I made an impulsive decision to attend the game. It was easy to find a ticket but opted to stand in the rotunda rather than occupy my seat. The Steelers gamebook says there was 60,821 paid attendance which is just under 89% capacity. The fans in the stands were loud when needed. Glad to attend but the drive home brutal. Pulled into my driveway in Maryland at 4AM.
There are a couple items I’ll address before recapping play on the field.
STEELERS FANS DECORUM
Injuries are an unfortunate factor in the game. Defensive end Darrell Taylor laid out after combining with Al Woods to tackle Najee Harris. Ben Roethlisberger one of the first Steelers over as medical staff tended to him on the field. During the long delay fans began a wave in the stadium. Not intentionally disrespectful but thoughtlessly so. Several fans around me yelled at the wavers to stop. Not sure what prompted the wave stopping but it finally ended. When medics trundled Taylor off the field, fans politely applauded. Thankfully, Stan Savran advised during his postgame show that Taylor was well enough to return to Seattle with the team. I hope he recovers quickly.
Ben Roethlisberger fumbled the ball. Folks watching the replay at the game mostly accepted the reversal of an incomplete pass. Just looked like the ball came out on the second pump fake. The call that upset many people in the season came at the end of regulation. Seattle had no timeouts and just 18 seconds left in the game. From the 35-yard line, Geno Smith connected with DK Metcalf who could have settled the matter by stepping out of bounds at around the 25 to stop the clock. But he didn’t. James Pierre knocked the ball out of Metcalf’s grip and the ball skittered away. Freddie Swain recovered the ball with the game clock ticking. Seattle rushing to set up to spike the ball and the clocked ticked on. Three, two, one, zero. The stadium erupts. Everyone cheering the victory.
Then the referee explains the play is under review. That call confused everyone since no one questioned the catch or the fumble. The replays showed in the stadium that Metcalf caught the ball and stayed in bounds so the clock should keep moving. The referee upholds what everyone in the stadium already knew. But then explains that officials stopped the play with three seconds on the clock. That simply did not happen. In front of my eyes, I watched the game clock moving as the Seattle offense lined up. Fans in the stands did not see any officials signaling the play to stop.
DID NFL REVIEW GET IT RIGHT?
During our Monday night Steelers fans town hall on clubhouse, folks explained that NFL officials in New York City ordered the replay and determined the stoppage of play at three seconds. Now, there is also video evidence that the center did snap the ball before the game clock hit zero. If that is the case, then the issue should be moot. Geno Smith spiked the ball on time. But does it close out the issue?
First, did Russel Wilson enter the field of play while the clock ran? If so, shouldn’t officials penalize Seattle for unauthorized persons on the field during the play? Second, did an NFL official set the ball at the line of scrimmage or did the Seattle center place the ball? Isn’t a game official required to set the ball prior to the snap to ensure that it is at the proper line of scrimmage? If either is a penalty, then why didn’t the NFL officials catch it during the play review.
NFL HEADQUARTERS MICROMANAGING GAMES
I am not a fan of officiating games remotely. The rationale the NFL presents is to get the calls right. But if remote review still doesn’t correctly identify the correct call why keep it at all? These are anonymous (since Al Riveron retired) officials affecting game results and should not have the power to reset the clock to give another team a competitive advantage. I much prefer that officials at the game make the call and held accountable for any errors. If you need an official off the field aiding the crew, they should be at the stadium and videoed whenever they overrule calls on the field.
Former NFL commissioner Bert Bell once said, “The league … realizes that if a fan attends a game and goes away without remembering the referee, umpire, field judge or linesman, that a game must have been expertly officiated.” Roger Goodell prefers fans remembering officials all too well.
SYNCHRONICITY AND THE TERRIBLE TOWEL
Synchronicity is a theory developed by psychologist Carl Jung. The concept is “to describe circumstances that appear meaningfully related yet lack a causal connection.” Now Pittsburgh Steelers fans know that there is a “causal connection” between playing Renegade, the fans twirling their terrible towels at Heinz Field and the Steelers performance on the field. But how about when we are at home or local bars watching the Steelers play. Does our cheering and twirling of Terrible Towels have such a meaningful connection to the Steelers performance? While many scientists may scoff at the idea. I’m taking no chances. If the Steelers are playing, I’ll have my towel at the ready. One of those twirls just may waft some positive vibes to the Black and Gold.
