To be honest with you guys, I'm not even sure where to really begin with the Ravens this year.
But I'm going to try.
No question that nothing changes between us.
We're 1-4 and they're 3-3, having lost two of their last three games, and in both cases, it goes without saying that neither of us are in an all that favorable position within the division.
But these matchups have never really been about record or AFC North supremacy.
Those may have been rational reasons you could point to as evidence of why games between us and our mid-Atlantic neighbors down in Assaultimore were always so fierce.
But the reality is, rivalries - much like innumerable other things in life - are not rational.
Specifically, hateful and bitter, and intensely so.
Can you feel it?
Right now, with every word I write about the Ravens, your blood pressure should be rising, your fuse getting shorter, your desire to see them get completely dismantled on Sunday increasing to astronomical levels.
You should be conjuring up past memories of Troy's interception, or Santonio's touchdowns, or Terrell Suggs's shirt, or Ed Reed's face, and thinking...
There are a lot of hateworthy teams in the NFL, but I think we can all agree that the Ravens will always be #1 in that category.
Anyway, the 2013 Ravens are a bit of a different animal from years past.
I'm sure you all remember the post-Super Bowl mass defensive exodus, and this has given rise to a bit of a new look Ravens d.
No more Ray Lewis, no more Paul Kruger, no more Ed Reed, no more Dannell Ellerbe, and no more Bernard Pollard.
Offensively, Matt Birk has moved on to male modeling, Anquan Boldin is now with the 49ers, Dennis Pitta's in medical limbo, Bryant McKinnie's riding the pine, and of course, who could forget nevermore for Billy Cundiff.
Which you would think would make it slightly easier and more interesting to write a Ravens preview, but it hasn't.
It's always tricky for me to write these things.
What should I be telling you about the Ravens that you don't already know?
Are there even things that will matter to you from a realistic standpoint?
Why throw out numbers when we both know that it doesn't matter how either team is doing when they meet?
So, I'm gonna do my best to keep it entertaining, and further the spirit of hatred between us.
Torrey Smith, a pack of glow-in-the-dark condoms, a can of Vienna sausages, a coupon for a free entree at the Olive Garden, and one of those dumpster fires you all enjoy calling people make up the Ravens receiving corps.
Ok, legit, though - check out the dropoff in production behind Torrey Smith...
You go from 56 targets, 28 catches, and 568 yards to 35 targets, 20 catches and 256 yards.
Of course, we all know Torrey Smith goes HAM on some YAC (231 on the year), but still.
#joeflaccoproblems, I guess.
Where have you gone, Anquan Boldin?
Oh yeah, that's right.
Ed Dickson is a disaster.
Long live Dallas Clark's 34 year aged, wrinkly old balls.
It's getting harder and harder to call anyone in the NFL's balls old or wrinkly here when I'm only a couple of years away from Dallas Clark.
Also, just so I don't invite any kind of jinx...
Highly important stuff, you guys.
Wow, you know, it's almost as if they've done this before...
Left to right - Eugene Monroe, Kelechi Osemele, Gino Gradkowski, Marshal Yanda, and The Blind Side.
19 sacks allowed in six games this year (though, Eugene Monroe is notably only one game into his Ravens career).
I attempted to try and consult Football Outsiders on how effective that is, but to be honest with you, shit's a whole lot of numbers, the implications of which aren't all that apparent to my feeble brain.
Nevertheless, IF I'm reading it correctly, the Ravens line is about middle of the pack in terms of pass protection, and 2nd to last in Run Blocking from a yards per carry standpoint, two spots below the Steelers.
Now, here's the best Todd Haley gif ever made...
Who needs a reason to post that?
Natty bRohs - Arthur Jones, Haloti Ngata, and Chris Can-ty (get it?).
Ranked 11th, right behind the Steelers in terms of rushing yards allowed, and six sacks collectively, with Jones contributing 3, Canty 2, and Ngata 1.
Honestly, #1 - if you think we're going to run on the Ravens in the first place...
And #2 -Given the state of the Steelers line this year, I fear for Ben Roethlisberger's continued existence on this earth after Sunday.
Woman Crush Wednesday - Haloti Ngata, all 340 pounds of him.
T-Baby, I mean T-Sizzle, Josh Bynes/Jameel McClain/Albert McLellan, Daryl Smith, Elvis Dumervil.
What a peach.
I imagine he's thinking about the seven sacks he already has this season.
