Monthly Archives: October 2017

On Second Thought: Homer’s Game Notes and Grades for Steelers @ Lions

E864D25C-8D9A-4A66-B2DF-99EAE09BE8B3.jpegPhoto via—Nice stiff-arm, JuJu…

You know the drill. Heavily edited game notes—Homer writes comments on each play—and his grades…Ed.

Homer began his notes with this, emphasis his:

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Bludgeoning Out A Win: Steelers @ Lions

567D76D4-BCDD-44BC-ACD4-50B800B02A50.jpegPhoto via

As I was getting set up to watch (and comment upon) the game, I found myself typing these words:

I hate it when there is a lot of buzz about the Steelers heading into a game. It make me even more nervous..

And I can’t say I got any less nervous until the final kneeldown. I suppose this ought to go in the Mildly Objectionable category, because my Tums bill is going through the roof. But enough about me—let’s get right to it. Read more

Steelers Opponent Preview: The Detroit Lions


Homer’s pony (photo via

Another week, another jump in the standings for the Steelers, and more upward movement in the opinion of the Power Rankers and statisticians and so on. In the meantime, the Steelers’ opponent is, well, not exactly reeling, but they have lost twice in the last three games, one of them at home, and seem firmly mired in mediocrity at 3-3.

On the other hand, the Lions’ division is nothing to write home about. Green Bay has lost their quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, for what looks like the rest of the season. And make no mistake, Rodgers is the one who makes things happen in Green Bay. Their 4-3 record isn’t likely to improve. The Bears might be termed “surprising,” but only because no one expected much from them. At 3-4 they aren’t entirely out of it yet.  The Vikings are running away with the division so far at 5-2, but the Lions have only played one divisional game—against the Vikings—and won it, back in Week 2.

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1 Smoldering Question on the Pittsburgh Steelers: Week 8

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Hombre de Acero and I were both DNP last night, and thus the 5 Smolderings did not show up in your browser window this morning. Hombre is sick, so he says—actually his agent tells me he went to the doctor. I have vertigo, possibly because my head is spinning from the latest episodes of As the Hypocycloid Turns. (I didn’t coin that—one of the local writers whose name I can’t currently bludgeon out of my weakened brain tissue wrote that the other day.)

So here is your one question, and it’s a doozy:

Mike Tomlin said in his press conference yesterday that he and Martavis are going to talk today. Ben Roethlisberger said in his weekly show on 93.7 The Fan that he has talked to Martavis via text and such and said “You’ve talked to everyone but me. Why don’t you come talk to your quarterback?”

But for the purposes of this question, Martavis is coming to talk to you today. What would you say to him? And what, if any, actions would you take?

The Luck of the Draw


Photo via Twitter

This column isn’t about the Steelers, exactly, but something I’ve been pondering this year. It has been prompted by the development (or lack thereof) of players the Steelers have drafted, and seeing some of the players many thought the Steelers should have taken instead.

Sunday’s game featured one such match-up, if you will—Steelers corner Artie Burns vs the guy most thought the Steelers really wanted, and who was drafted one slot before—corner William Jackson III. Those of us who pay attention to the smaller details are actually in some doubt about that, for various reasons. The Steelers’ pick went to Goodell seconds after the Cincinnati pick was announced. An “AFC North team” who was almost certainly the Steelers had been looking into possible schools for Burns’ younger brothers he is raising. And Mike Tomlin is known to have a penchant for helping young men like Burns. The Steelers couldn’t have drafted Jackson if they wanted to. The question is whether they wanted him over Burns, and we’ll never know that, but my guess is no. Read more

On Second Thought: Homer’s Notes and Grades for Steelers/Bengals


Photo via

By Homer J.

(As usual, I’m heavily editing the game notes. Any comments of mine will be in italics—Rebecca)

Homer liked the first drive. He really liked it. I think all of Steeler Nation liked it. Here’s what he had to say about how it ended:

Ben with a quick slant to AB. Threads the needle for a TOUCHDOWN!!!  Textbook picture perfect drive. 7-0 PIT

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Bengals @ Steelers—A Boswellian Victory

As I was preparing to watch today’s game I typed two things in my game notes before kickoff. The first was, the narrative for this game all week has been about what a nasty physical matchup it was going to be, and wouldn’t it be ironic if it didn’t turn out that way? The second was to note that the Bengals had been playing Renegade at practice all last week.