A lot of Steeler alumni in town for a reunion and the induction of the latest members to the Football Hall of Fame. Great to see Joe Greene, Mel Blount, Franco Harris, Rod Woodson, and others as they looked on to see the latest inductees: Bill Nunn represented by his granddaughter, Donnie Shell, Troy Polamalu, Bill Cowher, and Alan Faneca. Hall of Fame president David Baker noted that most teams had no more than two inductees while the Steelers had five!
FIRST HALF OFFENSE
The Steelers punted away their first three possessions. But then scored twice from the red zone before squandering their final drive in the first half.
THREE FIRST QUARTER PUNTS
Ray-Ray McCloud returned the opening kickoff all the way to the 37-yard line. Everyone excited. Najee Harris ran twice to set up a third and four. Unfortunately, Trai Turner jumped the snap with the penalty pushing the ball back for a third and nine. Ben throws short to Najee who is tackled two yards short of the sticks. Throws short of the sticks on third down is frustrating when it ends a drive.
The next Pittsburgh drive started at the 31. James Washington caught a pass for nine yards on first down. Then he disappeared. Washington only played eight offensive snaps and we could see him on the sideline with his helmet on. Diontae Johnson got the first down. But on third and ten, Ben connected with Pat Freiermuth. Great but the play only went for seven yards. Pressley Harvin back out to punt.
The third drive starts on the 20 following a touchback. The game still at 0-0. The drive starts well with a nine-yard pass to Freiermuth. Diontae penalized for offensive pass interference that seemed dubious. On third and 11, Ben goes to Diontae Johnson for 12 yards and a first down. But Najee stuffed for a loss on the next play setting up the dreaded second and 12. Ben throws deep to Diontae on third and six, but he does not catch the ball. Three Steeler drives in the first quarter and three Harvin punts.
STEELERS SCORE TWO TOUCHDOWNS
The defense forces Seattle to three and out. Then Michael Dickson shanks a 24-yard punt. Steeler’s offense great starting position at their own 46. Najee runs twice for third and three. Ben connects with Eric Ebron for a four-yard first down. Najee runs again for just one yard. The middle plugged so Diontae sweeps around the right end for 25 yards. Ben to Freiermuth for a first and goal at the five. Chase Claypool well defended by Robert Nkemdiche. But on second and goal, Najee goes in on a short pass for the touchdown. Steelers take the lead 7-0.
The Steelers next drive behind the 20 at the 16. Ben starts with two completions to Diontae that result in a first down. Then a short pass to Najee for 12. Steelers stretching the field horizontally giving the receivers to gain yards after the catch. Najee for just two on first down. Seattle plugging the middle. So, Freiermuth again for a nine-yard reception. And another Pittsburgh Steelers first down. Kalen Ballage checks in and gains four yards on first down. Bryan Mone’s facemask penalty adds 15 more.
Now at the Seattle 31, Najee is back catching a six-yard pass. A Seattle offside penalty gives the Steelers a first down in the red zone at the 19. Two Najee runs gain eight yards. The Chase Claypool catches a pass for five yards. Najee gets the ball to the one. But he’s stuffed on the next play. Eric Ebron’s touchdown run took everyone by surprise. A well-conceived drive that took seven minutes off the clock capped by an unpredictable run by a tight end.
MISSED OPPORTUNITY TO EXTEND LEAD
Pittsburgh given a chance to extend the lead to three scores after a weak punt. Steelers have the ball at the 41 with 36 seconds to go. Short pass to Diontae just two yards but he gets out of bounds. Need about 20 yards to get within Boswell’s range. On third and eight, another short pass to Diontae that just gains a yard. Why throw short of the sticks? Steelers up 14-0 but wanted that field goal for a three-score lead.
SECOND HALF OFFENSE
The Steelers answer the Seahawks opening touchdown with a field goal. But cannot answer Seattle’s second touchdown. Then Ben fumbles the ball allowing Seattle to tie up the game at 17 apiece. The Steelers manage a nine play 50-yard drive that gave the Steelers a 20-17 lead with 1:30 left in regulation. In overtime, the offense does a three and out. The final possession created by TJ Watt’s takeaway and the Steelers win with a Boswell chip shot.
OFFENSE ANSWERS THREE SEAHAWKS SCORES WITH A FIELD GOAL
The Steelers start their first drive of the second half at the 25 following the Seahawks opening touchdown closes the gap to 14-7. Ben completes a 15-yard pass to McCloud taking the ball to the 40-yard line. Najee makes a strong run for six yards. Then two completions to Diontae for 37 yards sandwiched between two Claypool incompletions. On second and ten Ben throws short right to Diontae. But Claypool and Chuks Okorafor both draw flags for illegal blocks above the waist. Pittsburgh almost converts with successive tight end passes. Ebron gains six, but on third down Freiermuth stopped two yards short of a first after gaining 12. Another passing play on third down behind the sticks. Boswell makes it 17-7 on a 27-yard kick.
