The votes are in following the Stseelers Sunday night win over the Green Bay Packers, and this time, it wasn’t even close.
Antonio Brown scoring the go ahead touchdown for the Steelers in the 4th quarter against the Packers. Photo Credit: Chaz Palla, Tribune Review
Antonio Brown was the run away winner, polling 34 votes, on the strength of his 3 touchdown 169 yard reciving night which include a mind boggling toe tap to catch the ball in bounds as the Steelers were driving against the clock for the game winning field goal.
Chris Boswell was tied for third place with Bell, and so he should be as making a 53 yarder, at night, in 38 degree weather at Heinz Field is anything but a gimmie.
After that, voting drops off sharply as Cameron Heyward was the 4th highest vote getter, earning 9 votes, followed by Martavis Bryant who found the support of 8 voters.
Cam Heyward and Martavis Bryant signal another sharp drop in the voting, as the Steelers offensive line, a write in selection, garnered 5 votes. Xavier Grimble‘s lone catch for the Steelers first touchdown in the Red Zone was good enough to get him 3 votes.
Then we see that the voters give us somewhat of a surprise.
The Pittsburgh Steelers have a problem in their secondary. Labeling them “hiccups” or simply suggesting that big pass plays hindering the defense’s dominance dodges the issue. So we’ll repeat the statistic unearthed during this sites post-Packers analysis and Report Card:
Since Joe Haden left the field injured, the Steelers have given up a 57 yard touchdown pass in every 27 and a half minutes of play.
That’s a searing statistic that shows just how serious of a situation the Steelers must resolve with their secondary. To be fair to Coty Sensabaugh, Haden’s replacement, Artie Burns has been just as much at fault, if not more at fault, for these breakdowns. So have other members of the defense, who’ve literally players slip through their hands.
In other words, issues plaguing Pittsburgh’s defensive backfield might very well go beyond the secondary being different absent Joe Haden.
Which brings us to the question that no one else seems to be asking, so we’ll ask here:
Is it time for the Steelers to be feeling some buyer’s remorse over trading Ross Cockrell away?
OK. If you’ve come this far to read this instead of simply seeing the headline on Twitter, rolling your eyes as you click away, stay with us for a second longer.
Ross Cockrell’s Red Zone interception against the Raiders in 2015. Photo Credit: USA Today’s SteelersWire
So let’s be clear, no one, not even the most wild-eyed homer, would suggest that Ross Cockrell’s should change his name to Mel Woodson Taylor. Suggesting that Ross Cockrell would develop into the next Deshea Townsend or William Gay would probably have been a stretch.
Moreover, Coty Sensabaugh appeared to be beating out Cockrell in training camp and he’s only started 4 games in New York, which is enough for Pro Football Focus to rate him as “Poor” whereas PFF rates Sensabaugh as “Average.”
With those negatives acknowledged, let’s also accept the advantages that having Ross Cockrell on the roster now would bring.
The biggest benefit that Cockrell would bring is that it would give Keith Butler and Carnell Lake some viable alternatives at cornerback. Steel City Insider’sJon Ledyard expresses a sentiment that’s common in Steelers Nation these days, if social media is any guide:
Combine these consistent failures with Burns’ penalties and missed tackles and I think we’re all hoping Cameron Sutton shows something soon to start pushing Burns for playing time.
One reader pointed out that the more realistic scenario would be Cam Sutton pushing Coty Sensabaugh for playing time. Both scenarios breathe new life into the old cliché of “grasping at straws.”
Contrast that with Coty Sensabaugh and Artie Bruns combined 110 games and 6 interceptions.
Should a serious Super Bowl contender really entertain the thought of replacing that kind of experience with a raw rookie 12 games into the season? That’s one’s hard to get your head around.
The Steelers could, however, entertain making the same sort of switch with Ross Cockrell. Sure, Cockrell struggled in the AFC Championship, but which Steelers (other than perhaps Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown) didn’t struggle that night?
Here’s another thing: Ross Cockrell is a treasure. He works so hard that no one will dismiss his chances. Therefore, no ones [sic] going to leak that they’re dissatisfied with their outside guys. And really, with how hard Cockrell works and how smart he is, there’s no certainty a high draft pick will beat him out.
