Monthly Archives: October 2016

Buckeyes in the NFL (Week 8, 2016)

 
That collective sigh of relief you heard Saturday afternoon was from 100,000+ in Ohio Stadium and the millions of fans apart of Buckeye Nation as Ohio State escaped losing to Northwestern while avoiding Urban Meyer’s first regular season losing streak at OSU. So with the win, hopefully Scarlet and Gray fans could better enjoy watching the former Bucks perform on Sunday than last week after the Penn State defeat.

Ezekiel Elliott continued his rush to history in an overtime thriller on Sunday Night Football. “Zeke” had 96 rushing yards on 22 carries, and 4 catches for 52 yards for the Dallas Cowboys in their 29-23 win over divisional rivals, the Philadelphia Eagles. Elliott is the NFL’s leading rusher (799) and is on pace to pass Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson’s rookie rushing record of 1,808. Elliott averages 114.14 rushing yards per game and if he continues at this pace, he’ll finish the season with a new record of 1,826. Safety Malcolm Jenkins of the Philadelphia Eagles had 8 tackles (6 solo & 1 TFL) in the loss.

Joey Bosa had 2 tackles and Joshua Perry had 1 for the San Diego Chargers in their 27-19 loss to Bradley Roby and the Denver Broncos. Roby had an interception return for a touchdown and 4 tackles (3 solo) to help the defending Super Bowl Champions move to 6-2.

Mike Nugent of the Cincinnati Bengals helped kicked off the NFL Sunday in London as the Bengals and Washington Redskins played to a 27-27 tie. Nugent scored 3 points on 3 extra points, but missed another that could have given them the one point edge which would’ve given them the win. He also missed a field goal from 50+ yards. Safety Donte Whitner had 9 tackles (8 solo) for Washington.

Ted Ginn Junior, Corey “Philly” Brown and Kurt Coleman of the Carolina Panthers got a huge win that potentially saved the defending NFC Champions slim playoff hopes. Ginn Junior had 5 catches for 53 yards, Brown had only one catch for 3 yards and Coleman had 6 tackles (3 solo) to aid Carolina to a 30-20 victory over the Arizona Cardinals. The Panthers are now 2-5.

Linebacker John Simon had 8 tackles (6 solo) and rookie Braxton Miller had 3 catches for 18 yards for the Houston Texans in their 20-13 win over offensive tackle Taylor Decker and the Detroit Lions.

Rookie wide receiver Michael Thomas of the New Orleans Saints had 6 catches for 63 yards to lead the team in their 25-20 win over the Seattle Seahawks. Saints linebacker James Laurinaitis was active this week after missing that pass few weeks with a quad injury, but he didn’t record any stats. Rookie safety Tyvis Powell and tight end Nick Vannett dressed for the Seahawks but also didn’t record any stats.

The game with the most Buckeyes on combined rosters was in Cleveland between the Browns and New York Jets. Terrelle Pryor caught 6 passes for 101 yards as he continues to lead the team in both categories. It was Pryor’s 2nd career 100+ yard receiving game. Jalin Marshall returned one kickoff for 18 yards and 2 punts for 15 yards for the Jets in the 31-28 victory. Jets leading tackler, linebacker Darron Lee, missed the game with an ankle injury. Center Nick Mangold and wide receiver Devin Smith are also members of the Jets.

New York Giants’ Eli Apple and Johnathan Hankins, Ryan Shazier and Cam Heyward of the Pittsburgh Steelers were on a Bye this week. Carlos Hyde and the San Francisco 49ers were also on a Bye. Hyde has been struggling with a shoulder injury and it’s not known if he will return to action when the Niners face the New Orleans Saints on November 6th.

Offensive Tackle Alex Boone of the Minnesota Vikings plays fellow offensive lineman Mike Adams and the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football.

The NFL has one less Buckeye in the League as veteran linebacker A.J. Hawk was released this week by the Atlanta Falcons, two weeks after he was signed by the team out of free agency.

