Monthly Archives: December 2016

The Mini-Bye

img_1874I’m currently in England, land of the mini-break. (That, for those of you not familiar with the term, means taking a long weekend and going away somewhere. Or so I infer.) The Steelers are hosting the Browns tomorrow in what many are calling a mini-bye, as they are resting several important starters and playing a lot of backups and young guys in a game it would benefit the Browns to lose. And it’s New Year’s Eve, both here in England (we’re visiting the MIL now) and in the US, in a rare recent show of harmony. So it seemed only appropriate that Going Deep take a mini-break, or bye, or whatever you wish to call it. We’ll be back on Monday morning (possibly late, as once again I probably won’t be able to watch the game until the next day.) In the meantime, a very happy New Year to you all. And please remember, drinking and driving is dumb even if you aren’t an NFL or MLB player who is going to lose out on mountains of salary while you’re suspended…

Love, Momma

Playoff Scenario No. 1: Dolphins @ Steelers

img_0589Since the Steelers have already played most of the teams they could conceivably play in the postseason, I thought it would be interesting to look at the 2016 game against that team and see how the team is doing now. After all, the Steelers aren’t the only team in the league to have improved markedly.  Read more

Opponent Preview: Browns @ [Attenuated] Steelers



It’s a bit difficult, I must admit, to get excited about Sunday’s game. The Steelers have already said they are going to rest those who “need to get healthy,” and perhaps some who seem to be plenty healthy as it is. (Although it’s easy to imagine that anyone who played in last Sunday’s civil but brutal game isn’t going to be exactly “healthy.”) A win on Sunday does absolutely nothing to improve their seeding or anything else, so there’s no point in risking players who are desperately needed going into the playoffs.

On the other side, the Browns have actually already won a game this season. They have thus avoided the dreaded 0-16 record and the derision which comes with that. There’s really nothing for them to play for. Quite the contrary—any more wins and they may lose out on the No. 1 overall pick. They may play for pride or for their coach or for the future—hard to say. But they won’t be playing to win because there would be any benefit to do so, in practical terms. Read more

5 Smoldering Questions: The Division Champions Edition

img_0587By Hombre de Acero

Wow, perhaps the only thing missing from Pittsburgh Steelers 31-24 victory over the Baltimore Ravens is the fact that Father Time has will rob future generations of hearing it narrated by voice of NFL Films legend John Facenda.

The Steelers victory was dramatic, drawing as much from contributions from the lower ends of the depth chart as it did from its stars. It earned the Steelers the number 3 seed in the AFC playoffs, which the Ravens will watch from home.

But before the Steelers can test their mettle in the post season they must finish with 2016 with a visit from the Cleveland Browns. And before that this corner of Steelers Nation must wrestle with these 5 Smoldering Questions on the Steelers. 

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Merry Christmas, Steeler Nation



By Ivan Cole

That pretty much sums up a game that presented a little something for everyone and provided what could be called a Hollywood type ending. If you saw it, no explanation necessary. If you didn’t, you want to be sure to catch both the first and fourth quarters of any replay, that was the good part.

Steelers and Steelers fans were the obvious short term winners of the 31-27 Pittsburgh victory, but there were more winners than just the Steelers.

The NFL Read more

Exorcising the Ghost of Meetings Past: Steelers vs. Ravens



The game began with a mistake and also ended with one. But they were very different mistakes.

Given that Steelers-Ravens games generally come down to a field goal’s worth of points, sending the kickoff for the Ravens’ first drive out of bounds was sub-optimal on the part of Chris Boswell. In fact, the Ravens appear to be Boswell’s kryptonite, as the botched rabona-style kick he attempted in the previous Steelers-Ravens match will presumably live on for years on YouTube. Fortunately, in this instance the Ravens were not able to take advantage of the good field position as they went four-and-out.

The final mistake of the game was perhaps more serious. Admittedly there were only four seconds left in the game. But this is Steelers-Ravens, and anything can happen. The Ravens still had a time out, and we’ve seen the patented Joe Flacco heave-‘n-pray offense too often to not have flashbacks as they lined up. And indeed Flacco completed what turned out to be his last pass, but it was to Ryan Shazier, so that was all right. At least if you are a Steelers fan.

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A Christmas Miracle

img_0583I’m guessing most of Steeler Nation is hoping for a Christmas miracle tomorrow, although I’m actually hoping the game won’t appear to require one. But that isn’t the Christmas miracle to which I was referring. No, this miracle has already happened.

Leading up to the Bengals game last week there was a tremendous amount of chatter about what was likely to transpire in the way of dirty play, fights, and possible injuries. Both head coaches assured the public that their guys were focused only on the game. After all, why wouldn’t they be? A Bengals loss would eliminate them from any possibility of making the playoffs. A Steelers loss wouldn’t do so, but would greatly complicate what appears to be the only path into the playoffs from the AFC North this season—winning the division.

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5 Smoldering Questions: Post-Bengals Pre-Ravens Edition

temp2016_cin2_1218kr_2254-nfl_mezz_1280_1024By Hombre de Acero

The Pittsburgh Steelers will arrive at their Christmas day show down with the Baltimore Ravens on the heels of a 24-20 win over the Cincinnati Bengals that extended their winning streak to 5 games and improved their record to 9-5.

And the stakes in this game are pretty simple. Win and the Steelers earn another AFC North title, lose and Steelers Nation will spend the time between Christmas and New Year’s openly clutching Rosary Beads and secretly stuffing pins into voodoo dolls, all while they memorize the NFL’s oft arcane wild card tie breaking rules.

But before reaching the defining moment of the 2016 regular season, this segment of the Black and Gold legion must first resolve these 5 Smoldering Questions.

1. Following the Bengals win, Steelers Digest editor Bob Labriola asserted this:

Last year, the Steelers lose this game…. They won and set themselves up for that because when the Bengals tried to play pitch-and-catch on third-and-long, the Steelers had cornerbacks on the field who broke up the passes. Both passes. One by each cornerback.

Agree or disagree with his assessment. Defend your choice.

2. Don’t look now, but for the first time in, well I don’t know how long, Antonio Brown wasn’t the Steelers leading wide receiver. Eli Rogers earned that honor. We’ve discussed this topic enough, but do you think Eli Rogers has shown enough to be considered a legit number 2 for the stretch run?

3. Here’s a true chicken-egg question: Which was more important to the Steelers win, Chris Boswell’s 6 field goals or his shoe string tackle?

4. The Steelers Pro Bowl squad comprised of Ben Roethlisberger, Le’Veon Bell, Antonio Brown, Maurkice Pouncey and David DeCastro should surprise no one.

Did anyone the Pro Bowl selection process snub any members of the Steelers defense? If you argue “yes” then be ready to defend your choice.

5. Finally, it’s been 784 days since the Pittsburgh Steelers last defeated the Baltimore Ravens. A lot has changed since then. What makes you think that the Steelers can break their losing streak against the Ravens this Christmas? (Or do you?)

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