Gut Reactions: Steelers Vs Giants Week 13

Here are my gut reactions after the Pittsburgh Steelers dominate, well-rounded win at home against a competitive New York Giants team. After their four game skid the Steelers are rounding into playoff form in multiple facets of the game.

The biggest reaction I had to Sunday’s match-up was that I was forced to bear witness to another game where the Steelers severely lost the penalty battle. These were legitimate infractions that killed field position and offensive momentum. Perhaps no penalty was bigger than the illegal block by Artie Burns on Sean Davis’ first interception of the season. It pinned the Steelers offense inside their own five-yard line, wasting Davis’ 40+ yard return. When the offense couldn’t dig themselves out of the field positioning hole, ANOTHER penalty, this one committed by Antonio Brown, gave the Giants the ball at mid-field. Luckily nothing came of it.

Another game, another touchdown pass from Ben Roethlisberger to Brown. Still, no other wide receiver has stepped up and become a contributor across from Brown. This essentially makes Brown easier to double-team for defenses. I still think the Steelers need to sit Sammie Coates down, and either let him get healthy, or activate a healthy receiver. It seems like Cobi Hamilton and Eli Rogers are only role players at this point in their young careers. Neither of them are perceived by opposing defenses as threats to the point where they reduce the amount of double-teams Brown sees; something a healthy Coates could do on occasion. Where’s Jerricho Cotchery when we need him?

The defense, which has been the “whipping boy” for much of the season, held serve throughout the game. They created two turnovers, had two sacks, defended seven passes, pitched a shutout in the first half and held the Giants to 0-3 on fourth down conversions. Not to mention they kicked off the scoring with a safety. The defense’s pass rush has found new life since James Harrison has gotten more snaps. As a unit, the Steelers held the Giants to under 300 total yards and have only given up 10 points per game on their current 3-game winning streak.

The secondary played great against a strong group of Giants receivers. Ross Cockrell played a great game against Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr., who had 10 receptions for 100 yards but was mitigated as a deep threat (his longest reception went for 25 yards). The defense didn’t surrender any big momentum swinging touchdowns and Cockrell kept Beckham Jr. out of the end zone. Both touchdowns the Steelers defense surrendered came when the Giants offense had short fields of 17 and 52 yards. It’s not always pretty, but the Steelers defense has been getting stops, especially in the red zone. If the defense can stay away from surrendering big plays, the unit may be hitting its stride in perfect time to contribute to the late season playoff push.

I touched on this last week but Ladarius Green and Roethlisberger’s chemistry could be the key to the Steelers playoff run. Even though Green only had six receptions on 11 targets (I wouldn’t quite call that completely in sync quite yet) he did have his biggest game as a Steeler to date. Those six receptions were good for a team high 110 receiving yards and a touchdown. Simply put, Green can do things in the passing game that the other tight ends on the Steelers’ roster cannot. He’s had a reception of 35 yards or more for two straight weeks and now has his first touchdown as a Steeler and that’s a solid foundation to build on.

I loved the way the Steelers took the “air out of the ball” by running Le’Veon Bell relentlessly, especially in the fourth quarter. Bell rushed 29 times for 118 yards and became the first back to rush for 100 yards or more against the Giants this season. Even though Bell got the stats, it truly was a team effort. The offensive line was up against a tough rush defense but never relented. They stayed aggressive and continued to block hard for Bell. Also, there were a lot of penalties that caused the Steelers to have long downs and distances, where offensive coordinator Todd Haley would have chosen to pass in the past. But he stayed committed to feeding Bell Sunday, and it was effective. The Giants were forced to burn their timeouts, and the Steelers’ offense shortened the fourth quarter and their opponent was never able to crawl back into the game.

I was pleasantly surprised by Randy Bullock. Kicking at Heinz Field in December is not easy for the best kickers in the NFL, much less a free agent fresh off the street. Bullock went 3/3 even though the last attempt glanced off the left upright. I must admit, every time he was out there for a field goal, I was holding my breath, but he was an adequate replacement. He even did an admirable job on kick-offs. As good as Bullock was I hope Chris Boswell gets healthy soon and can contribute down the stretch.

What are your gut reactions?

About the Author

Patrick Gelesh

Fourth generation Steelers fan, contributing from the Crescent City. Soon to be graduating with a master’s degree in Sports Management with an emphasis in football. My grandfather and mother witnessed the Immaculate Reception, they made sure I was brought up on classic rock and classic Steelers.

  • renoir

    two tough road games coming up so we need that Mo going in…

  • renoir

    Love,love the play where Foster stepped in and pulled Kelvin Sheppard off of Bell and threw him down after he was trying to twist Bell’s head off….

  • Zuami Montanez

    We need alot of help to make the playoffs, and we need to win these last four games also.

  • renoir

    we win out then we are in, simple as that and we need to go in the playoffs with a hot streak anyways to beat the Pats in New England…

  • Sdale

    If we win out, we don’t need any help because we’ll win the division.

  • gdeuce

    don’t need a lot of help

  • Zuami Montanez

    Only way i us in the playoffs is either winning the division or denver and miami losing at least 3 of their last 4 games.

  • T3xassteelers

    Yeah… don’t know where you’re coming up with your own conclusions from lol, but if we win, we’re in no matter what other teams do.

