"Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain't all sunshine and rainbows. It's a very mean, and nasty place and no matter how tough you think you are, it'll always beat you if you let it. It ain't about how hard you hit, it's about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward, how much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done! If you know what you're worth, then go out and get what you're worth. But you gotta be willing to take the hits..."
- Rocky Balboa
Usually I would start this thing out with some cursory and lighthearted description of the Steelers opposition.
After all, when you're previewing an opponent, textbook work is to actually describe the team against which you're playing.
But I want to say something about the Steelers first.
In just six games, it already seems like we've been on quite a rollercoaster with this team.
Dropping four straight games - including one that hopefully represented rock bottom, losing to Matt Cassel and the Vikings, who at this point don't even seem to be able to buy another win - is never the way you want to see your team start.
But over the last two weeks, we've seen them begin to claw their way back to life.
And this, my friends, is what winners do.
They fight, and they survive.
In football (and in life), it's a game of wills, and he who wants it more, usually gets it.
I was watching this short "documentary" on Kirby Wilson's infamous 2011 housefire this morning (which you should definitely watch if you have eight minutes), and a thought that I've put forward here on OFTOT before struck me again.
The man's flesh was literally melting off of his body when he miraculously escaped from his burning home, and they had him in a medically induced coma at the hospital.
But he fought, and he survived.
Chances are you've seen or experienced this with someone in your own life.
Stories of people fighting and overcoming their circumstances are all around us.
The human spirit is a powerful force.
They fight, and they survive.
So, forget stats, the question will always be - did the Steelers do everything they could to try and win?
The chips may be stacked against them.
Maybe only a few people have faith in their ability to overcome their adversity.
Things may be bleaker than they've seemingly ever been.
But none of that matters to a fighter.
In fact, if anything, fighters thrive in those conditions.
And so, maybe dropping four straight games to start the season won't have ultimately been a bad thing for this team.
Or maybe I'm overstating something that's truly insignificant.
Who really knows.
But I do know that if the Steelers really are going to try and turn their season around, we'll see it again on Sunday.
Winning a fight isn't just about hitting the other guy as much as you can.
It's equally, if not more so, about taking hits yourself and coming back for more until there's only one man left standing.
If the Steelers log a performance similar to the last two weeks against the Raiders on Sunday, I'll really start to believe they're for real this year.
That despite everything - all the injuries and early shortcomings, some of which continue to endure - they're not giving up.
I'm not saying I'll believe they're immediate Super Bowl contenders or anything, but I will believe that they have a chance to fulfill the potential (whatever that may be) that I've felt was there from the beginning.
The Raiders may not even be close to the best team the Steelers will face this season, but every team in the NFL has enough talent to win any game they play.
And there is no such thing as an insignificant win.
So, here's to hoping those things we've seen over the past couple of weeks were signs that the Steelers are gonna hang in this fight, and not just the few bright moments before things ultimately fade to black for good.
Now, who's ready to lighten things up and talk about the Raiders for a few minutes?
I figured as much.
Game on, you guys.
Not even gonna front like as a Penn State fan I didn't want Terrelle Pryor in State College back in the day.
Dude is 6'4, 233 pounds, and at least at one time ran a sub 4.4 40.
This season, he even has more yards on the ground than his teammate Darren McFadden.
But he's also coming off of a game against the Chiefs in which he was sacked literally NINE times...
And, in which he threw three picks.
So, I guess what I'm trying to say is that he's human.
And yes, I'm a Penn State fan.
Run DMC is another player I drafted in fantasy this year, much to Tecmo's chagrin.
But my vision for him seems to have exceeded his reality, as evidenced by the fact above - that Terrelle Pryor has more rush yards so far this season than he does (on less carries, I might add).
Still, when a guy has as much talent as Darren McFadden, every play is a threat, and we learned that full well when we played the Raiders last season.
Luckily, you can't run from the long arm of The Law...
Darren McFadden is on notice.
