Tag Archives: Pittsburgh

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.


• 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.

Redemption and Domination in the 412

Coach Tomlin called Sunday night’s game “Redemption Sunday”, his team responded in a big way. Photo Credit: Steelers.com

“During this particular course of the journey, you have an opportunity to learn about yourself in terms of how you respond to adversity.” – Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin after last week’s 34-3 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.

What I think we all learned is, that in the words of the late Minnesota Vikings head coach Dennis Green, “the Steelers are who we though they were” when many predicted they would have the most explosive offense in the NFL and earn a trip to the Super Bowl 51 in Houston this coming February.

Just like last week’s first quarter set the horrific tone for the loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, this week’s first quarter was a complete 180 in the Steelers favor. Pittsburgh got out to a 22 point lead thanks to the much maligned defense creating 2 first quarter turnovers (1 fumble, 1 interception), that led to 15 points, while also forcing Kansas City to punt 3 times. That is why I have to give a game ball to defensive coordinator Keith Butler. I didn’t see that “bend, but don’t break” mentality Sunday night when the game still mattered. Butler’s unit pressure the quarterback throughout the night and held the Chiefs without a point for 49:49. For the game, they sacked Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith 3 times, all by defensive end Cam Heyward. The defense only had 1 sack coming into the game. Kansas City gained 357 yards (270 passing, 87 rushing) for the game. But, through 3 quarters when the dogs were still hunting, it was 25 rushing yards and 228 passing yards.

My other game ball goes to offensive coordinator Todd Haley. Haley countered the Chiefs aggressive defensive by being aggressive himself attacking them down field, especially last season’s Defensive Rookie of the Year, Marcus Peters, who currently leads the league in interceptions (4). On the Steelers 1st offensive play of the game, Ben Roethlisberger went up top to Sammie Coates for a 47 yard gain, his 5th catch of over 40 yards already this season. “Lethal Weapon 7” was 7 of 9 for 135 yards and 3 touchdowns in the first 15. At one point he had thrown 3 consecutive passes for touchdowns. Haley and the offensive stayed aggressive the rest of the game. At the half Roethlisberger was 14 of 17 for 210 yards and 4 touchdowns and finished the night 22 of 27 for 300 yards and 5 touchdowns. Roethlisberger looked inspired to top Atlanta Falcons quarterback, and reigning NFL Player of the Month, Matt Ryan’s big day (503 passing yds, 4 TDs).

The Steelers offense had a little extra “Juice” in the lineup that aided their bounce back 43-14 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs. Photo Credit: Steelers.com

I can’t leave out Le’Veon Bell who returned to the field in explosive fashion running for 144 yards on 18 carries, for the most in the NFL this weekend, while also adding 34 receiving yards on 5 catches. The team got much needed “Juice” scoring 43 points while gaining 436 total yards (287 passing, 149 rushing).

My last game ball goes to Cam Heyward who had 3 sacks to go along with 6 tackles (6 solo). He also batted the pass that was intercepted and returned by linebacker Jarvis Jones setting the Steelers offense up inside Chiefs 5 yard line.

The redemption wasn’t just about the loss last Sunday to the Eagles. Last season the Chiefs dominated the Steelers in Arrowhead Stadium (23-13) without Roethlisberger, who was nursing a knee injury. Beating a 2015 playoff team this way is the type of deodorant Pittsburgh needed to wash away the stink of getting housed by a rookie QB, from division I-AA, who was expected to redshirt this season. I’m not going to overreact and say this game was a must win, but coming off last week’s beatdown, the Steelers played with a hint of desperation and dare I say NEEDED this win if they truly want to be the Super Bowl contenders they and many believe they are. They couldn’t finish the first quarter of the season, 2-2 and expect to keep up with the Denver Broncos (4-0), New England Patriots (3-1), and the Baltimore Ravens (3-1) for a chance at home field advantage in the playoffs and the AFC North title.

Next up for the Steelers, the New York Jets (2-2) at Heinz Field.


Roethlisberger has now won his last 4 starts against Kansas City. With his 31-yard touchdown in the 1st quarter (7:27) to Darius Heyward-Bey, he has now thrown a TD pass in 40 straight home games, the 2nd longest streak in NFL history. He also now has 5 straight home games with 3+ touchdown passes and, six times now he’s thrown 3+ TDs in a quarter, which is 5th most in NFL history and he surpassed the 300 passing yards mark for the 47th time in his career.