 

Buckeyes in the NFL (Week 7, 2016)

 
Well, if you’re an Ohio State fan, your football weekend was a little ruined by the current Buckeyes disappointing 24-21 loss a Penn State dropping them from #2 to #6 in the Associated Press Top 25 Poll. But they’re still in control of their destiny to win the B1G Championship and even earn an invite to the College Football Playoff. Anyhow, hopefully the play of OSU Alums in the NFL lifted your spirits.

2016 #3 overall pick Joey Bosa continues to flourish with the San Diego Chargers. Bosa had another 2 sacks and 5 tackles (4 solo) in San Diego’s 33-30 overtime win against the Atlanta Falcons. His teammate linebacker Joshua Perry had one tackle in the victory.

8-year safety Malcolm Jenkins had 4 tackles and a fumble recovery for the Philadelphia Eagles in their 21-10 victory over the previously undefeated Minnesota Vikings. Offensive tackle Alex Boone of the Vikings also had a fumble recovery.

Eli Apple returned to the New York Giants secondary and had 3 tackles and a forced fumble in the Giants 17-10 win over the Saint Louis Rams across the pond in London.

Wide receiver Michael Thomas of the New Orleans Saints had his biggest statistical game of his young career. Thomas caught 10 passes from Drew Brees for 130 yards, but no touchdowns in their 27-21 loss at the Kansas City Chiefs. His fellow former Buck on the defensive side, safety Vonn Bell, had 4 tackles (3 solo) in the loss.

In the “Battle of Ohio”, kicker Mike Nugent scored 7 points for the Cincinnati Bengals in their 31-17 win over the winless Cleveland Browns (0-7). Nugent made 4 extra points and a field goal from 36 yards. He also missed two field goals from beyond 40 yards. Terrelle Pryor had 2 catches for 18 yards on the day. Pryor leads Cleveland in receptions (33) and yards (413) and is second in touchdown catches (4).

Rookie wide receiver, kick and punt returner Jalin Marshall had 3 punt returns for 18 yards and 2 kick returns for 38 yards in New York’s win over the Ravens.

Linebacker Ryan Shazier returned to the Steelers lineup after missing two consecutive games and had 2 tackles and a pass defensed in the Steelers 27-16 loss to the New England Patriots. On the other side, special teams ace Nate Ebner had 1 tackle in the victory.

Tight end Nick Vannett, and safety Tyvis Powell of the Seattle Seahawks faced off against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday Night Football, neither recorded any stats. Houston Texans rookie wide receiver Braxton Miller and linebacker John Simon face of against defensive back Bradley Roby and the Denver Broncos on Monday Night Football.

NFL leading rusher Ezekiel Elliott and the Dallas Cowboys were on a bye, so were Ted Ginn Junior, Corey “Philly” Brown and Kurt Coleman of the Carolina Panthers.

A handful of former Bucks were sidelined with injury. Darron Lee of the New York Jets missed the team’s 24-16 victory over the Baltimore Ravens. Lee came into the game as the Jets leading tackler on the season (30). His Jets teammate, second-year wide receiver Devin Smith, is on the physically unable to perform list. Carlos Hyde missed the San Francisco 49ers 34-17 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Pittsburgh Steelers defensive lineman Cam Heyward missed his second consecutive game of the season versus the New England Patriots, and New Orleans Saints linebacker James Laurinaitis missed his third game over the season against the Kansas City Chiefs.

No Ben, No Win

Ben Roethlisberger was helpless on the sidelines, but did his best to help his replacement Landry Jones knock off the Patriots. Photo Credit: Steelers.com

If I told Steelers Nation before kickoff of the game against the New England Patriots that Pittsburgh would win the turnover battle 2-1, they would control time of possession 32:29 to 27:31, and out gain the Pats 375 to 362, you would assume they pulled the upset. But that’s not the case. Belicheck, Brady and company gain another win in Pittsburgh, 27-16.

Simply put, this game can be summed up by several missed opportunities. A 1st quarter interception in the end zone by Landry Jones, who was filling for the injured Ben Roethlisberger, after the defense forced a fumble by the Patriots Chris Hogan, two missed field goals by Chris Boswell, one from 54-yards and another from 30-yards. There was also a touchdown by Darrius Heyward-Bey, that would’ve tied the score at 14, negated by a holding call which led to the first Boswell missed field goal. You capitalize on two of those and the game could’ve drastically changed.