Denarius Moore, a Swiffer Wet Jet, a Crocodile Mile, Al Davis's ghost, and a case of "Oriental" flavor ramen make up the Raiders "receiving corps."
By the way, how do the Ramen people get away with calling that shit "oriental" flavor?
You call someone on the street "oriental" and see what happens.
Pretty sure the only other thing you're still legally allowed to refer to as "oriental" is something that lays on the floor and you walk all over.
Anyway, the Raiders #2 receiver's name is Rod Streater.
If the Steelers give up more than 250 yards through the air, fire everyone.
End of conversation.
Only in Oakland.
Ok, true story here...
Writing about the Raiders sucks big time ass.
Must be tough to date when you spend your whole paycheck on body paint.
Anyway, left to right = Khalif Barnes, Lucas Nix, Stefen Wisniewski, Mike Brisel, and Tony Pashos.
Amazing that not even two former Jaguars Tackles ending up on the same line together years later has prevented this unit from surrendering 28 sacks on the season, including the aforementioned nine in one game against the Chiefs.
Which is basically pass protection level - Steelers.
If the Steelers don't increase their sack total for the season by 50% in this game, I give up.
Jason Hunter, Pat Sims, Vance Walker, Lamarr Houston.
Responsible for a combined six out of the Raiders' 16 total sacks so far this season.
Which is almost as many sacks as the entire Steelers defense has.
And king of solo tackles for the Raiders with 37, as well as owner of two forced fumbles.
I listened to that song so much freshman year of college.
Real embarrassing time for me.
See what I mean.
Anyway, Raiders team leader in tackles with 45 to go along with one sack and one forced fumble.
Is the Raiders' 2013 3rd round pick, and has just six total tackles in six games, as well as one sack.
I can tell this is all highly meaningful to you guys.
Tracy Porter and Mike Jenkins at the corners, Brandian Ross and Chuck Woodson at the safeties.
Let me throw a couple of stats at you here.
I'll start with the one that makes me most nervous.
Ben's buddy Tracy Porter over here has six passes defended on the season and yet zero INTs.
Also third on the team in tackles, and has blocked a kick.
Chuck Woody over here is fourth on the team in tackles, has one of the Raiders' three INTs, has forced a fumble, and recovered two, one of which he ran back for six as you can see.
By the way, in case you forgot, this dude is 37 years old.
As in, three years away from 40.
I don't keep a tally of every player still in the league that wasn't drafted in this century, but he's gotta be one of maybe a handful, and he's still an impact player.
Started out hustlin', ended up ballin'.
This is Dennis Allen's second season as Radiers head coach and I still have zero clue who he is.
So, here's a fire safety flowchart...
Now, take it away, Timothy.
Tim's Tea Party: Well folks, surprising at it may be, the Steelers put together two wins back-to-back.
And you know what this means? That’s right, two straight weeks of the Steelers not turning over the ball. I’m no genius, but I would assume there is an inverse correlation of offensive turnovers to wins. And best of all, this fella...
was able to complain about life in general after the loss. It’s what he’s best at.
Let’s now fast forward to this Sunday.
Why so serious about this week? It’s quite simple. Even though the Raiders have sucked for a better part of a decade, they are still 3-1 in the last four games against the Steelers. Last year is especially traumatizing as the Steelers were up 31-21 in the fourth quarter only to fold like a cheap suit. The Raiders gashed the Steelers for 119 yards on the ground in the game. And this leads me to this week’s stat: Adjusted Line Yards for the Defensive Line. This stat shows how effective the D-line is against the run. Unfortunately, the Steelers are 17th in this particular stat this year giving up 3.85 yards per attempt. The Raiders give up 4.04 yards per attempt making them 24th. My guess is you will see a ton of Le’Veon Bell and Darren McFadden this weekend. I mean, with this type of info, wouldn’t you run the ball as much as possible? So basically the Steelers need to be more of this...