The Pittsburgh Steelers Mt. Rushmore

The Steelers are the standard. Photo Credit: Steelers.com

The Pittsburgh Steelers, the seventh oldest NFL franchise, begins the 2016 season as won of the favorites to win Super Bowl 51 and capture their record 7th Lombardi Trophy.

In all, they already have a record 8 AFC Championships, 21 division titles (AFC Central & AFC North), 23 Pro Football Hall of Famers, A NFL record 34 playoff victories,

595 games won (629 combined regular & postseason) over the course of 82 years for third most in League history.

And if they made a Mount Rushmore to honor the men who helped build such an impressive trophy case, these would be the four guys who’d arguably be on it and are the most influential in the story of the most successful franchise in NFL history.

With a franchise that has so many legends, this was a difficult exercise, but here goes.


  • No owners, unless they were also coaches, and their place on this list is based on their contributions as coach. No General Managers or Personnel executives.  Just those who directly affected the games on Sunday.  I will make a separate list for them soon.
  • Key contributors to the team’s history and success, not just fan favorites or box office draws.
  • Can you tell the franchise’s story without them?

Chuck Noll (1969-1991) leads this list because he changed the culture in the Steel City that led to what Steeler Nation is today.

Coach Noll was the first coach to win 4 Super Bowls, and would easily be on the Mt. Rushmore for coaches. Photo Credit: Steelers.com

He was the head coach of the 70s dynasty, and the first coach to win four Super Bowls. In the 36 years before Coach Noll took over, the Pittsburgh franchise played in only one playoff game, and lost 21-0. He finished his twenty-three year career with a record of 209-156-1 (193 in the regular season) in regular season and playoffs combined.

Many younger Steelers fans may not know that Coach Noll won three NFL Championships, two as a player with his hometown Cleveland Browns and one with the Baltimore Colts as defensive coordinator. Coach Knoll was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1993, in his first year of eligibility.

Joe Greene (1969-1981) was the face of those 70s Steelers. “Mean Joe” was Chuck Noll’s first draft pick and became the leader of their dynasty and the “Steel Curtain” defense. NFL.com ranked the 4-time Super Bowl Champion as the 13th best NFL player of All-Time. He’s a 10-time Pro Bowler, 5-time 1st-team All-Pro, three-time 2nd team All-Pro, and a member of the Steelers All-Time and 50th Anniversary teams, the NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time team, and NFL 1970s All decade team.

“Mean Joe” Greene is the only player in Steelers history to have his jersey retired.

Green was the 1969 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, and a two-time Associated Press NFL Defensive Player of the Year. He is the only player to have his number (#75) officially retired by the organization. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1987.

Jack Lambert (1974-1984) and his toothless snarl, to go along with his “Lambert Lunatics” are as symbolic of the Steelers dynasty of the 70’s as is their four Lombardi Trophies.

Lambert’s grill may make you laugh, but opponents weren’t laughing when he was blowing them up on the field.

In his career, he intercepted 28 passes, made 1,479 tackles (1,045 solo) and 23.5 sacks. He was a Pro Bowl selection for the first nine years of his career (1974-1983), a 7-time All-Pro (1975, 1976, 1979-1983), the 1976 NFL Defensive Player of the Year, and 2-time Steelers team MVP.

Very impressive when you think of the number of Hall of Famers he played with. Lambert is a member of the Steelers All-Time and 50th Anniversary Teams. He was also selected to the NFL’s 75th Anniversary, 1970s and 1980s All-Decade teams. He was inducted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1990, and his number 58 jersey is one of a few that has been unofficially retired.

Hines Ward (1999-2011) was to the younger generation of Steeler fans what “Mean Joe”, Coach Noll and Lambert were to their father’s and grandfather’s.

Ward played the wide receiver spot like a classic Steeler defender, mean and nasty.

He set the tone for what this generation of Steelers fans expect from a Steeler.

This may be my most controversial name on this list, but the 4-time Pro Bowler (2001-2004) and 3-time All-Pro (2002-2004) is the face of the Steelers teams that won a fifth and a NFL record sixth Super Bowl (XL, XLIII) for the franchise. The Super Bowl XL MVP is the Steelers all-time leader in receptions (1,000), receiving yards (12,083) and receiving touchdowns (85). Ward is a member of the Steelers All-Time Team and the Pittsburgh Pro Football Hall of Fame. The team has taken his jersey number 86 out of rotations, and he ranks 12th in NFL history in receptions.

