Saturday, December 31, 2011

Gameday: Cleveland Browns


What To Watch For

1. AFC North-mageddon

When the folks made the NFL schedule over the summer, they couldn't have hoped for a better scenario heading into Week 17. Steelers-Browns and Ravens-Bengals with the division title and a wild card spot on the line. The Ravens have the inside track on the division crown, and will get to give John Harbaugh another gatorade bath if they beat the Bengals. The Bengals can still sneak into the playoffs if the Ravens beat them, but they need a bunch of other teams to lose. For the Steelers, it's straight-forward. Our playoff spot is locked up. We have to beat the Browns to have any chance at the division title. With a win over the Browns and a loss by Baltimore, we will win the division and get a first round bye. If both Baltimore and New England lose, we will have homefield advantage throughout the playoffs.

2. 2010 not 2009

Last year, we went into Cleveland and kicked the living snot out of them. The Steelers need this game to follow the track of their 2010 trip to the worst city in the country rather than the 2009 version. The Browns are a pesky team that has hung around with almost everyone they've played this year. The Steelers need to get up big early and keep their foot on the gas. Don't let the Browns hang around.

3. 5 for Hines

Hines is 5 catches away from 1,000 career receptions. As I mentioned in my game recap last week, the Steelers are 8-1 in games where Hines has more than 2 receptions. Let's get it done for Hines.

4. Keep Ben Safe

Ben is expected to start and the patchwork offensive line, which will likely feature Trai Essex somewhere (center or guard) and possibly Chris Kemoeatu if Essex has to play center, must keep Ben safe and not give Cleveland the opportunity to knock him out of the game. This point includes the coaching staff, which needs to realize that Ben is not as mobile as he normally is so they will have to adjust the playbook by giving him extra blockers and utilizing shorter passes where Ben can get the ball out quick.

5. Seneca Wallace

Wallace will start in place of the still-concussed Colt McCoy. He has never started a game against the Steelers but has appeared on 3 occasions, throwing a grand total of 5 passes. He has completed 3 of those for a total of 20 yards and no touchdowns. Obviously, the Browns will lean heavily on their rushing attack so the Steelers will need to be sound up front. But if they can get pressure on Wallace and force some bad throws and turnovers, this game could get out of hand quickly. 

By 7:30pm tomorrow, the Steelers could be anywhere from the top seed in the AFC to the #5 seed. Here we go.

Hope everyone out there had a great 2011. Looking forward to an even better 2012. Happy New Year everyone!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Grindhouse: Steelers Win


In what has become a Pittsburgh tradition, B.E. Taylor rocks out some Christmas tunes before the game. The offense gets the nod for the intros, and the crowd gives Hines a great cheer for what might be his last game ever at Heinz Field.

I don't have any confirmation on this, but I think Hines is the last player on the roster to have played for the Steelers at both Three Rivers Stadium and Heinz Field. Aaron Smith would be the only other guy on the roster that might have played at Three Rivers as a Steeler.

The Steelers win the toss and defer. Smart move to put the defense out first.

The Rams come out determined to give the ball to Steven Jackson, who is obviously their best player on offense. He converts a 3rd and 12 on a draw play around the right side. Timmons bit inside on the fake and couldn't get out to seal the corner. The Rams get near midfield and seem to convert another 3rd down on a slant to Lloyd but Tomlin throws the challenge flag and actually wins one. Pretty obvious call that the ball hit the ground.

With Homestead Charlie at quarterback, the Rams were in for a heavy diet of Rashard Mendenhall all day. And Raise Some doesn't disappoint. Chuck makes a Ben-esque play by eluding a sack then finds Mendenhall on a check-down that Rashard scampers with for 35 yards. Wallace makes a few grabs in between runs and the Steelers work it down inside the 5 but can't punch it in. Wallace has a ball tipped away from him on a slant route on 3rd down.



The teams trade punts. Hines picks up a catch on a shovel pass that used to be a staple of his game back in the early part of his career.

