It was a wonderful night. Hell, even Cris Collinsworth wasn’t nearly as annoying as he normally is on Sunday Night Football.
Duck Devlin gets his first win as an NFL quarterback and a Pittsburgh Steeler. The Steelers played, for the first time this year, Steelers football. What do I mean by that? Simply this, run the ball and play incredible defense. They absolutely did that. Conner and Benny Snell racked up over 100 yards of total rushing for the team. The passing game was small but efficient and was exactly what you needed when you have your undrafted third string quarterback starting a road game.
The defense play was inspired, the pass rush was awesome, this led to turnovers, interceptions, fumbles and a defensive score.
The bad news, Tuitt is out for the season and he’s been playing absolutely amazing. Tyson Alualu played fantastic in relief and his tip lead to an interception, but we likely to add someone to pick up some of the loss of talent.
The good news, next week is the off week. So hopefully, we find another lineman, we get Mason back, we get Joe Haden, Steve Nelson and a bunch of other banged up players healthy. This is hugely important because if this team is going to save this season, they need to get on a roll. Here we go!
First play, can’t cover a tight end and Artie Burns in coverage.
Defense looks good tonight out of the gate against the run. Looking for Dupree to have a big night.
A three and out is a great start! You can hear the Steelers fans in the stadium. Only took the idiot Collinsworth 3 plays to make a mistake, God I hate him.
Switzer standard nothing return. When will we finally change our special teams coach.
Let’s go Duck! Love taking a shot on first down, not a great throw.
Conner for a loss, MacDonald for not enough, three and out.
First penalty of the night, false start on a punt – Chargers at their 20.
Ok, we’re banging Rivers around right off the bat.
Backwards pass, Devin Bush, TOUCHDOWN!!!! That’s why you move up 10 spots in the first round, what an athlete. Steelers 7-0
Gordon gets started, quick out route and a Charger first down.
Tipped!!! Bush is there again!!! Again, that’s why you move up 10 spots, Tyson with the tip. That’s Devin Bush at +6 in turnovers for him alone this season.
Conner for a couple, then Conner on a quick pass for a few, third down.
Conner again, first down! Hodges 3-4 so far.
Hand off exchange a little goofy, Conner for 1. Conner again 3 and 4.
Conner on a pass, where’s the spot? First down!
Conner off-tackle, TOUCHDOWN! Steelers 14-0
Chargers from the 24.
Gordon for nothing. Keenan Allen first down.
Given the injuries tonight, Barron, Nelson, this is essentially last years defense plus Bush.
Gordon for 4, Gordon for nothing. Completion, short defense will get off the field.
Good punt and of course a special teams penalty, but it’s on the Chargers, shocked! Going to re-kick, as Tunch Ilkin always says, re-kicks always lead to big plays. Or one more yard. We start at the 14.
Conner on the loose, 11 yards (6-30) exactly what we I called for in today’s post, Steeler football, hard defense and pound the running game. End of the first quarter, Steelers up by 14.
Diontae Johnson for 8 on a quick hand off.
Benny Snell football time, or not.
Conner pounds for the first down.
Conner for two, damn he’s running hard tonight.
Diontae Johnson for a first down, love this kids route running.
Benny Snell for 4. Duck for 2 and Desmond King thumps him.
Conner is a beast and the Chargers knock him over the line for a first down.
Benny Snell bangs through the jumbo set for 7. Benny Snell football, first down!
Snell for one, man we’re finally eating up clock for the first time this season.
Two yards on first down. Conner quick out, breaks a tackle, TOUCHDOWN! Jesus after the broken tackle he strolled in from the 15. Steelers 21-0
Chargers from the 14 and a nice run for a first down.
Chickillo got a gift and couldn’t pull it in. Nice line play, no gain third and 13.
And we let someone float into the middle of the zone for 13, right in front of guess who, Artie Burns.
Eckler for nothing. Oh Shit – Bush’s down. He’s walking off, hopefully it’s not serious.