Let me hear you Steeler Nation. Agree or disagree? Who would be your top four Steelers?

Steelers Post-mortem: What Went Wrong in ’15

Pittsburgh’s quest for Lombardi #7 came up short in 2015, but 2016 is promising. Photo Credit: Kavis Peak

Now that the Pittsburgh Steelers season is over, there are two themes that will stick with me all offseason about the 2015 edition. Injuries and inconsistent defensive play.

First, the injuries. It started in the first preseason game when kicker Shaun Suisham tore his ACL making a tackle in the Hall of Fame game in August. Then All-Pro Center Maurkice Pouncey went down with a broken Ankle in the third preseason game against the Green Bay Packers. Move to the regular season and the injury bug continued to bite. Perennial Pro-Bowl quarterback Ben Roethlisberger had to miss 4 games with a sprained MCL and bone bruise of his left knee when he was hit low during the St. Louis Rams victory. 4 games later, starting offensive tackle Kelvin Beachum tore his ACL in the victory over the Arizona Cardinals and missed the final 12 games including the postseason. Just as #7 was ready to comeback and steady the ship, down goes All-Pro running back Le’Veon Bell, who tore up his knee against the Cincinnati Bengals in the first meeting between the two heated rivals, causing him to miss the remainder of the season.

Then as they secured a playoff spot on the final day of the regular season, DeAngelo Williams sprains his ankle and misses the postseason. Then, Antonio Brown had to miss the Denver Broncos playoff game with a concussion suffered in the Wild Card game.

In all, 17 players were put on the injured reserve list. I don’t know of any team that could suffer such losses to key players and finish with a winning season, let alone make the playoffs and be 10 minutes away from making the Conference Championship game. Don’t believe me? Look at the Dallas Cowboys.

All things considered, this team overachieved. If I had told you in August that the Steelers would suffer that many significant injuries, you would’ve probably told me “better luck next year.” Or you might have thought “hope the losses help us get a great draft pick.”

Speaking of draft picks, that brings me to the other issue I have with the 2015 team. It’s time for Coach Mike Tomlin and General Manager Kevin Colbert to draft a defensive back in the first round. Probably in the second round as well.

Tomlin needs to improve his secondary in order to win his 2nd Super Bowl title.

The secondary was very inconsistent for a majority of this season. This unit finished with the 3rd worse ranked pass defense in the NFL, giving up 271.9 passing yards per game for a 16 game total of 4,350 yards, and 231 first downs via the air. Four quarterbacks set career marks against them for yards in a game. The Cleveland Brown’s Johnny Manziel (372 yards), A.J. McCarron (280 yards) of the Cincinnati Bengals and Ryan Mallett (274 yards) of the Baltimore Ravens, and Seattle’s Russell Wilson set career high for touchdowns with 5.

I will be clamoring all offseason for the Steelers brass to use early round picks on the most talented defensive backs in the 2016 class. According to draft analyst, this crop of prospects is the deepest position in the draft. Pittsburgh has the 25th pick by virtue of their postseason finish, and should be able to get a very talented player this late in the round.

A few prospects that already come to mind; cornerback Kendall Fuller from Virgina Tech, who comes from a very good pedigree with two brothers currently excelling in the League at the position, and a third that enjoyed a 7-year career as well. Jalen Ramsey of Florida State is one of the bigger corners in this year’s class at 6’1″ and 204 pounds. Many scouts say he’s more of a safety at the next level than a corner, but it doesn’t matter for the Steelers because they could use him at either position, especially with the 33-year old Will Allen entering free agency. Some mock drafts have the Steelers going with Eli Apple out of Ohio State with their first round pick. Apple was a key contributor on the Ohio State Buckeye team that won the 2014 National Championship. The 6’1″ cornerback is touted as a physical, in-your-face talent that likes to play man coverage and make tackles in the run game. He already sounds like a Steeler.

LSU’s Tre’Davious White is projected to be selected anywhere from the first to third round. If you could get him in round two or three after drafting one of the aforementioned prospects in the first round, you could potentially make a weakness of the club into a strength in two picks. We all know the Bengal Tigers have done pretty well recently with the secondary talent they’ve sent into the NFL in recent years. Patrick Peterson, Tyrann Mathieu, Morris Claiborne to name a few.

