Good Monday to you Steelers fans.
I have safely arrived home from my trip to Pittsburgh and I find myself with mixed emotions today. I’m excited and proud to be able to have seen the beginning of a new era for the Steelers when Kenny Pickett started the second half. The stadium was electric. Absolutely electric. Everyone stood and cheered as if Renegade was playing (I’ll get to that in a moment) the “Ken-ny! Ken-ny!” chants were thunderous. It was an amazing moment and I was glad to share it with my son. On the other side of the emotional roller coaster was the fact we walked out of Acrisure Stadium with a gutting loss. A ten point, fourth quarter lead gone and the reasons are plenty. At 1-3, this team finds itself where it did last year at this time. This is different however and so is the schedule. In the next four weeks the Steelers will play the Bills 3-1, the Bucs 2-2, the Dolphins 3-1 and the Eagles 4-0. If the Steelers can win at least one of these games I’ll be satisfied. If they win 2 it would be a success.
Big thanks to Whitney and Lenny at the Renegade Tailgate. Such good people who welcomed my son and I like we attend every, single week. Was great meeting Alex Highsmith’s father Sam and seeing Kevin Dotson’s dad call the raffle numbers. He’s a natural!
Tweet of the Day… Good advice.
Don't be tagging Trubisky in hate tweets, man. Leave the dude alone. He was a solid teammate today and is a good dude. Don't be childish.
— Big Ben's Burner (@Blitzburghstil1) October 2, 2022
If you keep score at home, Renegade was played after the Steelers went up by 10 early in the fourth and my immediate thought was “this is way too early.” I was correct.
The One Play…
To me, the entire game changed in the fourth quarter not on Kenny Pickett’s interception along the Steelers’ sideline, it was a play before that. Pittsburgh had just picked up a first down and had tons of momentum up 20-17. They had the ball at the NYJ 31. With 4:23 left, Canada chose to go “hurry up” with the offense. WHY?? You have the defense on its heels and the clock is ticking down. They could have burned at least 25 more seconds. The play was a toss right to Jaylen Warren and the toss was behind him. Fortunately he recovered. That however set up a second and 15 from the 36. The next play saw Pickett panic and instead of throwing the ball away it was picked. I have no clue what was going through Canada’s mind there.
So there I was standing in line at the concession as halftime ended when my son texted me “KENNY!” I looked up at the monitor and sure enough, there was Pickett walking onto the field. I said to hell with it and booked it to my seat. As for Mike Tomlin’s decision, it was the right one and it had to happen. The offense was listless. I’ve seen more enthusiasm from bathroom stall. Not only did the crowd get energized but the entire offense did. Were there mistakes? Yes, there were and Pickett owned up to all of them in the postgame press conference. What cannot be ignored is that the offense was significantly better under him than Trubisky. The running game was better and Pickett’s completion percentage was about 15% better. As was told to me this morning, the toothpaste is out of the tube. Tomlin has to roll with his rookie.
If you have the opportunity to see Chase Claypool up close then you’ll realize what a large, fast human being he is. I just continue to be perplexed as to how he doesn’t come down with more 50/50 balls… Robert Spillane is on the field way too much for my liking… Defensive Coordinator Teryl Austin needs to change things up right now. His defense is giving up too many throws in crucial situations. If the pressure isn’t getting home his secondary is often sunk… Minkah Fitzpatrick has to be in the top five for Defensive Player of the Year… What a kick by Chris Boswell! 59 yards!!… Diontae Johnson makes $18 million and still lets too many balls through his hands… I think the more you see Pickett the more catches Pat Freiermuth will have… The officiating yesterday was awful. Many calls came way late and after the whistle suggesting that officials were often influenced by player reactions. The defensive holding call on Tyler Alualu was terrible. If you’re not calling that all game long then you shouldn’t be calling it in the final minute of the game.
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