[Just so we're clear, I didn't make this image - I found it on the internet.]
Regardless, I felt it appropriate, given that going into this season, the Bangles were, and still are, a popular pick to win the AFC North and perhaps go even further.
And taking off my asshole hat for a second, it's not without good reason.
We'll get to it later on in the preview, but when you look at the Bengals defense, it's a stacked deck.
On offense, you could argue that they're still a piece or two away, but honestly, as long as Andy Dalton can move his arm far enough forward to put a ball anywhere near AJ Green, I'm not sure what more they need.
In short, these are not your older brother's Bengals.
These guys have been to the playoffs the last two seasons, granted as a wild card, but January football nevertheless.
I mean, eight different guys on that defense came up with picks last season.
The Steelers barely had eight picks total.
Of course, I'm exagerating slightly, but you get it.
The point remains - we can laugh at the Bengals all we want, and believe me, I'm certainly going to try, but if we play anywhere in the ballpark of how abysmally we played last week this Monday night, it's going to be uglier than a Thanksgiving at the Harbaughs.
Anyway, being that last week was a total wash in the AFC North, we've been gifted an opportunity to redeem ourselves, and shut the mouths of everyone who has declared the Black and Gold dead in the water in only the second full week of September.
With the Browns playing the Ravens on Sunday, come Tuesday two of us in the AFC North will be 1-1, and two of us will be 0-2.
Here's to hoping Benjamin and friends come out on the brightside of that scenario.
And now that we've gotten the semi-serious crap out of the way, let's cut to the fun part.
[Disclaimer: using this song is meant to be an over exaggeration of my reaction to one game out of 16 that will be played this season. In no way do I mean this to say that I think the rest of the season is going to be as painful as a q-tip being jammed into my urethra. Yes, that's a possibility, but what follows is basically me releasing all of the negative in the hopes that this is the last atomic bomb of a performance we see this season. Now, I hope you enjoy.]
Ok, where do we begin.
Normally, I probably wouldn't even bother to recap this game properly.
I probalby would just leave it to this gif...
and Jay-Z's "On to the Next One", and go back to eating my feelings.
But fortunately or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it, I'm gonna try.
B-T-dubs - Pro tip: if you haven't destroyed wings in a while like you bleed hot sauce, don't go HAM on them the first time you do, unless you have ample pepto available. Rookie mistake that I made yesterday.
Anyway, things started out promising...that gift safety was a perfect ray of hope after a preseason that did little to inspire one of the NFL's largest and most vociferous fanbases. And the resulting drive on the free kick looked like sure points.
And shortly thereafter...
And just like that went the points and most of the positive things that would happen in the game.
For the next 54 minutes or so of game time, shit got pretty real.
Ben got sacked five times, and we're lucky it wasn't 105.
Redman, not content with just one fumble, decided to continue the 2012 trend, putting the ball on the ground a second time.
And FIVE guys got injured at one point or another.
And I'm only toplining it.
I don't have the heart to go any deeper.
So, needless to say, I'm not going to spend much more time than I have to reliving it.
All I'll say in summation, before getting to the "Things That Were Awesome," "Things That Were NOT Awesome," and "Things That Made Me Want To Blow Up Heinz Field Like Bane" is this - the offensive line is a massive liability unless it improves (and to some degree, how could it not?). Make no mistake, this was an all out team effort to suck, and there were many things wrong yesterday, but for me, the biggest was the lack of protection. Maybe if we called logical running plays, instead of the ol' draw play on 2nd and a God damned half the field, that could have helped alleviate the pressure on Ben. But the fact remains, these guys should be able to at least serviceably protect their QB regardless. Mike Adams is a turnstile.
Now, I'm going to try not to be too much of a reactionary, because it's only week 1.
1) The only points we got were off of the world's worst screw up on the opening kickoff and a garbage time TD. 2) Zero protection, resulting in five sacks and Big Ben having literally 0.5 seconds to make a play. 3) Isaac Redman's final statline = 8 carries, 9 yards, 2 fumbles. 4) The Titans were last in the league last year in time of possession, yet won this matchup 34 minutes to 26, and... 5) Maurkice Pouncey and Larry Foote are both now out for the year. [UPDATE - And LaRod Stephens-Howling makes three]
The best thing that happened may have been this gif that Christmas Ape made after Woodley's sack.
As a matter of fact, that kick is probably a great metaphor for the entire game.
At least the entire division lost this week, and next week is a Monday Night division game against the James Harrison-led Bengals.
You gotta at least try and get up for that game, right?
Anyway, I'll attempt to fully recap this epic disaster by Tuesday.
It might take me that long to stop involuntarily vomiting.
Feel free to deposit any thoughts you might have in the comments.