The last time Pittsburgh selected a defensive back in the first round…. 2003 with the 16th pick. It was Troy Polamalu. How did that turn out? Future Hall of Famer.

I’m not going to point out the negative without looking at the positives. Pittsburgh’s defense was 3rd in the League in getting interceptions with 17, as well as 3rd in sacks with 48. In their last 4 games, which include the playoffs, they only gave up 17.8 points per game. That’s progress.

Roethlisberger missed 4 games, but led all QBs in passing yards per game. Photo Credit: Steelers.com

I go into the offseason believing that this young explosive offense, that averaged 26.4 points per game and set a franchise record with 6 consecutive games of scoring 30+, has the tools to compete for a Super Bowl title if everyone returns healthy.

Roethlisberger led all quarterbacks with 328.2 yards per game. Antonio Brown was once again voted to the All-Pro team, and became the first player in NFL history to record 125+ receptions in consecutive seasons. His 265 catches over that span is also the most in NFL history in any two-year period. Now he has more running-mates in Martavis Bryant who showed in the Divisional game against the Denver Broncos and all season he is more than able to compliment AB with his 9 reception 154 yard performance, and Markus Wheaton who pulled in 9 catches for 201 yards and a touchdown against the Seattle Seahawks’ “Legion Of Boom” proved why this is the most lethal crop of wide receivers in the League.

AB became the first WR to catch 125+ passes in consecutive seasons. Photo Credit:Steelers.com

As this season proved, the best ability is availability. And if the Steelers key players are available for a large portion of the 2016 season, that record seventh Lombardi Trophy won’t be that far from their grasps.

Steelers: 4-3, Just Like 2014

The 2015 Pittsburgh Steelers have won ugly and loss ugly. Sunday against the 1-5 Kansas City Chiefs was the latter.

Steelers drop a great opportunity. Photo Credit: David Eulitt/Kansas City Star

Want a key indicator of your team’s chances to win a game? Watch the turnover and 3rd down efficiency categories. If your team is losing both of those, I can guarantee you they’ll be behind in the most important stat line, the scoreboard.

The Steelers were minus 3 in turnovers against Kansas City. Pittsburgh’s offense was 2/10 (20%) on 3rd down, while the Black and Gold D allowed Kansas City to go 9/16 (56%). The final score was 23-13. See my point?!

If the Steelers D could ever learn to cover the opposition’s tight end, they’d be one of the best units in the NFL. Travis Kelce caught 5 passes for a team leading 73 yards while gashing the Steelers linebackers whenever his team needed him to make a play.

However, even with the loss it’s not all bad news. The 2014 Steelers were also 4-3 after 7 games. That team finished 7-2, won the AFC North division and hosted a playoff game. All realistic possibilities for this year’s team. The caveat for 2015, is that while the record is the same, the defense is vastly improved. Also, Pro-Bowl QB Ben Roethlisberger should be back in the lineup next Sunday. That should jolt the struggling offense, just like at this point last season when he put up back to back 6 touchdown passing game performances.

Steeler Nation has to be real with themselves, if  you were told a month ago that Pittsburgh would go 2-2 with Roethlisberger sidelined with an injury, you would’ve taken it. Well here they are, with 9 games remaining to get hot before the most important part of the season begins. It starts at 1 PM at Heinz field, Sunday against the undefeated Cincinnati Bengals.

Steelers Need to Use First Round Pick on a Defensive Back

The last time the Pittsburgh Steelers drafted a defensive back in the first round was 2003. That choice was future Hall of Famer Troy Polamalu. That’s the good news. The bad news is, he’s closer to retirement than the All-Pro, former Defensive Player of the Year he’s been throughout his career. 

Pittsburgh currently holds the 22nd pick and it’s time for general manager Kevin Colbert, head coach Mike Tomlin and newly promoted defensive coordinator Keith Butler to upgrade the secondary. 

Polamalu and fellow veteran defensive back Ike Taylor are hanging on by the gray hairs in their beards. It is time to select their replacements while they can still tutor them on how to be a Steeler.

The Steelers had the 6th ranked defense in the NFL in 2014 against the pass, but they gave up a NFL second worse fifteen pass plays over 40 yards and a 14th league worse fifty pass plays over 20 yards. 

