Steelers Spin: Who Stole My Crunch Berries?

The weekend hangover from a Thursday Night Football game is like looking down to your bowl of cereal and in deep disappointment realizing you ate all of your Crunch Berries already. All you have left is plain old Cap’n Crunch.

No Pittsburgh Steelers games this weekend? Sigh.

Yet, following a 40-17 obliteration of the Tennessee Titans, we are at least left with a mellifluous glow of contentment. Like the cat lying on its back, rubbing his tummy with goldfish fins on the corner of his whisker smiling mouth.

Ah…all those wonderful reels of football highlights, still playing through our brains like our own personal Cinema Paradiso.

QB Ben Roethlisberger looking like…well Big Ben. WR Antonio Brown flashing back with a scintillating helmet catch that transported us gloriously back to his rookie sideline shuffle that ceremoniously launched his career.

The Steelers dispatched of the Titans in a way Steelers Nation has been pleading…nay…begging for all of the season long.

See we weren’t wrong. Steelers Nation knew you had that potential all along. Now…let’s give this one a good Spin.

A Place To Heal…A Place To Grow

It’s evident WR Martavis Bryant has some people in his life who are speaking wisdom in his ears. These are clearly people who really care about his well being. Many of them are undoubtedly within the Steelers organization. It’s easy to cite the public slip-ups that Martivis has made this year. Much less known, invisible to some, are the strides he is making day by day, both personally and professionally.

He’s become my favorite storyline of the season. I root for him every time he touches the ball or even when he embraces a teammate to share in their success. There is no stronger organization for Martavis to rebuild his life and career around than that of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Some things are more important than football. Well…actually most things are, young man. Take your time, Martavis. Your time is coming.

Stone Cold Coty

Everyone is talking about the dramatic impact the addition of CB Joe Haden has had on the Steelers just before the season started. And it may end up being one of the best free agent acquisitions for the Steelers in years. But, not to be overlooked was the emergence of Coty Sensabaugh in the secondary during the preseason. Those who were paying attention would have noticed that Sensabaugh can flat out play.

How did we notice? Because we didn’t notice him. He does what every good cornerback does, he makes receivers invisible. Did he get burned extra toasty against the Titans? Yeah…but in a quarters defense he should have gotten by with a little help from his friends. The young man is Stone Cold. He’ll do just fine in Haden’s absence and when Joe returns this secondary will be all of the more deeper for it. The Steelers secondary will soon enough be secondary to few others.

If The Schu Fits

I wrote something stupid a few weeks back. Okay…I write a lot of stupid stuff. It sells like crazy. I had intimated that WR JuJu Smith-Schuster would never be number one receiver material. Not only would I like to take that shoe out of my mouth, but I’d like to make an even bigger statement. The kid might end up someday breaking many Steelers receiving records.

I know…I know…it’s blasphemy with the great Antonio Brown still in his prime. But, with JuJu, you have a talented player, who will be loved enough by fans to get several contracts and may have another 15-18 playing years ahead of him. Crazy thinking? Yes…probably, because with the way Brown takes care of his body he may not retire until he’s 50. But this JuJu guy? Yeah…he’s the full package.

The Gunner

People who say Ryan Shazier misses too many tackles? That’s like looking at a masterpiece by Renoir and saying, “But it’s fuzzy”. Shazier never was a Tyrannosaurus Rex. He’s the lead Velociraptor. He’s the first to the kill. His job is to distract the flow of the play until the rest of the defense can catch up and get into his time zone. That’s art, baby. Start loving it for what it is. Oh…and he is also number five in the NFL in total tackles.

Speaking Of Gunners

It’s time again to “Say hey!” for Darrius Heyward-Bey. If you’re ever wondering who is the guy running ahead of everyone to race toward the returner on special teams, it’s Heyward-Bey. Here’s a guy who was a supposed high draft pick flop who has quietly transformed himself into the one of the elite special teamers in the league. These are the type of quiet performers who provide the foundation for championships.

Video Games For Christmas

Apparently, everyone but me hated the SkyCam coverage of the Steelers and Titans game. From my perspective, Ben Roethlisberger never looked better this year. Oh? What? Was it because he played better? Well…that too. Still, he should bring that SkyCam around with him every game. He looked masterful, and only after a bit of a slowdown in the second quarter he appeared to be in complete control. Maybe less Le’Veon Bell equals better Big Ben? They might consider getting his throw count in early from here on out.

Some Things You Miss…And Some Your Don’t

I loved seeing the older Pittsburgh players embracing Coach Dick LeBeau after the Titans game. If I could, I would have given him a hug myself. He really got “the treatment” when he was chased out of Pittsburgh. He deserved better.

Still, I have to admit, although I miss the man, I don’t miss his defense those last few years for the Steelers. There were probably more kitchen utensils thrown at the television through the years while watching his corners play twelve yards back on a 3rd and 3 than on any others. I like our defense now. Our corners may get burned deep here and there, but at least we man up.

Weekend Survival Kit

Why does this feel like another bye week? Haven’t we had our fill? Well…at least the Steelers will have some extra time to heal up and be ready for the Green Bay Packers next week. As for me? I’m going to go look for some Crunch Berries.

About the Author

Michael K. Reynolds

Longtime Pittsburgh Steelers fanatic and author of the acclaimed Heirs of
Ireland series.