  • Applebite

    This win was actually better than it appeared on the score board. And I don’t just mean the score the Giants put up late…

  • gdeuce

    also if we end up with the same record as KC, and they’re a wild card then we get in over them

  • Steeler-Drew

    Seven passes defended is nothing to sneeze at with a young secondary. Although Bell was great making yards on his own have to give credit to OL for its blocking in the 4th quarter with the Giants knowing they were going to run the ball.

  • nutty32

    10 wins should get it done when the dust settles. Extremely rare for 10 wins to not get at least a wild card spot.

  • Thomas

    1: Defense played lights out for a 3rd game in a row. These rookie guys look amazing.
    2: Special Teams were just horrible.
    3: Green looked like the man we all envisioned once we signed him.
    4: Really need Coates back to get a deep threat going. DWill too for that matter to have an RB rotation.

  • Thomas

    Win week 16 or bust.

  • Thomas

    We almost beat them with our backups playing. With Gronk out I am not scared of them.

  • nutty32

    Hopefully the weather is ok in Buffalo. Ben needs to have a good game versus the big play surrendering prone Bills defense in order to take Buffalo’s running game out of the game/make Tyrod beat us with his arm.

  • nutty32

    Davis looks much improved! His run support was excellent today. Doubted him earlier in the season, but now he looks like a player.

  • Steeler-Drew

    Totally agree. I thought his tacking was going to be a liability. He is showing his speed is a big asset.

  • firefromheaven

    Another nattering nabob of negativity. SMH. Win out and were in no matter what happens. We need no help at all. Another of the glass is completely empty people that plague this site.

  • Chris

    Eh, a tie with KC for the wildcard is unlikely as they are currently 9-3. Much more likely to tie with Den for wildcard purposes at 10-6. If Pitt loses more than one game the rest of the regular season they’ll need all sorts of anarchy to prevail, and make postseason play with a 9-7 mark.

  • Shane Mitchell

    Consider it a rare year then because Denver has 8 wins right now and KC has 9 and they are the 5th and 6th seeds currently in the race, we need to win the division to get in the playoffs this season.

  • Chris

    Thought Ben played very well, especially early even though they didn’t get many points out of those drives due to mistakes. While I did think the D played very well particularly in critical situations I felt that the Giants should have kicked a FGs in thier 4th and long situations, but maybe they didn’t like thier odds of A 52 yd FG at Hinez with thier K. Being extra aggressive backfired for both teams today in my mind. Steelers missed 2pt, and Giants passed up two good FG attempts, with another debatable long possibility.

  • Beaver Falls Hosiery

    My guy reaction was this was a solid team victory. Burns & Davis played very well. Deebo is ageless. Offensive line handled NYG defensive line overall. That said, Decastro not having great season. AB’s TD catch outrageous – should have been penalized since it caused a massive outbreak of twerking by Steelers fans around the world. Bell kept the ball away from Eli. Ben proved who was better quarterback. Timmons earned some love from his detractors including David Todd. Ladarius Green is a dangerous weapon. Very happy, now on to the Bills.

  • Paddy

    The interception was on a 4th down play, Davis should have batted it down and they would have started from the 35.

  • FATCAT716

    I live in Buffalo so far so good on the weather will keep an update

  • FATCAT716

    You are so right but 1st INT in the NFL can’t blame him one bit

  • tcirish53@gmail.com

    My gut reaction #1 is that (once again!) the refs were awful!!!!
    So tired of seeing sooooo much offensive holding, which is called so sporadically/randomly that it is MADDENING!!!!
    As for Steelers gut reactions, my biggest reaction is that the rookie defenders have come a long way. Also that the WR injuries have been devastating – although proficient this O is nowhere near where it needs to be to carry the team, not to mention scoring 30 pts/game.

  • Hypo Cycloid

    I was saying the same thing. I wish they would preach that stuff to the team.

  • Hypo Cycloid

    I didnt feel the refs were that bad. Actually, I saw our secondary get away with a couple! Could’ve been more. 12 men on the field, false starts at home…no excuse. Decastro need to clean his act up.

    They missed the hold on timmons, but again, missed some pass interference our guys committed. At least they caught the hold on JH that gave us points!

    Otherwise i agree with your other points. Need another wr to step up.

  • Ray Powell

    If you look at the film of the so-called illegal block by Burns on the Davis interception, you’ll see that he never touches the guy. That return should have been allowed to stand.

  • T3xassteelers

    I agree.. But he did return it to about midfield.. Just artie’s ‘penalty’ pushed it back. Had the refs not called that, they’d be at midfield in even greater position!!

  • Patrick Gelesh

    Thanks for the input, I hope you guys liked the post!

  • Reg Sayhitodabadguy Hunt

    I said the same thing I also believe that Peyton told Eli about Timmons being a weak link in coverage which did not work and I hate to be THAT GUY that said I told you so but a couple of seasons ago I stated that this offense should be a running offense and just let Ben manage the game basically but what do I know we’re just 3-0 with that game scheme

  • Paddy

    I guess I so, still think the block in the back was an error on the official

  • FATCAT716

    It was.. It was more on the his side but loved the return from the kid

  • charles

    Shark Thomas and DHB injuries has been the story on special teams’ less than stellar play lately.

  • Applebite

    Not so sure about Green looking like the guy we all envisioned. I think some envisioned him being sent out to sea without a sail or paddle, lol.