The thirty passing touchdowns given up was tied for 4th worst in the NFL. The Black and Gold were also 6th worse in total passing yards 4,049 and gave up a 5th worse 98.3 rating to opposing quarterbacks. The numbers don’t lie, it’s time to invest in some defensive backs. 

If you go to NFL.com and look at the mock drafts from their four draft analysts, they are split as to what the Steelers should do. Daniel Jeremiah and Charles Davis have Pittsburgh going defensive back with Jeremaih suggesting P.J. Williams from Florida State and Davis suggesting Kevin Johnson from Wake Forest. The other two analysts, Lance Zierlein and Bucky Brooks suggest Pittsburgh should select outside linebacker Vic Beasley from Clemson and defensive tackle Malcolm Brown from Texas respectively.

In recent drafts the Steelers have looked to fortify their front seven hoping to get pressure on the elite passers in this league. That’s all well and good, but if the back-end of the defense is below average, it won’t matter if the front seven is the best in the league, as the stats show, they’ll still get torched.

Steeler Nation is hoping the Pittsburgh brass will make the correct selection to avoid that from continuing to be a weakness. They’ll have several options  as their are several talented defensive backs in this 2015 Class. Good thing too, because they should be looking to add another with their second round pick as well. 

Steelers are in a Heavyweight Pride Fight


Six Super Bowl titles in eight tries = The Standard.

The Pittsburgh Steelers (0-4) are not in a prize fight, they are now in a PRIDE fight. It is not about Xs & Os anymore. This proud group of veterans will not accept rolling over and getting ready for 2014.

The Steelers are not a team that’s in it for next season. You know, when a team starts out in the dumps and began to look for players to build with for the future? No. They don’t do that! They are either going to dig themselves out of this hole and make history or ruin other team’s seasons. There will be no tanking or setting themselves up to draft South Carolina’s Jadaveon Clowney (although that would be nice to have him play for Defensive Coordinator Dick LeBeau.)

But, this 2013 season is an example of the bad side of experiencing so many years of success. The Indianapolis Colts have dealt with it. The New England Patriots have dealt with it to some degree (they haven’t won a Super Bowl since 2005.) The San Francisco 49ers of the late 80’s and Dallas Cowboys of the 90’s dealt with it too. All of these teams struggled to retain their championship form as key players aged and retired or were lost to free agency.

This is what happens when you’ve spent over a decade as a championship contender. This is the other side of winning 2 Super Bowls out of 3 in 7 seasons, and winning 3 AFC Titles out of 5 in 10 years. Just look at history, there’s no reason to fear this will last long.

My biggest concern is the backlash Head Coach Mike Tomlin will get. If the season continues this way, it will be the third time his Steelers have missed the playoffs in his Seven seasons at the helm. His predecessor, Bill Cowher, had struggling seasons as well. Cowher’s Steeler teams missed three straight playoffs from 1998 to 2000 before returning to the AFC championship game in 2001 and beginning this decade long run of success that led to 2 Vince Lombardi Trophies in 3 appearances in the big game.

Make no mistake there will be casualties, maybe even before this article is posted. Offensive Coordinator Todd Haley will probably be first to go, but changes will need to be made. I just don’t think Head Coach should be one of them.


Tomlin is running out of ideas.

Changing head coaches is what delayed the 49ers return to glory and has kept the Cleveland Browns in sports purgatory. Sticking with a coach during the down times as the Rooney family has done in the past, is why this organization is the leader in Super Bowl victories. There have only been 3 coaches in Pittsburgh since 1969, ironically or not, that was the season after the Steelers last 0-4 start.

Steeler Nation, You’re in the PRIDE fight too. Don’t pack away your terrible towels, jerseys, hoodies or other game day traditions, because this organization can turn it around just as quick as the 2012 Indianapolis Colts. Who would’ve thought they’d be where they are when they went 2-12 and let Peyton Manning go?

The franchise quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is only 31 years old. The offensive line that has 3 starters under 3 years of experience will get better as they gain more experience and General Manager Kevin Colbert will draft the right players to play the STEELER way, especially on defense.

The key to re-opening the Steelers championship window is already in place. Patience, it won’t be long before Lombardi trophy number seven joins the six pack in the trophy case.


#7 isn’t as far away as it seems.

10/13 @ NY Jets
10/20 vs. Baltimore Ravens
10/27 @ Oakland Raiders
11/03 @ NE Patriots