Good Morning and Happy New Year Steelers Fans!
I take little satisfaction in seeing any team, let alone the rival Browns, go 0-16. It has to be an incredibly crappy feeling.
Anyway… With the Patriots winning that means if the postseason goes as planned then the Steelers will have to go through New England.
I’m not sure what to say that hasn’t been said about JuJu Smith-Schuster. He just makes play after play after play. Yesterday it wasn’t just catching the ball either. He also had a 96-yard kickoff return for touchdown. It included one hell of a stiff arm too.
Stevan Ridley and Fitzgerald Toussaint both flashed some nice things yesterday. Ridley finished with 80 yards on 17 carries while Fitz chipped in with 22 yards on five carries. Ridley definitely looked like a guy who has fresh legs.
Tweet of the Day… What a rookie season huh?
— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) December 31, 2017
My biggest concern heading into yesterday was stopping the run. The Browns weren’t great at it heading into the game but knowing the Steelers had struggled the last four games suggested they may run the ball more. The good news is that Pittsburgh was much more consistent overall. The bad news is that Deshone Kizer scrambled for 61 yards and at times it was way too easy.
Landry Jones played much better than he’ll be given credit for. He was 23 of 27 for 239 yards with one TD and one pick. Ya, the interception was a bad one and those bad snaps by backup center Chris Hubbard didn’t make Jones look good either. But any time you throw 27 passes and only five of them aren’t caught by your guys??? That’s pretty solid.
I was on record yesterday as saying that I thought not playing those starters who were inactive was a mistake. The biggest concern was Ben Roethlisberger. When he takes a snap in the AFC Divisional Playoffs in two weeks, it will have been roughly 21 days since playing a meaningful snap. I don’t care that he’s a veteran and all that stuff… Big Ben is a guy who relies on rhythm and flow. Hopefully that isn’t affected by the layoff.
Tweet of the Day #2… I hope you’re right Cam!
2018 is ours. Let’s get it
— Cam Heyward (@CamHeyward) January 1, 2018
What a performance by Tyson Alualu yesterday! Four tackles for loss and two sacks. That’s the type of job we expected from him.
The Steelers set a team record with 56 sacks on the season. They picked up six yesterday and got some help in the process by Kizer who often holds the ball way too long.
I’d like to apologize to Bengals’ fans. When they blew that 14-point second half lead I tweeted “Bengals gonna Bengal.” Well, they proved me wrong with a winning touchdown late in the game to knock the Ravens out of the playoffs. And congrats to Del Reid of 26shirts.com/Pittsburgh who has been a lifelong Bills’ fan. His team is headed to the playoffs for the first time since 1999.
The Steelers do not know who they’ll face in the Divisional Round although we do not it will be Kansas City, Tennessee or Jacksonville. All three are regular season opponents whom the Steelers finished 2-1 against. I don’t need to remind you of the Jaguars’ game I’m sure.
Yes, James Harrison had two sacks and a forced fumble in his debut with New England. If he does that in the postseason then I’ll re-visit the whole ordeal.
Happy New Year Steeler Nation! See you in the Playoffs!