Yep, no idea.
DAR-YL, DAR-YL, DAR-YL.
I'm counting on you, Steeler Nation.
By the way, dude already leads the Ravens in tackles, and has half of their four INTs, one of which was a pick six.
Alright, time to throw it over to Timothy. Tim's Tea Party: Distinguished readers, I’m not sure of much in this world, but I do know that when you play a mediocre team with a rookie QB and have two weeks to prepare you have a good shot at winning. Maybe not convincingly like we would like, but that’s splitting hairs about our own less than impressive team. And the good thing: we were able to finally get our first two takeaways of the year…only 5 games in and the last team in the entire NFL to do so. I know I’m proud…aren’t you? I’m hoping we can make it two in a row. Does that constitute a streak?
Not according to Lou Brown, but I’ll still take a win over Shartimore.
If by some chance the Steelers go 3-13, for the love of all that is Holy, let the two additional wins come from beating the Ravens. You folks may not live an hour away from Baltimore like I do, but trust me, these assholes are unbearable. I mean, HBO even made a TV show about how screwed up Baltimore is...
Their fans are annoying as hell, especially since they want to tell you what a bad human being Ben is whilst forgetting they had an alleged murderer play for their team since forever.
They conveniently forget that stuff when discussing the Steelers. Sure Ben put himself in bad situations and doesn’t look particularly good because of them...
but last time I checked none of those included the possibility of him committing a double homicide. But hey he’s Ray Lewis so fuck you (what a great and convincing argument)…
Now onto the stat of the week: Catch rate. This stat tells you the percentage of balls caught per receiver target. And you know who is ranked number three in the NFL in catch rate??? This handsome devil...
Just adorable. This guy has caught roughly 77% of the balls on the plays that were designed specifically for him. That’s pretty good. Torrey Smith for the Ravens ranks 65th in the league and second on his own team (Behind Marlon Brown @ 52). You know who ranks second on the Steelers? Jericho Cotchery coming in at 47. That’s right he’s better than both Ravens players. Maybe Antonio Brown should yell at Todd Haley more often. I’m not going to third & fourth receivers because I don’t want to depress you. I would say that maybe the Ravens guys can’t catch passes because...
is throwing them the football…or maybe they can’t catch; I’m not a psychic so I don’t know. I do know that John Harbaugh will be a whiny A-hole this weekend for no other reason than that’s all he’s done since taking over as the Ravens head coach. I mean all game he constantly looks like this. Not exactly appealing is it? All I know is that I loathe the Ravens like everyone else loathes the Eagles so a win would be nice. Two would be fantastic.
Anyway, that’s it for me this week. And just remember, it could be a lot worse. You could be a Jaguars fan.
I really appreciate how Tim abbreviated the "A" in A-hole, but went all out on the F bomb.
That's my boy.
Alright, time to bury this post like the Steelers are going to bury Joe Flacco on Sunday.
"That is the mental toughness element of this game. That’s why you have to stay singularly focused and in the tunnel. This is a long season. Every team faces trials and tribulations, ups and downs. You cannot ride the emotional roller coaster. The reality is that we are what we are."
A win is a win, and the point in the left hand column looks exactly the same no matter how it looks on the field.
It's something upon which to build.
As (part of) Newton's first law of motion says, "An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion."
So, from that perspective, we're on our way.
But the reality is, as Mike Tomlin affectionately says, you're only as good as your record says you are.
That is how the Steelers are looking at yesterday's victory, and indeed how we should also be looking at it.
Real talk, this wasn't the toughest test the Steelers are going to face this season.
Probably far from it.
The Jets are a good enough football team, but their run game is garbage, they have jack all to throw to, and Geno Smith is still only six games into his NFL career.
Seriously, Konrad Reuland.
That was an actual person Geno Smith threw to.
Put it this way - when your defense has had a rough go of it, trying to keep your offense in the game, a matchup against a rookie averaging a little under three turnovers a game is pretty much what the doctor ordered.
But don't be so quick to dismiss this win as "ugly."
Just because we didn't win by 6000 points, doesn't mean it wasn't a decent performance.
The defense held the Jets to two field goals, just over 250 yards of total offense, and flipped the field with the ball in or just outside the red zone twice in 60 minutes.
[sidenote: tell me this INT didn't remind you a little of James Harrison's pick in Super Bowl XLIII, just with less blocking in front of Timmons]
The offense held the ball for 36 minutes on 11 drives (vs. the Jets, who held the ball for just 24 minutes on 13 drives).
