Back To The Jungle
Steelers 28 – Clevelan 12
Just when it looked as if the 2015 Pittsburgh Steelers would be on the outside looking in, they now get an opportunity to return to the scene of the crime, that being the Cincinnati Bungles and their happy band of chest pounders in round one of the NFL Playoffs.
A victory over Cleveland as well as the loss to the New York Jets, was the springboard they needed to ready themselves for this classic AFC North showdown. This is the match-up the Madison Avenue marketeers wanted, and they got it. Of course every Yinzer worth their weight in Terrible Towels was hoping for this match-up as well.
It will not be an easy task however, as jubilant as the Steelers were with gaining the opportunity for the playoff spot, they will have to be twice as dominant and mistake free to have any hope of securing victory.
Whatever the funk or fog was that influenced the play against the Ratbirds in the previous week, it seemed to lingering in the early going of the Browns game. Big Ben’s insistence on forcing the ball to AB is getting him in a trick bag more consistently, the same exact pass down the seem was picked off by a linebacker in the same fashion as the week prior. He must resurrect his skill set and desires in playoffs that he possessed early in his career, if he is entertaining any notions of bringing another Lombardi Trophy back to Steeltown.
This unit is going to have to be stout from the first snap in this Wildcard Matchup, it doesn’t matter who the QB is for the Bungles, all the significant and recurring issues that have plagued them are going to have to go away over night. We’re talking of course getting off the field on 3rd down, limiting TD’s to field goals, and more significantly getting pressure on the Quarterback and holding onto turn overs (Mike Mitchell). The Bungles will surely try to strike quick and deep, this is not a game where you’re going to want to have the Offense play catch up or rely on the Defense to hold a lead, they are who they are and it’s do or die with what they’ll be bringing.
The Head Coaching prowess of one Marv Lewis has been well documented here at SteelerCentral, the Wildcard Match-up does not favor him as it presents yet another opportunity to flounder in the Playoffs, and succeed in Prime Time, neither of which he’s been able to accomplish, even as being the second most tenured Coach in the NFL behind the Genius in New England.
Tomlin and his staff conversely must play to win, not come out with softy coverage against the stacked receiving corp of the Bungles, and be patient on Offense as well as protect the ball.
Clearly back up AJ Maccarons is a better QB then the much ballyhooed and over hyped Red Rifle, however he is starting his first playoff game with not much experience behind him, that could either be a plus or a negative, depending. He did assert himself well in a high energy game against the now AFC Division leader Denver Bronco’s, there’s a tad more on the line in this one however and with Marv Lewis at the helm, no telling what to expect.
As we normally don’t discuss the Officiating in games, the staff assembled for this game are going to have to keep law and order. We witnessed in our last trip into the Jungle, the Bungles have now become the new chest pounders of the AFC North, though that behavior and mindset is normally a recipe for disaster. It’s the dirty play and cheap shots that are going to have to be kept in check, the Officials must be mindful of that during the game.
Here we go Steelers, here we go!
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