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Week 4 Recap: Scobee Sinks Steelers

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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.

Josh Scobee should never wear the Black and Gold again. He’s utter shit. Not as a person but certainly as a kicker. He’s 6/10 on the year which is pathetic. Literally any random kicker you sign off the street can make 50% of his attempts. There is absolutely no way the Steelers could possibly fare any worse.

What’s more, it’s not like there’s a pattern to his misses. The always obnoxious Phil Simms was giving him an out yesterday by repeatedly talking about “the swirling winds at Heinz Field.” Well, what about the two he missed in the season opener which was played IN FOXBORO? Those two FGs, by the way, very well could’ve won us that game. So that’s one game he definitely lost us and another he arguably did.

What’s our record again? Oh yeah, 2-2.

There seems to be a lot of Monday Morning Quarterbacking online and on the Four Letter over some of Mike Tomlin‘s decisions late in the game. Particular emphasis seems to be on going for it on fourth down on back-to-back drives. People don’t like the decision, others don’t like the playcalls. Those people are idiots. Easiest thing in the world is to criticize a play after the fact. Unless a call is mind-bogglingly dumb – like Todd Haley‘s boneheaded WR pass-option call early in the Patriots game or the pass play in the Super Bowl – second guessing random plays is pointless.

Le’Veon Bell had an excellent game, rushing for 129 yards on 22 carries. That doesn’t mean he’s going to get 2 yards on fourth down. Justin Forsett had 150 yards of his own but who carried the ball when the Ratbirds went for it on fourth down? Oh, right, Joe Flacco did because short yardage situations are different than normal running downs. The fourth down pass to Antonio Brown was wide open, the throw was just garbage.

Michael Vick played about as well as you can expect out of him. He started strong, even showing some Classic Vick by flashing the wheels on several scrambles.  He did seem to fade as the game wore on, missing on a number of throws late. There was some rust and there were definitely some plays missed but Vick didn’t turn the ball over and he didn’t make any egregious errors (other than the throw at the end)  so it’s hard to pin the loss on him.

If I had to pick a Goat #2, it’d be Antonio Brown. His absurd “at least 5 catches for 50+ yards” streak ended yesterday and he has nobody to blame but himself. When your starting quarterback goes down, it’s on your big time players to make big time plays. I got on Darrius Heyward-Bey for dropping an easy touchdown in the Pats game so fair is fair. Vick hit AB right in the hands for a TD early in the game and AB flat dropped it. That play has to be made.

I’ve seen people getting on our defense which boggles my mind. Going into the season, we thought they’d be somewhere between bad and atrocious. Thus far, they’ve actually been fairly solid. Not perfect and certainly not the Steel Curtain or LeBeau’s boys from ’08-12 but solid. Past two years we’ve been harping on two major failings: no turnovers and no pressure. Last night they sacked Flacco five times and forced two turnovers.

Which isn’t to say there’s no room for improvement. It was certainly a Jekyl and Hyde effort in some respects. The secondary was a huge concern the first three games with receivers getting loose for big plays with alarming ease. Last night the secondary did a pretty good job all things considered. The run defense, however, was abysmal. Justin Forsett gashed them repeatedly, doubling his output through the first three games in a single night. Stephon Tuitt had another impressive game and I regret ever mocking Sean Spence, who is turning out to be a very good player for us but there were too many big holes and too many missed tackles from others.

Still, Mike Tomlin making some risky decisions, Haley’s playcalls, AB letting the team down and the defense having their own issues is all background noise. The Steelers outplayed the Ravens in every meaningful way. By every right, they should have won the game. If only their idiot kicker could’ve made one lousy kick.