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  • Hard Count: Steelers Not Winning Popularity Contest

    IMG_20151129_193147Hard Count

    I will preface my post with this statement: prepare to be offended.

    Now that that is out of the way, let’s get to the point. The Steelers have never been a team that has seen officials give too many calls in their favor, and against the Seahawks they had plenty of poor calls to deal with. The Steelers shouldn’t need favorable calls to win games. We can sit and complain that Richard Sherman interfered with Antonio Brown 100 times, that the loose ball on the sideline was in Ross Cockrell’s hands and not out of bounds and that jump ball brought in by Martavis Bryant and the Seattle defender should have been incomplete. Moan, moan, moan.

    The Steelers have gotten in their own way all season long. This week, it came down to poor decisions and a lack of execution once again by the defensive backs. You can’t really see him in the photo above – but that’s because #41 was never in the right spot. Instead of coverage, he played D like a bumper car. Yes, Antwon Blake. You. The loss isn’t all on Blake, though. A fake field goal after a time out where the Seattle D has time to substitute after seeing who the Steelers send out? Landry Jones has never been the holder so why try to sneak him into the game as one? Terrible.

    The Steelers aren’t winning popularity contests this year because they can’t seem to stay positive about themselves long enough to click on a consistent basis. I don’t want them to be popular. I want them to succeed. This team just can’t quite do that when any significance is put on a game. I’m not bailing or turning in my black and golf card, but dang – do they have to throw games away?

  • Big Defensive Letdown Leads To Tough 39-30 Steelers Loss to Seahawks

    A Steelers defense that at times this season had looked like it was making strides took a huge step the other way Sunday, allowing Seattle QB Russell Wilson to throw for five touchdowns in a hard to swallow 39-30 loss to the Seahawks.

    It was a game that the Steelers looked like they had in control at points, but a head-scratching fake on a field goal up 3-0, and a couple huge Ben Roethlisberger picks with some questionable non-calls by the officials spelled doom for the now 6-5 black and gold.

    The game came down to a Steelers secondary that was torched all day, especially corner Antwon Blake, who seemed to always been on short end of a big Seahawks play.

    Wilson ended the day 21-for-30 for 345 yards and five scores, none bigger than an 80-yard score to Doug Baldwin on a third down play after the Steelers kicked a field goal to close it to 32-30 3:02 left to play.

    Baldwin got loose, and outran Blake after a Mike Mitchell missed tackle for the score that killed any hopes that the Steelers had of getting out of Seattle with a win.

    The defensive mishaps wasted a big day throwing for Roethlisberger, who went 36-for-55 for 456 yards with a touchdown and two picks. The two picks were bad, but bottom line the offense put up 30 points and it should have been enough to win the game.

    The loss jumbles the playoff race in the AFC, as now there are four teams in the conference all at 6-5, the Chiefs, Texans, Jets and now the Steelers.

    The game went back and forth till the Baldwin score to put it away, as the Steelers led the game 3-0, 10-7, 18-14 and 27-26 before Seattle was able to take the lead for good 32-27 on a Wilson to Baldwin 30-yard score with 8:20 to play.

    Baldwin had six catches for 145 yards and three scores. Seattle RB Thomas Rawls had 21 carries for 81 yards and a score.

    Markus Wheaton had the biggest game of his career with Antonio Brown shut down most of the day. The third-year WR had 201 yards on 9 catches with a 69-yard score that put the Steelers up 27-26 with 11:51 to play.

    Brown had six catches for 51 yards, and Martavis Bryant had five grabs for 69 yards, but had a few huge drops and clearly did not play one of his better games of his young career.

    Four turnovers and some questionable calls along with a bad effort from the secondary spelled doom, and now with five weeks left the team likely will have to win no less than four of them to make the postseason.

    The team will play the Colts next Sunday night at Heinz Field in the Sunday night 8:30pm game. Indy beat the Buccaneers on Sunday, and they are 6-5 on the year.

  • Steelers at Seahawks NFL Week 12 Inactives

    Here’s today’s inactives for the Steelers and Seahawks

    Seattle Seahawks
    -WR Paul Richardson
    -CB Tye Smith
    -LB Eric Pinkins
    -C Drew Nowak
    -OL Kristjan Sokoli
    -RB Marshawn Lynch
    -CB Cary Williams

    Pittsburgh Steelers
    -LB Anthony Chickillo
    -WR Sammie Coates
    -CB Doran Grant
    -OT Byron Stingily
    -RB Fitzgerald Toussaint
    -QB Mike Vick
    -DE L.T. Walton

  • Checkdown Audible: Steelers Make Strange Move With RBs

    IMG_20151128_114737Checkdown Audible

    After working during the bye week with backup running backs Isaiah Pead and Jordan Todman behind DeAngelo Williams, the Pittsburgh Steelers made a strange move – they let Pead go in favor of former Michigan running back Fitzgerald Toussant.  Toussant spent time with the Baltimore Ravens in 2014.

