Monthly Archives: September 2017

Ravens Week—Let the Mayhem Begin

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I’m always very conflicted about Steelers-Ravens. Part of me looks forward to what often proves to be a true test of a given Steelers club. This is irrespective of whether the current iteration of the Ravens is a good team or a bad one. (See the embarrassment in Baltimore to a bad team quarterbacked by Ryan Mallett.)

But, as several people just on this site have noted, it’s pretty difficult at this point in the season to make any sort of determination as to what sort of team the Steelers are this year. (Or, I suppose, the Ravens, although they’ve been faintly more consistent.) We are all still trying to get a handle on what’s going on, just here in Pittsburgh.

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The Results are In: A Ridiculously In-Depth Analysis of the Mike Tomlin Era

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This post was not only inspired but requested by Steeler Fever after I published the following in a post last week:

  • Mike Tomlin overall regular season record prior to 2017: 103 – 57
  • Record against opponents who made the playoffs: 27 – 29
  • Record against non-playoff-achieving opponents: 77 – 27
  • Record against teams with a winning record: 46 – 36
  • Record against teams with a losing record: 57 – 21
  • Record against teams who finished with a better record that the Steelers: 17 – 18
  • Record against teams who finished with the same record as the Steelers: 9 – 11
  • Record against teams who finished with a worse record than the Steelers: 78 – 27
  • Record against teams who finished with a 4-12 or worse record: 24 – 6*

Fever asked me to make it a separate post so he could use it to vanquish the nay-sayers, or words to that effect. So I agreed to do so, but with considerable amplification, since I had put the above together rather hastily, and since other ways of looking at the data had occurred to me.

I entered everything into a spread sheet, which I should have done in the first place, made a separate category for 8-8 teams, which I also should have done in the first place, looked at the numbers from various different angles, and saw some really interesting stuff, at least if you like numbers. So here goes: Read more

Ivan’s Second (Third?) Thoughts on Week 3


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By Ivan Cole

I really didn’t want to say anything about this week because my thoughts were complex, veered into larger issues and might have stepped on some toes (and besides I was busy with other things on Monday). But now believe I can stimulate some thinking that isn’t just playing into the negativity that has been inevitable with the confluence of political controversy, married to laying an egg competitively.

About the game

I resist taking the easy route and suggest strangling the offensive coordinator. I would ask a larger and more intriguing question: after week three is anyone certain who is good and who isn’t in the NFL?

I have been talking about September football. Robert Klemko of tackled how the CBA has contributed not only to the inconsistent, and just plain bad football we are subjected to early in the season, but how it has negatively influenced personnel practices that adversely effects the mid-career prospects of all but a handful of superstar level talents in the league in favor of emphasizing young, cheap, inexperienced players.

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Homer J. On the NFL Protests

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As promised, here are Homer’s remarks on the protests, which he kindly amplified for separate publication…Ed.

So the Steelers stayed united by not coming out onto the field for the National Anthem. They showed no disrespect to the flag. Not disrespect to those who would protest or to those who would respond to the President’s comments. Mike Tomlin said they were in Chicago to play football, not to play politics. Unfortunately they didn’t play football very well.

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On Second Thought—Homer J Thoughts and Grades on Steelers @ Bears

Another Immaculate Extension—one of the few happy moments in the game. [Photo via]


As usual I am editing Homer J’s game notes and giving his grades in full. As usual I might feel moved to add an occasional comment, in italics. And in his uniquely Homer fashion he gave some fascinating insight on the protests rocking the league. He suggested, and I concurred, that they be a separate article, and in combination with my thoughts as I read about what was going on league-wide yesterday, it will appear tomorrow…Ed.


Ben opens [the game] with empty backfield, overthrows Martavis by about six inches on a bomb. Three and out. [Something we would see, alas, too often…]

[First defensive series] Defense swarming—excellent pass defense—three and out. [Cue ominous music]

[Eli] Rogers muffs punt—Bears recover at PIT 29. First major turnover of the season. [Ramp up ominous music]

No [T.J.] Watt, no [Stephon] Tuitt, and no penetration—or at least not enough. Looks like we are really missing [them], and the defense needs to adjust and step up.

Howard off the left side, 3-yard TD. Bears are playing power football, and did well on this drive. This is not the start we had been hoping for. 7-0. Uh-oh. [I’m guessing we also all hoped that no Chicago drives would begin from the PIT 29, too…]

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Da Bears Hold the Steelers at Bay—Again

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Well, I said that we shouldn’t let history be our guide in determining whether the Steelers were likely to lose to the Bears. The same Bears who are 12-1 against the Steelers in Chicago since 1934. But I guess we might well have, since the outcome was the same this time.

What a game! I’ve never seen so many weird goings-on in a single game in my entire Steelers-watching career. There were turnovers galore, player stupidity, a regular rota of trainers on the field and players heading down the tunnel, and plenty of flags to add to the festive mood. But the game itself may have been overshadowed by the events (or lack thereof) during the National Anthem. Read more

Da Bears: Steelers Week 3 Opponent Preview

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The Steelers have, through the years, played the Bears a number of times. 13 of those games have been in Chicago. The Steelers have lost 12 of them. So if we were to let history be our guide we would just hang up the (Terrible) towel now and not even bother.

