The Perspective Of An Average Steelers Fan: Can A Win Feel Like A Loss?

It all started with Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s pass on the second play of the game. A long attempt to Martavis Bryant that was intercepted. It just seemed so predictable. The play, the turnover, the Indianapolis Colts manhandling the offensive line and shutting Le’Veon Bell down at the line of scrimmage. Steelers missing tackles left and right. The WR sweep Bryant ran looked predictable; the 9-yard loss leading to a chorus of WHY’s?  Ben falling on the bobbled low snap at the end of the half seemed to punctuate a putrid first half. Fortunately, Chris Boswell was able to get the Steelers on the scoreboard.

The vaunted Steelers offense managed 100 net yards and were 0-5 on 3rd down conversion attempts. Joe Haden left the game with what turned out to be a fractured fibula. Jacoby Brissett able to throw untouched. Artie Burns the toast again for a 60-yard touchdown pass.  Everyone can see him peeking at the quarterback. Chad Sanborn voiced the frustration of Black & Gold fans in the Steelers Depot 1st half discussion thread, “So the TV announcers just showed how bad this team is on the road against sub .500 teams and after the bye week. THAT is a coaching thing. One game is on the players. A history is on the COACH.” It’s only a one score game but it seems like the Steelers are losing by much more than that.

The 2nd half started off like a continuation of the farce in the 1st half. Wide open Colt receiver with Mike Mitchell and was it Mike Hilton(?) knocking each other down. Our secondary doing its own rendition of the Keystone Kops. Then Roethlisberger made a nice pass to JuJu Smith-Schuster who raced down the field. Who then scores a few plays later after Antonio Brown drew a pass interference penalty. But then doink! Boswell misses the kick. Just 11 days ago, Alex Kozora warned Steelers Depot readers: About One Huge Issue On Special Teams. Luckily it did not cause the Steelers the game, but I hope Danny Smith is finally paying attention. Don’t play weak blockers on the kicks! Jesse James channeled Vance McDonald and made the score saving tackle with help from Jordan Berry who slowed the runner down. Still the Steelers seemed to get some resolve. The Colts next series is when the fumble that was not allowed happened. Defense held. Colts punt, then Steelers punt getting a favorable penalty that backed the Colts up. Brissett got dinged to the head – still not sure if he was trying to draw a penalty or if he was knocked limp.

Colts punt, Steelers punt. Then Ryan Shazier who had been getting ragged by readers in the 2nd half discussion thread for missing tackles made an amazing interception. He grabbed that ball like a frog snapping a fly out of the air with its tongue. Then Ben found Vance McDonald all alone in the end zone – but I swear he almost overthrew him. Going for two. Timeout … and then a delay of game? Not sure if wrong play called or wrong personnel went in. I’m not an expert lip reader but it appeared that Todd Haley was telling Ben; no worries we have more space to play with now – or was it STFU? In any case, Martavis Bryant made a nice catch and we have a tie ball game.

Steelers defense smelling meat. Vince Williams and Stephon Tuitt getting sacks in the same series after a pass is batted down. Boswell misses a field goal but no quit on defense. Coty Sensabaugh in for Joe Haden makes a nice pass defense and they eventually hold. Final drive and we have an Eli Rogers sighting as he just makes a crucial first 1st down on a shovel pass. He only gained 2 yards on the day, but they were an important two yards. Martavis picks up another first down and then Antonio Brown gets yet another – with JuJu blocking downfield. With four seconds left, the win rides with Chris Boswell who has missed a 37-yard Field goal and the blocked PAT. No worries; the Steelers had ‘em all the way.

Greg Payne stated in the thread, “No sense is wasting all that energy for the first 58 minutes …. I’m exhausted.” Indeed; as we all are.

It is a win; but some players banged up and a short week to get ready for Marcus Mariota and the Tennessee Titans. The Colts had been giving up 29 points a game to such formidable opponents that include the Cleveland Browns, San Francisco 49ers and Cincinnati Bengals. While it’s not a loss; it is a win; I feel more of a sense of relief than excitement. Will the Steelers be ready to play Thursday?

For much of the game; the question that must have been lurking in Ben’s mind must have been; I’ve lost my mojo! Fans may have been looking at their Terrible Towels forlornly but by the end starting with Ryan Shazier’s incredible interception; Ben and Steelers Nation were singing with Muddy Waters, Got my Mojo Workin’ … incongruous; but that’s an average Steelers fan for you.

  • Steeler Nation!

    It was an ugly first half. But that’s the NFL for you sometimes, especially on the road. But down 17-3 in the 3rd quarter on the road against a team hungry for a win, what happened? We dominated the rest of the way and won IN SPITE of the terrible start. Doesn’t that say as much or more than the terrible start-that we got behind by 2 scores and let the home crowd get into the game-and yet came back to win the game? There’s a silver lining in there. We better enjoy the win, and work to get better.