Ben Roethlisberger completed 23 of 30 pass attempts for a completion percentage of just under 77%.
No matter what you might have thought, this game was in the Steelers hands.
Doesn't mean they couldn't have blown it, but it was theirs to blow.
After the first 18 minutes, the Jets didn't have the lead once.
But listen, it's entirely possible that the Steelers don't win another game all season.
That is legit, a possibility.
Which just means we oughta make sure we enjoy this one while we can. So, won't you come along with me as I relive the "Things That Were Awesome," "Things That Were Not Awesome," and "Things That Made You Wanna Drunk Dial Tomlin?"
Let's do it.
Things That Were Awesome:
23/30, 264 yards, 1 score.
And if you want to see some real wizardry, go back and watch every play with a stopwatch.
Dude has basically 0.5 seconds from the time the ball is snapped to make something happen or bail.
The almost safety early in the game that he somehow managed to avoid despite Muhammad Wilkerson hanging on his jock.
Pulling it down and running for the first on 3rd and 10, throwing a shoulder into some DB in the process.
Plus blocking on a line with Mike Adams/Kelvin Beachum at LT, and frankly, also Marcus Gilbert at RT.
Heath Miller is a man.
4) Easy Sweezy
Four for four on the day, including one from 46 and another from 48.
10 for 10 on the year.
Literally just under half of the Steelers points this season have come off of this dude's toe.
Respek. 5a) Cowher vs. Simms
Cahr got after Phil Simms in the booth yesterday, and it was about damn time someone did.
"Well, Jeem, Antonio Brown is a wide receiver, so it's his responsibility to catch the ball."
Just a fictitious example of the type of value Phill Simms adds to NFL broadcasts week in and week out.
My favorite parts were when Simms told everyone that Cowher can't tie his own tie, and when Simms thought Cowher was complimenting him on his svelte physique - "You said, ‘Phil, you’re a lot trimmer than Boomer Esiason" - but what I really think Cowher was doing was telling him Boomer Esiason could kick his ass.
5b) RIP Stephen Hill's Ribcage.
The only kind of tattoo'd you can get without ink and a needle, WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!
5c) This kid.
Hey baby, what are you doin' after the game?
My dad said we could stop at Dairy Queen on the way home. Things That Were NOT Awesome:
1) Antonio Cromartie.
Probably should've sat this one out, buddy.
Shit's rough nowadays.
2) Brown, Down!
[UPDATE: 10/15, 10:45AM - Well, that escalated quickly...Levi Brown to IR. Someone get the "Welcome Back" banner ready for Max Starks...]
I would not have given two shits about this if it wasn't for the fact that not only did Mike Adams get demoted, he got deactivated, leaving Kelvin Beachum, Levi Brown, and Guy Whimper as the only real Tackle options on the active gameday roster (assuming they wouldn't have moved Marcus Gilbert over to LT).
So, with Brown out, if Beachum was a monumental disaster and/or got hurt, we'd be left with Guy Whimper, who - judging by the fact that we've had lineman dropping like flies and underperforming all over the place this year, yet he hasn't seen one down of in-game action - has to be 100 miles south of terrible. 3) Manny Sanders almost losing a fumble.
I still can't believe Mike Webster had to tase himself to sleep.
Things That Made You Want to Drunk Dial Tomlin:
1) Dat Drop.
There will never not be a time when dropping a pass you should've caught in the end zone won't be rage inducing.
But, you gotta let Antonio Brown slide here.
As I said above, dude is basically 3/4 of the Steelers offense, so he's bound to make mistakes once in a while.
At least he doesn't get bored in the middle of a game.
By the way, I Google'd "Mike Wallace focus" to try and find that reference and Google came back with this...
2) The Run.
Ha, not even sure what this "run" thing is that I'm talking about.
73 yards total, shared among four people, Ben having charitably donated 11 out of his own pocket.
Le'Veon Bell - An Isaac Redman-esque 16 carries for 34 yards.
I'd like to say that some of this is because of the O-line.
But run blocking isn't pass blocking, so you have to think they'd enjoy the opportunity to go on the offensive.
A 2.8 yards per carry average might give you a win against the Jets, but it ain't gonna cut it against anybody roughly good at the football. 3) Unlimited Screen Passes.
2/3 of the first series.
I mean, at least Todd Haley is committed to something, I guess.