Would’ve. Could’ve. Should’ve. All that matters is the Steelers are now 4-3, and on a two game losing streak heading into the bye week.

For what it’s worth, Jones was solid in defeat. Interception aside, he was 29 of 47, for 281 yards and a touchdown. He showed he can get the offense moving well enough to put them in scoring position, they just need to capitalize. Now he has an extra week to prepare for a much needed victory against division rival Baltimore Ravens in two weeks.

The defense gave up 127 yards rushing to LeGarrette Blount (29) who came into the game with back to back sub-50 yard games. Photo Credit: Steelers.com

The problem once again is the defense. I wrote the following when the Steelers were down 14, and it’s still relevant even though Pittsburgh cut the lead to 14-13 early in the third quarter.

When one unit is at a disadvantage, another unit has to step up. Coming into the game we knew the offense couldn’t stay with Tom Brady and the Patriots, but you’d hope the defense would show some pride and shoulder the responsibility to prove they could have a fighting chance. 

While Brady didn’t have the explosive game he had versus Cleveland and Cincinnati when he threw for 406 yards with 3 touchdowns and 376 yards with 3 touchdowns, respectively, he still managed to go 19 of 26 for 222 yards and 2 touchdowns. The more disappointing thing as a Steeler fan is seeing another running back, not of all-pro caliber, rip them up. LeGarrette Blount rushed for 127 yards (5.3 yards per carry) on 24 carries and 2 touchdowns. Blount was averaging 73.2 yards per game before playing the Steelers and ran for 37 yards and 50 yards the previous two weeks against the Browns and Bengals. I understand this isn’t “Blitzburgh” or even Dick LeBeau calling plays, but I thought when the switch was made to Keith Butler to be defensive coordinator the basic principles of the defense we’ve come accustomed to would stay. We knew the pass defense was a train wreck, but now they can’t stop anyone on the ground!

Bell gained 149 scrimmage yards (81 rushing, 68 receiving) in defeat. He came into Sunday leading the NFL at 147.5 per game. Photo Credit: Steelers.com

The only positive from this game was that Le’Veon Bell continues to play like the best all-around running back in the NFL. Bell rushed for 81 yards on 21 carries and had 10 receptions for 68 yards. If Pittsburgh is going to stay afloat until Roethlisberger returns from knee surgery in about a month, offensive coordinator Todd Haley is going to have to ring the Bell more often and play a ball control game similar to that of the old 90’s teams with Hall of Famer Jerome Bettis. We saw signs of that against New England. Hopefully with a week off they can better execute the game plan against the Ratbirds. Kickoff is at one o’clock at Batltimore on November 6th.

FOURTH DOWN

  • The Steelers are now 8-9 in games without Roethlisberger in his career, and 4-5 since 2012.
  • Antonio Brown caught 7 passes for 106 yards and no touchdowns. Brown has caught 43 touchdowns in his career, all of them from #7.
  •  This was Pittsburgh’s 3rd loss this season by 10+ points.

Buckeyes in the NFL (Week 6, 2016)

 
What at time, to be an Ohio State Buckeye! The current Bucks held on to their #2 ranking in the Associated Poll with a gutsy overtime win a the Wisconsin Badgers, while several former Buckeyes displayed in the NFL why the Scarlet & Gray is “THE” program when it comes to building future pros.

Week 6 of the 2016 NFL kicked off with former Buckeye and #3 overall pick in the 2016 Draft Joey Bosa and the San Diego Chargers making his primetime debut versus AFC West rival and defending Super Bowl Champion Denver Broncos and defensive back Bradley Roby. Bosa followed up his 2 sack first game with only 1 tackle, but had several pressures of Broncos QB Trevor Siemian that forced many errant passes. Linebacker Josh Perry also added 2 tackles for San Diego in the 21-13 win. Roby had 1 tackle and 2 passes defended for Denver in the loss.

Ezekiel Elliott continued his strong rookie campaign against the Green Bay Packers to the tune of his fourth consecutive 100+ yard rushing game. Elliott carried the ball 25 times for 157 yards, and had 2 catches for 17 yards to lead the Dallas Cowboys to a 30-16 win at Lambeau Field. Elliott leads the league in rushing yards with a total of 703 yards.