Finally, I’d like to discuss something of relevance that occurred this week. According to a recent survey, Ben Roethlisberger is the fourth most disliked player in the NFL. He’s ranked behind a dog killer, a man who enjoys dating invisible women, and another fella who can’t seem to hold off on taking cheap shots whenever possible. What a wonderful list to be on. Must’ve been one helluva party celebrating the fact that people think you are a glorified...
I guess it could be worse…he could always be The King...
because nothing is more insidious in this life than a guy who does a TV show and donates the proceeds to charity. These guys are all just one step away from being a James Bond villain.
Well, that’s it for me.
Let’s hope the Steelers make Lou Brown proud...
Record number of gifs for Tim this week.
The kid is really coming into his own, don't you think?
Now, let's bring it on home.
1) Bill Burr sums up how I see many members of the media (6:31 to like 7:10)...
Feel free to watch the whole thing - it's worth it.
2) Todd Haley spotting...
And you thought he bought himself a reprieve with last week's playcalling.
3) Remember this...
Totally get it, but holy shit do I want to be able to bring this back up in about nine weeks.
PS - thanks, Alaska.
4) Step your game up...
Try that one out at the bar tonight and let me know how it goes.
5) The Raiders have forced seven fumbles in six games...
Take care of the ball on Sunday, Benny.
So, 4:05 PM kickoff, you guys.
Steelers Jesus one more time for good luck.
Black and gold > black and silver.
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.
Was that a change in trajectory we just witnessed?
Probably way too soon to make any such declaration, but it seemed like so many things that had been headed off the rails were finally back under control on Sunday.
For example, the playcalling wasn't predictable, or maddening.
I think I may have seen a couple of screen passes in there, and a draw on 3rd and long, but I might define my impression of the Steelers' playcalling by their only touchdown play of the game on a shovel pass to Heath Miller.
Or the fact that they used a Tackle as a Tight End for that matter.
Either way, whatever happened behind closed doors last week obviously went well beyond categorically banning all recreational games.
And how awesome was it to see this all come together against a Ravens team that looked just as stunned as we all were?
Pretty sure there's no other opponent in the league against which this would've been more satisfying to watch unfold.
Oh, and if you wanted more than 19 points out of that game...
The Steelers could've played the game of their lives and chances are things still would've ended on a 42 yard Shaun Suisham field goal (or the same from Justin Tucker).
Would you have expected anything less than a battle of guts and will that comes down to one man or the other in crunch time?
I wouldn't have.
And so we got another epic matchup, our second notch in the win column, and a Browns loss, meaning we're slowly climbing our way out of the basement here. And most importantly, we may have learned that the Steelers seem to be willing to think outside the box, and do some unexpected things in order to go HAM for at least the next 10 weeks.
I can only hope that this trend, and their level of play continues, but in the absence of any certainty on that point, let's just get into the "Things That Were Awesome," "Things That Were NOT Awesome," and "Things That Made You Want To Plunge Your Hand Into Hot Wax."
Down the rabbit hole we go!
Things That Were Awesome:
1) Le'Veon Bell.
The most individual yards on the ground vs. the Ravens in four years (since Mendy had 95 back in November of '09), and almost a five yards per carry average on 19 carries (it took Mendy 24 carries to get 95).
Plus, wildcat QB.
The force is strong with this one, you guys.
2) The O-Line.
I'll tell you who's laughing now - Kelvin Beachum, David DeCastro, Fernando Velasco, Ramon Foster and Guy Whimper.
That is legit, the Steelers offensive line right now.
And thankfully so.
Still no clue how Kelvin Beachum was able to keep Terrell Suggs from having unlimited sacks.
4/4 for the second straight week, including that beautiful 42 yarder for the win.
And a solid 1/1 in post-walkoff field goal troll faces.
U mad bro?
4) Big Play Willie Gay and Larry Timmons.
Joe Flacco thought he was gonna sneak one by us when all of a sudden here comes Bill Gay, and...
First of all, had Bill Gay not knocked that pass out of the clutches of Tandon Doss, he still would've had an excellent game.
