At least my fantasy team won…
A week after getting manhandled by the friggin’ Browns, the New England Patriots marched in to Heinz Field and humiliated the Pittsburgh Steelers 39-26. If the Saints game on Halloween was the low point of the season, this is the Grand Canyon. Thirty-nine points are the most the once feared Blitzburgh defense has ever surrendered in a regular season home game. The win also raises Tom Brady‘s career ownage of the Steelers to six wins against only one loss.
Where do I start? The Black and Gold came out flat and predictable. I swear run-run-DEEP BALL is all Bruce Arians has in his playbook. Meanwhile, the Patriots had fire in their eyes. Tom Brady was throwing hissy fits left and right. Maybe it’s his time of the month.
Tommy Bieber marched his boys right down the field on their opening drive, throwing on our inept secondary at will. The first of three touchdowns to Woodland Hills alum Rob Gronkowski was really the only “excusable” score of the night as William Gay had perfect coverage and was just beaten by a great throw and catch. Don’t worry, Gay had plenty of bad plays left in him.
Bill Belichick is a genius, alright. His brilliant strategy of “Find the guy Gay is covering and throw it to him for an automatic first down/touchdown.” is something only his keen analytical mind could concoct. Gay couldn’t cover a fat girl in a sleeping bag. Bryant McFadden was nice enough to lay out comfy 6 yard cushions for our guests. In fact, I can’t think of anybody in the secondary, Troy Polamalu included, who played decently. We’re ten weeks into the season and it’s clear this five DB nickel package they use against passing formations is NOT WORKING.
The Steelers offense didn’t fare much better. Hines Ward was concussed on the final play of the first quarter on a helmet-to-helmet hit by James Sanders, snapping his streak of 186 consecutive games with a reception. Actually, Hines was credited with a reception but the call was overturned on review. Gotta admire the balls Belichick has for not only getting away with an illegal hit but challenging the play on which it occurred. By the way, you watch, I GUARANTEE Sanders won’t be so much as fined for that flagrantly dirty hit.
James Harrison, you see, is the only player who pays for hitting people hard.
Speaking of James, did he play last night? Did LaMarr Woodley? James Farrior? I must’ve missed them as the linebackers didn’t so much as harm a hair among Brady’s luxuriously flowing locks. Much of it has to do with our revamped front three, who were pushed all over the field. When the defense doesn’t get to the QB, we’re doomed because the secondary depends on hurried/bad throws to make up for their inadequacy. Lawrence Timmons played but was hurt late in the game. Losing him for any significant period of time will be an utter catastrophe.
The Steelers had only a little over 100 yards of total offense at halftime. While Peyton Hillis gashed the Pats for 184 yards last week, Rashard Mendenhall never got on track. Some of it is Arians clear lack of commitment to the run. And some is the new O-line not getting much of a push. Mendy had a couple nice runs toward the end of the half but the running game was completely abandoned when the Steelers fell twenty points behind in the third quarter.
While my fantasy team appreciates his epic garbage time performance, Ben Roethlisberger‘s gaudy numbers were piled up once the game was out of hand. The revamped offensive line wasn’t great but wasn’t nearly as bad as some had feared. They surrendered five sacks with at least three of them due to Ben holding the ball too damn long. At this point it’s too late to teach the big doofus three steps-THROW! but this is why chucking the ball 35+ times a game is a losing proposition. He simply doesn’t make decisions quickly enough or throw accurately enough for it to pay off. For how badly the team played, the game wasn’t completely out of reach until Big Ben’s poorly thrown pick-six in the fourth quarter.
Not that his receivers are blameless. Emmanuel Sanders is certainly no Mike Wallace. He played like a rookie, dropping a number of catchable balls and running the wrong route on a pivotal play in the end zone. Antwaan Randle El also got in on the act. As much as I like ARE, he’s no Hines Ward when it comes to being a sure-handed safety valve. We can survive losing Santonio but subtract both from the mix and this is a very mediocre group of wide outs.
As if terrible defense and a sputtering offense weren’t enough, our special teams also had their fair share of suck. Jeff Reed missed a FG, actually a gloried extra point, as his Farewell Tour continues. There’s a paper towel dispenser in for a rough night.
I apologize for the scattershot rambling nature of this recap but so many things went wrong last night, I have no idea where to focus my disgust. The entire game was a complete disaster. No running game, pitiful passing game, horrific secondary, zero pressure from the linebackers, Skippy being Skippy… It’s a sad state of affairs when the Browns dominate teams (Saints, Pats) that blow out the Steelers.
Topics: Baltimore Ravens, Ben Roethlisberger, Big Ben, Bill Belichick, Black And Gold, Black And Gold Blog, Brady Bieber, Charlie Batch, Danny Woodhead, Dennis Dixon, Hines Ward, James Harrison, Lamarr Woodley, Mike Tomlin, New England Patriots, New England Pats, Nice Pick Cowher, Pats, Patsies, Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Steelers, Pittsburgh Steelers Blog, Rob Gronkowski, Roethlisberger, Roethlisberger Concussion, Steeler Nation, Steelers, Steelers Blog, Steelers Nation, Steeles Blog, Stillers, Sunday Night Football, Super Bowl Champions, Tom Bieber, Tom Brady, Troy Pomalu