Second Quarter

The Rams get across midfield but stall out. Steve Spagnolo calls for a fake punt on 4th and 10 but no one is open so the punter takes off running. The Steelers seem to be caught flat-footed then out of nowhere on a beeline shoots Antonio Brown who sticks the punter one yard short of the first down for a turnover.
You can actually buy this on a shirt on AB's website. Sick.

Hines gets another catch then Arians tries to go with a reverse pass by AB, but Brown gets pressured and winds up scrambling for some yards. Three plays later, Charlie tries to take a shot down the sideline for AB on a deep dig route, but AB slips and the defender is able to come up with the interception.

The Rams work it to 3rd and 1 then Josh McDaniels and his brilliant offensive play-calling strike. The Rams line up in a shotgun set but take a timeout because Harrison and Polamalu are ready to blow up their WR screen. Then McDaniels calls another pass but there are offsetting penalties. On the third 3rd and 1 opportunity, it's yet ANOTHER pass play, and Troy gets pressure to force a bad throw. Punt.

The next drive is all about Raising Menden-hellllll. Rashard guts the Rams defense on a run to the left then cuts it back when he hits the secondary and blows past a pack of Rams, rumbling all the way down the sideline for 52 yards down to the 10. Former Big 10 Offensive Player of the Year John Clay gets his first NFL carry and finds a crack off the right side and rumbles into the end zone for his first NFL touchdown.

Clay does an unrealistic jump for a dude his size. Can't blame him for being that pumped.


After the teams trade punts again, the Rams get the ball near midfield with a little over 3 minutes to go. The Rams decide now is a good time to run the ball and keep running it after the 2 minute warning. Harrison sacks Clemens, forcing the Rams to settle for a 52-yard field goal attempt. Josh Brown misses.

Third Quarter

It's right back to the grind for the Steelers, as Mendenhall carries us down the field once again. Wallace picks up a 3rd down in there to get us into field goal range and Suisham connects on a 49-yarder into the open end. Even the refs looked shocked that he made it.


Another 3-and-out trade before the Rams start moving the ball, primarily on the back of Steven Jackson. Scratch that, only on the back of Steven Jackson. He was literally their only offense. He picks up another 3rd and long on the same draw play to the right.

Fourth Quarter

The shutout looks to be in danger as the Rams move inside the red zone, but Troy blows up Jackson on a 3rd down run and Brown shanks a 33-yard field goal.
Darth Harrison used the force to push it wide right.

After another trade of 3-and-outs, the Steelers win the field position battle thanks to a huge punt by Kapinos and a terrible punt by the Rams. With the ball near midfield, Homestead Charlie takes a shot deep for Wallace who makes a spinning grab and tumbles into the end zone for the score.
The play is reviewed and Wallace was down at the 1. Mendenhall pounds it in on the next play.


The Rams offense is terrible. Timmons and Harrison split a sack when Timmons comes unblocked and Harrison owns the tackle.

With the game in hand, Isaac Redman takes over and grinds his way to a first down. Then it's Hines time as he racks up two more catches to get him to 995. Charlie throws his best pass of the game on a fade to Heath who makes a leaping grab over two defenders to get down to the 2. Redman pounds it in to give all 3 running backs a touchdown.


The Rams go into run out the clock mode and wind it down.

Players of the Game
Offensive Game Ball: Rashard Mendenhall
Defensive Game Ball: James Harrison

Honorable Mentions:
Antonio Brown
Charlie Batch
Hines Ward
Isaac Redman
John Clay
Trai Essex
Troy Polamalu
Ike Taylor
Jeremy Kapinos
Shaun Suisham

Mr. Yuck Sticker of the Game
Amateur Fans

A few games every year the stars align and the normal season ticket holders sell their tickets to friends, family, or random people on the internet. I don't have a problem with people getting the opportunity to attend a Steelers game for the first, second, or even fifth time. But there's a few things that one can come to expect from amateur fans. 1) They act like the stadium is their living room. Guess what? It's not. You can't just throw your half-eaten nacho tray on the ground and hope the cheese doesn't splash on the person in front of you. 2) They act like experts on everything Steelers. Okay, sometimes they are. But other times (and more than often) they try to share their limited knowledge with everyone around them. Case in point, the guy sitting behind me professed to having been to 1 game before (the New England game this year) and uttered such gems as:
  • They're going to announce the defense before the game starts (The offense got the nod, obviously for Hines). 
  • I don't know why Brown isn't returning any punts this game. Against New England he was returning all of them and getting the crowd pumped up. Now he's just calling fair catches. (Field position difference in where the punts were.)
  • At this point, all we can hope for is Renegade. This game sucks. (Steelers were winning 13-0 at this point.)
  • We should be killing this team. Our offense sucks. (Fact: we were playing our backup quarterback and our 300th different O-line combination. Oh yeah, and we ran for 168 yards.)