And strangely, although it was certainly a physical game, it wasn’t really particularly nasty. For one thing, there wasn’t a single personal foul penalty, nor did it seem many flagrant ones had been missed. And off-hand I would say that inuring themselves to Renegade didn’t help the Bengals’ offense out in the second half, because the they didn’t really generate any. But more on that in a moment. Let’s get right to the Acceptable, the Objectionable, and the Appalling…

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Opponent Preview: Bengals @ Steelers


It’s Bengals week. Storylines abound. Will Vontaze Burfict and his new contract live up (or down) to expectations? Will the Bengals miss Tyler Eifert, who is having surgery, is done for the season, and really ought to retire before he becomes the first Breakable Bionic Man, or will Tyler Kroft make him a distant memory? Will Joe Mixon, another of their Troubled Youth Rehabilitation projects, and who has wrested the starting job (legally) from Giovanni Bernard and Jeremy Hill, look more like Leonard Fournette or Kareem Hunt on Sunday in terms of his stat line vs. the Steelers defense? Will A.J. Green or Antonio Brown look like the best receiver in the league? And who will impact the game the most—Old Man Pacman Jones or Really Old Man Deebo Harrison? (Jones will almost certainly have more opportunities to do so, unless he is unable to play—see the Injury Report below.)

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The Return of the Hombre: 5 Smoldering Questions on the Pittsburgh Steelers

FD31B63C-9465-422A-8750-E29B80695AE1By Hombre de Acero

After getting humiliated at home by the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Pittsburgh Steelers waltzed into the living room of the Kansas City Chiefs and promptly proceeded to thoroughly dominate the NFL’s hottest team, best quarterback and top rusher for 3 and a half quarters. The Steelers of course defeated the Kansas City Chiefs, improving to 4-2 and they head back home to face the Cincinnati Bengals. But before this corner of Steelers Nation can focus on this latest AFC North show down, we first must answer these 5 Smoldering Question on the Steelers.

1. Carlos, an Argentine Steelers fan who lives above, commented to me that the NFL is so unpredictable that he’s stopped betting on games (and believe me, Carlos not betting is a big deal.) Six games into 2017, the Steelers are far from the only team to appear schizophrenic. To what do you attribute the NFL’s flirtation with manic depression, and is what’s happening in Pittsburgh just an extension of the general trend or is there something unique in the Steel City?

2. After standing on the sidelines for much of the season—on the Sundays he was lucky enough to dress—James Harrison entered the game on the final drive, and dropped Alex Smith on the penultimate play.

While T.J. Watt has done everything you could ask of a rookie, do you think James Harrison has done enough to warrant more playing time at Watt’s expense?

3. So Martavis Bryant requested a trade two weeks ago, as various outlets have confirmed, only to have Bryant face the cameras and tell us how happy he is in Pittsburgh. It says here that Bryant isn’t going anywhere, but if you’re Kevin Colbert, what offer tempts you?

4. The Pittsburgh defense currently leads the league in pass defense. This is partially due to the defensive line, but is certainly also due to the defensive backs. Curiously, the coaches haven’t changed and the scheme hasn’t changed—Pittsburgh still plays less man coverage than any team in the league, as per Pro Football Focus, in an article published yesterday. So why this sudden competence?

5. Count yours truly as one who openly suggested that Ben Roethlisberger was too dependent on Antonio Brown, so much that the analogy of Neil O’Donnell to Eric Green was rumbling around my head (oh how I date myself.) Makes sense.

Six weeks into the season Ben + Brown is the offense’s only consistent element.

That’s a common perception in Steelers Nation, but the numbers tell an interesting story.

Thus far this year, Brown has been Ben’s target 33% of the time, caught 35% of his passes, accounted for 46% of the team’s receiving yards and has 64.9% catch rate.

In 2015, when he was competing with Heath Miller, Markus Wheaton, Darrius Heyward Bey and Bryant, Brown was the Steeler’s quarterback’s target 33% of the time, caught 34% of the team’s receptions and accounted for 38% of the team’s receiving yards with a 70.5% catch rate.


…Is the Steelers offense, or perhaps Pittsburgh’s passing game, too dependent on Ben getting the ball to Brown?

Homer’s Travel Misadventures and Game Report

892ABF86-C29A-4ACC-9909-24F0301EA370.jpegBy Homer J.

Homer begs your indulgence, as he is a bit late to the party this week, for he was unable to watch Sunday’s game as it happened. Thereby, as Shakespeare would say, hangs a tale. A tale of Paradise, turbulence, sexual assault, and tardiness.

Homer woke up Sunday morning in Paradise, which is actually a town in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Having covered the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald as a young reporter, he had always wanted to visit Whitefish Bay (12 miles north of Paradise) and see the famous Shipwreck Museum, and this was the weekend to cross that one off the bucket list. And Sunday was the day to head back home.

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