I’m not sure we can say the Pittsburgh Steelers are all the way back. But they’re getting there. Yesterday afternoon, the Steelers took a giant step toward digging out of the 0-4 hole that began their season by pulling off a last second victory over the Baltimore Ravens 19-16.
Last week, the Steelers finally broke out of the turnover slump by picking off Geno Smith twice. This week, they finally found a running game. Rookie Le’Veon Bell just missed his first career 100 yard game (93 yards) as five guys combined to pile up 141 yards of rushing offense. Bell averaged 4.9 yards a rush which was particularly impressive when you consider his longest gainer was only 11 yards.
Speaking of impressive, the running game got on track despite the offensive line suffering yet another setback. Marcus Gilbert was injured early on leading to Guy Whimper taking his place at right tackle. Whimper had been used exclusively at guard since coming here but is a tackle by trade so that’s not a huge shock – that they’d rather insert Whimper into a game than Mike Adams is. Adams did see some action when LT Kelvin Beachum was briefly shaken up but it appears he’s buried deep inside Mike Tomlin‘s non-existent doghouse.
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As we await word whether the NFL Appeals Committee will do the right thing by lifting the suspension of Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison, let us turn our attention to other concerns. Namely, this week’s big game against the NFC West Champion San Francisco 49ers. When the ball is kicked off on Monday night, it will be the second time this year the Black and Gold have faced a member of the Harbaugh family. John, as we well know, is coach of the hated Baltimore Ravens. His brother, Jim, is the mastermind behind the Niners’ unexpected resurgence.
The Brothers Harbaugh have one thing in common: They’re both colossal dicks.
For weeks now, some of you may have noticed sarcastic references to “Gatorade showers” in my posts. For those not in on the joke, what I’m referring to is the Ratbirds dousing their coach with the foul-tasting sports drink after they swept the season series with the Steelers. I’ve watched football a long time and I’d be hard pressed to recall a more ridiculous post-game display. Teams that clinch their first playoff berth in decades shower their coach with Gatorade. Teams that just won the Lombardi Trophy shower their coach with Gatorade. Accomplishing the pedestrian feat of beating your division rival a whopping twice in a row does not merit such a spectacle.
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Those of you who’ve been reading my stuff since my days over at the Site That Shall Not Be Named are no doubt aware of my utter dislike for the Baltimore Ravens. At the same time, you also probably know I consider their rivalry with the Pittsburgh Steelers to be the best in all of sports. The Celtics and Lakers battle for championships but you can count their encounters on one hand. Yankees and Red Sox have a storied history which has been completely dominated by New York. Ditto with the Bruins and the Canadiens.
NFL Network is finally getting with the program. They produced a fantastic NFL Films piece on the Steelers-Ravens rivalry which you can watch by clicking here. I’m sent a bunch of these clips every week and I usually don’t bother pimping them here because most are pretty trite and dull. This one, however, is notable for the on-field audio (Stabby’s whining at 1:12 is classic) and the soundbites from head coaches Mike Tomlin and John Harbaugh.
Harbaugh comes across like a sleazy little prick (which he is). Pretty much the perfect coach for Baltimore. Tomlin, however, is in prime form. His speechifying never fails to crack me up. For the GenXers out there, he is the real-life version of a Damon Wayons character from “In Living Color.” And I don’t mean Homey D. Clown.
“There is immeasurable value when you come out on the victorious side.” Seriously, Mike? You can’t just say, “Winning is awesome?”
Also, if any of you are reading this at Happy Hour, here’s a fun drinking game. Take a shot every time you hear a Tomlinism. Off the top of my head, I caught at least four:
-Iron sharpens iron
-The team that wins imposes their will
-Opportunity to measure yourself
-First team that blinks, loses
Anything I missed?