The Perspective Of An Average Steelers Fan: Brown Answers The Bell

The Pittsburgh Steelers played well enough to win the season opener against the Cleveland Browns. That is a safe statement now that the outcome has been decided. 21-18 is in the record books and another win for the Black & Gold. However, during the game I did allow some doubt to creep in.

That’s not the way it started. I was safely ensconced in my little spot at the Outta the Way Café in Derwood, Maryland 90 minutes before kickoff. Other Steeler fans were there as well. There is an air of expectancy for the Steelers this year and folks don’t want to miss a second of it. Ordered pierogie and a beer; laptop on with the Steelers Depot Live Update and Discussion Thread open. Dave Bryan opens up the thread with “Happy, happy, joy, joy! Let’s go Steelers!” Yes, here we go! Have Steelers website tabbed along with another website to track the box score. Ear buds in with Steelers Nation Radio game show to describe the action. Being an average Steelers fan, I cannot stand the television announcers so always tune them out.

My spot:

The name on the inactive list that blared at me was Bud Dupree. Anthony Chickillo is the next man up. Funny, I did not automatically think James Harrison, honest injun! A couple plays and the Steelers defense is all over the place. Tyler Matakevich blocks the punt and Chickillo recovers for the first score of the game! At this point, I am unaware of the injury to Stephon Tuitt and believing that DeShone Kizer is in for a very long day.

While there were some bright spots from the offense, especially two touchdowns by Jesse James, most observers must admit the offense looked rusty. The offense is where the team has invested and 30-points a game is their goal. The offense achieved less than half of that putting only 14 points on the board. As Steelers Depot commenter melblount stated in the thread, “Again, best offense in the league…on paper.”

What made this game close? Cleveland came to play and 13 penalties against the Steelers either stymied the Steelers offense or extended a drive the Browns. Kizer did keep his composure despite being sacked 7 times. As reader NinjaMountie commented, “this game will pad the teams season sack total” The Steelers running game was horrible. While the defense held Isiah Crowell to 32 yards on the ground – that almost matched the Steelers total rushing effort of 35 yards.

So, a blowout was not to be had this game. An interception at the goal line off a tipped pass prevented the Steelers going up 28-10. Instead, A promising Steelers drive is stunted by a penalty and the Browns score to come within three.

What prevented the Browns from coming from behind to win? Well the Black & Gold defense obviously. T.J. Watt and others made some key plays at key moments. But I also discerned a pattern that Bill Cowher would use with Jerome Bettis. Take a lead into the 4th quarter and have the offense maintain possession of the ball to eat up the remaining time on the clock. An anemic running game from a rusty Le’Veon Bell and an out of sync offensive line would seemingly prevent the formula from working. Antonio Brown only missed one practice this summer – that was for the birth of his son. He also regularly worked with the Jugs passing machine after practice. My belief is that work paid off and he made two clutch catches that preserved Steelers drives and kept the ball out of the Brown’s hands. He was not rusty; he was not out of sync with the quarterback; he was game ready. Antonio Brown answered the bell.

A win is a win. Looking forward to seeing how this team continues to develop next week versus Minnesota. I thought that Stephon Tuitt was poised to have a huge game but he hurt his left arm in the first series. My hope is that he can fully recover from whatever happened and play again this season. But if not, next man up.

Plenty of flaws to point out but it was a win after all. Let’s take it and celebrate. New Orleans has a Mardi Gras celebration once a year. In Pittsburgh, we have our own Fat Monday every week after a Steelers victory. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Let’s celebrate and then prepare for another contest next week.

  • Don’t poke the badger

    That game felt like the first 2-3 quarters of preseason game 3. Still a lot of improvement and gelling to do on both sides of the ball. TJ looks like a star! Great pick for end of round 1. Vikings game will be a good test for the new defensive backfield. Go Steelers!!

  • Ichabod

    When…when our offense reaches its potential, no team will be better. Not saying we won’t lose on any given Sunday. But no team will be better

  • Beaver Falls Hosiery

    Hope the offense is hitting all cylinders on Sunday.

  • Beaver Falls Hosiery

    Yes; if they get a couple picks that would be nice.

  • AB is the man, no question.

  • Edjhjr

    First sentence is an understatement

  • Edjhjr

    I’m sorry. They looked better in that game..

  • VaDave

    Quick question. You mentioned listening to the the Steeler Nation Game Show while the game was on. I’m with you on the obnoxious network Nellies but I listen to the radio cast with Hilgrove, Ilkin, and Wolfley as I live in Virginia. Unfortunately, it usually out of sync with the network video. Does the Steeler Nation Game Show provide realtime broadcasting, and if so, is it reasonable close to the network video? Please advise. Thanks.

  • VaDave

    I’ll somewhat agree with you that this resembled a preseason game. That said, I’m liking what I’m seeing. It’s obvious this is not the finished product by any stretch of the imagination. Keep in mind, I’ve always adopted a long view of the team and really don’t read to much into what happens week to week, unless there is a structural issue that will not, or can not be resolved.

  • Reezy

    I gotta say, even though AB was mad about not getting his $ awhile back.. he still produced, missed zero practice time, and has balled out consistently! Although I love Bell… he hasn’t showed consistently that he deserves Top Dollar b/c he missed time due to injury, holding out from camp and suspension. He shouldnt be payed like the face of the franchise and thats mostly due to his conduct. Sadly, after this season he’ll be gone

  • Beaver Falls Hosiery

    Let’s see how they look against Minnesota on Sunday.

  • Beaver Falls Hosiery

    Hi Dave – they are broadcasting live but with the television delay ou hear the play results about 5-10 seconds before it happens. I’ve gotten used to it.

  • Beaver Falls Hosiery

    I’m not sure he is gone after this season. The Steelers can still franchise tag him again next year if he does not accept another long-term deal. In theory, he should have a lot of incentive to perform well this season to maintain his market value. He stays in excellent shape and is an amazing running back. Had no problem with him trying to gain the best deal; but once it did not work out sure wish he had reported. Let’s see how Le’Veon does this season; I hope it is a great season and he finally stays healthy and helps the Steelers to a deep run in the playoffs.

  • Steve

    Not practicing with the team is not in “Football Shape”. Don’t care what he did otherwise, Bell should have been practicing with the team and he is not in the best shape and it showed this past week. Will take Bell a few more weeks. Thanks for the nice write up.

  • Steve

    Our offense under Ben has been Hot and Cold. When there good there good and when there bad, there bad. Will take the defence to win some and like last year our kicking game.

  • Lambert58

    Bell needs to take a page from his book. Show up, work hard, don’t complain. Then the money would take care of itself.