Tom Terrific Does It Again
Steelers 21 – Patriots 28
Most thought it would be a Herculean task going to New England and winning against the defending Super Bowl Champions, perhaps the Steelers bought too much into that thinking themselves. But you know what, not gonna sweat this game, as completely horrific as several of the aspects of this performance were, there’s certainly no reason to hate or panic at this point, obviously!
Tom Terrific has owned us since the 2001 AFC Championship Game, they will continue to own us as long as the dynamic duo holds court with that team. However whereas these match-ups normally result in a blow-out or resounding domination, this game very simply comes down to the Steelers beating the Steelers, and that is what is most troubling. The team looked exactly as they have looked in recent years, Offense moving the ball up and down the field but unable to score, Defense giving up big plays, etc.
The game ball goes to newly signed free agent Running Back D’Angelo Williams, and of course the Offensive Line. The front line was blowing New England off the ball and churning out significant yardage to the tune of 127 on 21 carriers with a 6 yard per carry average. Williams is by far one of the best free agent signings the Steelers have ever made, it’s unfortunate this didn’t happen last year, or many years prior for that matter. It would be unfair to say we didn’t miss oft injured Pro Bowl Center Maurkice Pouncey, but it’s safe to say the center position shouldn’t be an issue moving forward.
For those buying into the hype that Cornerback Malcolm Butler, best known as Super Bowl Hero for intercepting Russ Wilson on the last play of SB #49, was covering Antonio Brown like a glove, don’t believe it. AB finished with 9 catches for 133 yards and 1 TD, just coming a little too late however. Speaking of receivers, not certain what all the clamor has been regarding Darius Heyword-Bey leading up to him replacing maligned wide receiver Martavis Bryant, but he’s just as bad as he was last year, and how dare the organization issue him Lynn Swann’s number.
Here’s what I don’t like about the Defense, get over the fact that Troy Polomalu is not longer on the team, Brett Keisel and Ike too, start manning up, period. The most disconcerting aspect of this Defense is they had five pre-season games, Training Camp, and everyone showed up for OTA’s and other organized team activities since the start of the year. Yet they looked as if they were completely clueless, which they were. One glowing problem with this collection of Steel Curtain wannabees, the tackling is atrocious! Don’t they show these guys video of Jack Lambert and Mel Blount? That’s how you play Defense in Pittsburgh.
Many will point to the Headset Debacle that created miscommunication between the coaches and players and blah, blah, blah. Bottom line is Step Up! You’ve spent the entire week in meeting rooms and practices knowing you’ve got to stop Rob Gronkowski, and yet you can’t find him for yourself out on the field in the game?
We won’t belabor the issues with the Defense as it has been discussed relentlessly, it will improve, trust me it will.
When you’re down to your third field goal kicker in one month, what are you going to do, can’t cry over six important points when you lose by seven. Special teams are gonna need a lot of work, especially in the return area. They’ve held onto Pee Wee Archer primarily for his deft and dynamic return skills (cough), fact is they could’ve used his roster spot for someone who could actually contribute to the team in a positive way.
Team and game preparation has become a stable and strength for Steelers Coach Mike Tomlin, whereas as he predecessor Bill Cowher always seemed to come out sluggish and fight to come from behind in big games, Tomlin has shown his teams are ready to hunt bear right out of the gate. Not seeing where he’s instilled much in the way of confidence or prowess in this latest version of his Defense, or for approving the play calling in this case. He was visibly upset, and largely due to the issues with the headsets, however Chuck Noll won four Super Bowls years before headsets were even being used as they are now, and his teams were always ready.
Just as we talked about pre-game, no one on the Steelers Coaching Staff is going to outsmart the Genius Coach (Belichick), yet there’s Todd Hailey marching effortlessly down the field on the first drive, then deciding to call a trick / gadget play on 1st and 10 from the Pats 24 yard line. Fooling no one and resulting in an 8 yards loss, which completely took the air out of that drive. Trust us Todd, we love the screen > end around > receiver throws the ball play, but save it for a time when it’s least expected and most needed, just as Ken Wisenhunt did in SB #40.
Unfortunately I’ll say it again, we’re not going to beat Tom Terrific and the Genius Coach during their illustrious tenure in New England, and clearly Tomlin and Big Ben have tired of being Belichick and Brady’s Bitch. But that’s simply the way it is, gotta live with it.