Swearing is encouraged.
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.
The first Meeting People Is Easy of the 2013 regular season.
We had a pretty good camp - shook off some of the rust, cracked our knuckles and pounded the keys mellifluously.
So, let's keep that momentum going, and roll into the season with a bang.
This week's MPIE panel is as esteemed as any, and I'm pretty psyched to have a good mix of new and old OFTOT friends on it.
Not to belabor it any further, I give you this week's starting lineup...
1) Mike - one of my oldest Steeler blogger friends, and all around good guy. 2) Eric - a fellow monty python nerd, and longtime member of the OFTOT "community". 3) Doug - evil mastermind, and another long tenured OFTOT friend. 4) Josh - my go-to source for all things happening in the general DC vicinity. 5) Kevin - let's hope reading this doesn't get him fired... 6) Justin - he told me to go carrot top with his avatar, so I went roided up, scary carrot top. you're all welcome. 7) Mike - master photographer, with a hand for designing custom OFTOT banners...just you wait. 8) Silky Johnson - the only reason I keep letting him participate is because he's been one of my best friends for the last 10+ years...you know, whatever. 9) Me - the long lost fifth ninja turtle.
Read their words, follow them on Twitter, high five them with gifs.
Let's do this.
As always, click to enlarge...
And there you have it.
I hope you enjoyed, and if any of you who didn't participate this week ever want to, my inbox is just an email away -
Welcome, my friends, to the first official page, of the first chapter, of what will be the book of the 2013 Steelers.
New season, new rules, new opportunities.
As you'll notice if you've glanced at a calendar lately (provided you can find one that isn't on your phone), it's September, which means two things:
1) The start of Pumpkin Spice flavored edible underwear season, and 2) Steelers football
Now, clearly the Steelers wanted to make a real bang this year, and in order to do so, they figured they had to go winless in the preseason, just so all the overpaid assbags can feel confident picking the Bengals to win the AFC North.
[ok, maybe this is overkill, but you get the idea]
By the way, just in the last 10 years, we've pretty much seen this 1000 times. It's somehow always the Bengals year to someone.
Is there a legitimate possibility that the Steelers will go 6-10 or worse?
Sure, but is that possibility any greater than any other year?
And it's up to the 53 guys who the Steelers blessed with a hat this year to go out and make sure of that.
Of course, there are plenty of avoidable/correctable things that actually happened in August, which continue to be less than encouraging.
But as David Foster Wallace posited in a speech I'm sure he had no clue would someday end up on YouTube set to some random ass shit...
You can choose how you want to look at things.
And in this case, you can choose to look at things positively or negatively.
Now, I don't know about you guys, but me? Imma keep it positive, because it's a lot more fun to think about what awesome things could happen than to think about the opposite.
But remind me in November that I said that, and hopefully I'll still agree.
PS - best part of that link is that somehow Ike Taylor uttered the following in reference to the Steelers' potential success this year - "If you want nachos, man, we got nachos in the cafeteria. If you’re looking for fish or barbeque, we got that in the cafeteria. We got everything going on."
So, if you want nachos, fish or barbeque from now on, don't ask me where they are, because you've been told.
Anyway, if there's one thing I've said about sports in general, football specifically, and Steelers football even more specifically, it's that there are no certainties.
Being good in August, or good on paper, is probably nice when you go to Pinkberry with your friends, but in terms of winning a championship, let's just say they're not handing them out like handcuffs at an Eagles game.
So, at least until Sunday, let's assume that what will happen this season will exceed all of the expectations we currently don't have, and let's move on with this preview.
But before I start flapping my jaws digitally about the Titans, let's just talk about Jarvis Jones for a second.
It's unbelievable that something that could soon seem so retroactively insignificant as running a somewhat slower 40 yard dash allowed him to fall to the Steelers in this year's draft.
If that doesn't say it all about the big business of athletics, I don't know what does.
Nevermind the fact that he was an absolute monster actually playing the game he was trying to get drafted to play professionally. Shit, he was THREE TENTHS OF A SECOND slower than 4.6, so "don't draft him in the top 20." Flawless logic.
[caption = actual picture of what it will look like when I win this fantasy league]
Whoa, it's not even officially the first week of the regular season and I'm posting on a weekend.
I'm living life on the edge, you guys.
Anyway, I'm sure all of three of the usual 12 people that read this blog will read this, since it's the most bittersweet holiday weekend of the entire calendar year (and hopefully you're all lamenting summer's unofficial end appropriately, soaking in sun and adult beverages in equal proportions).
So, I'm going to be all business as I introduce you to this week's esteemed MPIE panel.