And before you write off Wexell as a homer, Pro Football Focus was labeling Ross Cockrell as one of the Steelers “secret superstars” as recently as early July 2017.
Mike Tomlin, Keith Butler and Carnell Lake have forgotten far more about defensive back development than I will ever know. So has Kevin Colbert, who also understands how to make the cost-benefit calculations that the salary cap demands, and economics certainly factored into the Cockrell trade.
But Cockrell could have at least potentially pushed Burns and/or Sensabaugh whereas Cam Sutton is too young and William Gay is too old.
Which means the Steelers really need to find a way to coax Artie Burns out of his slump and get Sutton some help from either Mike Mitchell and/or Sean Davis. Barring that, the Steelers need Joe Haden to get healthy fast.
Taken from the grade book whose pleased to see his upper classman hit their stride but dismayed by the drop off from his under classman, here is the Pittsburgh Steelers Report Card for the win over the Packers.
Cameron Heyward smothers Jamaal Williams in Steelers 31-28 win over Packers @ Heinz Field. Photo Credit: Barry Reeger, PennLive.com
Where does Ben Roethlisberger play best? At home under the lights. It was Ben Roethlisberger’s second consecutive Prime Time game at Heinz Field and his second 4 touchdown performance. Roethlisberger’s number would have been even better had he not suffered multiple drops. While he did throw two interceptions, Ben Roethlisberger was on against the Packers. Grade: A-
The Packers run defense didn’t leave a lot of rushing room early on, but Le’Veon Bell was patient, and ended up just below the century mark on the ground. Moreover, Bell seems to be recovering his rappot with Roethlisberger in the short passing game, and that was a true difference maker for the 2nd straight week. Bell did fumble, which brings his grade down. Slightly. Grade: A-
Tight Ends Xavier Grimble caught a shovel pass to get the Steelers on the board and convert their first Red Zone opportunity. Jesse James had 3 catches but one notable drop. The blocking from this group was solid, but not spectacular. Grade: B
Is there a better wide reciever in football than Antonio Brown? Good luck trying to make that case. Antonio Brown was simply spectacular the entire evening, coming up with the ball whenever the Steelers needed it. Martavis Bryant had a touchdown on a text book fade pattern and made some other drive sustaining catches. But he also had a drop and Eli Rogers had several, although he rebounded with catches later. Justin Hunter had a drop on his only target and one has to wonder if Darrius Heyward-Bey should get the nod instead of him. Grade: B+
The Packers sacked Ben Roethlisberger deep in Pittsburgh territory, but the Steelers offense recovered to score a touchdown. Rushing room was sparse at times, but the Steelers offensive line eventually opened holes when they needed to be opened. Grade: B
The Steelers defensive line kept the Packers running game more or less in check throughout the night, although Green Bay did get some traction early on and then again in the Red Zone. The defensive line accounted for all three sacks. Stephon Tuitt had a tackle for a loss, as did L.T. Walton who also had a critical sack. A very good night for the defensive line. Grade: B+
Linebackers T.J. Watt had a sack on the Packer’s final possession which should have been flagged, nonetheless it was a heads up play as Brett Hundley could have done some damage with a scramble. T.J. Watt also defensed a critical pass as did Ryan Shazier who led the Steelers in tackles. Vince Williams and Bud Dupree had 4 tackles with Vince dropping one of his men behind scrimmage. Grade: B
Vince Williams after stuffing Green Bay running back Jamaal Williams. Photo Credit: Barry Reeger, PennLive.com
The Packers threw touchdown passes for 49, 54 and 55 yards. And while the screen pass wasn’t entirely on the shoulders of the Steelers secondary, they bear responsibility for the break down. Artie Burns bit badly on a double pump, tackled poorly in many cases, and Coty Sensabaugh got burned one of the 50 plus yarders. Stats like third down conversions suddenly become irrelevant when opposing teams can count on covering half the field on any given play. Grade: F
The opened the game with their longest kick return of the season and Jordan Berry’s punts were sufficiently well placed and/or had enough hang time that the Packers declined to return them. Kickoff coverage was solid. Steelers missed on a an extra point, but Chris Boswell came through by kicking a Heinz Field record tying 53 yard field goal as time expired. Can’t ask for (much) more than that. Grade: A-
It would be easy to say that the Steelers almost fell into another Tomlin trap game or that Tomlin’s comments about the Patriots and the subsequent closeness of the context indicated a lack of focus on the part of the coaching staff.