Final Thoughts

  • Hines is 5 catches away from 1,000. Interesting stat, the Steelers are 8-1 in games Hines has more than 2 catches. They are 2-3 in games he has 1 or 0 catches. Boom.
  • First and last home game of the year were shutouts. That's pretty impressive. The last time we had 2 shutouts in a season was 2007. We haven't had more than 2 shutouts in a season since 1976 when we posted 5.
  • Even though we didn't generate any turnovers, we did force 3 3-and-outs and stopped the fake punt on the big tackle by AB.
  • Speaking of AB, he set the Steelers record for most all-purpose yards in a season, breaking the record set by Ernie Mills in 1995. Mills had 2024 APY, Brown has 2048 as of right now (664 KR, 325 PR, 1018 receiving, and 41 rushing). 
  • Mendenhall went over 100 for only the second time this year and we ran for 168 as a team. Great game on the ground considering we ran behind an offensive line that looked like a Picasso painting.
  • Batch wasn't sacked at all? Wow.
  • Trai Essex actually played really well at center.
  • Never seen a team lay down and give up like the Rams did at the end of the first half. Is Steve Spagnolo trying to get fired?
  • Steelers-Browns and Ravens-Bengals both at 4:15. Biggest day for the state of Ohio since Lewis and Clark passed through.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Gold Rushed: Steelers Lose


The start of the game is delayed due to a power outage in the stadium.

When it finally is football time, the 49ers win the toss and defer.

Ben comes out looking sharp, hitting Heath to convert an early 3rd down and make Heath the Steelers career leader in receptions by a tight end, passing Elbe Nickel. Ben hits Wallace on a slant and he is able to pinball off a few defenders and take off down the sideline for a big gain to get us into scoring range. Two plays later, Ben gets greedy and tries to hit Wallace on a post route but Carlos Rogers undercuts the route and picks off the ball at the goal line.

The 49ers come back pounding the rock giving Alex Smith easy passes. They move out past midfield on a series of 5-yard out routes. Gore carries them down into the red zone then Smith converts a 3rd down with a pass to Crabtree to get down to the 3. Troy blitzes off the edge on 3rd down and Smith visibly flinches, forcing a bad pass.

Akers hits a field goal.


All Antonio Brown does is convert 3rd downs, and he does it again to get the drive moving. Mendenhall churns out another then Ben goes play-action and has all kinds of time to throw but overthrows Heath and the ball gets picked off.

Probably the worst throw Ben has made since the first Ravens game.

Second Quarter

The 49ers take over with great field position and Smith converts a 3rd and 7 with a pass to Harry Potter's Uncle. The defense tightens down and holds to a field goal.


Lights out.
A fan runs on the field and Ben makes a quip about "Where's James Harrison when you need him?" The ESPN guys take the opportunity to tell us why Ben shouldn't play any more.

When the lights come back on, it's the Rashard Mendenhall show, picking up solid yardage on a dump-down from Ben and on a few carries. Ben converts a 3rd down by zipping a ball in to Heath, but 2 penalties afterwards leave us with a 1st and 25. Ben gets sacked but a penalty in the secondary gives us a gift first down. Ben keeps things rolling converting his 4th 3rd down of the game with a pass to Wallace on a drag route. The drive stalls out at midfield when Ben misses on 3 throws. Kapinos pins them inside the 15.

The 49ers convert another 3rd down on another out-route. Alex Smith scrambles for a first down to get them near the 40. The same combination of out-route/pound Gore gets the 49ers another first down near midfield as the clock hits 2 minutes. A chop block penalty derails the drive and the 49ers punt.

