What We Learned In Week 15 In The NFL:
- Adrian Peterson’s bionic knee has Vikings set for playoff run
- Ravens fail to show up offensively after firing OC
- Patriots fall short of comeback against 49ers
- Cowboys lose their pants but win against Steelers in OT
Well Steeler Nation, we’re staring down the barrel of yet another frustrating Monday following a disappointing Steelers loss. The Steelers have lost four out of their last five games and saw another chance to secure a playoff spot go right out of the window yesterday. The Steelers will have to win their final two games in order to make it into the playoffs. It’s true that they control their own destiny and as long as they win they’re in, but does anyone have any confidence left in this team? Before we go in depth about what went wrong yesterday and what the outlook for the last two weeks of the season is, let’s improve our mood by taking some cheap shots.
No cheap shot to take at Adrian Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings. Less than a calendar year after tearing shredding his ACL, Peterson just had his second 200+ rushing yard game in the past three weeks and is 294 yards within breaking Eric Dickerson’s single-season record for rushing yards with two games left to play. Has someone checked on Dickerson lately? Did Peterson have Dickerson’s ACL implanted in his knee or something? In contrast, Rashard Mendenhall tore his ACL a week after Peterson did last year and has not been able to maintain his health or his starting position with the Steelers. Reports surfaced yesterday that he and the Steelers have begun contract talks as he will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the year. If you actually believe the Steelers are not only engaging in contract talks during the season, but talking contract with a player that was just recently suspended for “conduct detrimental to the team” I have a bridge to sell you.
Don’t look now but the Ratbirds are in the midst of a three game losing streak and after firing their offensive coordinator, Cam Cameron, have looked their worse offensively against the Broncos yesterday. Good thing they got rid of that guy huh? The Broncos won their ninth straight and thanks to a Patriots loss last night, have jumped into the 2nd seed in the AFC playoffs with a 34-17 rout of the Ratbirds. The score looks a lot closer than the game was. It was 31-3 when Flacco finally threw his first touchdown pass. Looks as though the Ravens might just be cursed. Maybe someone disrespected a sacred object such as the Terrible Towel and now the team is paying the price. Terrell Suggs made his return to the lineup following his bicep tear. He was a beast and accumulated one whole tackle.
Fortunately for those of us who find pleasure in the misfortune of the Patriots we can be slightly comforted by their loss last night to the 49ers after scoring 24 points in the 4th quarter but failing to complete the comeback. Unfortunately, those of us who find comfort in the misfortune of the Patriots most likely do not care for any team coached by a Harbaugh. The 49ers forced four New England turnovers, which is unlikely for them to commit especially at home. The 49ers clinched a playoff spot in the NFC West and are the new sexy pick for the Super Bowl team coming out of the NFC.
The only thing more disturbing than the amount of butt cracks we saw of the Cowboys players with their pants dangerously loose around their waists was the sight of Cowboys DE Josh Brent laughing and having a good time on the sidelines with his teammates. Brent has been placed on the non-injury suspension list following his intoxicant manslaughter arrest in connection with the accident that killed Cowboys teammate and practice squad member Jerry Brown. Satan (aka Jerry Jones) defended the decision to allow Brent to be on the sidelines during the first home game following the accident by stating that Brown’s mother had asked the team to support Brent and have him be with his teammates. CBS football analyst Boomer Esiason called the move “disgraceful” and took the opportunity during the halftime show to show his displeasure with the decision. I, for the first time in my life, agree with Boomer. Even knowing that Brown’s mother had requested the team support Brent I think it was both disgusting and disgraceful for the Cowboys ownership and team to allow him to enjoy time on the sidelines while his teammates wore a memorial sticker on their helmets for the teammate Brent had killed. This wasn’t a private function for the memorial of Brown, if it was than Brown’s mother has every right to request anyone’s presence there, even her son’s killer. This was a nationally televised football game, the Cowboys had an opportunity to express that they’re holding Brent accountable for his actions, they can support him all they want but to publically ignore the fact that he’s responsible for the death of a teammate due to drunk driving is unacceptable and more than disappointing.
So aside from butt cracks and distasteful showings of support the Steelers managed to yet again fall to a lesser team in frustrating fashion. Third downs that were damned near impossible for the offense to convert, a defense with a seriously depleted secondary, and turnovers killed the Steelers chances to move back up into the #6th seed and move within a game of the Ravens for the division. I’m not sure what to say about this team. Following the game Ben Roethlisberger, first took full blame for the loss, criticized the play calling by Todd Haley fueling the Ben vs. Haley controversy up again.
Personally, I don’t know how Haley can justify not going to Heath Miller in the entire second half until overtime but I’m not so sure these games are being lost on the sidelines. There are some serious execution issues going on on the field by this team. Antonio Brown’s fumble in the fourth quarter is inexcusable. He was holding the ball on the outside of his body as if he was a waiter at a cocktail party. Mike Wallace had an awesome 60 yard catch to give the Steelers a first and goal on the one, but on the play in OT where Brandon Carr intercepted Roethlisberger’s pass he stood and stared at him for a minute before pursuing him down the field where Carr was finally stopped at the 1 yard line. Ben’s pass first of all was a bad pass and Carr sniffed it out the whole way so Ben was right in taking responsibility for that one but Wallace hesitating on the tackle was just another sad display of his lack of effort this season. I don’t know if this team is going to get back on track to win these final two games, I really don’t. They’re not playing to their caliber and they’re not coaching to their strengths. I don’t know if you can point the finger to just one area. Bring it on Week 16!
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