I'm just happy we saw zero 3rd and long draws and/or end arounds.
Yeah, yeah, everyone's an offensive coordinator on the internet.
4) Sacks on Sacks on Sacks on Sacks... Kinda half kidding.
Not really, though.
Protection definitely seemed to get better as the game wore on, but let's get real, this is going to be part of the "Things That Made You Want to Drunk Dial Tomlin" or whatever I'm calling it pretty much every week for the foreseeable future.
Four sacks and eight official hits on Ben on Sunday.
The shot he took from Wilkerson (I think it was) when he threw the pass to Antonio Brown on the drop-heard-round-the-world play was total garbage.
Get your head out of your ass, ref.
You have one job. 5) Brett Keisel Down
There are very few things you can definitively say about the 2013 Steelers, but I'm pretty positive one of them would be that missing the best defensive lineman on the team/team captain for any extended period of time would suck ass.
Get well soon, buddy. So, in conclusion, I guess all it takes is losing to Matt Cassel in a foreign country, adding what is widely regarded as a useless LT who will get injured in warmups during his first official game anyhow, re-signing guys they already cut weeks ago, "demoting" several veterans to reduced playing time, and removing all recreational games from the locker room.
Baltimore coming in less than a week, fresh off a loss.
Do you think these guys want to lose to the Ravens at home?
Have a fantastic week, you guys.
It's been a stone groove.
Until the preview...
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.
Well, first of all, I realize I'm on tender ground here, and I'm sure many of you are still feeling the sting of being within arms reach, yet not being able to grasp hold of an NLCS berth.
So, I'll try and be gentle.
Frankly, I'm kind of amazed that any of you still care about the Steelers enough to read this (and I appreciate that fact, believe me).
But the fact remains, 0-4 is not 0-12.
Nor is it even 0-6. Imagine being a Giants fan.
Do I expect the Steelers to go on a 12-0 run from here on out?
But, is it possible?
And in either case, all you really want to see is the Steelers put up a fight without looking like they're fighting themselves.
After having just been given an opportunity to reflect on the season thus far, let's hope they've come out the other side of the bye with a different energy.
Either way, we know they've made some moves in an attempt to change the results they're seeing.
One of those being trading what was apparently a set of weights, some orange gatorade, and a jar of Todd Haley's wet farts to Arizona for maligned left tackle Levi Brown.
Now, on the one hand, it's hard to imagine anyone or anything being worse than Mike Adams playing pattycake with opposing defenders on Ben's blind side. And you have to think you don't make it seven years at LT in the NFL by being complete dogshit, right?
On the other hand, performance reports on Brown, and indeed the fact that apparently all the Steelers had to give up for him was a piece of their dignity, and the fact that Kelvin Beachum is listed as starting LT for Sunday, certainly doesn't instill the kind of confidence you'd want in a guy whose position is principally responsible for keeping your $100 million dollar QB's jersey clean.
Basically what I'm trying to say, perhaps too diplomatically, is that by most accounts, Levi Brown is Mike Adams plus six years.
It's like they needed a reliable used car, but instead of going out and getting a certified, pre-owned 2011 BMW X5, they went out and got themselves a 1998 Acura Integra. Shit probably looked nice when you were looking at buying it new off the lot back when the economy was riding high, but now it just looks old and abused, and you wonder how the hell anyone would want to drive it if they didn't have to.
Or to put it another way, Levi Brown appears to be the Jessica Simpson of the NFL.
Where have you gone, Marvel Smith?
But back to the lecture at hand - no, bringing in Levi Brown isn't necessarily the kind of change you might feel will make a significant difference.
And perhaps you feel the same about Cam Heyward starting over Ziggy Hood, Shamarko Thomas reportedly in line for more snaps in the base defense, bringing back Will Allen, or releasing Kion Wilson - who just a couple of weeks ago was listed as a starter - so we could re-sign Stevenson Sylvester, a three year veteran of the Steelers system that we released in August.
But, it shows that they're willing to make changes, and so you have to hope that those end up being for the better.
Besides, wet blanket alert - how could it get much worse?
Meanwhile, the team we're facing on Sunday - the Jets - seems to be on an opposite trajectory.
After engineering a game winning drive Monday night, everyone is tentatively annointing rookie Geno Smith a star, and through five games, the Jets D has allowed the second least yards per game in the NFL.
However, take a look at the three wins and the two losses, and you'll see that the wins have all come against teams currently suffering from losing records (the three have a combined record of 3-11).