Rivers airs it out he’s open, and Williams drops it.
Williams, first down, right in front of, oh yeah, Artie Burns.
Jesus can we cover Williams, play fake damn near cost us a touchdown.
Gordon for nothing, two minute warning.
Rivers intentional grounding, Big Dan putting on the pressure. Gordon short pass, fourth down.
Field goal attempt – DOINK!!!!!
A quick run and that’s the half 21- 0, a first half shutout!!!!!!!!!
Tuitt is out. Defensive offsides, 5 yards first down and five.
Hodges to Conner and he’s off, first down.
Snell for 4. Diontae Johnson drops the pass but Davis whacks Johnson and picks up a 15 yard penalty, first down.
Conner for nothing.
Duck is flushed from cover and tosses it away down the line.
Wow, great screen, Snell to the 20 but it looks like a hold on the play, JuJu commits the crime.
3 and 6 instead of a first down. More flags, looks like defensive offsides, third and one.
Benny Snell football! First down! And the Chargers get an unsportsmanlike, Desmond King, ooh that was a chippy penalty. The refs have sucked all over the NFL today.
Conner looks banged up on the sideline, we can’t catch a break.
Another bad snap but Snell with a good run, third and four.
Snell, measuring for a first down. OMG, first down by one link in the chain, let’s pound this in from the 2!
Conner is in!!!! And goes nowhere.
Conner for a half yard.
Horrible snap, ball rolling down the field, Hodges scoops it up and throws it away.
Bringing in Boswell. Money! Steelers 24-0
Crap run, Rivers a quick pass and it’s third and 2.
TJ Watt blocks River’s pass.
Not much, loss of 1 and then. Moncrief with a diving catch for a first down.
Yes, you read that right Moncrief caught the ball.
Twelve men in the huddle, first and 15.
Conner strung out for nothing. Man we are chewing up clock though.
Conner for two and out of pounds, nothing good there, third and 13.
Check down to Conner and he gets 12. Time to punt.
Holy Shit! Muffed punt, Justin Layne knocks it out and recovers. But it’s probably going back over to the Chargers for fair catch interference and that would be a fair call.
Chargers ball, fair call but the boos in the stadium are loud, crowd over half Steeler fans.
Watt almost gets the sack Rivers throws it away deep.
Rivers abuses the zone coverage for 25. Devin Bush picks up an unsportsmanlike penalty, gives up 15.
Wow, great play by Rivers, negated by a hold on Bud Dupree.
Hilton wraps up on a short pass.
Bush whiffs on a short pass, luckly Vince bangs him down but Eckler runs for a first down.
Chargers first and 10 just over mid field, 20 yard pass, Chargers on the 30.
Bush whiffs on another tackle and the Chargers have a first down, Devin Bush needs to amp up and wrap up.
Rivers to the endzone, out of bounds.
Finally, everyone sacks Rivers, Watt and Chickillo.
Who the hell is impersonating Collinsworth, he’s complimenting the Steelers.
Haden makes a magnificent pass break up! Fourth down.
Ahhh there he is, poor Phillip Rivers has never had a good left tackle, Chargers field goal.
Pittsburgh 24 – San Diego 3
Snell for 3, Vannett for 6, that wasn’t a catch, Steelers get to the line, Benny Snell for the first down.
JuJu finally on the slant for 7.
Benny Snell football is kicking in, first down.
Bad throw deep, interception Chargers, Jenkins made a good play on a ball Hodges put too much air under.
Rivers airs it out, three guys back but the receiver was open and Artie Burns in coverage.
Williams for 11, first down.
Steelers defense looked confused, another first down, 22 yards right in front of Artie Burns.
Pass deflected, the rush is really getting home but the coverage looks confused.
Good play but the flag comes in and the penalty is on………Artie Burns, hands to the face, first down.
Two Steelers whiff, first Bush (that’s 3) then a DB.
Edmunds with a nice pass breakup near the goal line.
First and goal, another whiff on the tackle, Steelers need to wrap up!!!