Seattle scores again to tighten the score to 17-14. Pittsburgh responds with a three and out. Najee loses a yard on first down. Seattle is shuttling 3-4 defenders on and off the field almost every play. Stacking the box, I don’t understand why Ben does not check out of the play instead of running Najee into a brick wall. Claypool incomplete on third down. Harvin punts again.
Seattle ties the game 17-17 early in the fourth quarter. Seahawks kick near the goal line and Ray-Ray can’t find much room and stopped behind the 20 for the second kickoff in a row. Najee rips a ten-yard run. He takes himself off the field. Ballage rips one for 11 yards. Another first down and this time Ben back to pass. He pump fakes twice. The second time the ball comes out of his hand. Referees rule it an incomplete pass, but Kerry Hyder jumped on the loose ball. Pete Carroll wins the challenge and Seattle threatens to take the lead on the Pittsburgh turnover.
The defense forces a punt. But Harvin ends up trading punts with Dickson when Ben throws to incompletions. This possession’s main bright spot was Claypool corralling a 12-yard pass. Dickson punts again as Pittsburgh’s defense solves the running problem.
McCloud fields the punt at the 12 and returns it to the 26. There is 5:19 left on the clock. Najee off right guard for four. Then a seven-yard pass to Freiermuth for the first down. Najee for nine. Then three for another Pittsburgh Steelers first down. This play is where Taylor collided with former Steeler Al Woods injuring himself as they tackled Harris. An exceptionally long delay until medics could take him off the field.
Najee runs for another ten yards. Then five more to get to the two-minute warning. The ball is on the 36 which means a 54-yard field goal attempt. On second and five, Ben took his shot throwing deep left for Claypool. From my angle looking down the line, it looked like Claypool flagrantly pushed off the defender for offensive pass interference. The penalty moves the ball back out of field goal range unless you’re Justin Tucker. On third and 15, Ben throws to Najee who shakes and bakes his way for 12 yards just three yards shy of icing the game. Seattle takes their first timeout to stop the clock. Then Boswell hits his 52-yard field goal leaving 1:35 to play but a 20-17 lead.
Seattle ties the score to send the game into overtime.
The Seahawks had the ball first but forced to punt. Dickson’s punt reaches the 11 but McCloud takes it to the 20 before pushed out of bounds. Najee gains four on first down. But Freiermuth only two on second down. On third and four, McCloud catches the ball but can only make three yards. Harvin punts for the seventh time of the game but it was a beauty going flipping the field by going out of bounds at the 15-yard line.
The last possession a gift from Watt strip sacking Geno Smith and Devin Bush recovering the fumble. I really don’t know what Pittsburgh trying to do with Ben losing three yards milling around and then taking a knee. Maybe gaining time for Boswell to limber up? Boswell ends it with a 37-yard field goal.
FIRST HALF DEFENSE
The defense looked strong and the Seattle offense inept to begin the game. Heinz Field rocking with fans hoping for a blowout. The defense forced Seattle to punt on five straight drives. What’s not to like about that?
COLLINS RUNS SUCCESSFULLY EARLY
Seattle’s first two drives started behind their 20 thanks to Harvin’s punting and special team coverage. Geno Smith threw six passes completing four in the two drives. The first drive ended with a three and out. Geno Smith passed for two first downs during the second drive. One for 27, the other for 12 yards. But Tre Norwood defended a pass intended for Lockett on third and five. Heinz Field exploded when Seattle took a delay of game. But they were just giving their punter more room. However, Alex Collins ran 20 yards on his first three touches on those two drives.
SACKS AND DEFENDED PASSES
Harvin and Dickson traded punts through the whole first quarter. Minkah Fitzpatrick and Devin Bush brought Metcalf down after a 12-yard gain to set up third and one. TJ Watt knocked the ball down and Seattle punting again. Dickson shanks it and Pittsburgh exploits the miscue with the first score of the game five minutes into the second quarter. Seattle tries to respond starting with a 14-yard passing play to Metcalf. But Cam Heyward sacks Geno Smith and its second and 18. An incompletion then Smith hits Freddie Swain but James Pierre there to tackle him for no gain. Punt number four.