So, how good are the Jets really?
Like last week, it doesn't matter.
The more appropriate question is, how good are the Steelers?
I'm sure if I asked you all now, the majority of you would say "garbage."
But hey, life in the NFL is unpredictable, and the Steelers have had two weeks to prepare for this game. So, here's to hoping they can somehow steal a win.
A defensive turnover or two couldn't hurt as well.
Now, if you're still with me, allow me to turn up the volume, and let's rock.
Just consider Geno Smith the government, and LaMarr Woodley and Jarvis Jones the GOP.
'Cause he's about to get SHUT THE F#@K DOWN.
Over/under on the number of times that joke has been made about something in the last two weeks is roughly equal to Mike Adams' weight.
Ok, so Geno Smith is being given the royal Joe Flacco treatment here after a "heroic" last minute, 4th Quarter, game winning drive at the end of the first game in his short career during which he didn't throw a pick (although this isn't the first time he's put them in a position to win in crunch time this year, and he also threw 3 TDs).
So, the Jets've got that goin' for them, which is nice.
But, about those turnovers.
In the previous four games, dude threw a total of EIGHT interceptions and fumbled three times, for a grand total of 11 turnovers, which going into this past week was tied for most in the league.
And he's a n00b.
And he's been sacked 18 times in five games.
So, listen, I said it last time - I have zero ability to predict how the Steelers will play this one, but I have to think you like this matchup if you're the Steelers defense.
Averaging just under 13 caries per game for 45 yards if you take out the only game in which he saw more than 20 carries (when he rode 27 touches to 149 yards and a spot on someone in your fantasy league's roster).
Sorry guys, I can't take this seriously anymore now that I've put that gif there.
I'm just gonna keep moving.
The star of possibly my favorite photojob of all time here, Stephen Hill, a bar of Irish Spring, an original copy of Bon Jovi's "Slippery When Wet," and a Rainbow Loom make up the Jets receiving corps.
Honestly, I did exactly zero research on either of these guys, so all I can tell you is that with Tone's injured feelings, Stephen Hill has led the Jets in terms of receptions and receiving yards, and Jeremy Kerley exists.
Sorry, I'm sure this isn't the first time I've disappointed you guys.
Jeff Cumberland and Kellen Winslow (UPDATE, 10/11, 4PM: Uh, nevermind. Apparently Kellen Winslow has been taking banned substances and is now subsequently suspended for the next four games).
Let it be noted that these two combined have more TDs than the entire Jets receiving corps.
Now, allow me to throw it over to Peezy...
Kellen Winslow is soff.
Left to right - D'Brickashaw Ferguson, Vladimir Ducasse, Nick Mangold, Willie Colon, and Austin Howard.
18 sacks allowed on the season, which is good enough for 2nd most allowed in the league, despite the fact that there are two Pro Bowlers in this unit.
Which just makes that photojob even more relevant, as it means they're shitty.
It's uncited on Wikipedia, you guys, it must be true.
Wilkerson, Harrison, Richardson - a trio of 'sons, if you will (equally fitting given that they're all under 25, with a collective three years of NFL experience between them).
The two bookend 'sons have combined for 6.5 sacks - 2011 1st round pick Muhammad Wilkerson with a team high FOUR (plus two forced fumbles), and 2013 1st round pick Sheldon Richardson (whose nickname is apparently "Boss Hog," which is amazing) with 2.5
Of very little consequence whatsoever, but everytime I hear Calvin Pace's name, all I can think of is Pace salsa. And when I hear Pace salsa, all I can think of is...
NEWWWW YORK CITY?!?!?!?
2013 1st round pick Dee Milliner (questionable) or Kyle Wilson, and Antonio Cromartie (questionable) or Woodland Hills' own Darrin Walls at the Corners, Antonio Allen/Jaiquawn Jarrett and Dawan Landry at the Safeties.
As a group, these guys are responsible for exactly half of the turnovers the Jets defense has forced.
So, there's that.
And the only other thing to talk about is, of course, Antonio Cromartie's kids, which I'm required to do anytime we play the Jets.
But at least Google's got him covered if he ever forgets any of his 10 kids' names in the future.
I can't believe this is real life.
Rex Ryan might be my 2nd favorite head coach behind Tomlin, even if he used to be the Ravens d coordinator.
