Monthly Archives: November 2016

5 Smoldering Questions: Post-Thanksgiving, Pre-Giants



by Hombre de Acero

For the first time in 66 years the Steelers snapped their Thanksgiving curse. They did so in authoritative fashion, to the tune of a 28 to 7 victory over the Indianapolis Colts. Two convincing wins in five days, albeit over struggling teams, has led some to suggest that the Steelers have turned a corner, an important one.

The New York Giants figure to offer stiffer test this week at Heinz Field.  But before taking on that challenge, this corner of Steelers Nation must first answer 5 Smoldering Questions on the Steelers. Read more

Then and Now: The 2015 and 2016 Steelers

11292015-HAWKShighlights01We are coming up to the stretch run. Five more games to play, the division in sight but not in hand, and the Steelers are (perhaps) rounding into form. It sounded vaguely familiar to me, and I thought I would have a quick look at the situation a year ago.

One year ago the Steelers were 6-5, having just lost to the Seattle Seahawks. The team had been highly inconsistent during the season, but having to start a couple of backup quarterbacks is generally not a recipe for success. The defense, who had been showing signs of getting it together, gave up five touchdowns to Russell Wilson. The Steelers offense put up 30 points. The remarkable thing is they did so in a game in which they turned the ball over four times. But 30 points weren’t enough to counter a meltdown of massive proportions by the defense. Read more

Thoughts from the Missing in Action: Steelers vs. Colts

by Ivan Cole

I have been able, mostly holding my head in my hands, to watch the games over the past month, but haven’t been paying attention to much else. But it probably doesn’t require much imagination to get a sense of the topics, tone and tenor of what the conversation has been like in the Steelers community recently. Through semi-fresh eyes, here are some observations coming off Thanksgiving Week’s action. Read more

The Sunday Food-Related Post: Food for a Steeler-less Sunday

A couple of times this season I have tried a Pittsburgh-Opponent food meld, and both times it resulted in losses—a highly embarrassing Week 3 meltdown @ Philadelphia and a very disheartening division loss to the Ravens in Week 9. The Steelers finally rebounded from the losing streak the latter game was part of, but should the Ravens beat the Bengals on Sunday they will be back on top of the division, where the Steelers currently, and tenuously, reside.

And the auguries are not good for a Bengals victory today. A.J. Green is out with a hamstring tear and Giovanni Bernard is out for the season with an ACL. Dalton is one of the most sacked quarterbacks in the league (his offensive line has given up 29 so far this season.) And Baltimore’s defense is currently No. 10 in the league against the pass and No. 1 against the run, according to Football Outsiders. Read more

On Second Thought: Homer J. Opines on Many Things, Including Steelers at Colts



Homer J. left the following as a comment to yesterday’s postIt being the holiday and all, I was afraid it might be overlooked and have taken the liberty of transferring it into its own post. 

It was a lovely way to cap off the finest of American holidays. Thanksgiving is Homer’s favorite holiday, because it is so inclusive. No one is left out. We can all celebrate. Just read a piece in the San Gabriel Valley (CA) Tribune about how Chinese Turkey is becoming all the rage out there. The Chinese immigrants want to celebrate the holiday, but turkey is not traditional Chinese fare. So they figure out a way to do it up like Peking Duck, with the extra crispy skin and those great spices. And sticky rice instead of stuffing. They love it and they join in America’s holiday celebration. Then their neighbors try it and love it, too. It’s an old – and wonderful – story that’s as American as apple pie, pizza, bagels, and Taco Bell. We gather together. Read more

Night of the Living Dead: Steelers Put a Stake in the Hearts of the Depleted Colts



I’ll admit it. I was worried again this week. Road game? Check. Backup quarterback who has thrown a total of 91 attempts in the NFL prior to the game? Check. Thanksgiving game? Check. Steelers favored by more than a touchdown before the game? Check. Thursday night game? Check. Not a highly respected defense? Check. In other words, the scene was set for an upset of massive proportions.