Hilton and Bush wrap up, no gain on the swing pass.
Cam Sutton with a great one-handed breakup.
Should have been a touchdown, and now it is, in front of………wait for it……..Artie Burns.
Steelers 24 – 10
Ok, long drive and kill the clock.
Benny Snell football! 13-70, awesome.
Snell for 1. Snell for 1, they gonna let Duck throw?
Switzer behind the line for shit, far too conservative for a 14 point lead.
Decent punt, Chargers on their own 22.
Fitzpatrick drops an interception.
Cam Kelly, nice hit, no gain.
Wide-open catch for 20, they’ve been playing deep all night and he ran past the entire dime package.
Big Dan, hands to the face after Gordon got nothing.
Cam Sutton with another nice play.
Bush nice job staying with the play, third and six.
First down at the 2:00 warning.
Moore for a first down in front of Sutton.
Touchdown, one possession game
Steelers 24 -17
TJ Watt has looked like he’s in pain for most of the last quarter, wonder what he’s dealing with.
Cam Sutton goes up and snatches the onside kick, wild awesome play by Sutton.
Run by Snell for 2 (timeout), Snell for nothing (timeout 1:16)
Hodges keeps and dives into the back of Schuster, 4th and 1 (timeout 1:11)
Steelers elect to punt. Downed by Holton at the 1.
TJ Watt on the sideline.
Hilton almost makes a great interception on a Rivers bomb.
Sutton seals the deal, interception!
Duck Hodges gets a win in his first start, first Steeler QB since Roethlisberger to get it done.
A little confrontation at the end, Philip Rivers being a whiny bitch and grabbing Mike Hilton.
Ok, honestly, things don’t look good for the Steelers tonight. No Ben, no Mason, as I talked about in my last post, third string quarterbacks seem to play well in the moment off of the bench, but when a team can prepare for them it’s not pretty. As much as I love Duck Hodges, there’s a reason he’s a third string quarterback in the NFL. Add to that Jaylen Samuels being out, a guy who has been running the wildcat which had some success and took a little pressure off the quarterback. Then, pull out Steve Nelson and put Artie Burns in against a quarterback who loves to sling it and it’s hard to be confident.
So how do the Steelers beat the Chargers? Well, they have to exploit a somewhat rusty Melvin Gordon who has definitely also hurt the Charger locker room. Duck Hodges and Artie Burns have to surprise Steeler Nation with their level of play. The Steelers have to get James Conner rolling and give the Chargers a good dose of Steeler football. Hard nose, productive running and solid defense. The final piece being, the Steelers have to bang up Phillip Rivers and not give him time or let him get into rhythm. Finally, they have to feed off the crowd, most “home” games for the Chargers have felt like road games and we know Steeler fans will definitely show up. Taken together that’s a tall order, but it could happen.
Why tonight’s game will suck to watch
Tonight will be a painful game for me to watch unless it’s an immediate and prolonged Steeler blow out victory. First, the most annoying thing to me is that I can’t stand the way announcers fall over Phillip Rivers with constant praise. Without Ben in the lineup as some sort of counter balance, my least favorite announcer, Cris Collinsworth and the leather chair he calls games with will make me sick with how much time they spend talking about how amazing Phillip Rivers is, how many kids he has, etc… Seriously, over the years I’ve begun to wonder if Rivers provides sexual favors for announcers the way they fall all over him.
Yes, even worse than listening to announcers kiss Phillip Rivers’ ass is when it’s Cris Collinsworth leading the the charge. The former Bungle is my least favorite announcer. I hate everything about him, I hate his fake hokey schtick. I can stand his pretentious bullshit and his observations are usually terrible. If I could possibly sync up the delay between Steeler Radio and the TV broadcast I would happily listen to that while watching the game but the delay drives me nuts. Even worse, the guy hates the Steelers and finds anyway he can to downplay the Steelers regardless of who they are playing. Listen tonight, 4 yard gain by the Chargers great play, 4 yard gain by the Steelers automatic criticism of the play. I get why he hates the Steelers, as a former Bungle he remembers that the Pittsburgh Steelers have always owned the Bungles, even this year.