Tim's Tea Party: Tim is studying for some cert or something this week, so he asked me to relay the following message to you guys:
1) Elsewhere in Jets franchises...
Teemu Selanne is my homeboy.
2) Good guidance if you happen to be traveling to my hood to see this one in person...
Also, never forget.
That Jets fans are dicks.
3) Tomlin is sick of your shit...
Yep, that oughta do it.
4) I have no words...
No, seriously, I'm speechless.
5) Ryan Clark is out of his damn mind...
But wait, that's not all...
Number one - I'd pay to see Ryan Clark take 60 minutes worth of snaps behind the Steelers O-line then make that statement, and number two - it's funny that ESPN didn't ask him anything about all the tackles he's missed this year.
Somebody stop this guy.
And the same should be said for me, so I'm gonna wind it down quickly here.
Ok, it's time to QFA, and do work, you guys.
Ground the Jets on 3...
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.
Welcome to this week's edition of the beast that is Meeting People Is Easy, you guys.
With the Steelers fully transplanted across the pond, it's up to this week's seven panelists to provide a little entertainment until tomorrow at 1 PM.
And I can tell you, that's one job they've all done very well - I definitely LOL'd multiple times whilst photojobbing this whole thing together.
So, allow me to introduce this week's lineup who provided said laughs.
1) Brett - budding media mogul, recent Oregonian, and old OFTOT friend. 2) Matt - this man needs no introduction, I believe his reputation precedes him. 3) Sean - aka Sean's Ramblings, the man who recently declared "Royals" by Lorde to be the "Song of the Fall." 4) K Dudders - or Katie, or just Dudders, or Scarehouse Sally, all acceptable. 5) Mike - proud owner of perhaps the finest grumble in the nation. 6) Sarah - she had me at buffalo chicken tortilla soup. 7) Josh - a fellow Corgi owner, and fantasy football brother in arms. 8) Me - I only woke up before Noon today so I could post this thing.
I sincerely hope you enjoy their musings as much as I did.
With that, go ahead and get your freak on.
As always, click to enlarge...
Thanks again to all seven of this week's personalities for coming through big time!
PS - if you ever want to participate in one of these things yourself, feel free to hit me on Twitter about it. I usually start recruiting between Tuesday and Thursday each week.
So, how psyched are you guys for the clash of the 0-3 titans taking place on another continent this weekend?
I don't know about you, but I'm feeling pretty good.
Everyone seems to be healthy all of a sudden, including Le'Veon Bell and Cortez Allen, and hey, if there's ever a game you want to not lose, it's probably the game in which either you or your opponent will come out the other side still winless.
I'm sure there are many budding Nostradamuses among you who might foresee the Steelers to be that team, but I'd rather imagine the opposite.
It's been pretty interesting for me this week to sit back and read what people have been saying and writing.
Suffice it to say that I've seen a lot of Ben bashing, one member of the Pittsburgh media apparently reverting back to 2007, singing that old yinzer refrain that he holds on to the ball too long.
I'm not really going to say much, except that he certainly deserves some blame for being a key part of an unbelievable turnover fest, but I wouldn't even come close to saying that he's the problem.
I'm sorry if this comes as news to you, but there aren't many QBs that would've passed for 400+ yards in that game, hitting AB for roughly 200 of them and two scores.
If there was a fanbase that feels our pain, it might be Vikings fans, among others.
Of course, I'm referring to the fact that the Vikings, like the Steelers, are currently 0-3.
However, a not insignificant point is that even in their three losing efforts, they've managed to score an average of 27 points, whereas the Steelers highest point total in three games was only 23 points.
Not to mention, their past two losses have been final minute heartbreakers to Chicago and Cleveland.
And that's with Christian Ponder/Matt Cassel at QB, but we'll get there.
That said, honestly, there are few games on the Steelers schedule that look easier on paper than Minnesota.
We're pretty much infinitely past the point where I can predict success with any degree of certainty here, but the Vikings D is 28th vs. the pass, and 21st vs. the run, and also - Matt Cassel - I cannot stress this enough.
But I'm the first person to say that when the rubber meets the road, "on paper" means exactly zero.
So, basically, I guess what I'm trying to say is...
Anyway, if I haven't inspired you enough already with my uplifting words, perhaps the rest of this beast can help.
So, let's just roll camera on this shit and get it over with.
[Editor's Note: So, I wrote this thing between Wednesday and Thursday this week, before Matt Cassel was declared the Vikings starter on Friday. Still, I don't really care to change anything, so read on with that in mind as context.]