New Orleans Saints rookie wideout Mike Thomas caught his 3rd career touchdown in New Orleans 41-38 win over the defending NFC South and NFC Champion Carolina Panthers. Thomas finished with 5 catches for 78 yards. His teammate and former Buckeye, Safety Vonn Bell had 7 tackles (4 solo).  On the Panthers side wide receivers Tedd Ginn Junior and Corey “Philly” Brown had 5 catches for 54 yards and 2 catches for 33 yards and a fumble yards respectively. Ginn Junior also had 3 kickoff returns for 66 yards and 4 punt returns for 32 yards. Safety Kurt Coleman 8 tackles (5 solo) in the loss.

Terelle Pryor has got to be the Cleveland Browns MVP thus far this season. Pryor has started at wide receiver and been their best pass catcher, passer and rusher. He did it again on Sunday in a loss to the Tennessee Titans. He had 9 catches for 75 and 2 touchdowns, while also rushing once for 3 yards in the 28-26 loss.

Kicker Mike Nugent scored 5 of the Cincinnati Bengals 17 points on 2 extra points and a 25-yard field goal in the 35-17 loss to the New England Patriots. Special teams ace, Nate Ebner had 3 tackles for the Pats.

8-year safety Malcolm Jenkins of the Philadelphia Eagles had a 64-yard interception return for a touchdown (the fourth of his career), 2 passes defensed and 6 tackles (2 solo) in the 27-20 loss to the Washington Redskins. Safety Donte’ Whitner made 4 tackles for the Redskins to aid the victory.

Rookie defensive tackles Aldophus Washington recorded his first career sack for the Buffalo Bills in their 45-16 victory over Carols Hyde and the San Francisco 49ers. Hyde had 14 carries for 52 yards in defeat.

Cornerback Chimdi Chekwa collected 2 tackles for the Miami Dolphins in their 30-15 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steelers were without defensive lineman Cam Heyward and linebacker Ryan Shazier who missed the game to injuries. Safety

Rookie wide receiver Braxton Miller and linebacker John Simon of the Houston Texans took on offensive lineman Jack Mewhort and the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday Night Football. Miller had 2 catches for 13 yards while Simon made 9 tackles (4 solo) in the 26-23 overtime win.

Three more Buckeyes take the field in primetime on Monday Night Football when Rookies Jalin Marshall, linebacker Darron Lee and second-year wideout Devin Smith of the New York Jets play against the Arizona Cardinals.

No O, No D, No W!

Bell (26) and the Steelers offense looked like a 2-4 team, not a 4-2 team with Championship hopes vs. the Dolphins. Photo Credit: Steelers.com

The Pittsburgh Steelers might as well have gone to South Beach Sunday for a little R&R, because they definitely didn’t come to Miami to play in and win a football game. The Miami Dolphins dominated them in every key area in the 30-15 loss at Hard Rock Stadium.

If you’ve read my post-game posts before, you know I track three statistical categories during the game that will determine the potential winner. If you win 2 of these 3, you’re likely to win the game. They are, time of possession, 3rd down efficiency and turnovers.

The Steelers lost all three badly. Miami controlled the ball for almost an entire quarter more than Pittsburgh at 36:30 to 23:30. Miami was 7 of 14 on 3rd down, while the Steelers were 3 for 11 and 0 for 1 on fourth down. Before Sunday, Pittsburgh was the 2nd best offense on third down in the NFL. Lastly, Miami had 2 takeaways to Pittsburgh’s 0. There’s your ball game. The only good news for the Black & Gold was it wasn’t worse, because their lackluster performance and effort rivaled that of the Philadelphia Eagles loss four weeks ago.

At some point the Steelers defense will HAVE to win a game for them. Roethlisberger isn’t going to throw 3+ touchdowns a week. They can’t allow QBs of the lesser caliber of Ryan Tannehill to look like an All-Pro and future Hall of Famer. Tannehill was 24 of 32 for 252 yards, a rating of 97.4 and never sacked. Tannehill came into the game as one of five quarterbacks to have more turnovers than touchdowns. Yet, against this “bend but don’t break defense” he looked like former Miami Dolphins’ Hall of Famers Dan Marino and Bob Griese.