Hope is a four-letter word Steelers Nation, but that’s all we got tonight. Here we go!
As Steeler fans we often have taken pride in the fact that the AFC North has often been, the toughest division in the NFL. NOT this year! Which hooray, means that the Pittsburgh Steelers, sitting at 1-4, likely starting their third string quarterback, with what seems like half the team on the injured list, is still in the running to win the division.
Mason Rudolph may yet get to start on Sunday, he’s still working his way through the concussion protocol. If not, Duck Hodges showed himself admirably in relief of Mason Rudolph last week. However, I really hope that Rudolph can play. It has been my experience that very often a backup comes into a game and plays fantastic. I’m not sure if it’s adrenaline or the team rallying around him but it often happens. However, it has also been my experience that the next game, the start, is often not so good. No excitement, no adrenaline, the whole playbook a little bit of film on the guy. It all gangs up and seems to make things a bit too big for the backup.
So the Steelers season may come down to a doctor’s decision and how well our defense continues to play. Hopefully the Chargers coach reaming his team and Melvin Gordon’s hold out return are sewing dissension and disharmony in the Chargers locker room. That and their terrible run defense is what gives the Steelers a chance.
Ok, so why is there any hope left at all? Let’s look at the division, first, the Bungles are the Bungles and are likely heading for a very high first round draft pick. Additionally, nothing about that team says late season run, not even the return of AJ Green. On top of that with a victory against them in the bag, the Steelers are effectively two games up on the Bungles. I don’t see them much better than 4-12 this season.
The Cleveland Browns, the darlings of the NFL pundits this year, the team that was going to be the surprise Superbowl champs have turned out to be the Brownies we know and love. There is no arguing the level of talent on the roster, they have amazing talent up and down the team. Except, that they don’t seem to know how to play as a team. They will certainly get wins this season, that talent won’t completely be stopped. But Baker Mayfield seems to be having a sophomore slump and was even benched in the fourth quarter this week. The big danger from the Browns is the rest of their schedule is division games and only two really tough games, New England and this week at Seattle. The Browns high is likely 9-7, their likely low 7-9.
Now the big one, the Ravens. We’re two games behind them plus the tie-breaker, that’s a tough row to hoe. But here’s the thing, the Ravens look human. Lamar Jackson is not yet a great passer and he’s not running nearly as much as he was. Teams have tape on Jackson now, so the Ravens are falling back on an old formula, run the ball and play defense with an occasional spectacular play by Jackson. The question really is, is Ingram enough and can the Raven defense hold up. I’d say after watching what we did against them last week the answer is no. I see six potential losses on their season schedule, they still have to face the Patriots, Rams, Niners, Bills, the Texans and the Seahawks. If they win out the rest they are 8-8, but they’ll likely beat one of those teams which puts them at 9-7, unless they lose to the Steelers in Baltimore, on the last day of the season, then, they are 8-8.
The Steelers have the Colts, the Rams and the Bills left, I’ll chalk those up as losses. If the Steelers win the rest, and my predictions pan out, they could walk into Baltimore on the last day of the season in an all or nothing game against the Ravens in Baltimore. God that would be amazing. This scenario however only likely plays out if Rudolph plays on Sunday, our defense continues to improve, the o-line holds up and we win the games we should win. There is no longer any margin of error left for the Steelers, unless the Ravens utterly self-destruct, let’s hope so.
So one more game likely in the bag, one more fumble, one more game down the tubes. Two fumbles, two more wins and the Steelers would be 3-2 and in first place in the AFC North. Woulda, shoulda, coulda – no point in crying over what could have been.
The Steelers played the Ravens well, they climbed out of an early hole after an idiotic call and bad interception by Jaylen Samuels. The defense was playing well, getting sacks and generating turnovers. The game was close, of course, it was the Ravens. The Ravens clawed back at the end of regulation to tie it up, overtime.
