Category Archives: Playoffs
The Pittsburgh Steelers are one of the toughest NFL teams to figure out ahead of the 2016 season—in a good, potentially great, way.
Just after the 2015 campaign ended, had you asked if the Steelers would improve upon their 10-win performance and wild card berth the following year, the answer would have been a resounding yes. They would have Martavis Bryant, Antonio Brown and Le’veon Bell for an entire season. Ben Roethlisberger remains one of the most underrated great quarterbacks of all time. How could they not emerge as a dynamo on the back of perhaps the scariest offense in the NFL?
Well, a spanner or two (or three) has been thrown into those plans. Stud wide receiver Bryant is suspended for the entirety of the 2016 crusade after violating the league’s substance abuse policy. Bell, the Steelers’ star running back, is also facing a four-game suspension for skipping a drug test. Multiple reports have the Steelers confident that the suspension levied will be overturned, and that Bell will, in fact, be available for their Week 1 sparring.
Still, these types of hiccups are troubling. You want your best players on the field every week, and the Steelers won’t have that luxury with Bryant watching from home all year. And there’s a chance they’ll be debilitated even further for the first 25 percent of the season with regards to Bell. Those losses would cripple most teams.
But the Steelers aren’t most teams. Not by a long shot. Bell’s backup, Deangelo Williams, shined as the No. 1 running man through the first few weeks of last season. Brown, meanwhile, is the best wideout in football. Having Bryant on the field, as one of the most lethal deep-ball threats in the game, makes his job easier; not having him on the field, though, doesn’t make Brown’s job impossible.
Brown caught more than 70 percent of his passes while racking in 136 total receptions and more than 1,830 yards. The last player to reel in at least 69 percent of his passes while clearing the 1,800-yard plateau? That would be Jerry Rice, during the 1995 season, as a member of the San Francisco 49ers, according to pro-football-reference. That’s some serious company, and it suggests that Brown can carry an entire receiving corps on his own.
He has a better chance than most one-man shows anyway. The Steelers’ running game, whether they are using Bell or Williams, will open up plenty of opportunities in the air, while Big Ben has the ridiculously strong arm necessary to capitalize on Brown’s speed against double coverage. Wide Receiver Sammie Coates has also stepped up in training camp and could be speeding toward a subtly spectacular season. Any production of Bryant’s that he can make up will make life exponentially easier on Brown and the rest of the Steelers’ offense.
The defense, of course, will need to tighten up as well. It was hot and cold last season, and appeared to cool off as the year progressed. The Steelers, nevertheless, ranked 11th in points allowed per game.
If they can stay right around that area, they’ll be just fine.
Pittsburgh’s passing prevention will most likely need to improve for that to happen. While the Steelers ranked among the top six defenses in total interceptions, they finished 30th in passing yards allowed and 19th in passing touchdowns relinquished.
Their secondary would often get burned taking too many gambles, so they’ll have to see if rookie cornerbacks Artie Burns out of Miami (first round) and Sean Davis out of Maryland (second round) can make an immediate impact. Anytime defenses are even slightly dependent on newbies in the secondary, the potential for some sort of regression exists.
And yet, there’s a reason why Bovada gives the Steelers top-five Super Bowl odds (+1200), in addition to the second-best AFC Title chances (+550), behind only the New England Patriots (+275). Even a slightly below-average defense puts you in a great position if you’re carried by a dominant offense. And we know the Steelers will have that, even without Bryant and, potentially, Bell.
Besides, regardless of what Pittsburgh’s secondary looks like, it will be buoyed by a stingy run defense. The Steelers ranked in the top five of both rushing yards allowed per game and touchdowns let up on the ground last season, and they didn’t lose any personnel that would suggest they’re do for a decline.
It helps, too, that the AFC isn’t exactly overrunning with powerhouses. You have the Patriots, yes. But the No. 2 slot in the conference is far from determined. Any one of the Cincinnati Bengals (+800), Denver Broncos (+900), Indianapolis Colts (+1100) or Kansas City Chiefs (+1100) could end up being Super Bowl contenders or pretenders. The Steelers, on paper, are easily the best team of that bunch. They have the best quarterback, in Roethlisberger, and it isn’t even kind of close, and their backfield combination of Bell and Williams leads the pack by a similar margin.
In any other season, given the absence of Bryant and the uncertainty of Pittsburgh’s passing defense, it might be tough to envision the Steelers as Super Bowl contenders. They would be playoff-bound, sure. But there would, presumably, be another team or two to slot ahead of them. That’s just not the case this year. The Steelers are a good-to-great football squad that will be propped up even further by the AFC’s shallow juggernaut pool—and there is, by no means, any shame in that.
We like the Steelers to advance to the AFC Championship game against the New England Patriots, where they’ll likely fall just shy of their ultimate Super Bowl aspirations. Then again, if a few things go their way, we could see the Steelers play Green Bay in an all-anticipated Super Bowl Final
Looking back at the 2011 Super Bowl, the matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Green Bay Packers, there was one thing evident: The Steelers made way too many mistakes.
The matchup from a talent perspective was even but the Packers without a doubt, played the better game. The Steelers got outcoached on offense and defense and the Packers players executed better and made less mistakes.
There was no excuse for Ben Roethlisberger to force that pass which resulted in a pick six. But the absolute back breaker was Rashard Mendenhall fumbling on the 30 yard line when the Steelers had the momentum heading towards the go ahead score. Talk about stupidity, how did David Johnson completely whiff on Clay Matthews who caused the Mendenhall fumble. He’s horrible and shouldn’t even be using up a roster spot. Arians got rid of John Kuhn (FB for the Packers) because he doesn’t believe in a FB in favor of the worthless David Johnson.