But as we know history isn’t generally a very good guide. Well, maybe when you’re talking about playing the Patriots at their place. (For one thing, the communications system for the opposing team never seems to work correctly…) But for a team the Steelers play as infrequently as the Bears, history shouldn’t have much to do with it. I would be more likely to suspect the pizza.

So what can we expect from this year’s Bears team? Well, they are 0-2, for one thing. But the loss to Tampa Bay looked much different (and worse) than their Week 1 loss in Atlanta. So what’s going on? Read more

Playing the Long Game

Photo via Steelers’com

In Ivan Cole’s follow-up post to the Vikings game, he made this point:

4) Haley. Rebecca was right for the most part about my reaction to one series in particular. [That would be the empty backfield on 3rd and 2.] I didn’t scream though, didn’t have to. There were enough other people around me screaming. Todd’s play calling logic eludes and concerns me at times. Let’s just leave it at that.

And then Cold Old Steelers Fan, always the voice of reason, left the following comment:

4) I cursed the bubble screens till I saw a fake bubble screen used to mask a run on 3rd and short in the Vikings game. Now I am thinking that Haley is playing a longer game than we are.

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5 Smoldering Questions on the Pittsburgh Steelers: Week 3

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By Hombre de Acero

The Pittsburgh’s 2017 home opener saw the Steelers dismantle the Vikings to the tune of 26-9. Yet despite the 2-0 record, much of Steelers Nation is wanting more, particularly from the offense. This week’s opponent brings the men in Black and Gold to Chicago, where they’ve only won once in 13 tries.

But before we can see whether the Steelers can improve on their fortunes in the Windy City, this corner of Steelers Nation must resolve these 5 Smoldering Questions on the Steelers.

1. You could argue the point, but the Steelers post-Super Bowl XLV rebuilding effort hit rock bottom on September 29th in London against the Minnesota Vikings in a loss that dropped them to 0-4.

In looking at all that’s happened since then, the changes on both sides of the ball appear to be mirror images of each other.

There were only three or four of the starters on offense from that dreadful day in London at Heinz Field last Sunday, while only 3 players on defense from the ’13 team remained for Sunday’s “Rematch.”

Which changes do you feel have made the most impact in altering the trajectory of the team between then, now and looking forward to the future?

2. When T.J. Watt went out, Anthony Chickillo stayed in while James Harrison sat on the bench. Mike Tomlin explained the move by wishing to stay with a “hot hand.” What do you think of this decision and do you think it is appropriate to read anything into it?

3. FOX’s commentating team pointed out that Antonio Brown has never had a 100 yard game against a Mike Zimmer-coached defense, a period which covers Steelers offenses of varying potencies.

Again against the Vikings, Antonio Brown was held below the century mark.

What’s going on?

4. Danny Smith has taken a lot of heat in recent years, some of it fair and some of it unfair. In the first two weeks of the season, his special teams have come up with big plays in the form of a blocked punt and a successful stop of a fake punt attempt.

Yet against the Vikings the penalties cost the special teams a shot at a 2 point conversion and turned a field goal situation into a punt (which Danny Smith’s teams downed at the one – something we’ve not seen a lot of.)

So, with 1/8th of the season complete, is your Steelers Special Teams cup half full or half empty?

5. As Homer observed in his game analysis of the Vikings win:

“We are so damned spoiled that the Steelers can win by 17 points against a very good team with one of the best defenses in the game, and we still carp and moan like the worst bunch of yinzers.”

While yours truly agrees with Homer’s criticism of the much of the fan base, the Steelers offense has seemed to be stuck in a low gear, given the talent (and salary cap space) the team has invested in it.

What type of effort against Chicago will be necessary to stop the carping?

You know the drill. Use only Number 2 dark pencils, and we strongly caution against using Faber Castels. You must show work to get full credit, and looking at your neighbor’s paper is strongly encouraged.

Piling it on: Ivan’s Addenda

By Ivan Cole

Photo of JuJu Smith-Schuster’s TD via

You’re all in luck this week. A couple of wins in a row does seem to have a remarkable effect on our creative juices…

I would highlight in neon and strobe lights Homer’s last two paragraphs. [Here they are, so you don’t have to go look them up:]

We are so damned spoiled that the Steelers can win by 17 points against a very good team with one of the best defenses in the game, and we still carp and moan like the worst bunch of yinzers.

Life is good.

We beat a playoff team by 17 points. The Steelers are 2-0 with, (knock on wood) no serious injuries or distractions. And Steeler Nation is bitching their asses off. We are a textbook case of the decadence and fragility that is the consequence of privilege. Begs the question as to whether we are no longer capable of enjoying ourselves.

Having said that, keep in mind that I am a card carrying citizen of Steeler Nation, and am not immune. Here are some thoughts: Read more

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