Starting at the 5, Mewelde Moore takes a draw play to the left and catches a huge block from Max Starks to spring him down the sideline for a big 20-yarder. Ben comes back and hits AB on a crossing route and he scampers out to the 45. Wallace gets us across midfield then AB converts another 3rd down. Ben hits Moore to get us into a 2nd and 3 and then in a confusing display of clock management the Steelers change personnel with the clock running and waste a good 20 seconds. The clock winds under 10 seconds and Ben hits Moore out of the backfield. Moore gets out of bounds with 4 seconds left, but we're left with a 55-yard field goal. Rather than risk a block, the Steelers opt for a Hail Mary shot. Ben hits AB on a back shoulder throw but he's tackled at the 15 and the half ends.


Clock management has never been Mike Tomlin's forte, and we took a timeout into the half with us. Terrible coaching in the last minute there to change personnel and run Hines off the field and Heath back on to the field. Hines was on the other side of the field and had to come all the way across.

Third Quarter

Ginn makes the mistake of trying to bring the kickoff out and Sylvester blows him up inside the 10. A false start sets the 49ers back inside the 5 and the defense forces a big 3-and-out. A penalty on the punt flips the field back in the 49ers favor.

Mendenhall breaks into the secondary and moves the sticks, but the drive stalls out. Kapinos hits a great punt that gets bobbled but Lewis gets called for interfering with the catch but replay shows the returner touched the ball first. It's not reviewable so it's San Fran's ball near midfield with the penalty.

Keenan Lewis gets redemption makes a big-time play to break up a slant pass on 3rd down to force another 3-and-out.

Pinned back at the 10, Ben hits Heath down the sideline on a perfect wheel route and Heath rumbles all the way out to midfield. Heath snags another one on an out route to move the chains again across midfield. Mendenhall gets us into 3rd and short, and Ben goes back-shoulder for Brown down the sideline. Brown makes a wheeling catch that is initially called out of bounds but Tomlin challenges. Review shows Brown's hand barely touched before his second foot. Suisham squeezes it inside the upright from 51. Huge kick.


Alex Smith comes out and goes play-action and finds Davis deep on a post to get them out to the 50. The 49ers hit a screen pass and take it all the way down into the red zone. Smith goes play-action and throws back across the field, hitting Davis who takes it down to the goal line.
He's called out but Harbaugh challenges and loses. Smith goes play-action and hits Davis for the score on the next play.


The Steelers come back with the no huddle. Mendenhall finally cuts one back and moves the sticks then Ben hits Cotch down the sideline on a wheel route to take it all the way down to the 49ers 30. The drive stalls out and Suisham misses from 48.

The defense holds to another 3-and-out.

Fourth Quarter

Andy Lee's leg must hang out with Barry Bonds' arms. Pins us inside the 10 again.

Ben stands in and takes a shot on 3rd down to deliver a strike to Cotch to move the sticks. Ben gets swarmed and fumbles.

Haven't used that one in a while.

The defense comes up with another 3-and-out, but Timmons gets flagged Looking at the replay I have honestly no idea what the penalty was for. Frank Gore pounds it in.


Ben gets sacked again and the Steelers go 3-and-out.

The 49ers run 3 times and punt to wind time off the clock.

Ben gets sacked again but is able to move the chains when he zings one to Cotch on 3rd down. He comes right back and hits Heath down the seam to get us to midfield as the clock rolls under 4 minutes. Ben takes a shot deep for Wallace but throws it inside where the corner is waiting and it gets picked off for the 4th turnover of the game.

Same game plan for San Fran.

The Steelers go 3-and-out and punt.

San Francisco mercifully puts this one to bed.

Players of the Game
Offensive Game Ball: Jerricho Cotchery
Defensive Game Ball: Ryan Clark

Honorable Mentions:
Heath Miller
Stevenson Sylvester
Greg Warren

Mr. Yuck Sticker of the Game

Left side of the line

Max Starks got dominated by Aldon Smith and Trai Essex looked bad at left guard. Essex and Legursky struggled with communication and were totally lost on inside stunts all game. Kemoeatu wouldn't have been much better. Gotta hope we can get Pouncey back for the playoffs.