Both of those assumptions are almost certainly wrong.
While the Steelers offense did suffer from some execution errors, they got production out of their key starters all night, and Todd Haley’s overall game planning was solid, and his unit did score four touchdowns including 3 from inside the Red Zone as well as making a 2 point conversion.
The bigger and more concerning issues are on defense.
Since Joe Haden left the field injured, the Steelers have given up a 57 yard touchdown pass in every 27 and a half minutes of play.
Even at 9-2, this type of failure could cost easily the Steelers the AFC North title, let alone home field advantage.
Whether the root cause of these breakdowns is the cause of scheme, execution, personnel or some combination thereof, the Keith Butler and Mike Tomlin must fix it, quickly.
Count the Steelers win against the Packers as another “closer than expected win.” But the Steelers are nonetheless finding ways to win those. And Mike Tomlin gets credit for that. Grade: C-
Cam Heyward celebrates with Stephon Tuitt after sacking Brett Hundley in the Steelers win over the Packers. Photo Credit: Barry Reeger, PennLive.come
Unsung Hero Award
In the past we’ve metaphorically referred to him as “One Man Wrecking Crew.” But against the Packers he literally was the only member of his unit to take the field on a number of downs as the Steelers went into a 1-4-6 alignment.
And wouldn’t you know, on one of these occasions the player in question came up with a sack on a critical third down.
It was certainly one of the greatest finishes in the history of the Steelers franchise.
And hats off to Boswell, who tied the the mark for the longest field goal in Heinz Field history.
Steelers hoist Chris Boswell after kicking the game winner against the Packers at Heinz Field. Photo Credit: Daily Caller
Of course, if Packers head coach Mike McCarthy’s third quarter gamble had paid off, his kicker, Mason Crosby, would hold the Heinz Field record at 57 yards.
Midway through the third quarter, mere moments after the two-touchdown underdog Packers had taken a 21-14 lead on a 55-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Brett Hundley to receiver Davante Adams, Green Bay linebacker Blake Martinez corralled a tipped screen pass that Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was tyring to get to Le’Veon Bell that set the visitors up just 45 yards away from another score and a commanding lead.
But after driving to Pittsburgh’s 31-yard line, the Packers were pushed back to the 39, thanks to sacks by defensive ends L.T. Walton and Cameron Heyward.
Facing fourth and 18, surely McCarthy, one of the better head coaches in the NFL, would send out his punting unit and force the Steelers offense to start from deep within its own territory.
Surprisingly, however, McCarthy, a Pittsburgh-native, sent out Crosby to attempt a 57-yard field goal.
Perhaps, not surprisingly, Crosby’s kick wasn’t even close, and Pittsburgh took over from its own 47.
Six plays later, the Steelers tied the game at 21, thanks to a one-yard touchdown pass from Ben Roethlisberger to Antonio Brown
It’s impossible to say if Pittsburgh would have still scored a touchdown had it been forced to start the drive from even its own 20, but it’s likely Todd Haley’s play-calling approach would have been different.
It just goes to show you that all NFL coaches–even highly-respected one–are susceptible to lapses in judgment.
It’s likely McCarthy, given Green Bay’s health issues (Aaron Rodgers missed his fifth-straight game with a broken collarbone) and precarious playoff positioning in the NFC, was frustrated with his offense’s inability to capitalize on Roethlisberger’s second interception of the night, and he wanted to give his team a boost (along with a two-score lead).
Instead, McCarthy gave the home team a boost and allowed the Steelers to quickly get back into the game.
When it comes to kicking 50-plus-yard field goals at Heinz Field, perhaps the toughest place to kick in the history of modern football, there’s a time and a place for everything.
With just four seconds remaining in regulation, it was a no-brainer for Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin to send Boswell out to attempt a 53-yard field goal.
Worst-case scenario: The kick is blocked and returned for a game-ending touchdown.
Likely scenario: Boswell’s kick falls short, and the game goes into overtime.
Best-case scenario is what actually transpired, as Boswell’s kick sailed through the uprights with plenty of room to spare.