But it didn’t happen. The defense got three more sacks, including one for Old Man Harrison and the second for rookie Javon Hargrave. The beleaguered defensive backs came up with not one but two interceptions. (The big disappointment on the latter of the two interceptions was that William Gay was stood up immediately for no gain, thus breaking his streak of pick-sixes at five.) And the offense looked a lot more like the Heinz Field Steelers. Read more

Paying It Forward: Steelers Who Are Making the World a Better Place


via—the annual Pouncey turkey giveaway at the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank

In yesterday’s 5 Smoldering QuestionsHombre de Acero added the following as a sort of bonus question:

Hopefully, all of you have non-football things to be thankful for, and those are far more important than anything that happens on the gridiron.

But who or what about the 2016 Steelers are you thankful for?

I didn’t answer that question because as it happens I’d already decided that was going to more or less be my post for today. Here goes: Read more

5 Smoldering Questions: The Post-Cleveland Pre-Colts Edition


via CBSSports

by Hombre de Acero

They may not have earned many style points, but the Pittsburgh Steelers left Cleveland with that they needed:  A win. Now on a short week, the Steelers prepare to play on Thanksgiving for the 2 time in four years, but before we reach Turkey Day, this corner of Steelers Nation first must resolve these 5 Smoldering Questions on the Steelers.

1. The Steelers dominated time of possession, with three drives that threatened to break double digits. Yet, for all of their offensive domination between the 20’s, four trips to the red zone yielded only one touchdown. Do those stats leave your glass half empty or half full?

2. How much does the quality of the opposition temper your evaluation of the Steelers’ win over the Browns?

3. Sammie Coates is playing with two broken fingers, and in fact made three special teams tackles. Mike Tomlin defended his participation there, but do you think it is wise to play Coates on special teams given the Steelers’ urgent need to develop a sound No. 2 opposite Antonio Brown?

4. James Harrison broke the Steelers sack record vs. the Browns. Where would you rank Harrison alongside past great Steelers outside linebackers such as Jack Ham, Andy Russell, Bryan Hinkle, Kevin Greene, Greg Lloyd, Joey Porter, Alonzo Jackson (just kidding!) and Jason Gildon, the man whose record he broke?

5. The NFL is “honoring” the Steelers with their eighth Thanksgiving Day game. The Steelers are 1-6 on Turkey Day, including the Thanksgiving Day massacre in Detroit in 1983 and the infamous coin flip game in 1998. Do you think the Steelers can finally play a game on Thanksgiving without emerging as turkeys?

Bonus Question

6. Although its been 15 years since I’ve been on U.S. soil for Thanksgiving, it remains one of my favorite holidays, as it  managed to survive commercialization until the advent of Black Friday.

Hopefully, all of you have non-football things to be thankful for, and those are far more important than anything that happens on the gridiron.

But who or what about the 2016 Steelers are you thankful for?

Happy Thanksgiving Folks. Remember, the holiday season may be upon us, but normal quiz rules remain in effect. Answer using a No. 2 dark pencil. You must show work for full credit, but looking at your neighbor’s paper is not only allowed, we highly encourage it.

Steelers’ Opponent Preview: Colts Fresh Out of Luck?


Post Gazette/Peter Diana photo

Let me clear the air first—the title is a play on words, given that Andrew Luck has entered the concussion protocol after suffering a concussion in Sunday’s game. While it is possible he will be back on Thursday night, it isn’t terribly likely. Thus the Steelers are probably going to face journeyman backup Scott Tolzien. Read more

A Day Worth Recording: Steelers at Cleveland



I don’t know about you all, but I had a bad feeling about this game. The circumstances reminded me all too forcibly of that dark day in 2009 when the Steelers’ four-game losing streak became five. I suspect it was one of the games the Rooneys mulled over in their minds when deciding whether to re-sign Bruce Arians a few years later.

The circumstances were all too similar. A team which had started the season with such promise had lost a lot of games in a row for a Steelers team. Over the years they haven’t been known for long losing streaks. In fact, a quick glance at the invaluable Pro Football Reference Team Encyclopedia for the Steelers reveals that since 1970 only six other Steelers squads have lost four or more games in a row, counting the 2009 team. This includes the 1985 team, who despite ending the season at 7-9 never lost more than three games in a row. It also includes the 1986 team, who were even worse, (6-10) and yet didn’t lose as many as four of the games in a row. Read more

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