Whether or not we can expect to see these kind of results against teams that don't feature the Bills offense isn't clear at this point, but you have to appreciate the rebound performance logged today by so many guys on the defensive side of the ball.
Many of the stories stayed the same.
The offense wasn't exactly burning down the house.
We saw approximately 16 more injuries to a team that's already all around about as thin as Miley Cyrus' personality.
And they committed some stupid penalties.
Among other things.
But three key things were different today.
1) They were at home.
Never underestimate the advantage conferred by being among friends with horse masks.
2) The defense showed up for pretty close to 60 minutes.
Even Ryan Clark.
3) I made a change in fresh headgear.
Pro tip - when shit gets real, equip your helmet.
Big time game ball goes to Antonio Brown.
Championship stat line today -- 6 catches, 104 yards receiving | 37 yard punt return average, having taken two punts back for a total of 74 yards.
Enjoy it, guys.
We can't play EJ Manuel every week, but the phrase "a win is a win" takes on new meaning when that win is the difference between 2-7 and 3-6.
Keep your chin straps fastened and your cleats laced up.
Megatron coming to town next Sunday.
Here we go!
If you haven't already, become a fan of OFTOT on Facebook, and follow Cotter on Twitter. Or don't. Your choice, really.
But I guess if that was Hiroshima, that would make what happened against New England, "Nagasaki."
If you don't get that reference...
Either way, at the risk of dwelling on something none of us (including probably the Steelers) can actually change, it's hard to imagine things getting any worse for this team.
But, the million five dollar question is - will they get better?
I'm not sure we'll ever see another opponent hang as many points or yards on the Steelers as the Patriots did, but the fact that I'm couching my statement with "I'm not sure" pretty much says it all.
Put another way - for the first time in my life, I'm now actively choosing players to start in fantasy based on the fact that they'll be up against the Steelers defense.
Granted, the Patriots are theoretically a talented team.
But any team in the NFL is beatable, and despite their record, the Pats had previously showed some serious signs of weakness, not the least of which was Tom Brady's play.
So anyway, whatever, it's over, it's done, let's move on.
Now, here we are, 2-6, with the 3-6 Jills coming in on Sunday.
And I'm legitimately not sure what you really want me to say about this?
Frankly, you should be impressed that I'm still willing to put forth the amount of effort I do in order to write these things.
At least they played the Patriots on the road last week, so there was some intrigue.
This week, they're more than likely going to lose to rookie EJ Manuel, and a passing offense that's ranked 28th in the league (in ypg), even though the pass should probably be the least of our concerns given our slack-ass run defense.
I suppose we should take some solace in the fact that the last rookie we faced was Geno Smith, who's put up somewhat similar numbers to Manuel this year proportionately.
But there's no algorithm or anything that says Steelers defense + rookie QB = turnover city.
"Look for low and away, but watch out for in your ear."
Anyway, I'm meandering already and we haven't even hit the "positional breakdown" yet, so I'm just gonna cut right to it (quotes used for obvious reasons).
Feel free to follow me on a wild ride through the skirts who make up the Buffalo Bills football team.
Next up on the Steelers' world tour of rookie and/or inexperienced QBs who are bound to beat them will be EJ Manuel on Sunday.
To be honest, I'm not really a big college football fan, so I have basically zero clue about this guy.
I can tell you that before he got injured, he was 2-3, completing ~57% of his passes with five TDs, three picks and three fumbles. And while only one of his three losses was by more than one score (a 14 point loss to Cl-heave-land), the games he won were a last-minute 1 point edge over Carolina, and a three point win over Assaultimore.
So, pretty much no idea what to expect based on that either.
Of course, all the stats in the world mean exactly dogshit to the Steelers defense anyway, who have graciously ignored them, and made QBs including Matt Cassel look like they're Dan Marino.
So, if you want to know what to expect - frankly, even a formerly sprained LCL shouldn't prevent this guy from dropping 300+ yards and 7 TDs on Ryan Clark and friends.
You can probably write that down, because it's science.
Remember that time I told you that I'm actively starting guys in fantasy against the Steelers?
CJ Spiller grab a hat, because you're going in, kid.
And if he was available, I'd pick up and start Fred Jackson too.
Here's where I'd make another joke about the Steelers run defense, but "run defense" is the joke.
Hold me, I'm scared.
He-who-hath-sent-the-famous-tweet-via-iPad, a half eaten ice cream sandwich, a pack of Magic: The Gathering cards from 1995, fond memories of Steve Tasker, and a pair of Tom's make up the Jills receiving corps.
How has this platoon fared with three different barely notable QBs this season?
Stevie Johnson has caught just over half of the passes thrown his way for a little more than 400 yards and three TDs, but 2nd in yards receiving is TE Scott Chandler, and as someone who owns Scott Chandler in fantasy, take my word for it when I tell you that he sucks.