And how about Keyaron Fox? The Steelers would have had 2 minutes to score on the 32 yard line but instead he got a personnal foul on the kickoff essentially pushing the Steelers back to the 17. A critical penalty at a critical time.
Dick Leabeau’s secondary looked confused and out of position. Take for example the game winning touchdown by Greg Jennings. Jennings was matched up against the aging James Farrior. How does that happen?
Shall we touch on the horrible lack of adjustments by Bruce Arians? The Packers lost their two pro bowl cornerbacks and the Steelers didn’t even attempt a no huddle offense to catch them out of position. Nice work Arians, no wonder everyone except Big Ben wants you fired.
All in all, you can’t be upset about the Packers winning. The Steelers beat themselves.
Today is the birthday of legendary Pittsburgh sportscaster / journalist Myron Cope. Myron Cope was the creator of the Pittsburgh Steelers Terrible Towel. Watch the below Myron Cope video being interviewed about the story of the Terrible Towel and it’s creation.
1.The Steelers came back last week after being down two touchdowns. What did they do differently in the second half that allowed them to come back against the Ravens?
Most people think the Ravens lost the game due to the 2 turnovers that resulted in 14 points and another that resulted in 3. However, those same people forget the Steelers basically gave the Ravens 14 points in the first half with turnovers deep in their own territory. This was the main difference between the 1st and 2nd half. The Steelers defense and offense alike were very opportunistic.
2. Ben Roethlisberger always seems to convert key 3rd down plays. What is it about him and their passing game that allows him to be successful in these key situations?
That’s a really difficult question. I think certain players just have a knack for making clutch plays and he’s one of those guys. I compare him to a Derek Jeter in this aspect. Jeter, like Big Ben, has historically made big plays in clutch moments.
For example, if I need a run to win the World Series and there is a runner in scoring position, Jeter is the guy I want at the plate regardless if he’s in a slump at the time. I can say the same thing for Big Ben.
3. Troy Polamalu has been hindered by Achilles and ankle injuries late in the season and does not appear to have his normal burst. Is that still the case and do you think he is healthy enough to make an impact in this game?
I think the Achilles and ankle injury is still bothering Troy Polamalu. He missed a few tackles last week and wasn’t a huge factor against the Ravens. With that being said, I always think Troy makes an impact on the game. He’s a guy that must be accounted for on every play regardless of if he’s 100% healthy. When offensive players get fixated on where Troy’s at, this opens up plays for Harrison, Timmons, Woodley and our other playmakers. In that instance, Troy isn’t actually making the play but he’s still having an impact.
4. There are some good match ups in this game. Which one would you rate as the most critical in determining the outcome of this game?
There are several great match-ups in this game. I see the following as the most critical:
1)Steelers offensive line vs. your defense line and linebackers
2)Steelers secondary vs. the Jets solid wide receiving corp
3)Steelers young receivers vs. Cromartie and Revis
4)Sanchez vs. Polamalu
5)Steelers outside linebackers vs Jets tackles
5. Break down this game for us. What does each team need to do to prevail?
I think turnovers and penalties are going to have a big effect on the outcome of this game. Ben Roethlisberger and Sanchez will need to protect that ball. Aside from that, the Jets could see a huge advantage in the special teams and offensive lines area. I’m very interested in seeing how the Steelers passing attack matches up to the Jets defense. Most people aren’t giving the Steelers WR’s any credit but they have 3 young, fast players in Mike Wallace, Emmanual Sanders, and Antonio Brown. Let’s not forget veteran WR Hines Ward and TE Heath Miller.
Former Pittsburgh Steelers head coach, Bill Cowher picks the New York Jets to upset the Steelers at Heinz Field on Sunday.
Cowher, although still pro-Steelers has had a history of predicting the Steelers to lose in big games.
Cowher could be doing this for a variety of reasons such as:
1. He doesn’t want Mike Tomlin, his successor to win 2 Super Bowls in 4 years when he only won one Super Bowl in 15 years
2. He’s trying to add a little extra motivation to his former team since they typically play better as underdogs compared to favorities.
3. He’s trying to add a bit more spice to the game since he currently anchors for CBS.
4. He’s trying to “get in good” with the New Yorkers and their media since Cowher has publicly admitted his desire to coach the New York Giants.
This is all speculation but regardless, it makes you wonder…
The AFC Championship Game is set for 6:30 est time, Sunday, January 23rd in Pittsburgh.
1. Interview with Dutch Wydo of PostGameHeroes.com
2. Defensive Game Keys
3. Why the Steelers must stop the Jets running Game?
4. Why Lebeau must attack Mark Sanchez?
5. Dutch Wydo’s Prediction
6. Lance Williams Prediction
STEEL CURTAIN RADIO #4: MAX STARKS INTERVIEW
Check out the 1 on 1 Interview with Max Starks
1. Max Starks talks About Free Agency and his Long Term Plans
2. Max talks about what makes Big Ben so Special?
3. Max gives his thought son Albert Haynesworthss Deal
4. Max speaks on the media’s focus on contracts?
5. Max gives his thoughts on Demarcus Ware
6. Max gives his thoughts on the differences between Tomlin and Cowher
Interview Provided by: whatchatalkinbout.com
Watch Santonio Holmes at Walt Disney’s Magic Kingdon Super Bowl XLIII Victory Parade.