  • Matt Manzo

    …you had me at Crunch Berries!

  • Gloria Burke

    Love me some DHB. Ultimate team player. Not sure about the sky cam yet. I don’t play video games but I get the perspective, but I really had a hard time figuring out if it was 2 yards or 5 on a run and I missed the “normal” perspective. Maybe they could split screen some views. Big enough TV and you’d have the best of both worlds.
    P.S. DHB also hugged Dick LeBeau……

  • Beaver Falls Hosiery

    I’m a Cheerios man.

  • Chad Weiss

    “A place to heal… A place to grow” In other words Bryant’s playing a little better.

  • pittfan

    Good call out on #10. I don’t think it’s been mentioned but his fumble recovery, which was huge, came on the very next play after bobbling the catch on the drag route. Way to keep your head in the game young man! Make Pittsburgh your home and flourish!

  • Rob S.

    The skycam’s not a bad idea, I just think it’s too close. Back it up a few yards and a couple feet higher and it would be better. The view speeds up the game and I think people can’t figure out where to focus, especially on passing plays.

  • Shawn Swain

    ….Dilly …Dilly

  • AndyR34

    Michael – you hit a whole bunch of high notes! Singing tenor in the choir are you? Great shout-outs to guys who don’t get a lot of love: DHB, Coty, Martavous, Coach Dad (how poignant the hugs pist-game were!!!). I, too, enjoyed the sky-cam…looking forward to more. I think most complaints are ‘a rush to judgment’ and due to it being a change (Ugh…change bad, same-old, same-old good). Thanks for your perspective.

  • Phil Brenneman II

    Awesome stuff MKR and I will only make 1 minor disagreement and that is I think you are going just a touch too far on Shazier. He isn’t quite there just yet. Polamalu was a masterpiece to watch on those plays because a lot of times even when he pursued past he could make a shoestring or foot tackle. The fact is, Ryan Shazier DOES miss too many tackles to be considered truly great at this point. He is good, maybe even really good, but not quite great. Maybe someone needs to lose an ear first.

    And kudos to touching on a lot of guys who don’t necessarily get enough credit but as a big big Williams fan I miss seeing a mention of his sack total and just how good he has been because too many are focused on Shazier.

  • Mike Lloyd

    “There’s a crunch berry under the refrigerator”
    Excellent piece as always Michael.
    You brought me back to reality about missed tackles…I’ve gotten too overly critical of that.
    They are winning, even if it’s ugly sometimes -they are winning. This game…it was the Steelers best yet.

  • Yes it was!

  • You know me too well. I was going to write about 98 but it didn’t make the cut. Soon Vincenzo…

  • They play like that and I make happy music. I’m simple in that way. Appreciate you.

  • You want to win over Steelers Nation start with the meat and potatoes. The funble recovery was significant as you say.

  • I like Cheerios, but only after a good tablespoon of sugar (or two). There should be a significant crunching of sugary delight when you have those first spoonfuls.

  • He truly is the ultimate team guy. And apparently still the fastest guy on the team.

  • Steve

    Don’t care for Crunch Berry’s, bring on the Peanut Butter Crunch.

  • Steve

    Very hard to get dept perception on the Sky Cam, but I enjoy seeing the holes open for Bell.

  • Matt Manzo

    Oh hell yeah! Peanut Butter anything!

  • Abed Medawar

    great write up, thanks. This game, we seemed to hear more pre-snap talk on the field than usual, do you think that had to do with a mic in skycam? i liked listening to that chess game between d and o a lot.

  • CountryClub

    I’m a big Shazier fan. But, he has to clean up the missed tackles. A MLB’s main job is to make tackles. Getting there quicker than everybody else doesn’t absolve him from that fact.

  • Michael Mosgrove

    he’s #5 in tackles but i wonder if he is #1 in missed?

  • Michael Mosgrove

    exactly. shazier is good. but he relies too heavily on speed and not form.

  • heath miller

    god this is brutal .. i have the NFL Network one waiting to hear about the steelers game today and no game… its like listening to the great game dallas – eagles game ….. yawnnnnnnnnn…. viking in a tough game against the rams ….. yawnnnnn i dont give a flyiing F about the eagles, cowgirls, vikings or the LA? SL? LA? california? vagabaugn rams …. i dont care… only thing i got to root for today is patriots lose.. dnt even care about the bengals and ravens. let them win and go lower in the draft .. dont care .. sounds like a good day to take a 2 hour nap.. lol.. HEEEEEEEEATH

  • cencalsteeler

    One of my favorite moments from that game was seeing MB with a big smile on his face. I caught him celebrating with his teammates, congratulating guys and having some fun. That, in turn, put a smile on my face. I’m rooting for him too, Michael. Great article as always!

  • John Noh

    Michael – that’s what the DVR is for. I’ve re-watched this glorious game three times and it gets better every single time!

  • Steel Realist PAul

    Literally, the only thing I don’t enjoy about dumping cable/satellite is lack of a DVR for sports. I couldn’t watch this one and that’s…….well, that. Just can’t see it now.

  • Steve

    Vince can lay out the ball carrier.

  • Steve

    Shazier is not a MLB, he is an inside line backer. But I do agree that he needs to make the tackle more.