But the Steelers couldn't even stop an entire receiving corps made up of Limas Sweed clones at this point, so look for Marquise Goodwin to have approximately 1200 yards receiving and 5 TDs.
What he said.
Left to right = Cordy Glenn, Doug Legursky, Eric Wood, Kraig Urbik, Erik Pears.
28 sacks allowed in nine games this season.
After Colin Brown surrendered 3 sacks and 7 QB hits in his 6 games, Doug Legursky has allowed just 1 QB hit since. #Bills
Alan Branch, Kyle Williams, Marcell Dareus, Super Mario.
Hey, did you guys know that Mario Williams has 11 sacks in nine games?
Pro tip for Todd Haley - RUN RIGHT!
Pro tip for Ben...
Nigel Bradham, Kiko Alonso, and Manny Lawson.
Pretty much the exact opposite of what you'd expect a guy named Nigel to look like.
No word on whether or not he's a tea guy, but we do have confirmation that he likes herbs, so...
Troy Polamalu eat your heart out.
I thought Larry Timmons' 17 slash 20 tackles against Baltimore were impressive, but apparently this guy had 22 against the Bangles a week prior to that, and he's currently right behind the league leaders in overall tackles with 89.
Oh, and he has two sacks, four picks, and a forced fumble to go with all those tackles.
Did I mention this kid is a rookie?
Which begs two questions.
1) How long until they start blood testing these guys again, and 2) Will the test cover Meth as well?
Jesus, don't even bother trying to run the ball.
With a guy who throws up 22 tackles in one game on the field, I'm not sure why you even need a third linebacker, but I guess the Bills figured, why not put a guy on the field who's 6'5", 240 pounds, and runs a sub 4.5 40?
No, seriously Todd Haley, don't even bother trying to run the ball.
I cannot stress this enough.
Leodis McCheckOutMyRunningMan over here and Stephon Gilmore at the Corners, Aaron Williams and Jairus Byrd/Jim Leonhard at the Safeties.
24 passes defended and six picks among them, Leodis McCelcius (probably too inside baseball, but when you get it) and Aaron Williams combined contributing 17 of the 24, and Williams himself contributing half of those six picks (Leonhard has the other three).
In case you haven't figured it out by now, there's really no glaring weakness on the Bills defense, and it certainly isn't their Secondary.
So, again, another piece of advice I cannot stress enough...
We're all looking at you, Benjamin.
Doug Marrone...more like Doug Jabroni, amirite?
Tag, Tim's it!
Tim's Tea Party: Well, the golden boy of the NFL decided he was going to implement a scorched earth policy last week. And the Steelers just happened to be the victims as Tom Brady decided to do THIS to the Steelers...
All Tom was missing on Sunday was a rainbow wig and a John 3:16 sign. His QB rating? 151.8, just south of the perfect rating 158.3. Rob Gronkowski decided he was gonna get in on the action as well. He caught nine passes for 143 yards and 1 TD.
And I’m going to stop at that.
It’s pretty easy to see who deserves a lot of the blame for what went on last week, and I can assure you that the punter had nothing to do with those lousy numbers.
Up next: the Buffalo Bills.
Now this could be the week my wife divorces me, or at the very least, I could end up here...
Why, you ask? Because she’s a Bills fan. The poor lady has been suffering since the mid 1990s and I can’t blame her. I mean, have you seen the QBs the Bills have had since Jim Kelly decided to call it a career? Let’s take a look, shall we?
On second thought, nevermind. That list is depressing, as it contains 12 QBs who are either stocking shelves at Wal-Mart, or playing in the CFL.
Anyway, I can get pretty animated when watching the Steelers play, and this year it has been pretty bad for me. One slip up by saying the Bills suck could spell the end for me, so please, any thoughts, prayers, or contributions to my attorney so she doesn’t get everything in the settlement would be greatly appreciated.
Lastly, I’m not doing a stat this week. What I am going to do is pose some food for thought. Look, the Steelers just aren’t very good this year…and it doesn’t look like it is getting better. So I’m thinking it is a very likely possibility that the Steelers are going to pick in the top 5. And isn’t it hilarious that being in the top 5 in something isn’t always a good thing.
Looking at how the team is currently constructed - it is old, and not overly talented in a large area of positions. So the question becomes if the Steelers do land a top 5 pick, do they draft a player with the pick, or trade out so another team looking for a QB can move up? In all likelihood, a top 5 pick could land the Steelers another three to four picks, with at least two of those picks being first rounders. That could certainly replenish a team bereft of talented young players ready to fill the void.
Of course, there’s always...
the Steelers could blow those picks like they have the past few years, but I remain hopeful. I mean, that’s what we have to do at this point, right?
Well, I’m closing the books on this week’s Tea Party. Pinky up bitches!