A head coach can often be his own worst enemy.
If Packers head coach Mike McCarthy had to do it all over again, he probably would have played it safe and not allowed Chris Boswell to fire the last salvo of the night.
The Pittsburgh Steelers 31-28 win over the Green Bay Packers gave us something we’ve been longing for: A defining moment.
Mike Tomlin calling out the New England Patriots before the ball was even snapped gave the press their defining moment.
The NFL commentating class won’t forget – or forgive – Mike Tomlin’s declaration.
But the other, more critical moment came during the game itself, as the contest between the NFL’s two storied franchises laid bare both the fundamental strengths and fundamental weaknesses that will define the success or failure of the 2017 Pittsburgh Steelers quest to add Lombardi Number 7.
Antonio Brown burns Morgan Burnett & Davon House for his 3rd touchdown in Steelers win over Packers. Photo Credit: Barry Reeger, PennLive.com
Steelers Killer Bees Finally Sting in Unison
For the first 9 weeks of the season, the story on the Pittsburgh Steelers was the under performance of the offense. During 2015 and 2016 injuries and suspensions combined to keep all four Killer Bees Antonio Brown, Ben Roethlisberger, Le’Veon Bell and Martavis Bryant from playing together.
Yet, when the Steelers four Killer Bees finally took the field, the result was a plodding, pedestrian effort instead of the Heinz Field re incarnation of The Greatest Show on Turf.
Had the Steelers offense come alive, or was the Titans win merely a one-game wonder?
Against the Green Bay Packers, the Pittsburgh’s offense proved it could match another team blow for blow in a contest where the Steelers gave up 3 turnovers, secured zero and had to tie or retake the lead 4 times.
Nonetheless, the Steelers offense left a lot of plays on the field against the Packers.
While Martavis Bryant scored a touchdown and made important catches, he dropped critical passes. We can say the same of Jesse James and Eli Rogers who came up with critical catches but also suffered drops. All Justin Hunter seems to do is drop passes. But if the supporting cast wasn’t always great, they did clear the stage for stars of the Steelers offense.
And the Steelers Killer Bees stung the Packers early and often.
Antonio Brown stung the Packers on long and short routes, with yards after the catch, in the end zone, over the middle and, perhaps most importantly, on the sidelines. Le’Veon Bell had some tough sledding at times, but he remained patient and nearly gouged the Green Bay for 100 yards rushing, while steadily burning them through the air.
And at the center of it, you had Ben Roethlisberger, who in spite of two interceptions, is playing his best football of the season.
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde on Hand in Steelers Defense
While the Steelers offense struggled to find its legs early in the season, the defense filled the void. We saw that dominating defense starting with the Packers second possession of the 3rd quarter.
Things were looking bleak for the Steelers after the Brett Hundley and Davante Adams torched them for a 55 yard touchdown followed by a Ben Roethlisberger interception 7 plays later, followed by a quick Packers first down.
Then Max McCartney got greedy and tried a 57 yard field goal, which is beyond risky at Heinz Field
When the Packers got the ball back, Mike Hilton and Cam Heyward stoned Jamaal Williams for a two yard loss, followed by an incompletion, followed by Cameron Heyward’s second consecutive sack on third down.
T.J. Watt celebrates his 4th quarter sack of Brett Hundley as Vince Williams looks on. Photo Credit: Barry Reeger PennLive.com
Le’Veon Bell coughed up the ball on the Steelers next drive, but the defense forced a stop in a series highlighted by Ryan Shazier’s pass deflection.
If only Steelers defense could have played that well for the rest of the night.
Alas, they didn’t. In the last three games the Steelers defense has given up touchdown passes of 61 yards, 60 yards, 75 yards, 39 yards, 54 yards and 55 yards.
And it is that statistic that gives us the second, and decisive defining moment that surfaced against the Packers.
Steelers Defense, Not Tomlin’s Words Cast Die for Rest of 2017
Joe Starkey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette said it best when he declared, “Mike Tomlin wrote a really big check, so he best cash it.” By declaring that the Steelers should win it all and THEN calling out the Patriots Tomlin looked past the Packers, Bengals and Ravens. That’s a coaching cardinal sin even if another Super Bowl was already the internal measure of success for the 2017 Steelers.