I've been playing fantasy in the Steelers Bloggers Thunderdome league for many moons now. Since 2008, to be exact.
In that time, I've had many fantasy ups and downs, but it's been a great pleasure to do so with the fine group of keyboard jockeys I'm about to introduce you to.
Indeed, this week's panel of expert commentators are my fantasy football brethren, so allow me to call role, here...
1) Bry - Daring to be different, Bry has chosen the dreaded death by dual kicker approach this season. 2) Sarah - In the 6 years she's been Commish, I think she's had Ben for at least half of them, including this one. 3) Adam - I think Adam may be the only one of us who drafted a Brown this season, and I guess he liked the feeling, because he drafted two. 4) Pat - Pat has the uncanny ability to always have a good draft, even if he's picking 8th. 5) Keith - Keith is my first opponent, and if the Falcons score throwing, there's a 90% chance he's getting points. 6) Josh - Josh's team name this season - Keisel's Kegels - is the stuff of nightmares. 7) Cory - Reigning champion by virtue of beating me in last year's Super Bowl. 8) Tecmo - Ready to ride Deangelo Williams to victory. 9) Me - As with every year, I'm bracing for the most miserable perfromance of my fantasy career.
I hope you all enjoy their genius as much as I regularly do.
"It felt like we dominated in the first half but it was still 10-10." - Ryan Clark
What Ryan Clark is describing there is typically exactly how it feels when despite an otherwise solid performance, you've also shot yourself in the foot several times.
The 1st quarter saw the Steelers hold the Chiefs on three drives, the last two of which were a 9-yard drive that led to a clutch 4th down stop and in turn, 7 points for the Steelers offense, and a three-and-out, 3-yard drive.
The 2nd quarter saw Alex Smith (field general) go 60 yards in just one minute (aided by a cute 15-yard penalty on Troy) to tie the game 10-10 at the half, among other examples of the Chiefs "good fortune."
As Steeler fans, this has been an all too common occurence to witness over the last few seasons, albeit usually in real football games, and not preseason. And to some degree, every game is a series of ups and downs that you just have to endure while doing enough to come out on top. But while, yeah, it's still a meaningless game, it's a meaningless game in which they still frankly looked a little undisciplined.
I mean, I'm not going to waste an entire post picking out every little thing that could have gone better (for many reasons, not the least of which is that I didn't bother to watch the 2nd half). That, of course, would be a useless exercise, because a) I run an insignificant Steelers blog thats greatest contribution is probably photoshopping players heads on other peoples' bodies, and b) that's just generally not good form. However, after what was the most meaningful 60 (er, 30?) minutes of football we've seen in a solid eight months, I'm not going to pretend there weren't some annoying moments that had this been a real game, might've culminated in me shelling out muchos benjamins in order to replace the tv I just threw my beer through.
Let's be clear - neither you nor I are out there sweating blood every week in service of the black and gold, so you know, gotta excuse things somewhat. But, this isn't even necessarily about football. If I was at work, writing an otherwise sick-ass presentation, but one in which I forgot to include some key slides/points, or accidentally misspelled "luck" starting with the letter that falls between "e" and "g" in the alphabet, that wouldn't be considered a success, and I'd get shit for it.
Same general idea here.
So, pretty much what I'm getting at here is more of the same thing I've been saying for the last few weeks - forgive, but don't forget. A season full of games like that isn't an exciting prospect, unless you find unreal levels of rage and the threat of a possible coronary a God damned party or something. But at this point, the possibilities for this regular season are somewhat wide open. Remember, the AFC looked kind of like a pee wee league last season, so who knows?
Anyway, let's just get this out of the way now - OVERTIME!??!?!
Overtime. In preseason. Can they do that?
Like you, I can pretty much say that when I opened Twitter later Saturday night to see how things shook out, the last thing I expected to see was that the game was going into OT.
Some people have questioned why Reid would go for it on 4th and 1 at his own 21 yard line down by 3 in the 1st quarter, but not on 4th and 2 from the Steelers 31 with only about half the 4th quarter left on the clock, and down by 3.
Needless to say, I doubt we need to revisit the hot mess that is Andy Reid's game management record.
However, OFTOT has obtained inside information from anonymous sources that explains why ol' Andy chose not to go for it.
Turns out he was too busy trying to decide whether to get the Primanti's capicola and cheese with double meat or a Peppi's Roethlisburger after the game.
Hack joke on my part, I know.
Anyway, let's talk about some good stuff.
1) Jarvis Jones is a beast.
I wish someone had YouTubed the pain he brought on that guy on the Chiefs' second kick return.
Stone cold stunner.
Instead, I had to use that nightmare-inducing image of him needing help to be peeled off the turf (thank God by all accounts he's ok).