The Steelers won the toss and deferred, everyone hated the decision, I liked it. A three and out with a new quarterback, your third string quarterback and with the Ravens kicker things are over. So Tomlin did something I thought was brilliant, he deferred and his last words to the defense were, “you want to be great, this is how you make it happen.” The defense got the stop, the offense took over. The young kid, the duck, is leading them down the field, he fires a perfect pass, Juju in stride and boom the ball is out, the kick is good and the Steelers are 1-4. Thank god the AFC North is so pathetic this year, it’s the only reason the season isn’t over.
A last note about the Ravens game, glad Mason Rudolph isn’t seriously hurt, that was a scary couple of minutes. Devlin “Duck” Hodges, a new legend was nearly born in Pittsburgh. Shockingly as I’m watching the Browns play like the Browns in San Francisco, the Steelers aren’t completely dead yet this season. Here we go.
If I could start my life all over again I’d be a professional football player, and you damn well better believe I’d be a Pittsburgh Steeler. ~ Jack Lambert
Ok, on paper there really is no reason why the Steelers should win this game. Although I expected a drop off from Baltimore’s defense this season, they’ve been playing very well. Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore offense started the first two games of the season looking like the next great NFL offense. Of course they were playing teams that still haven’t won a game, the Miami Dolphins and the Arizona Cardinals.
They then played the Chiefs tough and the Chiefs are one of the top two teams in the AFC. A loss to Cleveland may have been an aberration, Cleveland is a team with a ton of talent but looks inconsistent this year. So some Sundays Cleveland is going to stink and some Sundays that depth of talent is going to click and they will be dominant.
So this Sunday a Ravens team with a very good offense and a more solid than expected defense shows up in Pittsburgh. The real question is, what Steeler team shows up?
The Steelers last week improved on offense. I attribute it simple to two things. First, a much better game plan by the Steelers’ coaching staff. Second, Mason Rudolph maturing into his role as he gains experience. Hopefully this week the coaching staff continues to hold up their end to give Rudolph a chance to live up to his. One reason for hope is that in the preseason, Rudolph came out a little tight, but over the preseason he loosened up and began to cut it loose. He even talked about the need to let it fly and take risks as being the difference between last year and this year. It’s one thing to do that in the pre-season against guys not in shape yet and backups. On Sundays that count it’s a bigger ask. However, if Rudolph can make that jump, big things could be on the horizon.
The thing is, that if the 2019 Pittsburgh Steelers are going to get their season back, it will be on the defense. There are no more excuses. You’ve got a top 10 caliber free-safety, a top 10 inside linebacker. You’ve got a super talented front five and solid corners. Last week the defense looked dominant, especially up front, but yeah, it was the Bungles. The hope is for this season that the defense builds off that last performance and starts to control games. This week is the huge test and the season is on the line. Historically, good running quarterbacks have hurt the Steelers, that can’t happen this week. it’s time for the Pittsburgh Steelers to be the Steelers of old, nasty defense, nasty o-line, run the ball and play dominant defense. Here we go!
We finally get a win! Tonight the credit goes to the coaching staff. The offensive game plan was absolutely what this team needed. The Steelers utilized the wildcat with Jaylen Samuels and did a bunch of flip pitches and quick hitting runs to the edge of the line. Mason Rudolph took what the defense gave him, spending a lot of time in the first half dumping the ball off to the running backs for good gains. As the game went on, Rudolph got into a rhythm with Diontae Johnson who led the receivers for 77 yards and a 43 yard touchdown. Newly acquired tight end Vannett even caught a couple for 28 yards.
Early on I was worried, once again the Steelers did’t seem to be able to defend a crossing pattern. But the defense came together, it helped that a banged up and not so talented offensive line was ripe for abuse. The Steelers defense combined for 8 sacks on Andy Dalton and Barron and Bush combined for 20 tackles, an interception and Bush’s first sack.