Final Thoughts
  • The Ravens are 3-4 on the road this season and have to go to Cincinnati the last week of the season. This division race is far from over.
  • Props to San Francisco. They came in with a game plan and executed it. They forced turnovers and got points off of them.
  • Can't turn the ball over 4 times and win games, simple as that.
  • See you Saturday for the Rams.

Gameday: San Francisco 49ers

Mr. Green in the Library with the Candlestick Park

What To Watch For 

 1. Edge of Glory

 Week 15 couldn't have been better for the Pittsburgh Steelers. On Wednesday, we were sitting in the #5 seed needing a loss by Tennessee (to Indy), Oakland (to Detroit), Denver (to New England), or the Jets (to Philly) in order to clinch a playoff spot. We were tied with the Ravens atop the division but since Baltimore swept us, they owned the head-to-head tiebreaker. By the time the clock struck 11pm last night, not only did all four of the Wild Card contenders lose, but San Diego delivered a whopping to Baltimore that made the Ravens defense look like The Citadel playing against Alabama. To top it all off, Houston also lost, giving them 4 losses. Now, the Steelers control their own destiny, not only in the division race but also for the #1 seed in the conference, which would give us homefield advantage throughout the playoffs. As things stand right now, Both the Steelers and Patriots have 3 losses with the Steelers holding the head-to-head tiebreaker. The Ravens and Texans have 4, and if we wind up tied with the Ravens we will be a Wild Card, regardless of record.

 2. Roll Up

 With Ben Roethlisberger's injury and Alex Smith's inaccuracy, both teams will be looking to run the ball tonight. The 49ers offense is built on Frank Gore establishing the run then busting teams down the middle with play-action passes to TE Vernon Davis. The Steelers D has been stout against the run since Arian Foster ripped them in Week 4 and will have to be strong tonight in order to put the onus on Alex Smith to win the game. For the Steelers, they face one of the best

 3. The One That Got Away

 Rashard Mendenhall has had the best stretch of the season over the last few weeks. Even though he hasn't broken the 100-yard mark since October, he has run hard and kept his legs moving to grind out the extra yards. The 49ers have the best run defense in the league and haven't allowed a rushing touchdown all season. Mendenhall has been hot lately, finding paydirt 5 times in the last 4 games. The 49ers will be without all-world inside linebacker Patrick Willis, who is a key component of their ability to stop the run. Mendenhall and Redman will need to have another big game to keep the pressure off Ben. On the other side, the Steelers will be without James Harrison due to his 1-game suspension for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Colt McCoy.

 4. Rolling in the Deep

 Mike Wallace hasn't posted a 100-yard game since October, but he has been solid in taking intermediate routes and turning them into big yards. The 49ers are a Cover-2 team so there will be gaps in the middle of the field for Wallace and Brown to exploit on crossing routes. If Ben is able to hit these guys in stride, they can use their speed to create some big plays. With Ben's injury, look for a lot of quick slants, bubble screens and hitch routes to allow Ben to get the ball out fast and avoid having to scramble or take big hits.

 5. Pumped Up Kicks

 The 49ers have won a lot of close games this season thanks to David Akers having a monster season. He leads the league with 36 field goals and has made 86% of his field goals, missing only once from inside of 40. Possibly more impressive, Akers is 6 of 7 on kicks over 50 yards. Of his 6 misses, 3 of them have been blocked. Akers has at least 6 points in all of San Francisco's games this year and has made 4 field goals in 5 different games. The Steelers defense has bent at times this season, but they're going to have to be even better to keep the 49ers out of field goal range given the monster year Akers is having. The 49ers also have Pitt-grad Andy Lee who leads the league in punting with a 50.7-yard average.

Monday Night Football.

Bring your A game.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

I Am Legend: Steelers Win


And so the legend of Ben Roethlisberger grows. Somehow, after suffering an injury that sidelines other quarterbacks for weeks, he came back and played. We already knew Ben was the toughest quarterback in the league, but his legend has grown to the point where he is now in the discussion for toughest player in the league. What a human.