Butler (left) and Tomlin (right) are left with more questions than answers after the D’s terrible Sunday. Photo Credit: Steelers.com

But we know defensive coordinator Keith Butler’s unit struggles with the pass game, but I never expected their 5th ranked run defense at 77 yards per game, to give up 222 yards rushing. Jay Ajayi rushed for 204 yards on 25 carries. He came into the game with 117 rushing yards total on the season. The lack of depth in the front seven is starting to show, as the Steelers were without Cam Heyward, Ryan Shazier, Bud Dupree–who is on the PUP list–and lost Vince Williams for a short time during the game.

Even with the defense playing as poorly as it did, you would’ve thought the Pittsburgh offense would have a field day on the Dolphins defense. Coming into the game, Miami had the 28th ranked total defense, 17th against the pass, 31st against the run. I thought Le’Veon Bell would have himself a career day, because Miami allowed 150.8 rushing yards per game before Sunday. Bell finished with 53 rushing yards on 10 carries and 55 receiving yards on 6 catches.

Brown was held in check for 4 catches for 39 yards vs. Miami. Photo Credit: Steelers.com

Miami gave up an average of 250.2 passing yards per game before Sunday. The Steelers only gained 169 passing. The Dolphins held the high powered Steeler offense to 297 total yards (169 passing, 128 rushing). Not one player on the offensive side of the ball showed up. There were several dropped passes, missed blocks and poor play. Even before Roethlisberger exited the game with a left knee injury in the second quarter, he didn’t look like the guy who was leading the League in touchdown passes and top five in passing yards. Oh, did Antonio Brown even play? He finished with 4 catches for 39 yards and no touchdowns.

There was also more yellow on the field than on the Steelers uniforms. 14 penalties were accepted for 160 yards. That’s the only statistical category the Steelers beat the Dolphins in 6-65 to 8-95.

There’s always next week. Pittsburgh is still in first place in the AFC North with the losses by the Baltimore Ratbirds, Cincinnati Bungles and Cleveland Clowns. Next up, the 5-1 New England Patriots at Heinz Field. Kickoff set for 4:25 pm.

OTHER NOTES

In his 38th regular season game Bell became fastest to 3,000 rush yards and 1,500+ receiving yards, passing Edgerinn James who did it in 42 games.

With his only touchdown of the day, Roethlisberger is now 2 away from tying Johhny Unitas for 11th on the NFL all-time list.

The Steelers have lost their last two meeting with the Miami Dolphins. With the loss, Roethlisberger only his second lost to the Dolphins since he became the starting QB in 2004. Pittsburgh had won their last 3 in South Florida before Sunday..

NBA’s All-Time Mount Rushmore

This past summer in an interview with Sports Illustrated, 3-time and reigning NBA Champion LeBron James acknowledged Michael Jordan is his motivation. He said “My motivation…is this ghost I’m chasing. The ghost played in Chicago.” James went on to say being considered one of the greats is cool, but implied he’d like to be considered one day THE best. While those who are witnessing LBJ, that didn’t see MJ and other greats in their prime, already say he’s the G.O.A.T. But his buddy, and former teammate Dwayne Wade recently told ESPN “It’s impossible” for him to catch MJ, and “the only thing he can do is tie it.” While I agree with D-Wade, I have to say LeBron has already moved into the upper echelon of NBA all-time greats. I even consider him on the League’s all-time Mount Rushmore, and these are the others that join him.

MJ is the most influential, and skilled NBA player of all-time. Photo Credit: Getty Images

Without a doubt, Michael Jordan. His “Airness” was 6-0 in NBA Finals winning the Most Valuable Player award each time, but that’s just the beginning of the resume.

5-times he was NBA MVP (1988,1991, 1992, 1996, 1998), 10-times he made first team All-NBA, 9-times he was selected All-NBA defensive 1st-team, and in 1988 he won the Defensive Player of the Year award. The 1985 Rookie of the year is a 10-time scoring champion, he’s the NBA’s all-time leading playoff scorer, and when he retired in 2003, his 32,292 points was second all-time. His per game average of 30.1 is still first all-time. 3-times he led the league in steals (1988, 1990, 1993), and his 2,514 steals is third in League history. 14-times he was selected to the NBA All-Star team where he won the game’s MVP award 3-times, and twice won the slam dunk contest. He is a member of the NBA’s 50th anniversary team.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is the most under-appreciated and overlooked great EVER! He can make a case that he’s the greatest player to play the game on every level.

