Week 13: If You Ain’t Cheating, You Ain’t Trying

 Posted by at 5:25 am  Le'Veon Bell, Mike Tomlin, Ratbirds, Recaps  Comments Off on Week 13: If You Ain’t Cheating, You Ain’t Trying
Nov 302013
 

Tomlin Sideline Jones Jumps BackBaltimore

The Pittsburgh Steelers playoff hopes sustained a crushing, possibly fatal blow on Thanksgiving with a 22-20 loss to the Baltimore Ravens. Of course, the big story coming out of the game – at least outside of Pittsburgh – are the actions of head coach Mike Tomlin. The Ratbirds won so their trademark whining has been mostly replaced by jokes and sarcastic comments about Tomlin standing on the field just long enough to interfere with Jacoby Jones 73 yard kickoff return early in the third quarter.

Although it didn’t stop Terrell Suggs for providing me the title of this post when asked his thoughts on the Tomlin Two-Step: “If you ain’t cheating, you ain’t trying to win.” Continue reading »

Know Thy Enemy: Baltimore Ravens

 Posted by at 5:57 am  Game Preview, Ratbirds  Comments Off on Know Thy Enemy: Baltimore Ravens
Nov 272013
 

The Pittsburgh Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens. There really isn’t much to add to that. It has already become one of the NFL’s most heated rivalries. While the departure of guys like Hines Ward and Ray Lewis has taken away some of the on-field animosity, the rivalry will continue to burn as long as these two teams continue to face each other in big games.

And make no mistake, this is a huge game. About a month ago, the joke going around was NBC probably wishes they could flex Ravens-Steelers out of the coveted Thanksgiving night prime time slot. Both were mired at the bottom of the standings and looked like a couple of teams going nowhere. Thanks to modest winning streaks and the mediocrity of the AFC, both Baltimore and Pittsburgh now find themselves in the thick of the Wild Card race.

As if Ravens-Steelers isn’t important enough. As if a showcase on Thanksgiving wasn’t important enough. Now we get to throw in major playoff implications. With seven teams basically tied for the second Wild Card, head-to-head victories and Conference Record are going to be the difference between a trip to the playoffs and an early off-season.

While I fully expect another close game, let’s just hope it doesn’t go to overtime. We all remember what happened last time the Steelers played an OT game on Thanksgiving. Continue reading »

Week 12 Recap: Meet The New Boss, Same As The Old Boss

 Posted by at 4:45 am  Antonio Brown, Circle of Hate, Linebackers, Offensive Line, Recaps, Troy Polamalu, William Gay  Comments Off on Week 12 Recap: Meet The New Boss, Same As The Old Boss
Nov 252013
 

playoffs

I have no idea how this NFL season is going to end. What I do know is it’ll probably be in the least likely way possible.

In a year full of twists and turns, the latest came Sunday when the Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the Cleveland Browns 27-11 to officially move into contention for the AFC Playoffs. The graphic above showing the Black and Gold as the second AFC Wild Card team was valid for about three hours yesterday afternoon. That is, until Tennessee beat Oakland to move ahead of us by virtue of a head-to-head victory earlier in the season. Still, the fact the same team that started out 0-4 and got epically blown out by the Patriots a month back is even in the playoff race is utterly insane.

Welcome to the parity-driven, NFL! Continue reading »

Know Thy Enemy: Cleveland Browns

 Posted by at 3:22 pm  Circle of Hate, Game Preview  Comments Off on Know Thy Enemy: Cleveland Browns
Nov 222013
 


C’mon, you knew I was gonna use that video at least once.

This Sunday, the latest chapter in one of the most storied rivalries in NFL history takes place in Cleveland as the Cleveland Browns host the resurgent Pittsburgh Steelers. I’ve been loathe to use the p-word in association with the Steelers but in all honesty, the AFC is a complete disaster. Only the Broncos and Chiefs have broken away from the pack and would anybody be shocked if either or both were one and done in the playoffs? The rest of the conference is comprised of teams that have their strengths but also have some fatal flaws.

The Browns and Steelers are not as far apart as Steeler Nation would like to think. I’ve been hearing a lot of confident talk from Steeler fans acting like this week’s game is chalk. First of all, even when the Steelers were good and the Browns were abjectly terrible the games were tight. Rivalry games tend to have the affect of evening out talent levels.

Or does nobody else remember Josh Cribbs? Continue reading »

Big Ben Will Do “Whatever It Takes” To Remain A Steeler

 Posted by at 9:48 am  Big Ben, Tomlinisms  Comments Off on Big Ben Will Do “Whatever It Takes” To Remain A Steeler
Nov 212013
 

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Due to circumstances beyond my control, there will be no recap of the Mike Tomlin press conference this week. Believe me, I’m just as disappointed as all of you. Evidently at one point, Tomlin quoted Iron Maiden by saying, “If you’re gonna die, you die with your boots on.” If he works a Poison reference into his next presser, I may have to scrap my usual snarkiness and write a 1,000 word opus on how freakin’ cool Coach T can be.