Mike Tomlin after the Steelers win over the Packers. Photo Credit: Barry Reeger, PennLive.com
But the Steelers head coach has now set the narrative for the rest of the season as the story will now pit Pittsburgh either rising or falling because of Mike Tomlin’s words.
And you know what? Those stories will generate a lot of page views and social media clicks, but all will boil down to a bunch of BS.
If you want to know what will really define success or failure of the Steelers for the rest of the season, it comes down to either the defense’s ability to stop averaging one 57 yard touchdown pass for every 27 minutes of play or the Killer Bee’s ability to outscore a trio of offenses that are far better than anything Pittsburgh have seen of late.
All of the sound and fury generated by Tomlin’s words is nothing more than a distraction.
The success of the 2017 Steelers will come down the their ability to stop the bomb. It really is that simple.
Another Steelers game, another nail biter, another win as Pittsburgh triumpthed at the last second over the Green Bay Packers by the score of 31-28 thanks to Chris Boswell’s last second 53 yard field goal.
Antonio Brown gets the 2 point conversion in the Steelers win over the Packers. Photo Credit: Chaz Palla, Tribune Review
With another victory in the bag its now time to vote Steelers game ball winners. Here’s the ballot:
Antonio Brown gets top billing, thanks to his 2 touchdown, 10 catch 169 yard game that include several critical catches. Following him is Le’Veon Bell, who had 95 yards rushing, 88 yards through the air and kept numerous drives alive.
Ben Roethlisberger also gets a ballot slot thanks to his 4 touchdown 351 yard performance, although Big Ben did toss two picks.
Rounding out the ballot for the offense are Martavis Bryant, who had a touchdown and 3 other catches. We’ll also give a nod to Xavier Grimble who caught a touchdown pass, and of course Chris Boswell gets a slot for his 53 yard game winning field goal which tied the Heinz Field record.
On defense, Cameron Heyward gets the first slot, thanks to his monster game which include 2 sacks on third down, 2 tackles for a loss an 3 quarterback hits. Ryan Shazier who led the team in tackles and had a critical pass defense also gets a nod.
T.J. Watt and L.T. Walton, who both had sacks, while Watt added another key pass defense, get a nod. Stephon Tuitt also gets a ballot slot after another strong night.
Write In Your Choice
Remember, you’re not limited to these choices. If you feel that someone like Jesse James, Vince Williams or perhaps Eli Rogers deserves a game ball, write his name in. Better yet write his name in and leave a comment stating your case.
Its the last week of November, so it must be time for the Pittsburgh Steelers to….
…If you guessed “Promote Fitzgerald Toussaint from the practice squad” you’d be right, as that’s just what the Steelers did 24 hours ahead of their show down with the Green Bay Packers at Heinz Field. In a move that comes as a surprise, the Steelers cut rookie Terrell Watson and promoted the veteran Toussaint from the practice squad.
Fitzgerald Toussiant runs in the Steelers 2015 loss to the Baltimore Ravens. Photo Credit: The SteelersWire
At the time, the move Steelers appeared to be protecting Toussaint from practice squad poaching, as the Ravens had just lost Justin Forsett, and Fitzgerald Toussaint had been with the Ravens in 2014.
This time the Steelers motives appear murkier.
Le’Veon Bell has been getting the lion’s share of the carries, with James Conner getting a few carries per game. Instead of risking Ben Roethlisberger on quarterback sneaks, Terrell Watson gotten the call as a short yardage back with mixed effectiveness and for the record had 5 carries for 8 yards.
While this site has taken heat on Twitter for being somewhat of a homer for Fitzgerald Toussaint, Watson had out performed Foussaint during training camp and preseason and won the job.
Might the Steelers have concerns about either Le’Veon Bell or James Conner’s health?
Or are the Steelers simply engaging in the type of roster shuffling on their running back depth chart similar to what they have done on the inside linebacking depth chart where Mike Tomlin, Keith Butler and Jerry Olsavsky have alternated L.J. Fort and Steven Johnson on the active roster and practice squad throughout the year.
That’s a possibility, its also possible that Fitzgerald Toussaint is looking better than Watson in practice.
