What We Learned in Week 11 in the NFL:
- Bears and Ravens game delayed two hours because Roger Goodell doesn’t watch the Weather Channel
- Bengals get lopsided win over Cleveland
- All hail King Peyton
- Every time the NFL Network releases an “erroneous” report the Steelers win
How about those friggin Steelers huh? After starting the season 0-4 the Steelers have gone 4-2 and suddenly the season doesn’t look so miserable anymore. Mondays are always better after a Steelers victory. Anyone who doesn’t think so either isn’t really a Steelers fan or might have an especially crappy job. Either way, let’s take some cheap shots.
I wake up randomly on the weekends. Last weekend I slept till almost eleven for no particular reason at all. Yesterday, however, I was up very early and watched hours of pregame coverage on the various networks before the games were to begin. One theme kept coming up. Severe weather. Even at 8:30 in the morning, they were bracing for severe weather including reports of tornadoes in the Illinois area prior to the kickoff of the Bears and Ravens game. Unfortunately, the NFL, which apparently only cares about a certain kind of player safety and doesn’t extend that consideration to fans whatsoever, didn’t think it important to delay the start of the game to avoid the storms and have the game start at a later time. Instead, the game kicked off as scheduled amongst rains and strong winds and then was sent to an over two-hour delay with just under 5:00 left in the first quarter. Thousands of fans packed into the concourse and there were actual reports of the concessions having to stop beer sales to avoid running out for whenever the game was set to resume. What a cluster-f. If only the NFL had some kind of knowledge ahead of time that there was going to be severe weather blowing through. Oh, and the Ravens lost in overtime so that’s something.
The Bengals were trying to wash the funk of back-to-back overtime losses off of them when they found themselves behind early against the Browns. Down 13-0 at the start of the second quarter, the Browns must have quickly realized they were the Browns and assumed the position as the Bengals went on to score 31 points before halftime. After a 41-20 victory the Bengals now have a firm grasp of the AFC North lead as they head into their bye week. Does that mean the Bengals won’t look as bad as they have in their previous two games? Probably not seeing as how they don’t get to keep playing the Browns over and over again.
If you thought the ’72 Dolphins were toasting champagne last night as they reportedly always do after the last undefeated team in the NFL suffers their first loss, you’d probably be right. You’d also be right if they just went ahead and popped those corks after it was announced that Peyton Manning wouldn’t be missing the game due to his nagging high ankle sprain. Manning and the Broncos handed the Chiefs their first loss on Sunday Night Football, which has now been renamed “The Peyton Manning Show”. Sunday night will now consist of Peyton Manning playing football, Peyton Manning not getting sacked, and endless Papa John’s commercials. The Kansas City defense held Manning to a season-low 318 passing yards and one touchdown but couldn’t force enough pressure to turn this game into the defensive one that would have benefited them. Alex Smith is not the quarterback that can enter into a shoot-out with Peyton Manning. Still, the Chiefs at 9-1, take over the 5th spot in the AFC playoff race, the spot everyone thought they were destined to own anyway even with their undefeated start to the season. I’m still holding firm that Peyton and the Broncos are headed towards and epic post-season collapse, most likely in the AFC Championship for more of a dramatic flair.
Another Sunday, another report out of the NFL Network speculating about the future for Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers. In spite of the constant denials by both Roethlisberger and the Steelers front office, it seems as though Ian Rapoport just doesn’t want to shake this story that Roethlisberger is frustrated with the team, the losing, his contract, and global warming too, I think. The thing is, if you listen to Rapoport on the NFL Network and read the words that Around the League’s Marc Sessler choses in his report of Rapoport’s speculation, there’s nothing to be upset about. These guys are using speculation and possibilities instead of facts and quotes and relying on debatable topics such as the frustrations of starting 0-4, the reported friction between Ben Roethlisberger and Todd Haley, and the Steelers salary cap issues going forward to give this story all the legs it needs. People get too wrapped up in the emotions of the idea Ben would want to leave or the Steelers would be stupid enough to consider trading their franchise quarterback to stop and realize that no one is actually saying that. It’s not like Rapoport could possibly have credible “sources” he’s using. It’s not anyone in Ben’s camp and it’s not anyone in the Steelers organization in charge of such decisions. There’s no validity to the speculation that the Steelers will look to trade Ben or that Ben is going to ask for a trade. But the debatable components of this story is what keeps it in the news. In my opinion, the Steelers are 2-0 since Rapoport started his Gossip Girl column of what could happen to the Steelers this offseason so keep going buddy, see what you can dig up next week.
The Detroit Lions haven’t won in Pittsburgh since 1955. They still haven’t. There haven’t been many “signature” wins for the Steelers this season. Well, there haven’t been many wins for the Steelers this season period. But this definitely was one that will stay with you. After jumping out to a 17-3 lead the Steelers looked poised to handle the Lions’ passing game, shut down Megatron, and control Reggie Bush all day. Then, in the second quarter, the wheels fell off. Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson had their way with the Steelers defense in the second quarter. They didn’t even buy them dinner first. How did the Steelers defense respond to giving up 179 receiving yards and two touchdowns to Calvin Johnson in the first half? They shutout the Lions offense and kept the ball out of Johnson’s hands for the entire second half.
The Steelers offense still made some frustrating trips to the red-zone that resulted in Shaun Suisham field goals as opposed to extra points but Ben Roethlisberger’s 29 for 45 for 367 yards and four touchdowns overshadowed the red-zone problems. His best drive being the 97-yard 16-play drive capped off by a 1-yard Will Johnson touchdown to give the Steelers a 30-37 lead. Antonio Brown out-Megatron’ed Megatron with seven catches for 147 yards and 2 touchdowns of his own. The win puts the Steelers in second place in the AFC North behind the Bengals. You read that correctly, the Steelers are in second place in the division only behind the Bengals.
Here we go Steelers Here we go!