That's literally the first thing that comes to mind when I hear the name Christian Ponder.
Like it should be the name of some kind of social network where all-in Christians go to discuss Bible verses or something.
But that's neither here nor there.
Three things concerning this guy:
1) More than twice as many picks as TDs this year, 2) There's a possibility he might not play, in which case we'll see the inimitable Matt Cassel, and 3) LOL @ Matt Cassel for being so useless that he's backing up Christian Ponder.
I believe that's one of Webster's Dictionary's recognized defintions of "Joke" as a matter of fact.
Which, of course means he'll probably throw for 600 yards and 10 TDs against us.
Adrian Peterson is an extra terrestrial from another planet where running fast is like breathing, and its inhabitants can take like 30 rushing attempts a game's worth of hits from giant humans and barely ever skip a beat.
LOL @ Big Play Willie Gay.
2nd in the league in carries, 1st in rushing TDs, responsible for the longest run in the NFL so far this season (78 yds), averaging 4+ yards per carry.
Whereas the Steelers running backs are averaging 4 yards total.
No, but seriously, Adrian Peterson alone has almost twice as many rushing yards as the Steelers on the season (281 vs. 155).
OMG, HOW MUCH FUN IS THIS, YOU GUYS?!?!?!
Greg Jennings, Jerome Simpson, a 2013 1st round pick, a half eaten ham sandwich, a jar of Adrian Peterson's ball sweat, and a thing of Clorox wipes make up the Vikings receiving corps.
Now, it might surprise you to learn that Jerome Simpson (and not Greg Jennings) is actually the Vikings leader in receptions and receiving yards.
Even more surprising are the numbers that go with those facts - 12 and 218 respectively.
Yo dawg, Imma let you finish, but Antonio Brown had 9 catches and almost 200 yards just last week.
KYLE RUDOLPH IS A USELESS FANTASY DRAFT PICK.
Relatedly, I'd just like to take this opportunity to thank Julius Thomas for being a friend.
Could've sworn KISS was from Detroit, which would also be Minnesota's division rival, but what do I know, I just write a blog.
Left to right - Matt Kalil, Charlie Johnson, John Sullivan, Brandon Fusco, and Phil Loadholt.
Matt Kalil is Minnesota's 1st round pick from 2012, who started all 16 games for the Vikings at Left Tackle last year and went to the Pro Bowl on a technicality, but Pro Bowl nevertheless.
I don't know about you guys, but I'm starting to get jealous of all the high draft picks that come in and play at a high level for other teams...
6'4", 305 pound Charlie Johnson apparently played TE until his senior year at OK State.
John Sullivan has apparently been the Vikings "most consistent lineman" over the last four years he's played in Minnesota, but all I can think of when I see his name is...
Brandon Fusco is from Seneca Valley, and the highest drafted player ever out of Slippery Rock.
And Big Phil Loadholt has been helping pave the way for Adrian Peterson, and protect the Vikings numerous shitty QBs for the last four years as a former 2nd round pick. He's also quite the spokesman...
Tackles get all the best endorsements.
As a unit, they've allowed 10 sacks through three games this season, which is exactly the same number as the Steelers O-line has allowed on Ben.
In otherwords, if Double J and The Wood come thirsty on Sunday, we might actually register more than one sack this week.
Brian Robison, Kevin Williams, Letroy Guion, and Rambo over here.
Which I'm going to take as a sign that I shouldn't waste my precious time.
LOL @ Robert Golden.
You guys didn't really care about the Vikings Secondary anyway.
Formerly of the Chicago Bears, #21 in the back row, Leslie Frazier.
Alright, take it away, Tim...
Tim's Tea Party: Well, five turnovers and two of those turnovers being returned for TDs will put you at 0-3. The Steelers set out to prove that if you can win the turnover battle you can win the game and they were right…again. That makes 9 turnovers for the offense this year. It also puts the Steelers at a minus 9 in the turnover battle. This can only mean one thing: THE STEELERS D HAS NOT CREATED ANY TURNOVERS THIS YEAR. Couple that with an offensive line that looked like this...
Which gave Ben little of this...
and you get this...
The worst part is this A-Hole...
is now 3-0 against the Steelers. This is the same same guy who married an MTV has-been whose only claim to fame is that she didn’t make her money off of getting knocked up at the age of 15.
Well done sir.
Fast forward to Sunday.