Abdul-Jabbar’s “Skyhook” is the most unguardable move in history. Photo Credit: Getty Images

“Cap” won 3 New York City Catholic high school championships at Power Memorial high while leading them to a 71 game winning streak, 3 NCAA titles at UCLA which included a record of 88-2, and 6 NBA Finals between the Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Lakers. In addition to his championship rings, he won NBA Finals MVP twice (1971, 1985). In his twenty seasons, Abdul-Jabbar won League MVP 6-times (1971, 1972, 1974, 1976, 1977, 1980), 10-times he was selected 1st-team All-NBA, 5-times selected 2nd-team All-NBA, 5-times All-Defensive 1st-team, 6-times All-Defensive 2nd-team and he led the NBA in block shots 4 seasons (1975, 1976, 1979, 1980). The NBA’s all-time leading scorer (38, 387) led the League in scoring twice and was a 19-time All-Star. He’s also the third leading rebounder in NBA history (17,440). In twenty seasons, his teams made the playoffs 18 times, got out the first round 14 times, and made the Finals 10 times. In 1997 he was selected to the NBA’s 50th anniversary team. This is just his NBA resume. His entire basketball career back to high school would be this entire post.

Magic Johnson along with Larry Bird are credited with saving the NBA from the doldrums of tape delay and decreasing popularity linked to ramped drug use among players and on court fighting.

Magic led to Lakers to 8 NBA Finals appearances during the 1980’s. Photo Credit: Getty Images

Magic won 5 titles in 8 NBA finals appearances, including his rookie season in 1980, when he also won his first of 3 Finals MVP awards (1982, 1987). 3-times he won League MVP (1987, 1989, 1990), 9-times he was selected 1st-team All-NBA, once 2nd-team (1982). Four times he led the NBA in assists and is the NBA’s All-time playoff assists leader (2,346). When he retired the first time in 1991, he was the NBA’s all-time leading assists man, he’s now fifth (10,141). Twice he was the NBA’s steals leader (1981,1982) and is currently 20th all-time, but was in the top 5 when he retired. Johnson is a 12-time NBA All-Star and twice won the game’s MVP (1990, 1992). He is a member of the NBA’s 50th greatest players team.

Lastly, LeBron James. If I did this list  two seasons ago when LBJ was still in South Beach, I would’ve had Larry Bird in this spot. But, James has solidified himself as the greatest small forward in history.

150423211230-lebron-james-dunk-gm-3-vs-celtics-042315-1200x672

LeBron James has lifted himself into the upper tier of NBA greats. Photo Credit: Getty Images

Since he’s still on the course, and the other guys on this list are in the clubhouse sipping on Arnold Palmers and smoking cigars, I won’t go through his entire resume like I did with the others. But, I must state just how impressive it is that James has led his teams to 6 consecutive NBA Finals appearances (Miami 4, Cleveland 2). And since everyone wants to compare 23’s, not even MJ did that! Even LBJ’s biggest haters can’t deny his overall impact. Both the Cavaliers and Heat missed the playoffs the season after he left via free agency, even though they boasted the same rosters minus him. His current career averages of 27.2 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 6.8 assist per game are only matched by the names of Oscar Robertson, Michael Jordan, Jerry West and Larry Bird. Enough said, he’s one of the top four greats to ever play this game.

