The reports of both the Steelers and Ben’s demise may have been greatly exaggerated. The reports of Ben being injured may have been fake news. The reports of Ben not being able to throw the deep ball were ludicrous. The calls for Ben to be eased into retirement after the season are so much poppycock in the wind. In short, turns out there is exactly nothing wrong with #7 nor the chances of the 2020 Pittsburgh Steelers to win #7.
The Biblical Lazarus. Terminator 2. Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction‘s bathtub.
Murder by Death. The Third Man. This was our Hollywood movie plot with a surprise twist that baffled most pundits and even most Steelers fans.This was James Bond skiing off a cliff, opening a parachute, grabbing onto a helicopter as it flies by, dropping into the water on top of a submarine, climbing into the hatch just before it submerges, and firing a ballistic missile that takes out a death ray kind of crazy.
How can a team be so moribund, so written off, and so terrible looking in virtually every aspect of the game then turn around to look like a Super Bowl contender? Was it hookers and blow at halftime? Did Superman spin the planet backwards? Did they call in Lance for an adrenaline shot?
Steelers fans have formed their own 4-H club – the hopeless, hysterical hypochondriacs of history — (paraphrasing) Spiro Agnew
How about that TD to JuJu? That was shades of the Martavis 4th down deep throw vs Jacksonville in the infamous playoff loss.
How about the 50-yards in the air bullseye to DJ? Or the deep seam throw to Claypool? Ben was spitting frozen watermelon seeds through the gap in his front teeth.
The Steelers overcame a 17-point 2nd half deficit for Ben’s biggest second-half comeback of his entire career. This was like the aforementioned Jacksonville playoff game except that the Steelers defense managed to make enough second-half stops in this one to make it count in the win column.
It was also the Steelers 3rd biggest 2nd half deficit overcome in their entire franchise history and their biggest comeback in 17 years (the Browns playoff game). In the same season, Pittsburgh now has lost a game in which they led by 14 points with 30 minutes to go and won a game they trailed by 17 with 18 minutes to play… in the same season! Pass the heart medication, Grandma!
Right tackle false started again. — Jeemie on SteelerFury.com
This has become the NFL’s version of the NBA’s leeway on traveling. Teams are coaching their tackles to push the limits of this tactic. The Steelers are not one of those teams. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? Talk amongst yourselves.
Part of the turnaround for the Steelers offense was that they stopped giving Benny Snell Football™ touches and snaps. He’s slow but he’s also not quick. I know the coach is in love with him and he seems to be a great kid, but he is Tomlin’s Linda Eastman, only without the huge inheritance.
Mike Tomlin has a lot of great qualities as a head coach, and his teams win A LOT. His players truly appreciate that he is incredibly loyal, even if it drives the average fan to perplexity. You could even argue that he takes a lot of second-guessing criticism that isn’t warranted. But his failure to take a timeout before the Colts’ 3rd and 18 play, late in the first half was a whopper. Instead of the Steelers getting the ball to a 1st down at midfield with 45 seconds remaining and one timeout, they ended up with only a desperation heave as the clock went to 0:00. Did he lack confidene in his defense’s ability to stop the Colts on 3rd and a mile? Did he want to make the Colts work “under duress with the clock”? It might not have guaranteed the Steelers 3 more crucial points, considering the lack of distance from their replacement kicker’s leg, but… at least give your offense a chance. Let’s hope somewhere in the dark recesses of brain matter, he was thinking about that decision while the Colts were driving at the end of the game and living in those fears for a minute. It’s a fine line between making wine and smashing grapes, indeed.
Frank Reich is a top offensive coach. He has an excellent defensive coordinator in Matt Eberflus who Reich gives free rein. The Indy braintrust put together a whale of a game plan that resulted in 30 minutes of domination. Unfortunately for them, the game is 60 minutes long. The coaching adjustments the Steelers made, particularly on defense, were huge in that turnaround. In the first half, they simply could not stop the Colts runners from turning losses into gains or short gains into chunks, and the threat of the run opened up the world to the Colts’ pass game. But after a lengthy FG drive early in the 3rd quarter, the Pittsburgh defense basically took the Colts out of the game. Suddenly run lanes were clogged, pass coverage was tighter, pass rushers were causing havoc––they got Indianapolis and its great offensive coach on their heels. They got sacks, an interception, and probably should have had another, game-clinching interception at the hands of Minkah Fitzpatrick. They got Indy away from the run, took away their passing mojo, and gave their offense the time they needed to erase the deficit.
Why did Pittsburgh’s defensive adjustments make Colts one-dimensional and stale in the 2nd half? Why did Colts stop running? COACHING.
Speaking of criticism easy to make in the heat of the moment that should be contextualized, “Why does Ben continue to stick with inconsistent mopes like Ebron and DJ?” The answer is: Because he needs to make them better, not write them off. He’s going to need them later. If you don’t stick with Ebron, he doesn’t bounce back with a solid game and a power TD. If you bench Diontae Johnson for dropping balls or running routes the wrong way, then he isn’t there for you to make a spectacular diving 39-yard TD catch that energized the entire roster.
You can see the tentative nature of Ben when he’s wondering if his receivers are going to stop/run the right route/be where he expects them to be. They are most definitely learning as they go. But… that learning and adjustment can really pay off. It requires patience and loyalty but the possibilities are incredible.
When their QB gets the keys and gets in a groove, NONE of that matters. At all. Still.