Good thing for Tim I'm a lawyer, because I'm guessing the title of this post won't win him any favors with the Missus...
But I do want to say, I'm particularly psyched about this week's lineup.
I don't think we've had this many n00bz on a panel in literally years.
Not only that, but I think this crew turned in an amazing performance despite their rookie statuses.
Here's your list of deviant commentators for this week:
1) Eric 2) David 3) Jen 4) Laynie 5) Tim 6) Chris 7) Monica 8) Rich 9) Moi
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, it's always nice to get new faces and voices into the mix, so should you ever want to valiantly volunteer your services for this thing, feel free to shoot me an email, or get at me on Twitter.
Now, onto the show.
As always, click to enlarge...
Thanks so much again to this week's panelists!
xoxoxoxoxoxo, you guys.
Only thing left is kickoff tomorrow at 4:25 PM.
Plenty of time to peruse the preview, if you haven't already.
And get mentally prepared for whatever will come.
Lynn Swann classing it up this week for Tom Brady.
Here we go.
If you haven't already, become a fan of OFTOT on Facebook, and follow Cotter on Twitter. Or don't. Your choice, really.
Ok, we're probably just going to have to address the proverbial elephant here before we get to anything else.
In case Hiroshima last Sunday, or the angry man's recap I posted immediately thereafter didn't get the point across, the Steelers are not playing like a good football team.
This may or may not actually make them a bad football team, but as Mike Tomlin is fond of saying, you are what your record says you are.
And the Steelers record - the 2nd worst in the AFC ahead of only Jacksonville - says only one thing.
If you need me to spell it out for you, as the rooster sings in probably my favorite childhood Disney movie, Robin Hood, "sometimes ups outnumber the downs..."
But not in Nottingham Pittsburgh.
At least not as of Week 9.
Frankly, they're just shooting themselves in the foot way too frequently to win football games.
In fact, it's kind of hard (yet at the same time easy) to believe that they've fallen behind by double digits in the first half of almost half of the games they've played so far.
This deficiency encompasses the gamut from playcalling to execution.
And undoubtedly some of you are currently finding yourselves unable to deal with such ineptitude from the mighty Pittsburgh Steelers with such a proud tradition of winning football games.
I get it.
Believe me, no one enjoys losing, and especially not when traditionally it has happened significantly less frequently than it is currently.
Put it in an AT&T commercial, because it's not complicated.
But don't let that get you too down.
Meaningful football only lasts for about four months, five if you're lucky, and if you'd rather watch nothing than watch your team lose, you should probably stop watching sports altogether.
Contrary to popular belief, the world goes on, booze still exists, and there are plenty of other opportunities left to watch what might be the opposite of what happened last week.
More than half a season's worth to be exact.
Starting with New England on Sunday.
Maybe it's somehow poetic justice that the Steelers end up drawing a 6-2 team led by Tom Brady after a 2-5 (now 3-5) team led by Terrelle Pryor.
In fact, by contemporary Steelers logic, this game has "W" written all over it.
Admit it, as mad as you may be, you know I'm right.
Some good news - apparently the injuries to Ramon Foster and Guy Whimper aren't all that serious (DeCastro, on the other hand, does not appear to be in a position to play), and indeed both should play Sunday.
Hard to believe at this point that it's a relief that Guy Whimper can play, but I guess that pretty much says it all about the Steelers' 2013 season, you guys.
And while we're at it, let's not forget that even without all three of those gentlemen in the 2nd half last Sunday, the Steelers offense still somehow managed to gain 203 of their 276 total yards, and score 15 out of their 18 total points (which could've been 18 of 21 had we not missed that field goal on the infamous nine minute drive), albeit with some help.
Ironically, the Cheatriots actually also found themselves in a 1st half hole against the Dolphins last week, going into the half down 17-3. But then, they remembered they were the Patriots, and scored 24 unanswered points to ultimately win 27-17.
And on the other side of the ball, Jerod Mayo and Vince Wilfork are gone for the year, and CB Aqib Talib, and DT Tommy Kelly were both out of commission for the Pats' most recent game against the Dolphins.
So, it's not like the Patriots are even 100% healthy here either.
Of course, as far as defense goes, it doesn't appear these losses have affected them all that much since they still managed to sack Ryan Tannehill five times last week, stripping the ball on one of those five, and picking him off twice.
But real talk, here are the six teams the Hatriots have beaten in 2013 - Bills, Jets, Bucs, Falcons, Saints, and Dolphins.
Removing the Saints, that's a combined 13 and 22 you're talking about.
But Tom Brady doesn't just wake up one day and stop being Tom Brady because he's over 35 or something, and frankly, let's be real here, the Steelers have lost to Jake Locker, Matt Cassel, and Terrelle Pryor.
They're more likely to put pressure on their coaches than they are Tom Brady...so you know, whatever I'm trying to stay here.
