’s not afraid to stick his nose in the line of scrimmage and provide some sure-tackling run support.
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.
The Baltimore Ravens.
Of course it had to be the Baltimore Ravens.
After a two season absence from the NFL Playoffs, the Pittsburgh Steelers return this Saturday night when they host the Ratbirds at Heinz Field. If you’re going to return to post-season, why not make it another chapter in what is undoubtedly one of the best rivalries in football. This will be the fourth time since 2000 that the Black and Gold have faced the Ravens three times in the same season. The first time, they were quarterbacked by Kordell Stewart in his last grasp at greatness, the last two they were led by Ben Roethlisberger on his way to a Super Bowl appearance.
I have a feeling I’m going to still be blogging about this from my nursing home in 2035…
For those of you who ignore the news or don’t pay attention to celebrity gossip, a huge ongoing story this past month has been a series of rape allegations leveled against beloved comedian/Puddin’ Pop peddler Bill Cosby. Something like a dozen women, from average fans to aspiring actresses – not to mention the wife of Incredible Hulk Lou Ferrigno (Did Cosby miss the part about “Don’t make him angry…”) – have stepped forward to accuse Doctor Huxtable of inappropriate sexual conduct. This being America, naturally lawyers are involved. It’s all a very sordid tale.
Well, comedian Chris Rock decided to sound off on the Cosby controversy by calling Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger “the original Cosby” at a movie premiere on Tuesday.