While he won’t strike fear into the hearts of any opposing defensive coordinator, Fitzgerald Toussaint has proven to be a serviceable number 3 running back in his time in Pittsburgh.
LeShaun Sims couldn’t ground Antonio Brown and neither could Ben Roethlisberger, at least not in our game ball poll! Photo Credit: Barry Reeger, Penn Live
At first glance, it appears that Ben Roethlisberger narrowly out polled Antonio Brown by a single vote to win the poll. However, if you scroll down, you’ll see that someone wrote in “AB” which can only be interpreted as Antonio Brown, so when we had his two votes to his 24, he comes out ahead of his quarterback by one
And for good reason, the duo was outstanding Thursday night, with both players in championship form.
The next highest vote getter was Cameron Heyward. That’s not much of a surprise, given how thoroughly Cam Heyward dominated the Titans, including making a critical sack on third down to force a field goal when the outcome remained very much in doubt.
Coty Sensabaugh was the next highest vote getter, with 9 votes, which is a bit of a surprise. Sensabaugh’s interception did come at a critical moment, and did set up a Chris Boswell field goa, but Coty Sensabaugh also bears responsibility for the long bomb the Steelers defense gave up.
Vince Williams came in fifth in the pecking order, after another strong night that included a sack, which was enough to get him six votes. Ryan Shazier and Mike Hilton tied for 6th place with each player polling four votes.
On a night when the Steelers offense exploded for 40 points, the one person who found no love was Steelers offensive Todd Haley whose name was on the ballot.
That’s not a terrible shock, given that hatred for Haley runs strong in Steelers Nation, as many fans were quick to point to the usage of the no-huddle to discredit any role Haley had in the Steelers success. Yours truly doesn’t share that opinion, but poll is about what you the readers think, and the readers have rendered their judgement.
Thanks as always go out to all of you who took time to vote. Go Steelers!
The Pittsburgh Steelers and the Green Bay Packers are the NFL’s two most storied franchises. The latter defined winning and excellence in the 1960’s; the former defined the term “NFL Dynasty” in the 1970’s. Both franchises were fortunate to hit their respective peaks as the NFL was coming of age.
Yet, due to the conference and division realignment which followed the NFL-AFL merger, these two teams have seldom faced off of late.
The Pittsburgh Steelers history vs the Green Bay Packers is pretty one-sided affair, with the Cheeseheads holding a 22-15 edge as of 2017, but much of that lopsidedness is due the the Steelers pre-Immaculate Reception Record.
In fact, in the last 25 years, the teams have only met seven times, but those meetings have contributed much to the lore of both franchises. Either scroll down to click on the links below to relive your favorite moment in Steelers-Packers history.
Le’Veon Bell rushes for his 1st 100 yard game in the Steelers 2013 win over the Packers @ Lambeau Field. Photo Credit: Wesley Hitt, Getty Images via Zimbo
1992 – Bill Cowher Reveals His True Nature in 1st Loss
History will long remember this as Brett Favre’s first NFL start. Conversely, it was also Rod Woodson’s career worst and Bill Cowher’s first loss.
Although the words “Hall of Fame” and “Rod Woodson” were already being collocated in 1992, Woodson fell flat in almost every conceivable way possible on this day.
If you have a strong stomach for memories you’d rather forget, you can watch the game summary from NFL Prime Time.
For Steelers fans the significance of this game is in what Bill Cowher revealed about himself.
Near the end of the game Cowher approached Woodson. Rod turned away fearing a tongue lashing. Instead, Cowher consoled him, saying that “You’ve had a bad day at he office. When that happens, you don’t quit the job, you analyze what went wrong and bounce back.”
Steelers fans loved Cowher for his fire, brimstone and in your face bravado, but…
…in his first loss as a head coach, The Chin showed that he was a head coach who was smart enough to know when to kick a player in the a_s, and when to pat him on the back.
The Steelers playoff position was set, while the Packers still had something to play for. Bill Cowher benched many starters – Fred McAfee and Steve Avery were the Steelers starting backfield.
Yet this was a hard-fought, knock down drag out game. Kevin Greene hit Brett Favre so hard that he appeared to be coughing up his brains at one point. Jim McMahon did come in for a few snaps, but Favre refused to stay out long.