Cleveland wins the toss and takes the ball. McCoy hits some passes on two blown coverages to get the Browns inside the 5. McCoy tries to scramble for the goal line.
It's initially called a touchdown, but the score is called back because his elbow was down short of the line. Foote and Farrior blow up Hillis in the backfield on 3rd down, holding the Browns to 3.


Ben comes out throwing the ball all over the yard and looks sharp, hitting Wallace and Brown to move into Browns territory. Wallace takes an end-around down to the 10 then Ben steps up and hits Cotch who darts between two defenders into the end zone.

Great response. Sixth opening drive touchdown of the year for the Steelers.


The Browns are able to pick up a few first downs but a penalty puts their terrible offense in a long-yardage situation and it's punt time.

Ben converts a 3rd down to AB, the best 3rd down receiver in the league and gets 15 more on a roughing the passer penalty. Wallace makes a few moves on a bubble screen and moves us across midfield as the quarter ends.

Second Quarter

The Steelers keep moving but the drive goes to hell when Hines takes a bubble screen and tries to make a move inside the 10 and gets hit from behind, knocking the ball out.

Thankfully, the Browns can't do much better. After dropping a handful of easy picks early in the year, Troy finally snags one, jumping a seam route to the tight end and bringing it back into the red zone.

Heath gets a grab out in the flat and in an eerily similar situation to what we just saw, he gets hit from behind and coughs the ball up.

Two fumbles in the red zone is how you lose to a team like the Browns. Thankfully the Browns are terrible and work themselves into a 3rd and 20. Wait, what? They convert it with a draw play? Who had contain up the middle? Oh, nevermind, they had to punt a few plays later after McLendon gets a sack.

Mendenhall gets us away from our own goal line. Then it happens.

Ben rolls out and looks downfield. He can't find anyone and is hit from behind by a defender while he tries to get away.



He goes down in obvious pain.

Enter Homestead Charlie...who does nothing. Kapinos hits a good one, but the Browns take over near midfield.

The rest of the half consisted of 3 and outs and exchanging punts. Cleveland's punter coffin cornered our offense and the defense wouldn't let them inside the 40. Worlids ends the quarter with a sack.


If you didn't spend halftime with your stomach in knots wondering what was going on with Ben, you're not human. Your thought process was probably something like this:

Broken ankle? High ankle sprain?

Would he be able to make it back by the playoffs?

Who all needs to lose for us to clinch a playoff spot?

Then, the smoke parted.

And out of the locker room limped number seven.

He gimped over to Doug Legursky, took a few practice snaps, and grabbed his helmet.

Holy shit he's going back in the game.

Third Quarter

The third quarter might be the worst coached quarter of the entire season. We were already short-handed with a quarterback who could barely walk and clinging to a 4-point lead. So how does Tomlin decide to come out of the half? With a reverse on the kickoff. Cleveland is all over it and we have to start at our own 6. 

Thankfully we have Rashard Mendenhall. He puts the team on his back and carries us all the way down the field into field goal range. Ben tries to take a shot deep for Wallace that falls incomplete. To make matters worse, Ben took a hit AND Kemoeatu takes a holding penalty that knocks us out of field goal range. Punt.

The Browns are able to move out across midfield thanks to a late hit penalty on Farrior but the defense locks it down and forces another punt.

David Johnson makes a catch and there's a defensive penalty so Ed Hoculi delivers a dissertation on why the penalty is declined. Not sure why we have Ben throwing pases when Mendenhall is ringing up first Arians trying to get Ben killed? Mendenhall keeps rolling and gets us across midfield.

Fourth Quarter

With the ball on the Browns side of the field, Ben hits Heath over the middle to get us into field goal range and give Heath the catch he needed to become the top receiving tight end in Steelers history - BUT WAIT! Chris Kemoeatu is playing, right?

Right. Holding penalty. 

Take that catch for Heath off the board. Somehow, Ben pulls it together and guns one to AB for a huge conversion to get us into field goal range. Two plays later, defying all odds, Ben takes a shotgun snap and hits Wallace across the middle. Mike turns on the jets and blows the defender away and races the safety towards the pylon. He makes a move and seemingly gets in, but upon review his knee was down at the 2.