These adorable bastards...
have decided to feign interest in American Football once a year so they can get drunk at Wembley Stadium. I bet you they were thrilled when they found out two 0-3 teams that can’t seem to actually play the game of American Football were crossing the pond. I guess the bright side is that at least they will see one team put a tic mark in the win column (maybe).
As for the game itself, the Steelers are going up against the Minnesota Vikings. This is the team Huggy Bear...
was stolen from so he could lead the Steelers Post Bill Cowher. But this week I have faith. Why you ask? Good question. Because Christian Ponder is the QB the Steelers will be facing. I know the Vikings have the always dangerous Adrian Peterson in the background, but much like the Jackson Five or even N-Sync, he’s the only guy who has any actual talent. I mean Christian Ponder has thrown five picks and fumbled twice this year…A TURNOVER MACHINE. For the love of God, if the Steelers can’t get one turnover off of this guy then they should just do this from here on out...
And while we are speaking of QBs, it’s time for my wonderful advanced stat o’ the week: Total QBR. This stat is actually a nice little gauge on how well a team’s QB plays based on important info like down & distance, score, and the D said QB is playing against on a 0-100 scale (the closer to 100 the better). It is a much more comprehensive view than just QB Rating as the QB Rating doesn’t take into account anything more than paper stats during the game (TDs, Passing Yds, etc). Total QBR actually looks at contributions on each play. This year Ben is a lousy 31.8% which puts him 28th and it also puts Christian Ponder at 32.4 which ranks him 27th. I know that is somewhat stunning, but this year has been an anomaly for Ben because he has effectively been in the Top 10 each year up until this year. This also means that while Ben needs to stop turning over the ball, he certainly isn’t getting the contributions from other positions like he used to; so, close your eyes, point the finger, and blame whoever you want as there is plenty to go around. Christian Ponder, well let’s just say he broke the top 20…once. If the Steelers can’t get after this future star back-up and escape the land of tea and bad dental hygiene, I’m just going to start the mantra of playing for draft picks.
Anyway, as I know that I’m a little ray of sunshine for the OFTOT reading world, here is where my glimmer of hope comes in: Hope for the Future. Basically I’m going to select a college guy and tell you why he offers me hope for next year. First up: This guy...
Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina. This guy is a flat out monster coming off the end and would immediately solidify a DL that is rife with mediocrity named Hood & Heyward. Look, Hood & Heyward are busts. How often have you groaned on a third and long and realized these guys just aren’t good enough to put consistent pressure on the QB? The outside combo of Clowney and Sack Man would be practically unblockable. I know there is some bad press about him taking plays off and such, but let’s be honest - this guy has been a sure fire top three pick since last year and isn’t trying to go crazy on the field this year because he realizes he’s got millions coming his way. I can justify that easier than a guy who has constant run-ins with the law or a player labeled a project. This guy will be ready to start from the beginning. Here’s the downside: in order to get him the Steelers are really going to have to suck. Like suck worse than a team with Blaine Gabbert as its QB. It’s a tall order, I know, but it also means we will have to suffer like this...
for an entire season. I’m not sure I can handle that, but it is food for thought nonetheless.
Anyway, my time’s up.
Whoa, still with me?
Let's keep moving.
Domski's Dinosaur Corner: In honor of the Steelers playing in London this week, instead of the normal dinosaur and/or snack food, I asked Domski to pick a variety of tea to describe the Vikings. This is what I got...
So, I'm going to take it upon myself to select a variety of tea, and my choice is...
1) I'm not really allowed to make light of stuff like this anymore now that I'm engaged...
2) I bet this guy is the envy of all three of his imaginary friends...
I hope his Mom remembered to pick him up after the game.
PS - I mean zero offense to Star Wars fans. I am a Star Wars fan, myself. Just not one who's willing to wear a Halloween costume to a football game. I did, however, own an entire dictionary of Star Wars terms/characters at one point, and I have listened to the original radio dramas.
Hi guys, I'm a nerd.
3) Forever Alone...
So many Ravens fans would eBay the shit out of that car.
4) It'd be a lot more intimidating if you had actual eyebrows and a fu manchu...
The pom-poms and mardi gras beads are pretty terrifying, though.
5) Other Vikings that suck...
Alright, so hey, I've bored you enough.
Shake off the stink of last week, get your head space square, and listen to this shit in the dark on Sunday morning...
Predictions in the comments (yeah right).
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.