The Steelers second string almost pulled it off, as Yancey Thigpen dropped a sure touchdown pass as time expired.
Rookie Hines Ward on his 3rd NFL catch as LeRoy Butler closes in. Photo Credit: Rick Stewart, Getty Images via Bleacher Report
As the fourth quarter began, Pittsburgh appeared poised to make it 34-3, until Sherman decided to get cute on the goal line. Sherman thought it would be smart to revive Slash, and sent Mike Tomczak under center with Kordell lining up as a receiver. All went well, until the snap….
A bobbled exchange leads to a fumble, which Keith McKenzie returns 88 yards for a touchdown. The Packers score 17 unanswered points, but Pittsburgh holds on. Barley.
The moral of the story there is that trick plays can give an already efficient offense a lethal edge, but they can be just as lethal for a struggling unit.
2005 – Never Underestimate the Importance to Backups….
Bryant McFadden strip sacks Brett Favre, setting up a 77 yard Troy Polamalu touchdown return. Photo Credit: Steelers.com
But the star of the day is Duce Staley, who gets his first carry of the year that day, and adds a total of 14 more for 76 yards and including a long run of 17 and a touchdown. He also catches to passes for nine yards.
As Bill Cowher said the day Pittsburgh released Staley, “If we don’t have Duce, we don’t win that game. If we don’t win that game, we don’t make the playoffs, and never get to Super Bowl XL.”
The Steelers signed Duce Staley to a generous contract in 2004, and he only ended up playing 16 games over three season. But in the end, it was money well spent.
The Steelers and Packers combined for 936 yards and the lead changed hands four times in the fourth quarter as Aaron Rodgers passed for 383 yards. Ben Roethlisberger did him better, however, passing for 503 yards and in doing so only becoming only the 10th NFL signal caller to break the half-century mark.
Hines Ward and Heath Miller both broke the 100 yard mark, but the star of the game was Steelers rookie of the year Mike Wallace. Wallace bookended his game with touchdown catches. Taking his first pass for 60 yards to the end zone, and he did it again with his last pass, hauling in a 19 yard grab with 0:03 seconds remaining.
2010 – Super Bowl XLV – Steelers Must Wait for Stairway to Seven…
And that brings us to Super Bowl XVL and the Steelers ill-fated quest for Lombardi Number Seven.
The Steelers made some early mistakes and, as Mike Tomlin, ever the class act, insisted, the Packers made some tremendous plays that put the Steelers deep in a hole.
The men in Black and Gold fought back furiously and were alive until the game’s final minute. But, when the final gun sounded, the Packers simply showed themselves to be the better team and, to their credit, the Steelers acknowledged as much.
2013 – Le’Veon Bell Finds His Rushing Feet in the Snows of Lambeau Field
Le’Veon Bell rushes against Lamari Lattimore in the snows at Lambeau Field. Photo Credit: Jeffrey Phelps, AP via the Bleacher Report
Le’Veon Bell played as if he took it personally, ripping off runs for 11, 5, and 22 yards in his first four carries. By half time, Bell had 71 yards and was in route to his first 100 yard game. But Bell’s game was hardly blemish free.
The game also featured Bell’s first NFL fumble at Pittsburgh’s 2 yard line no less.
Eddie Lacy put Green Bay ahead, but Le’Veon Bell took his next carry and shot through the Packers defense for 25 yards. The fireworks were far from over at that point, as Cortez Allen intercepted Matt Flynn and took it to the house, only to see Green Bay return to tie the score after intercepting a failed Ben Roethlisberger pass to Heath Miller.
The Steelers however, regained the lead with 1:25 left to play on another Le’Veon Bell touchdown.
A monster return saw Green Bay return the ball all the way to the Pittsburgh’s 1, but penalties prevented the Packers from scoring as time ran out.
A hundred yard rusher, six changes in the lead, fumbles at the goal line and snow on Lambeau Field – as John Madden would say, “This is what the game of football is all about.”
Como no soy especialista en cultura, ni soy un lingüista, este artículo recorrerá el camino de la reflexión y no el de la certeza académica.
En Argentina, todos los deportes, con excepción del pato (nuestro deporte nacional, que consiste en que ocho jinetes por bando, disputan y tratan de embocar el “pato” dentro de un aro) son deportes traídos de afuera.