For those who will ask where is Boston Celtics great Bill Russell? My reply is “He’s my Halle Berry of the NBA.” What do I mean? When people ask me who are my top five celebrity crushes, I never say Halle Berry, because she has her own list. You want early 90’s Halle? You know from “Strictly Business”, “Boomerang” or “Flintstones”? How about “Swordfish”, “X-men” or “Die Another Day” Halle? Then there’s this 50-year old version that makes most 30-year old’s look like they’re aging in dog years. You get my point? That’s the way I feel about Mr. Russell. He has his own Mount Rushmore. You can have the rookie version that led the Celtics to a Championship in 1956-57 while averaging 14.7 ppg and 19.6 rpg, or the won that led them to 8 consecutive titles while winning 5 League MVP’s, or the won that led them to a title as player/coach in his final professional season. Take your pick. Hands down Mister Russell is the greatest winner in NBA history, so he gets his own mountain. Matter of fact, he should be the logo, he won more championships (11) than the current logo man Jerry West lost (8).

The following four men are on my honorable mentions: Oscar Robertson, Wilt Chamberlain, Larry Bird, Tim Duncan

When Killer B’s Attack

Sammie Coates (14) catches his first of 6 passes on the day for a 72-yard TD. Photo Credit: Steelers.com

The start of the second quarter of the season for the Pittsburgh Steelers got off to a stinging start, for the visiting New York Jets. Decked out in their 1934 throwback jersey’s that many NFL fans call the “Bumble Bee” uniforms,  the trio of Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell led the swarm against the Jets for the 31-13 victory.

It wasn’t the first offensive play from scrimmage like last week, but the third when Ben Roethlisberger connected with Sammie Coates on a 72-yard touchdown on 3rd and 7. I always say third down is one of the three most important statistical categories that indicates a win or loss. The only thing better than moving the chains on third down, is scoring on it.

Here’s why the Steelers won. The offense was 5 for 10 (.50%) on 3rd down, while the defense held the Jets to 2 for 11 and 0 for 1 on 4th down. You have to stay on the field on offense and get off the field on defense to win in this league. The dominance on third down allowed Roethlisberger and the offense to win the time of possession battle 31:50 to 28:10. In total the Black & Gold made 30 first downs (23 passing, 3 rushing, 4 to penalties). The last indicator of a victory is the turnover battle, which Pittsburgh lost 1-0. But, if you win two of those three, you win the game. I guarantee it. It’s the same story every week, that’s why I say it every week.

But, it also doesn’t hurt when you have arguably the best quarterback in football, and without a doubt the best overall running back and wide receiver in the game. In most cases, the only people that can stop this trio is themselves. Roethlisberger 34 of 47 for 380 yards and 4 touchdowns. Bell once again was dominant overall gaining 154 yards from scrimmage (66 rush, 88 receiving) a stat he’s led the league in per game average since he entered the league. While Brown didn’t have a monster game by his standards, his 9 catches for 78 yards and a touchdown were more than enough to draw the focus and attention of the New York secondary allowing Coates to go off for 139 yards on 6 catches and two touchdowns himself. Although, he should’ve had a day reminiscent of the one Markus Wheaton had last season against the Seattle  Seahawks when he went for 200+ receiving yards, had he caught a few more passes.

The old vets James Harrison (92) and Lawrence Timmons (94) have help the Steelers D finally turn the corner. Photo Credit: Steelers.com

The defense also showed up, earning three more sacks in consecutive weeks after only having one in the first three games. Fitzpatrick was held below 300+ passing yards (255) which had been a problem for the Steelers even in the 3 previous wins. The Jets only amassed 316 total yards on the day (244 passing, 72 rushing).

The two major disappointments of the day are the Steelers D is the only unit that hasn’t picked off Ryan Fitzpatrick this season. The Jets QB came into the game leading the league with 10, and just threw 3 last week to the Seattle Seahawks. The second disappointment and more concerning one, is Cam Heyward left the game with a hamstring injury in the first half.

With the Baltimore Ravens 16-10 loss to the Washington Redskins, the Steelers are now in first place alone in the AFC North. Next up for the ‘Burgh, the 1-4 Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium in South Florida next Sunday. Kickoff is set for 1:00 pm.

OTHER NOTES

• Sammie Coates earned his first career 100+ receiving yard game. On his first catch of the game he caught his sixth pass of over 40 yards on the season for the 72-yard touchdown.

• Ben Roethlisberger extended his streak of throwing at least 1 touchdown pass in a game to 41, the 2nd longest streak in NFL history, and with his 3rd touchdown pass of the day, to Antonio Brown, he earned his six consecutive 3+ TD pass game at Heinz Field.