What We Learned in Week 6 in the NFL:
- The honeymoon of the 2012 NFL season is over for some fans and players
- Even Andy Reid thinks Jason Garret has clock management issues
- Patriots can’t win anymore with just their offense
- Steelers release Wes Saunders and rookie NT gets arrested
The best and worst part about the NFL is the fact that you never know what’s going to happen each week. You can do your best to predict and hypothesize based on stats and previous games, but once that game kicks off it could go in a completely different direction than what’s expected. Sports are truly the only real reality television. Who would have thought that after six weeks of football, depending on who wins tonight, there might be only 2 or 3 teams in the AFC with a winning record? That might benefit the Steelers with their slow start, especially given the fact that all of their losses are to AFC teams.
It’s been an interesting NFL season thus far, to say the least. One thing that is present in all seasons is the moment where fans begin to get fed up with their team and the team, coaches, or ownership might react to it. It happened last Sunday in Kansas City where fans reacted to Kyle Orton and Chief’s OT Eric Winston lashed out in defense, painting the entire fan base as a bunch of drunken hooligans who only want violence. After the Steelers pathetic showing in Tennessee on Tuesday night, Rashard Mendenhall went after fans on Twitter to say that we need to be more supportive of the team. James Harrison even got into the act and called out fans on Facebook.
I’m not saying that some fans don’t take things too seriously, or don’t cross the line with their keyboard confidence particularly on sites like Twitter and Facebook, but I just hate to see stuff like this from the players. I saw a fan’s tweet the other day echoing Mendy’s sentiments that Steeler Nation might not be supportive enough and adding that there is no such thing as unconditional love in sports anymore. I couldn’t disagree more. I think sports is where you can learn true unconditional love, at least that’s where I’ve learned it. I’ve been in a love affair with the Pittsburgh Steelers since I was a child and while I’ve never gone to social media to personally attack any players after a bad game, my family can attest that I’m just horrible to be around following a Steelers loss. I go through so many ups and downs in any given NFL season; I might qualify for bipolar medication if I was studied by professionals. I absolutely have unconditional love for the Pittsburgh Steelers and support them a thousand percent. But that doesn’t mean that I sit there with a smile on my face after a loss as bad as the one in Tennessee. The term “fan” comes from the word fanatical so it’s rather implied that the emotions run high and often irrational. I’m not excusing behavior that includes berating, threatening, or verbally abusing players in any way at all. If you go to a social media website to threaten an athlete after losing a game, please seek professional help. But it’s disappointing for athletes to lump entire fan bases into that category, because we’re not all psychos that can’t control our emotions to the point where we feel it’s appropriate to verbally abuse an athlete on Twitter to show frustration after a loss. The main point is we’re so affected by losses; particularly bad losses, because we’re so invested, because we’re so supportive. We, as fans, want the Steelers to win so bad that it does affect us greatly when they lose. Here’s hoping that Mendy and Harrison can take their frustrations out on the Bengals on Sunday night, rather than continue to last out towards the fans. If you’re looking for Steelers players that have awesome relationships with fans via social media, check out the Twitter timelines of a LaMarr Woodley or a Ryan Clark.
Without the Steelers playing on Sunday, most of Steeler Nation were forced to turn to the dark side and cheer for the Dallas Cowboys to take down the Ratbirds and prevent them from moving to 5-1. Unfortunately for Steeler Nation and Cowboys fans, the Cowboys weren’t exactly up to the task. Particularly in the final seconds of the game where the Cowboys had the ball back after recovering an onside kick attempting to get into field goal range for the win. Jason Garret and Romo allowed about 20 seconds to come off of the clock before taking what then turned into a pointless timeout on their way to not get closer to kick the ball to end up losing a game they dominated the entire way. Nicely done. Andy Reid called, and he wants his clock management skills back.
So the Patriots are off to their worst start in 7 years at 3-3 and it never ceases to amaze me how dramatic the sports media gets over New England. No matter how they’ve ended their previous season, they continue to start each season as the Super Bowl favorites, every friggin year. Then after they win a few games, their labeled as unstoppable and invincible. After a loss, they’re a train wreck and Belichick has lost it. I’ll just continue to say what I said before the season started, the Patriots no longer scare teams with their offense. Teams are no longer intimidated by the combo of Brady and Belichick and their poor defense is continuing to get exposed. In some of their successful games this season they’ve been able to run the ball effectively, but not yesterday against the Seattle defense, which is surprisingly strong.
After a Thursday night game it was a strange weekend for the Steelers which included the surprising release of TE Wesley Saunders, who was just coming back from serving a 4 game suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy, and the arrest of rookie NT Alameda Ta’amu. I’m still not quite sure about the move to release Saunders. His violation of the substance abuse policy was for a positive test for an ADD medication that he had not cleared with the league, so it’s not at all like the Santonio Holmes situation. The Steelers had to make a roster move to allow Saunders to return, but of all the TE’s to cut it still seems surprising that he was the one let go. Clearly the coaches prefer rookie TE David Paulson to Saunders, but free agent acquisition Pope has been underwhelming to say the least and seemed more like the likely roster casualty.
There just might be another roster move for fourth round draft pick NT Alameda Ta’amu, who was arrested early Sunday morning after what seems like a wild night on Pittsburgh’s South Side. Ta’amu was arrested for DUI with a BAC twice the legal limit after driving the wrong way down the street and hitting several cars in the process. Ta’amu has been inactive for every regular season game so far. With this incident as well as the fact that the Steelers are leading the league in penalties and penalty yards, along with allowing 4 out of 5 4th quarter comebacks, it’s got me wondering if the Steelers have a serious lack of discipline problem. Like I said after the game, there’s no reason to panic now and there’s plenty of time to right this ship, especially given how the rest of the AFC is playing right now. The season could very well come down to how well the Steelers play this Sunday night in Cincy. Bring it on Week #7!
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