Back in the Saddle Again

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That would be the Steelers, not me, who are back in the saddle. I’m just approaching the stable, at best. But I did manage to carve out enough time to watch the game today, by dint of recording it, beginning to watch when it was half over, and jumping through all of the commercials and even eventually the time between plays. I must say I picked a good game to watch. Today’s game, at least if I believe what I have read in fits and starts about the other games this season, is surely the closest thing to a complete game in all phases the Steelers have played in 2018. (That would definitely be counting The Playoff Game Which Shall Not Be Named.)

After speed-watching the game, especially given that it is the first full game I’ve seen this season, I certainly can’t pretend to give any deep analysis. Instead, here are some impressions:

  1. Whatever is going on between Ben and AB, a touchdown or two seemed to set everything right.
  1. When your kicker is struggling as badly as Chris Boswell appears to be, there’s a lot to be said for just not having him kick. And I suppose Mike Tomlin decided to continue with the extra point kicks instead of going for the two point conversions to give Boz lots more chances to sort out whatever is going on in his head in a lower-pressure scenario. Conversely, the Packers kept calling on Mason Crosby, who is also in a serious funk, to kick field goals this afternoon, and he missed three of them. Much better to stick with extra point attempts…
  1. I may not be a fan of James Conner’s haircut (and I’m not) but I am definitely a fan of James Conner. I was thrilled to see him have such a good day, both for his sake and the Steelers’ sake. And if Ben was calling all those running plays, good for him.
  1. The guy who said T.J. Watt was a bad first-round pick because his butt is too small for him to be a really good athlete is, I hope, ashamed of that assessment now. And no, I’m never ever going to let that go.
  1. JuJu Smith-Schuster has the best celebrations ever. I hope we will see a great many more of them.
  2. L.J. Fort had a heck of a game. Altogether it was an excellent day for guys that go by their initials. Even AB got in on the action eventually (see No. 1 on this list…)

And finally,

7. Ivan’s contention that the team is “too Christian” — by which I believe he meant that too many of the players are lacking the killer instinct — may be correct. I noted that T.J. Watt set Matt Ryan down on the turf as gently as if he was putting the baby in the crib, or so I infer by the fact that he didn’t get slapped with any Roughing the Passer personal fouls he only got slapped with one Roughing the Passer personal foul. Even the fumble he forced was done cleanly and surgically, with no apparent malice. Artie Burns thoughtfully let his knee hit the ground before establishing possession of his almost-interception, thus sparing Matt Ryan the agony of having let his team down, for one play at least. Rosie Nix thoughtfully did not touch the ball after he blocked the punt, thus allowing the Falcons’ punter the opportunity to grab the ball himself and run around with it. This also provided the assembled multitudes with some seriously entertaining footage.

So I guess I would say that perhaps Ivan is correct, but this doesn’t mean the Steelers have to lose all their games unless they turn mean, as he appeared to be contending. Ivan is welcome to post a rebuttal.

That’s all, folks. And I don’t promise any more for the nonce, although I will do what I can. I do think the Steelers should consider paying me to watch the games. The only other game—and it was only a bit of one—I have watched was the second quarter of the Tampa Bay game. I rest my case.


  • Good analysis Rebecca. This was a good game, but I think most fans are crossing their fingers, hoping it was a legit first step and not an On Any Given Sunday exercise.


    • Thanks Hombre! Given the Bengals’ record, and that they appear to have earned it, I think if the Steelers can go into Cinci and get a win people will start to believe. I haven’t seen enough to have an opinion yet, although, strangely, I feel this defense has the potential to be something special. I’m sure that seems like an odd statement…


      • A win in Cincinnati will help. As you know, I am anything but one of these knee-jerk type fans, but I’ve gotten the same kind of “vibe” from this team as I did the 1998 and 1999 teams….

        …With that said, one of the annoying things about the chatter generated during these 1st 5 weeks (aside from the constant claims for Art Rooney II to summarily fire the entire coaching staff, fire Kevin Colbert and all of his scouts, and turn over coaching and front office decision making sort of WhatsApp group) is the narrative that somehow the Steelers defense is terrible, and has been terrible since the day Dick LeBeau left.

        In fact, the Steelers defense was looked good and flashed signs of greatness until the Haden injury.

        Not that gets us anything now.


  • This will be a particular interesting test since there is baked in meanness quality to Steelers/Bengals matchups. Given the rule changes will a league record for penalties be set? Will both teams be hauled off to jail? Or will something unrecognizable as Pittsburgh/Cincinnati football ensue?


  • With the complete castration of the defense’s ability to touch the QB or stop the offense, I think it only fitting that any celebration by an offensive player should be a 15 yard personal foul with a second offense being an automatic ejection. I mean seriously, how can the guys on offense feel any pride for what they have done? Balance out the ridiculousness.


  • That caller would have won the ‘big butt = elite’ argument by just mentioning Jagr, but alas…


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