Up by four, in the fourth quarter, with a quarterback who can barely walk. Running the ball here was the right call, and I have no problem with running Rashard 3 times. Some linebacker makes 3 unreal plays to stop Rashard at the goal line. The questionable call came on 4th down when Tomlin decided to go for it rather than kick the field goal and go up by 7. Mendenhall gets stuffed again. Ugh.

Thankfully, Cleveland goes 3-and-out.

The Steelers take over at the Browns 38, essentially needed 1 first down to get into field goal range. It looks like they get it when Redman converts on a 3rd and 1...

BUT Kemoeatu gets called for a THIRD penalty that knocks us out of field goal range. 

I can't believe I'm saying this, but we'd be better with Trai Essex at left guard. On the next play, Ben tries to go to Heath down the middle but can't step into the throw and the pass gets picked off.

Cleveland takes over with 7 minutes left near midfield, and McCoy hits a pass to move them into Steelers territory. Things start to look worse when McCoy scrambles and gets whalloped by James Harrison as he flings the ball out to a running back.
Here's the deal. McCoy was out of the pocket and had the ball tucked away like a runner. If Harrison makes that same hit on a running back, that's not a penalty. But since it's Harrison and McCoy is a QB, it's 15 more yards. Seneca Wallace comes in and completes a pass down to the 5.

Somehow, McCoy came back in the game. He tries to roll out away from pressure but Harrison catches his leg. Colt tries to fling the ball away but gets called for grounding. With 3rd down from the 16, McCoy tries to hit Massaquoi but Big Play Will Gay makes a great play on the ball and steps in front of Massaquoi for a HUGE interception.




Cleveland has 2 timeouts left, so the Steelers need a first down to seal the game. On 2nd down, the Browns show an all-out blitz with only one safety deep so Ben takes a shot for AB down the sideline. Even on one leg, Ben executes a perfect back-shoulder throw. AB snags it, the back falls down and Brown takes off at full speed.
He executes two cuts and makes the safety look like a traffic cone and takes it ALL THE WAAAY




Cleveland gets the ball back with about 3 minutes left, but with no timeouts. Gay makes tackles to keep guys in bounds. Farrior and Mundy both have interceptions taken away by replay and penalty. Worlids closes it out with a sack. 


And now, all  our hope rests in the tendons of this ankle.

Players of the Game
Offensive Game Ball: Ben Roethlisberger
Defensive Game Ball: William Gay

Honorable Mentions:
Antonio Brown
Jason Worlids
Troy Polamalu
Steve McLendon
Doug Legursky
Mike Wallace
Ryan Clark

Mr. Yuck Sticker of the Game
High Ankle Sprains

Ben and Pouncey both have them. We'll see how things go this week and if either of them are available against San Francisco.

Final Thoughts

  • Once again, we just keep winning. Great effort by the defense to keep Cleveland out of the end zone at the beginning and end of the game.
  • Can't say enough good things about Antonio Brown. Not only has he turned into the best 3rd down receiver in the league, he's also the most reliable target on the team.
  • Rough night for the injury report. Ben and Pouncey with High Ankle Sprains, Ziggy with a groin, and Troy with a Hamstring.
  • Ben is the toughest player in the league, period.
  • I have no problem with running the ball 3 times at the goal line. I'd take the points on 4th down though.
  • Solid game by Mendenhall and Redman. Rashard hasn't gone over 100 in a while, but he's running harder than I've ever seen him run in his career. He's keeping the legs churning and really driving for those extra yards.
  • Heath Miller is tied with Elbe Nickel for the most receptions by a Steelers TE. He should break the mark next week.
  • Hines is 9 shy of 1,000 catches.
  • The line between a close game and blowout is very fine in the NFL. The difference between the 35 we put up against Cincy last week and the 14 against Cleveland this week is 2 red zone fumbles and a goal line stand. Take those 3 red zone turnovers off the board and this game isn't even close.
  • Long layoff until the monday nighter in San Francisco.