Good Tuesday to you Steelers fans.
The Pittsburgh Steelers really haven’t played well over the last several weeks. Some of that was masked by beating a Covid-depleted Baltimore team but then the Washington Football Team and Buffalo Bills revealed just how many warts the Steelers have. And then came last night.
-Diontae Johnson was his old self again. He was catching passes, tough passes, and was making guys miss too. Good for the young man.
-Mike Hilton might as well have a spot reserved here for the way he plays the run on the edge. Super job again last night.
-Despite an overall horrendous performance, Ben Roethlisberger became just the seventh QB in NFL history to pass for over 60,000 yards. Only he, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady have done that along with having two (or more) Super Bowl wins as well.
-I’m putting Alex Highsmith in both places today. The good is that he’s starting to get to the quarterback more often and I think splash plays are coming. While we’d all rather have have Bud Dupree playing, this experience for Highsmith is invaluable for his development.
-Minkah Fitzpatrick’s stop of Ryan Findley on third and short was a microcosm of how important he is to the team. Sure, it was ‘just a QB’ but going one-on-one with any ball carrier in the open field while you’re going full speed is not easy. That was a terrific play.
-Benny Snell deserves mention here because he ran as hard as any back since… Benny Snell in week one. That’s not a knock on him at all. It just speaks to the lack of help up front.
Tweet of the Day… Trai is as level-headed as they come for a former player and he’s right.
We deserve everything coming our way this week. All the criticism. All the doubt.
— Trai Essex (@TraiDay79) December 22, 2020
-At halftime, Ben Roethlisberger was 7/16 for 19 yards and an interception. Arguably he should have had two or three other passes picked off.
-All week we heard how the Steelers had to be more aggressive and get that nasty edge back on offense. Apparently it was the Bengals that got the message because they were much more aggressive from the opening kick.
-Al Villanueva has been living on borrowed time all season and last night time ran out. Part of the reason he had such a long streak of games without giving up a sack was because Roethlisberger gets rid of the ball so quickly. Part of that has to do with the fact that Villanueva just isn’t good and Carl Lawson proved that. He was constantly beating Villanueva on the edge and Chuks Okorafor didn’t fair much better on his side. This offensive line has been a major disappointment.
-For the love of God Randy Fichtner would you please stop calling runs on second and long. Everyone in the free world knows what is coming.
-Bengals’ DBs got away with a lot of grabbing and interfering last night. In fact, the deep throw on third and ten to Chase Claypool should have been called but wasn’t. A chicken shit non-call if you ask me. If that’s on the Steelers’ sideline I wonder if it gets called.
-When the Bengals-Steelers ‘rivalry’ was at its’ peak the Bengals always played with a nasty, aggressive edge. The Steelers however matched that intensity and put it right back in their face. Last night was disappointing in many ways and one of them was the fact that Cincy brought that same attitude and we had no answer. None. That’s worrisome.
-Alex Highsmith did what many other edge players have done, he bit on the handoff, gave up contain and let the QB run for a score. LaMarr Woodley, who wore the same number, also fell for this several times in his career. The rookie will chalk it up as a ‘learning experience.’
The Steelers will play their final home game on Sunday as the Indianapolis Colts come to Pittsburgh. What would you have said if I told you three weeks ago this could be their last home game of the season period? You would think I was nuts. Well, the Steelers very much face the prospect of opening the postseason on the road. The Colts will be a tough opponent. Their defense is fast and will no doubt be licking their chops at our our struggling offense. Offensively, Philip Rivers manages the talent around him well. They are very balanced and will bring a major challenge as they fight for the AFC South title.
Have a great day Steeler Nation!
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