And just like, the Pittsburgh Steelers are top of the charts, number one in the hearts of Steelers Nation following another major step climbed on the staircase to National Football League heaven.
A victory over the Los Angeles Rams by a score of 17-12 after defeating the Indianapolis Colts 26-24? That’s back to back wins against two surging teams with talent and desire.
Well done, fellas.
Yet, no rest for the weary as now you will be playing 66.67% of your next three games against the greatest enigma in the NFL this year.
Just what is in these Brownies?
At the beginning of the season the Cleveland Browns were the fad pick of just about every talking head to be the AFC representative in the Super Bowl. And for good reason. Their offseason performance in terms of picking up big name free agents and an impressive draft seemed to supply ample evidence.
And, Earth to Steelers fans, that may still be the case. The Browns may be ready to explode.
Don’t let the geographical implications of the NFL curse over Ohio to cloud your thinking. This is a formidable opponent, and like a cornered, wounded animal, they may be primed to put some serious hurt on the Steelers current state of glee.
And, speaking of unhappiness, how can the NFL allow for such a short break between Sunday and Thursday games?
It’s inconceivable to require seasoned professionals to be asked to prepare and perform at the highest levels on such a short turnaround…with such an elevated risk of injury.
But, fear not. The Spin has overcome this injustice…and is ready to perform under the big lights.
After a few weeks of Mason Rudolph bashing it seems like the fanbase and football literati finally gave the young quarterback his fair due by applauding his performance against the Rams.
Funny me. After all of my hard work trying to advocate on his behalf that Steelers Nation give him MORE credit than he was getting, I thought his play against the Rams was not his best.
It was almost as he was obsessed in proving the naysayers wrong by abandoning his dump-offs and letting it rip downfield.
My suggestion to Mason would be to take off the rabbit ears. Forget what you’re hearing from the crowd, and focus on playing your own best game.
Don’t over think trying to enhance your performance on passes ranging from 12-15 yards and simply throw to the open man!
I think his completion percentage and game rhythm took a hit because of trying to please the crowd. Perhaps being on the road for a couple of games is just what he needs to get back in his…own…groove.
Why Defense Rules
Although Mike Tomlin has been doused with ticker tape this week based on the team’s turnaround this year, there still remains this blemish in his career.
That is, his tendency for his teams to underperform against underdogs. Here’s why I don’t think this will be a problem for the remainder of the year.
A dominating defense is more reliable than a dominating offense.
Offenses can more frequently be hot and cold, with too much of it varying depending on the performance of one individual, the quarterback. When Ben Roethlisberger got in a funk, the offense slumped, and sometimes for entire halves of games.
Defense is much more of a team oriented unit. Although a single player can blow a coverage, it usually takes a sub-par performance from several players to derail a powerful defense.
This defensive line can be counted on to create pressure in each and every game moving forward. The linebackers can cover broad terrain regardless of the opponent. And…finally, there are playmakers in the secondary who won’t drop easy interceptions.
Tomlin should rightfully be credited now for building a defensive unit that can carry this team with consistency this year and for years to come.
Good Guys Finish…?
Is there a player on the Steelers lineup that you fundamentally don’t care for? Find it difficult to root for?
Is there an arrogant, self-centered, mealy-mouthed jerk?
No. In fact, the complete opposite is true. These are all really good guys that have been assembled for this year’s 2019 Steelers team.
I’ll be the first to admit that early in the season I was wondering if we were a few complete idiots away from having enough talent and attitude to compete.
I mean. Can guys be both super cool to hang out with…and extraordinarily talented?
This year’s team is proving this answer to be a resounding “Yes”.
The Hail Mary Play
The storied Pittsburgh Steelers franchise boasts the play voted to be the greatest of all time in the NFL. That is, of course, the Immaculate Reception.
Well, this year, the Steelers may have created another legendary play, and it didn’t happen on the field. It came from the front office.
Following a dismal start, and with Big Ben heading towards surgery, the decision to trade for Minkah Fitzpatrick for a high trending first round pick and subsequently to exchange Nick Vannett for a fifth rounder will stand as one of the boldest moves in modern Steelers history.
This was…so unlike the franchise to do this. Shocking! And, a bit desperate, if we’re being honest. This was basically Kevin Colbert and Mike Tomlin up at 2 a.m. in the morning in some smoky, dimlit casino, looking at each other and with a nod, pushing all of their career chips in.
Yes, there was that much on the line. And, at least so far, it’s evolving to be one of the most rewarding midseason moves in all of team history.
Complementary drinks and a penthouse room on the house.
Beware The Bear
With all of this unbridled enthusiasm for the future, and considering the Steelers have benefited from some good fortune on their run, tonight’s game could end up being one of the year’s biggest disappointments.
Cleveland will be both desperate for a win, and will have renewed hope following their recent victory.
This is the game the Steelers really need to win, if they have any hope of challenging the Baltimore Ravens in the division.
This game used to be a laugher. Not tonight. It’s a rivalry. With both teams’ seasons firmly on the line.
Are you ready for some football, Steelers Nation?