    Mike Tomlin never did seem to completely get on board with Pead entering the offensive roster.  He spoke publicly about Pead having to earn his spot and learn the offense before he’s allow him on the field.  That isn’t the strange thing.  What is strange is that, after allowing Pead to get up to speed during the bye, the team cut him in favor of Toussaint – a guy from the practice squad who has very little experience in the NFL.

    Toussaint played in four games with the Ravens, recording 12 yards in six carries. During the playoff games (two), he had five yards on two touches.

    I admit, I don’t know a ton about the kid, but it seems counterintuitive to give practice time to Pead only to call up Toussaint.  Pead was a bit of a bust with the St. Louis Rams and maybe Toussaint showed spark playing scout as a temporary Seahawks rusher in order to allow Pittsburgh’s first-team defense to get prepared for the game in Seattle.  Even if that was the case, it is unlikely Toussaint has learned the Steelers offense – leaving just Todman as Williams’ backup for the remainder of the regular season – unless he’s a quick study.

    This seems to be an odd call.  Pead had given sound bites all week about how excited he was now that he felt comfortable in the Steelers offense.  It looks like that valuable practice time was basically flushed.

  • Steelers Gab 2015 Week 12 NFL Preview – Pittsburgh at Seattle

    The Steelers travel West on Sunday to take on the two-time defending NFC Champion Seattle Seahawks in a stadium that normally is a place where opposing teams go to die. That’s not the case so much in 2015, as the Seahawks have had all kinds of issues, and enter week 12 sitting at 5-5, and already with two home losses (Carolina and Arizona).

    That alone, along with the Steelers have a rested week off the bye gives the team hope they can make the trip and get to 7-4, which would be a monster lift with the playoffs now in sight for the Steelers in the AFC.

    Today we break down the game, and give our pick if we think the Steelers can head out west and get the job done.

    1. Wrap Up Rawls – New Seattle RB Thomas Rawls is a solid up and coming back in Seattle, and it wouldn’t be a shock to see the Hawks dump Marshawn Lynch after this year and give Rawls the ball full-time starting in 2016. He’s physical like Lynch, but he’s got more speed than Marshawn, which makes him dangerous. Last week he ran for 209 yards on 30 carries, giving him 604 yards on 101 carries compared to Lynch’s 417 on 111 carries. He’s putting up close to 6 yards per carry. The Steelers LB’s and D-line have to wrap up Rawls, and hold him in check to get out of Seattle with a win.

    2. The O-Line Needs to Have a Day – The Steelers offensive line will be tested more than any other week in 2015, as the Hawks have a very good front seven. Ben Roethlisberger will try to play without the padded boot that kept him somewhat immobile two weeks back against the Browns in relief of Landry Jones. The Steelers have put up 528 yards per game the last two in wins over Oakland and Cleveland, but those were two teams known for allowing passing yards. The Seahawks defense will give the Steelers a test, and it’s time for the O-line to step up and play well or Ben could be on his back a lot.

    3. Keep Feeding DA – While DeAngelo Williams didn’t have the game we felt he would against the Browns two weeks back, that doesn’t mean the Steelers should abandon the run game totally vs Seattle. Williams can and will still do damage, and in the last three games, the veteran has averaged 134.7 yards from scrimmage and 5.57 per rush. Seattle is a good test for the Steelers back and the run game in general, as they have limited opponents to 3.74 yards per rush. He can give the Steelers a change of pace while Ben and the pass game look to get downfield, and while a lot of the focus will be on Ben and Brown vs that secondary, Williams could have a big game against the Hawks.

    – I like the Steelers off the bye as a rested team, but Seattle knows they have to keep winning to get into the playoffs, and in Seattle this is going to be a huge test for the Steelers. Russell Wilson hasn’t had a big game in awhile, and I think his legs are going to do more damage than his arm vs the Steelers. I like Seattle to come out with Rawls and Wilson running the ball a lot, and for the Steelers offense to have their share of issues with a Seattle D that while not as dominant as the last two years, is still pretty good. A long day in Seattle as the Steelers fall to 6-5. Seattle 27 Steelers 17


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