  • Jeff McNeill

    The three teams you mention in the 29 points a game, all scored less than 29 points.

  • JAMESH

    MoJo Smith-Schuster is JuJu’s long lost brother.

  • Beaver Falls Hosiery

    That’s true but they did score more than 20.

  • Beaver Falls Hosiery

    Yes siree. The Steelers did show resolve and that last drive had some key plays including Eli Rogers and Martavis Bryant converting two crucial 3rd downs. Hope that Ben and the team holds onto some of that Mojo for Thursday.

  • Beaver Falls Hosiery

    I like it. Maybe JuJU will reserve that name for his first born.

  • michael young

    Personally, I would be thrilled that we got an ugly win if the offense was playing better on the season. Fact is, the offense has been sputtering all season and that is more cause for concern. When we used to talk about Ben’s “moments”, they were usually the occasional bad decisions in an otherwise good game for him. These days it’s the other way around. We get “moments” of old Ben. He just hasn’t been able to put it all together this year. Why? Not sure. Even more alarming is the fact that Bell and the offensive line haven’t been living up to their potential either.

    The good news is we have a half a season ahead of us and Tomlin teams traditionally get stronger as the year goes on. The defense (other than giving up some boneheaded splash plays) has played exceptionally well. That is cause for optimism as the refs tend to let teams play more physical in the playoffs.

    If Ben can level out and Bell and the line can start to fire on all cylinders, we should be good to go come playoff time. We have the potential to be the most balanced team going into the playoffs. Just got to earn it. We shall see, one week at a time.

  • Chad Weiss

    Vince Williams is balling out.

  • Beaver Falls Hosiery

    Not many more seasons with Ben at quarterback; this season; next season maybe 2019. Can’t see beyond that. Now is the time. Let’s see how they do Thursday night after that 1/4 of the 2nd half of the season will be over. Time for offense, defense & special teams to coalesce.

  • Doug Andrews

    If this offense can get consistently rolling the Steelers are capable of beating anyone soundly. Maybe the sloppiness and lethargic first few quarters can be attributed to the bye week….hopefully

  • SteelersGeek4Lyfe

    Another under-performance. I fear the P*triots more and more each week. First, the Titans, which is a must win, and which will not be a gimme.

  • Beaver Falls Hosiery

    Why is the Titans game a “must” win? It is an important game to win but not sure the Steelers season goes up on flames if they do lose.

  • SteelersGeek4Lyfe

    I guess it all depends on what you consider a season up in flames. For me, given the circumstances, that would be anything short of a Super Bowl win, which is one the team itself would likely agree with (“The standard is the standard”… or whatever). With that goal in mind, their margin for error down the home stretch is virtually zero. I am not comforted whatsoever with their current standing or performance.

    This game is a must win if you want a realistic chance at home field advantage through the playoffs, which I consider necessary, unless you like our chances in Foxborough for the AFC Championship title, which I sure don’t. Sure, in the event of a loss, the Titans would probably lose enough games down the stretch for the Steelers to surpass them again for the #2 seed by the end of the season. The problem is I just don’t see many losses on the Patriots schedule the rest of the way, not with the Bills defense s***ing the bed and the Dolphins and Jets being generally below average.

    It is true that the Steelers can afford one more loss and still get the #1 seed, as long as they beat the Patriots in Heinz… but that’s a big “if” and we could use all the cushion we can get. I would also prefer a potential loss not to be against an AFC opponent one game behind.

  • SteelersGeek4Lyfe

    I guess that in short, I think the Steelers have a 50/50 chance (at best) of beating the Pats in Heinz, and maybe a 10% chance at beating them in Foxborough.

    There are some cool online tools where you can see all possible combinations of wins and losses for all games for the remainder of the season, and the percentage of those outcomes that would result in obtaining the #1 seed. 42% of all possible scenarios end with the Steelers gaining the #1 seed if they beat the Titans, and only 18% do if they lose. If you apply that to the win/loss probabilities I think the Steelers have facing the Patriots, it results in a difference between a 26.8% chance at a SB berth with a win this Thursday and a 17.2% chance with a loss, so a win would result in a 55.8% better chance at appearing in the Super Bowl than a loss would.

  • Beaver Falls Hosiery

    While I’d prefer the home field advantage throughout the playoffs; it is no guarantee. Two of Tom Brady’s three AFC championship victories over the Steelers occurred at Heinz Field.

    Right now, the Titans are a tough foe and overall are healthier than the Steelers going into this game. It is an important game to win but not a “must” win to me.

    As for the Patriots, they are not even on my radar yet and should be nowhere near the Steelers thoughts. There are 4 other opponents between now and then and a lot can happen during that time.