Pittsburgh goes up 14-0 with a minute to play in the half. Seattle going down swinging. Chris Wormley bats down Smith’s first pass at the line of scrimmage. Smith misses Lockett deep. Then Alex Highsmith sacks Geno on third down. The fifth punt of the first half for Michael Dickson.
Steelers can’t extend the 14-0 lead but fans feeling rather good with the defensive performance so far.
SECOND HALF DEFENSE
DEFENSE PUNCHED IN THE MOUTH
Steelers fans were comfortable for about one play to start the third quarter. Alex Collins ran for five yards from the 25 following the touchback kickoff. Then Collins runs right again for 11 yards. And another run right for 21. Geno changes up and throws right to Metcalf for 12. DeeJay Dallas spells Collins and goes five yards. Nine of ten plays on the ground. Seattle just punched the Pittsburgh defense in the mouth. TJ Watt penalized for actually punching Collins. But he was trying to dislodge the ball near the goal line. Minkah Fitzpatrick and Terrell Edmunds in on four of the tackles. It is not good when safeties must make the tackles on runs and a short pass.
DEFENSE ROLLED FOR TWO MORE SCORES
The Steelers respond to the Seahawks opening touchdown with a field goal to make the score 17-7. Dallas returns the kickoff to the 40-yard line. The Seattle offense starts in with more body blows to the defense. Isaiahh Loudermilk and Highsmith stop Collins for no gain. So, Geno passes to Lockett for 14 yards. Back to Collins for three with Wormley and Highsmith tackling him. Then deep left for Gerald Everett with Joe Schobert finally tackling him. Heyward stuffs Collins in the middle. But no answer for Smith throwing to a wide-open Will Dissly for a one-yard touchdown reception. 17-14 and the pucker factor is high.
Seattle gets great field position again after Harvin shanks a punt going out of bounds at the Seattle 42. Collins tackles the ball right into Pittsburgh territory on a 14-yard scamper. At the end of the third quarter its third and seven. Why pass on third and long when Travis Homer can run off right tackle for 26 yards? It’s third and two with the ball at the seven. Fans bracing themselves for the Seahawks to take the lead. But Highsmith and Chris Wormley chase Geno back sacking him for a 15-yard loss. Finally, the defense holds just giving up three to tie the game.
DEFENSE STARTS TO HOLD
Ben’s fumble gives Seattle the ball right back at the 35-yard line. Arthur Maulet and Minkah combine to stop Collins for no gain. But there is no play since officials catch Jamarco Jones holding. DeeJay Dallas gets the ten penalty yards right back running up the middle. How he got through the front seven so that Maulet tackled him is a mystery. But that’s it. Watt defends another pass. Then Norwood tackles Freddie Swain who loses four yards. That likely pushed the ball out of field goal range for Myers though he does have a career long 61-yard field goal two years ago. Seattle opts to punt.
Seattle tries to run Collins on the next drive. But the Steelers are not having it. Watt and Heyward stop him for a loss. Then Watt stops Collins for another short loss. On third and 12, DeeJay Dallas can’t escape Heyward and Robert Spillane who prevent the first down.
Pittsburgh leading 20-17 with 1:30 left in regulation. The defense lapses again. Seattle gains 13 yards on two plays. A short pass to the right. Then a run to the right. Seattle passes midfield when Metcalf runs out of bounds at the 42 on an 11-yard pass play on third and one. Just 28 seconds left. Smith throws to Dallas, but Minkah Fitzpatrick forces a fumble, but Seattle recovers and takes its final timeout. Then with 18 seconds left the play that I described at the beginning of the article. We going to overtime.
WATT TWO BIG PLAYS
Seattle opts to receive. Smith completes a pass to Lockett for 21 yards just shy of midfield. Cam Heyward tackles Dallas in the backfield. Smith passes to Dallas who gets ten yards back. Then on third and four, Watt sacks Geno for a 13-yard loss. But the offense cannot take advantage and punt from their 29.
Watt again makes the big play by strip sacking Smith on first down. Devin Bush there to recover the fumble. A few plays later Boswell kicks the winning points.
The defense finally asserted itself with TJ Watt making the big play to seal the deal.
I believe special teams are an underappreciated facet of the game where one big play can shift momentum or even decide the game winner.