In the meantime, there has been another development in the other big subplot to this Pittsburgh Steelers season. It’s been nearly two weeks since NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport came out with his fictitious story that quarterback Ben Roethlisberger would ask to be traded this off-season. Last Thursday, NFL Network decided to double down on the lunacy by not only bringing Rapoport back to repeat his nonsense but add in unverified unattributed reports that the team felt Ben “wasn’t Peyton Manning” in terms of studying the playbook and GM Kevin Colbert was at the Clemson game to scout his eventual replacement, Tajh Boyd.  Continue reading »

Week 11 Recap: ‘Cause He’s Dick LeBeau

 Posted by at 5:32 am  Antonio Brown, Big Ben, Dick LeBeau, Face Me Ike, Recaps, Swaggin' Ike Taylor  Comments Off on Week 11 Recap: ‘Cause He’s Dick LeBeau
Nov 182013
 

Dick_LeBeau

Does that answer your question?

The Pittsburgh Steelers romped to a 37-27 victory over the Detroit Lions yesterday at Heinz Field. The near miraculous nature of their win is underscored by the fact their defense pulled out of a tailspin that threatened to send the game in the same direction as the Patriots debacle. Detroit finished with 451 total yards of offense, nearly 300 of which came in the second quarter. Meanwhile, the other three quarters saw the Black and Gold play perhaps their finest football of the season.

All season, the Steelers offense has played remarkably better when they’ve gone no-huddle. All season, the Steelers have refused go to the no-huddle until they’ve fallen a score or two behind. Head coach Mike Tomlin called it “a gimmick.” Todd Haley hates it because he’s not the one calling plays.

For the first time this year, the Steelers started the game going no-huddle. Naturally, they would score touchdowns on their first two possessions. With Ben Roethlisberger calling the plays, the Lions had no answers. Well, they did manage to force a three and out on our third drive.

Maybe if Ben studied his playbook a little more, we’d score on EVERY SINGLE POSSESSION. Continue reading »

Know Thy Enemy: Detroit Lions

 Posted by at 12:30 pm  Big Ben, Game Preview  Comments Off on Know Thy Enemy: Detroit Lions
Nov 152013
 

 Tajh Boyd

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that one of the weird little quirks of this season has been the fact NFL Network’s Thursday Night Football has featured really good games. Last night, the Colts overcame a horrible first half to eventually edge the Titans and take commanding control of the AFC South. If the Pittsburgh Steelers were remotely in the playoff race, the Titans losing would be the important key news coming out of last night. But these are strange and unsettling times, my friends.

Going into halftime, the insufferable announcers teased “Steelers in Disarray” as one of the topics of discussion. Who should show up but alleged “insider” Ian Rapoport, to once again repeat his asinine and wholly unsubstantiated “scoop” that Ben Roethlisberger will be traded this off-season. This time, as to lend credence to Rapoport’s apparently made-up rumor, they brought somebody named Mike Silver out to add the Steelers are happy that Ben is studying harder this year but still displeased he’s “no Peyton Manning” when he’s away from the facility.

The crowning jewel on this comedy of misinformation was the earth-shattering news that GM Kevin Colbert was at last night’s Clemson game, apparently to scout quarterback Tajh Boyd.  Continue reading »

Mike Tomlin Press Conference: This Ain’t No Pep Rally

 Posted by at 12:34 pm  Mike Tomlin  Comments Off on Mike Tomlin Press Conference: This Ain’t No Pep Rally
Nov 142013
 

pittsburgh-steelers-head-coach-mike-tomlin

Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin held his weekly press conference on Tuesday. Due to circumstances beyond my control, I couldn’t get around to mocking him by taking his words out of context until today. I hope you forgive my tardiness.

Coming off a victory over the inept Buffalo Bills, this week’s presser was a much more jovial affair than last week’s contentious effort in the wake of the Patriots debacle. At one point, Coach T even cracked the room up with his own unique brand of unemployment humor! So as always, watch actual footage of the press conference here and return here as I attempt to decipher the undecipherable. Continue reading »

Does Ben Roethlisberger Want Traded?

 Posted by at 8:22 am  Art Rooney II, Big Ben, Todd Haley  Comments Off on Does Ben Roethlisberger Want Traded?
Nov 112013
 

 

On the NFL’s Sunday morning pre-game show, so-called “insider” Ian Rapoport reported on the above posted tweet. Who is Ian Rapoport? I have no idea. He’s certainly never broken any notable scoops like ESPN or Fox NFL “insiders.” Whoever he is, he certainly did his job by “breaking” a story that even got ongoing updates from the crew covering the Bills-Steelers game.

Before we go into the analysis and denials, we should start with Rapoport’s tweet. He’d later whine he was being misquoted or that the Pittsburgh Steelers were denying things he never said. Rapoport’s scoop actually is two scoops in one. First, he alleges Ben Roethlisberger is going to ask to be traded this off-season. Secondly, he alleges the Steelers already contemplated parting ways with Ben by soliciting trade offers last spring. Continue reading »

Week 10 Recap: Yay For Rookies!

 Posted by at 5:26 am  Antonio Brown, Jarvis Jones, Recaps  Comments Off on Week 10 Recap: Yay For Rookies!
Nov 112013
 

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In a game overshadowed by a report Ben Roethlisberger will ask for a trade this off-season (more about that in a separate post that’ll be up in about an hour), the Pittsburgh Steelers won their third game of the season by defeating the Buffalo Bills 23-10. Trade rumors weren’t the only thing swirling as a cold and blustery day in the ‘Burgh convinced close to 10,000 fans to skip the trek to Heinz Field and stay in their nice wind-free home. They didn’t miss much as the game itself was a dull affair between two of the NFL’s bottom-feeders. Welcome to the Mike Tomlin Era. Continue reading »