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Steelers-Packers Recap

Steelers win another crazy one, 38-31, on the road against the Matt Flynn-led Packers.

The Good – Antonio Brown made some nice plays, including a deep grab in the 1st half and a great punt return. He also broke the Steelers single season receiving yard record, very nice!

– Steelers defense holding the Packers offense to FG attempts on a couple of drives deep inside the 5 yard line. One was actually blocked.

– A few players on defense – Heyward, Sylvestor, Worilds, Timmons and Troy all made some really nice plays, especially in applying pressure on Flynn and causing TO’s. Heyward had another pass deflection at the line of scrimmage. Cortez Allen had a really solid day including a pick 6 in the 2nd half.

– The fake punt conversion. Very nice, surprisingly accurate pass downfield by the punter on the play.

– The O-line played another solid game all around.

The Good/Bad –  Bell had a hundred yards rushing and the O-line looked great against a bad Packers run defense. Steelers still too conservative though. This is how the Steelers obviously want to play and when there is any success at all they always, like clockwork, go back to it way too much in games. This game was no exception. It’s not 1995 and Jerome Bettis, a power running game and an all-pro O-line is no longer the Steelers identity. Accept it, move on. This team did accept this in previous weeks but bad habits are hard to break I guess.

The Bad – Ben had a decent game, including scampering for a TD, but a number of his passes seemed off especially on some deeper throws and on a crucial 3rd and short at the end of the game, missing Bell on a short pass.

– Seeing the defense look horrible for most of the 1st half. Kiesel was back in the lineup and looked bad for a good bit of the game. He did get a sack and fumble recovery in the 2nd half though. Run defense bad as ever. Watching huge cushions in snowy weather against a GB offense with a backup QB playing. What kind of message does that send to your team? The defense tightened somewhat to begin the 2nd half but crumbled again as the game went on. There were some great individual efforts at times as illustrated above but as a whole this defense needs some help.

– Why is Ryan Clark still playing? This is another case of the Steelers coaching staff playing favorites with vets, which just hurts the team.

– The complete clusterfuck on the final offensive drive of the1st half resulting in only 3 points instead of a TD. Once again Tomlin wastes a TO earlier in the half which combined with too many runs and too much clock between snaps = poorly prepared and coached team settling for a FG.  This kind of series has happened numerous times  and is indicative of a Tomlin coached. This is what you get.

– The opening drive of the 2nd half. The Steelers seemingly aware that they are still alive for a playoff spot decide to pucker it up per usual under Tomlin.

– The conservative approach with roughly 4:30 left in the game, tied, after the Steelers converted a 4th and 1 at midfield. Classic Tomlin. Classic loser schizo ball mindset. Aggressive to go for it but then go completely conservative after. The results – 2 run plays and a failed 3rd and 5, punt. This kind of approach basically puts all the pressure on the QB to convert the 1st down on 1 play. If they had succeeded on this play, there’s a good chance the next set of plays would be the same with all the pressure on Ben to convert on a 3rd down. This is low percentage ball with the game on the line, just stupid, playing with no heart.

– Ben seemingly audibling (?) to run plays with mostly mixed results.

– Bell with a fumble at the Steelers 3 yard line. That can’t happen. Bell also had another drop in this game. He is a good receiving RB but there does seem to be a pattern of him dropping a ball or 2 each game so far this season.

The Real Bad – The final sequences of the game courtesy of probably the dumbest head coach in the NFL, Mike Tomlin. A Packers penalty gives the Steelers offense a fresh set of downs inside the Packers 10. The offense has a 2nd down with GB now out of time outs, with 1:28 left in the game. TAKE TIME OFF THE CLOCK. It’s arguably more important than scoring a TD and the ensuing kickoff and Packers return more than showed that. If the Steelers had simply kneeled down on the ball it would’ve taken the clock all the way down to virtually no time left instead of the minute and a half the Steelers left on the clock for the Packers. Kick the FG, win the game, no time left. This kind of stupidity never changes. Fire Tomlin! I can’t take it anymore. It’ll be a miracle if the Steelers even make it back to the playoffs with this numbnuts at the helm. Why? Because it’s pretty hard for a team to find consistent success with a bad head coach.

The Embarrassing – The refs giving the ball back to the Packers with a 1st down after they had a FG blocked. Why? Because they ruled that Ziggy Hood illegally forwarded the ball or some such bullshit. They then explained that since the Steelers never had possession of the ball it would be given back to the Packers. I don’t think I have ever seen a more absurd call or rule in all of football. NFL just keeps  getting more and more unwatchable. The Packers would then score a TD. So basically a team is penalized for a good play (blocked FG) while the other team who had their FG attempt blocked is rewarded with better field position and a 1st down. Yep, sounds about right. Tomlin tried to challenge the play as it looked like Ryan Clark did indeed have possession before stupidly trying to pitch the ball back to another Steeler player. An all around big embarrassment for the NFL. Business as usual for Goodell.

Summary – The Steelers play with some heart today although it seemed like the team as a whole went back to the puckered up conservative ball which has plagued the team for some time under Tomlin. Tomlin never learns is what we have learned today. Neither team played very well to be honest, with mistakes and blunders everywhere. Believe it or not, the Steelers remain alive for a playoff spot going into the final weekend of the regular season. Do they deserve it? Nope. Will they get it? Probably not. Will they win next week anyways? Probably, which will drop them in the draft of course. And thus, the Steelers saga under Tomlin continues. Let’s see how it all plays it next week, it should be exciting at least.

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