I break special teams play into three phases: Kickoffs, punting, and field goals including extra point attempts. Here is an overview of the special teams play during the game:
Chris Boswell kicked off six times. His first kickoff after Steelers scored went three yards deep into the endzone. DeeJay Dallas returned the kick 31 yards before Derek Watt tackled him. Boswell kicked two second half kicks short to pin Seattle deep. That backfired if it was the plan. After going up 17-7, Boswell kicks to the two and Dallas returns the ball to the 40-yard line. The Seahawks scored from the resulting short field. Boswell kicked short of the goal line to open the overtime period. I thought the coverage team had a chance to tackle Dallas behind the 25 but he reached the 27 before Ulysees Grant and James Pierre brought him down. Danny Smith would have been safer to ask Boswell to kick it deep for touchbacks. Boswell’s three touchbacks gave Seattle their worst starting position. Seattle’s average starting position after kickoffs was their own 29-yard line.
Jason Myers kicked off four times. Ray-Ray McCloud raced for 37 yards to open the game. Seattle must have adjusted because Myers challenged Ray-Ray to run with kicks right around the goal line. McCloud returned those for 19 and 17 yards, respectively. Seattle penalized five yards for an illegal formation on one kick, but it only brought the ball to the 23-yard line. Before the NFL started deemphasizing kickoffs, teams could opt to add those five yards to a re-kick. The Steelers average starting position after kickoffs was just over their own 25-yard line.
Danny Smith needs to tinker with both the kickoff coverage and return teams. Opponents adjust quickly and Pittsburgh is losing the average starting position battle as a result. The good news no penalties on kickoffs or returns teams.
|Chris Boswell||6||3||3||0||0||SEA 29|
|Jason Myers||4||3||1||0||2||PGH 25.5|
Pressley Harvin III punted seven times averaging 47.9 yards per attempt. With one exception, Harvin’s punts went beyond the 20-yard line. Freddie Swain fielded his second punt at the 13-yard line and Benny Snell made a great tackle limiting the return to three yards. Swain returned Harvin’s next punt 14 yards, but it was a deep 58-yard boomer, and he just reached the 21. Pressley shanked his first second half punt for just 32 yards. Seattle scored a field goal on the short field. Justin Layne stopped Tyler Lockett for a three-yard return after Harvin reached the 15 on a 50-yard punt. Harvin’s last punt was a beauty in overtime. His 56-yard punt flipped the field and went out of bounds unreturnable at the 15. Four of seven punts forced Seattle to start inside their own 20. Strong overall effort netting 42.1 yards a punt.
Michael Dickson punted eight times. He has a strong leg. His longest punt 65 yards but Ray-Ray McCloud returned it 14 yards to the 26-yard line. Also, Dickson shanked a second quarter punt that went 24 yards to the Pittsburgh 46. The Steelers scored a touchdown on that possession. Near end of first half, Dickson pooched a weak 42-yard punt downed at the Pittsburgh 41. The weak punt gave Pittsburgh a terrific opportunity to go up by three scores in the first half but did not exploit the opportunity. With two touchbacks and the shanked punt, Dickson netted 36.9 yards per punt.
Harvin contributed to the Steelers win by giving the team a territorial edge over the Seahawks.
FIELD GOALS and EXTRA POINTS
Chris Boswell kicked three field goals. Boswell converted two points after touchdown attempts. His 52-yard field goal in regulation very clutch while the overtime chip shot anticlimactic but won the game.
Myers made both field goal attempts and two points after touchdown attempts.
|FGs and PATs||XPM||XPA||FGM||FGA||Long||2PTM||2PTA|
DAVE BRYAN’S VICTORY PUNCH LIST
Dave Bryan provided five keys for a Steelers victory. Here is how the Steelers performed them:
- Defense plays more zone than man coverage to avoid Metcalf or Lockett scoring explosive touchdowns. Neither Metcalf nor Lockett scored and just one explosive play for 21 yards between the two of them. Mission accomplished.
- Use more 12 personnel groupings to enable Freiermuth catching four to eight passes and scoring a touchdown. Freiermuth caught seven passes. Four of his seven receptions successful. Although he came up short on two third downs and did not score overall: Mission accomplished.
- Najee rushes 23 or more times. Harris rushed 24 times for 81 yards. Mission accomplished.
- Protect Ben from Jamal Adams. Ben avoided sacks taking just one. Jamal Adams recorded failed to hit or pressure Roethlisberger. Mission accomplished.
- Prevent Geno Smith from scrambling for yardage. TJ Watt forced Geno to fumble as he scrambled to setup the game winning field goal. Mission accomplished.
Steelers achieved all five keys. Credit to Pete Carroll and the Seahawks for switching tactics in the second half to keep this game too close for comfort.