Now, here's a series of exceptional Tom Brady gifs...
Peyote is a hell of a drug.
Hi, I'm Tom and I'd like to be your Quarterback.
Yeah, you saw that.
As far as I can tell, he's saying either "f*#k penis" or "f*#k buttons" in that last one.
Whatever that means.
Stevan Ridley, Lagarrette Blount, Brandon Bolden(ish), Leon Washington(ish).
Legitimately unsure who to focus on here, so I'm just going to skip it.
Oh, I'm sorry, you actually care who's running the ball for the Patriots?
A larger than average collection of short (by football standards), white guys, a mini golf course windmill, a skinny venti pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks, Bill Belichick's collection of rare, weird, Judy Dench porn, and a pound and a half of pure grit make up the Patriots receiving corps.
I don't keep track of meaningless shit like the last time the Patriots running game was ranked almost twice as high as its passing game, but I feel pretty confident estimating that it's seldom happened since Tom Brady has been in New England.
Either way, the Steelers defense is somehow 2nd best in the league against the pass, and I doubt Julian Edelman or any other hambone on the Patriots' sideline wants any of Face Me Ike or Big Play Willie Gay.
Immediately thrust into the lineup when Jerod Mayo went down for the season.
That tweet is literally the most interesting thing I can find about him after searching the entire internet for exactly five to seven minutes.
Basically leading tackler now that Mayo's out, adding a pick in addition to his sick moves up there.
Right behind Spikes in tackles, adding a singular sack to the mix as well.
I tried so hard to put together a reference to Hightower from the Police Academy movies, but it just wasn't meant to be, you guys.
Either Aqib Talib, Kyle Arrington, or Marquice Cole, and Alfonzo Dennard at the Corners, Steve Gregory and Devin McCourty at the Safeties.
There's a reason the Pats defense is ranked 5th against the pass, and these clowns are a large part of it.
These six dudes combined have defended 29 passes in eight games, or a little more than 3.5 per game, and have seven picks (which I'm sure shouldn't surprise you is more than the entire Steelers defense on both counts).
Aqib Talib alone has nine passes defended and four picks, and he hasn't even played the last two weeks.
So, all appendages crossed he can't go again this week.
Otherwise, this may be the first time I can get behind the unlimited screens offensive gameplan.
What do you want me to say about Bill Belichick that hasn't already been said about Miley Cyrus?
Ain't nothing but a...
Now, here's where I pass the mic to Timothy.
Tim's Tea Party: Folks, all I can say about last week is that maybe we need start thinking about what our level of optimism is heading into the 2014 draft. That’s it. That’s all I got. Because it’s maddening to talk about having a shit offensive line or the fact that the defense is giving up big plays at an alarming rate.
But let’s be honest about it folks. The real reason the Steelers suck is because this guy...
couldn’t punt. They cut him and signed Mat McBriar. All the Steelers problems have been solved, because as they say, if you can’t punt with any kind of success, you can’t win the Super Bowl.
Let’s fast forward to this week.
Unfortunately for Mesko, he won’t be able to exact revenge against the Patriots team that cut him in preseason. And nothing spreads fear into the heart of your competition like the looming specter that is a punter. And I know the folks who read this blog are sitting there thinking, “He’s not gonna throw out a punting stat is he?”
Even though it’s Halloween, I promise I won’t torture you with that. Instead, I’m going to torture you with Thomas Brady’s stats against the Steelers.
Here’s where it gets bad. Tom Brady is 6-2 including playoffs. Over those 9 games, he holds a 103.7 QB rating, has thrown for 314 yards per games, thrown 14 TDs to 2 INTs with a 68.1% completion percentage, and has even rushed for a TD.
That doesn’t bode well does it? The good news? Tom Brady has looked rather pedestrian this year, but that’s in large part to his supporting cast (and Belichick no longer able to access the NSA’s database to spy on the Patriots competition).
So in order to win, the Steelers are going to have to find a way to stop this guy...
from doing this...
Otherwise the Steelers will be trying to hide from the air raid sirens. What else can I tell you guys? Tom Brady is just that good. Although, you have to admit:
Well that’s it for me, but since I’m in the holiday mood, I’d like to leave you with this. And to paraphrase Kasey Kasem, “keep your feet on the ground, and keep reaching for .500.”
True story - Tim sends me his musings in a Word doc every week and I have to Google image search the images he includes.
As you can see, this week's searches included the NSA and nuclear explosions.
So, I guess I'll have Tim to thank when I've got 16 federal agents in riot gear at my door.
Now, time to steer this baby home.
1) O rly, Sheetz?
They missed the word "Mom's" between "your" and "mouth."
2) Beetlejuice or gtfo.
HAPPY HALLOWEEN, YOU GUYS!!!
hey you kids going out to rage tonight for halloween, watch out for drugs. only do the good ones. #staysafe