Tonight was a beautiful night, the Steelers defense played like the high level of talent it possesses suggests it should. The offensive line actually looked like the talented group they have always been. Rudolph was smart if not unspectacular. It felt good to watch a Steeler game where the Steelers were dominating.
But let’s not get too excited, this was afterall the Bungles. The real test is next Sunday, if the Steelers can report this performance against the Ravens, the season once again has potential and the Steelers would be at worst be in second place in the AFC North and possibly tied for first. Here we go!
So the 0-3 Steelers will be taking on the 0-3 Cincinnati Bengals in Pittsburgh on Monday Night Football. This may be the biggest game of Mike Tomlin’s career. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting that if the Steelers lose that the Rooneys will fire Tomlin. That’s just simply not the way the best owners in football work. What I’m saying is that one team tomorrow night will pick up significant momentum. If the Steelers win they are 1-3, only one game out of first place in the AFC North. Additionally, the Steelers get the Ravens the week after while the Browns head to San Francisco. That means that back to back division wins and a Niners victory and unimaginably the Steelers could be tied for first place in the AFC North. On the flipside, the team that loses tomorrow night is 0-4, no 0-4 team has ever made the playoffs.
Contrary to the opinion of a lot of Steelers fans, I like Mike Tomlin and think he’s a pretty good coach. After 16 seasons, Tomlin has never had a losing season, he’s been to two Superbowls, he’s one and one in the big game. His career overall winning percentage is .636, with a .644 regular season winning percentage. Honestly, that’s pretty damn good. One of Tomlin’s image problems is our expectations as Steeler fans. To steal one of his phrases, “the standard is the standard,” and in Pittsburgh the standard is a Lombardi Trophy.
The Steelers have been incredibly successful under Tomlin. But 16 years is a long-time, it’s been too long since there’s been a Superbowl win in Steeltown. Especially given that for the last few years this team has had three of the best offensive players in the NFL, one of the best NFL offensive lines and has never produced like they should have on paper. There’s potentially a big rebuild coming. Ben may or may not return, the offensive line is aging. It might be the right time to find a new coach to guide the next generation of Steelers forward.
However, if Tomlin gets a win on Monday night, if the Steelers climb back into the divisional race, hell if they make the playoffs, he might be the damn coach of the year this year in the NFL. So Monday Night Football this week might be the biggest crossroads games of Mike Tomlin’s career. Here we go!
Champions are champions not because they do anything extraordinary, but because they do the ordinary things better than anyone else. ~ Chuck Noll
Well, hell, I have to be right one of these weeks, I nearly was last week!
First off the Steelers are very good on Monday Night Football, they have the third most wins in the history of Monday Night Football. They will be at home, the Steelers are a better team at home. Finally on the general side of things, they don’t call them the Bungles for nothing.
The Bengals are 0-3, I know, so are we, but the Bengals are 0-3 without all world receiver AJ Green, and maybe without one of their best Defensive Ends in Carlos Dunlap. Their line is already a bit weak so this is good news for the Steelers.
If both teams play to their potential it’s an easy Steeler win. Honestly, I’d rather have Mason Rudolph in his second start than Andy Dalton as my quarterback. Dalton just throws too many interceptions. And it’s Rudolph’s second start, so the coaching staff should have the game plan better adjusted. This means RUN THE DAMN BALL, and hopefully our offensive line comes back into form. Honestly I hope the Steelers pound the ball and utilize the running attack to set up some play action. Without a doubt it still hurts that Rosie Nix is on the shelf. If Vance “Mr. Glass” McDonald can’t go we’ll see how quickly Vennett picks up and offense and how ready Zach Gentry is to play varsity.
Minkah Fitzpatrick should have a better feel for the defense and will hopefully tackle a little better this week. Reggie Bush is one more week more educated about life in the NFL. If the defense gets half the number of turnovers it generated last week, then this could even be a blowout. Belief Steelers Nation, believe!
Honestly, Monday Night in Pittsburgh, against the Bungles, if the Steelers can’t rise to the occasion this week, this season is in freefall. Here We Go!