YOUR HOT TAKES DURING THE GAME
FIRST HALF READER COMMENTS
Okay people. I clearly stated,” Yinz we’re slacking last week. I’m at game again so depending on you to meet the standard” Yet, Steelers Depot readers only commented 817 times on the game’s first half Live Update and Discussion Thread. Steelers Depot respondents did not meet the standard. No excuse this week. The Steelers on national broadcast for Sunday Night Football. Thank you, Ross McCorkle, for keeping us up to date with the latest tweets and updates as the game progressed.
Sparse as they were, here are the best of the first half comments:
On Seattle’s first possession Tre Norwood prevented DK Metcalf from getting a first down on a third and four play. Metcalf outweighs Norwood by over 40 pounds but stopped for just two yards. Doc Ellis D tripped on that hit, “Tre nuked Metcalf. No easy task.”
Nolrog identified NFL officials plans to interfere early in the game: “Ref: We have to pick up the flag because we accidentally threw it on the Seahawks.”
Many agreed with Danny Porter assessing Cam Heyward’s level of play, “97 so good. “
Matt Canada’s offensive scheme both praised and panned. QBall915 articulated exactly what we were thinking on some runs, “Need to throw against these stacked boxes. “But after Ebron’s touchdown run surprised everyone, K S reassessed, “Can we admit Canada is adding some inventiveness to the offensive play calling?”
Steelers up by two scores at end of half 14-0. But really wanted to see Pittsburgh at least get a field goal on last possession.
SECOND HALF READER COMMENTS
Depot respondents made up for the paltry first half with 1597 second comments during the second half live discussion. Can’t yinz put together a full game of 1000 comments per half?
RicR submitted the top comment of the game, “That’s a Roethlisberger fumble, but a Brady incomplete.” Alevin16 similarly noted, “If that was Brady that would be the tuck rule.”
Steelers D and others like a rookie defensive lineman. “Keep Loudermilk in there. He is way better than Wormley.” I’m not sure if this comment offered before or after Wormley deflected a pass at the line of scrimmage. Steelers D also offered a possible solution for Seattle running over Steelers defenders at will: “Think it’s time to make Buddy Johnson an active player. A thumper LB would go good in a game like this.”
Jason Dock Dudley summed up our collective feeling nicely. “Tough game but the joy of being a fan is riding with your team until the end!!!!!!” Meanwhile, EdJHJr pointed out the dangerous side effects of following the Steelers: “This team creates alcholhalism (sic).” Mrwirez concluded, “It’s rough being a Steelers fan.”
The Steelers hung in there and Chris Boswell calmly put the game away in overtime with his third field goal. Steelers win 23-20. No doubt, we had ‘em all the way.
An important win. It wasn’t pretty but the Steelers go into the bye week 3-3. Next, we find out about injuries and whether Zach Banner and McFarland will be playing against Cleveland. Then there is still the question of Stephon Tuitt.
As for the game. I like the wrinkles Matt Canada introduced especially the Eric Ebron touchdown play. Completely unexpected. Najee ran on 24 of the Steelers 75 offensive plays. Plus, he added six receptions. Not sure why James Washington only played eight snaps. Chase Claypool played poorly. He seemed to be trying to loosen up his legs. Fans responding to Freiermuth. Diontae has proven to be the number one deep threat. Why are so many passes on third down short of the sticks?
DEFENSE AND SPECIAL TEAMS
The defense must correct its tackling. Seattle did with backup running backs what I was expecting Pittsburgh to do with Najee Harris. Devin Bush seemed to run past tackles. Minkah looked average in coverage. Tre Norwood shined. The defense forced some fumbles and batted some passes into the air. Need to turn more of those into takeaways. Cam Heyward forced his will on the Seahawks when it counted. But especially TJ Watt. When it came down to the end, he made two big plays. The huge play being the forced fumble. Both Heyward and Watt climbing up the ranks as franchise sack leaders for the Steelers.
Pressley Harvin punted very well aside from the shank. He supplied Pittsburgh could field position. Ray-Ray is due to break a big one. On other hand, coverage team burnt on kickoff returns. Is Danny Smith getting outcoached on special teams? Chris Boswell is money. The 52-yard kick big. And then he ended all doubt at the end of the game.
YOUR MUSIC SELECTION
I always like to offer a music selection. We share this nightmare called NFL officiating. Nothing is invincible. Not even the connecting principle of the Terrible Towel. Referees’ logic so inflexible linked to the imperceptible almost inexpressible science that is insusceptible. With one breath, with one flow and twirl of the towel we know it’s synchronicity. Here is Synchronicity by the Police.