And for a perennial whipping boy, I gotta say, I'm awfully glad we have him to play Robert Plant to Ike Taylor's Jimmy Page right now.
As for The Law over here...
17 tackles in one game, holy shit.
Project that out to 16 games and that'd be 272 tackles.
Ray Rice over the middle, met by Lawrence Timmons.
Flacco to Dallas Clark from the goal line, Lawrence Timmons on the coverage.
Bernard Pierce runs right...into Lawrence Timmons!
Ravens are on notice - November 28 in Baltimore, dude's coming back for your souls.
5) Special Teams.
Dude, multiple kick returns of 40+ yards, one of which almost went all the way, and one of which saw 5'10", 215 pounds of Felix Jones truck stick/drag like 10 guys another seven or eight yards after being touched.
Not to mention Shamarknado coming through again with some great tackles.
Watching Special Teams hasn't been this fun since the days of Chidi Iwuoma and Clint Kriewaldt.
Oh, and that onside kick recovery... Things That Were NOT Awesome:
1) Cute onside kick attempt.
See how I flowed right into this?
Huge credit to Stevenson Sylvester, and ultimately Vince Williams for recognizing a douchebag move when they saw one.
John Harbaugh is the ultimate troll.
2) Manny's fancy feet.
Close enough for Rock 'n' Roll, but not for a runback TD.
PS - how quickly did you go from cursing Manny Sanders for taking the ball out of the end zone to screaming GO, GO, GO, GO, GO, GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA TOUCHDOWN SUCK IT BALTIMORE!
3) Ol' Joe's a slippery one.
Flacco may not have ultimately gotten any Wood on this play, but I sure did.
I was bracing for LaMarr Woodley to absolutely end Joe Flacco's life, but unfortunately it wasn't meant to be.
Oh well, something to look forward to next time.
4) Cool Delay of Game penalty, bro.
Only an elite field general like Flacco could incur a delay of game penalty coming out of a timeout.
This one was NOT awesome for Ravens fans.
5) Pussy Cat's division right now.
Go Jets, I guess. Things That Made You Want to Plunge Your Fist Into Hot Wax:
1) Heath Miller fumble.
Heath Miller fumbles about as often as Ray Lewis is coherent, though, so don't get too much sand in your vagina over it.
2) Jets-Pats going into OT.
OF COURSE YOU GUYS WOULD GO INTO OVERTIME RIGHT BEFORE THE STEELERS-RAVENS GAME WHEN YOU'RE THE EARLY CBS GAME IN A NEW YORK MARKET.
Strong suspicion that Rex Ryan is just trolling us for last week.
3) Troy missing on the snap count.
But only because you would have rather seen him actually anticipate the snap correctly and block the game-tying extra point.
Would've been on par with Troy's other notorious dagger.
Not to distract you guys when there's a storm coming to Heinz Field tomorrow or anything, but tradition is tradition, and you wouldn't want me to invite any kind of jinx now, would you?
I thought not.
So, allow me to introduce you to this week's distinguished MPIE panel...
1) Phil - bold prognosticator, and savvy charm hunter. 2) Keith - never forget Gabe Rivera. 3) Doug - because somebody had to make the Live reference. 4) Don - intimately familiar with the nest of our enemies. 5) Mike - your anger is a gift. 6) Sean- soon(ish) to be two-time Dad. 7) Monica - more than panelist, social commentator. 8) Josh - hot or not? 9) Me - trying hard just to keep up.
And I probably say this every week, but if you're ever interested in participating, just drop me a line at onefortheotherthumb at gmail dot com or tweet at me, bro.
Now, onto the show!
As always, click to enlarge...
My sincerest thanks to this week's panel.
You guys never cease to entertain me.
Now, all that's left is Baltimore at 4:25 PM tomorrow.
Plenty of time to hit the preview if you haven't already.
And start listening to the angriest music you can find.
Or the Gameday Pump Up playlist.
Whatever makes you feel like you could run through a brick wall.
Until we meet again, I'll see you guys on the internet.
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.
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.