Alejandro Villanueva en acion por los Steelers durante 2015. Photo Credit: El Confidencia
Así ocurrió con el fútbol a mediados del siglo XIX, traído al país por estudiantes británicos, llegados para la construcción del ferrocarril. El primer club fundado por aquí fue el Buenos Aires Football Club, el 9 de mayo de 1867. Más tarde se fundó Alumni, club que ganó la mayor parte de los torneos durante la etapa del amateurismo.
Junto con el juego, se importó asimismo el léxico que le era propio.
Se incorporaron anglicismos como referee, lineman, offside, forward, backs, goal, goalkeeper y asi…
Alumni, ganó 10 torneos en el fútbol argentino amateur
A medida que el deporte se popularizó, estos términos se fueron argentinizando. Y es aquí que ocurre el fenómeno de la asimilación cultural del deporte en una sociedad determinada:
Un deporte se nacionaliza o populariza cuando la gente se apropia de su lenguaje.
Independientemente de la academia y de la forma en que se incorporaron esas palabras con origen en el idioma inglés, el pueblo adquirió el vocabulario según sus figuras fonéticas. Referee devino en referí, foul en ful o faul, center forward pasó a ser centro fobal, offside orsay y laiman evitó la incomodidad de las dos palatales “nm” de lineman.
Los veteranos de más de 70 recuerdan a jugadores de leyenda, y rememoran “…había un centro jaf…” por center half.
Más de 120 años después de la fundación del fútbol argentino, en la década de 1990 se produjo el desembarco en estas pampas, del football americano, de la mano de la televisión por cable y de la transculturización global. Fueron épocas en las cuales se imponía el mandato predominante de la clase media argentina según el cual debíamos “integrarnos al mundo”.
Y esa integración ocurrió, pocos años después de haber salido de la oscuridad más profunda de la última dictadura cívico-militar, en lo social, en lo político (en palabras de nuestro canciller de la época, iniciamos un período de “relaciones carnales con los Estados Unidos” -sic-) y en lo económico.
Algunos argentinos nos topamos con las televisaciones de los partidos de football americano de ESPN en español. Al principio las imágenes no detenían el zapping, hasta que un día un amigo viajero me explicó las reglas básicas del juego.
No muchas, sino las suficientes como para poder seguir y disfrutar de un partido y por supesto, los Pittsburgh Steelers
Y los nuevos aficionados nos topamos con dos nuevos léxicos: uno en inglés y el otro en español mejicano que es una mezcla de español férreamente defendido e ingles digerido (algunas veces y otras no: ingles directo). Lo que podríamos llamar “vocabulario del football americano nacionalista mejicano” incluye los nombres de los clubes invariablemente traducidos. Por ejemplo los Halcones marinos de Seattle, o los Acereros de Pittsburgh.
Tengo la impresión de que el football recorre en México, el mismo camino que el fútbol soccer recorrió en Argentina. Es así que el término Quarterback fue aprehendido popularmente en su forma de traducción fonética como “coreback”.
Y nosotros en el sur, estamos un poco perdidos.
Por un lado luchamos contra la visión que muchos compatriotas tienen de nosotros: un grupo de excéntricos raritos, snobs, amantes o, lo que es peor, sumisos consumidores de la cultura norteamericana for export (la peor cara de la riquísima cultura norteamericana).
Por otro lado, buscamos el vocabulario correcto. ¿será línea de golpeo o line of scrimmage? ¿Balón suelto o fumble?
Balón? Nosotros aquí llamamos pelota a casi todo lo que sirva para practicar un deporte. Entonces será ¿balón o pelota? ¿Prospect o aspirante? ¿Será la argentinización directa desde el inglés o la traducción al español vía México? (Por suerte a nadie se le ha ocurrido llamar “vil o canallesco José Verde” a Mean Joe Greene)
Será el tiempo y el uso de los aficionados (fans, hinchas, fanáticos o fanaticada?) lo que tendrá la palabra final.
Si este deporte algún día se populariza (y creo que depende más de la decisión que tome la NFL de difundir el Fútbol Americano en el cono sur, que de nosotros mismos. A esta altura creo que los medios todo lo pueden) tal vez sea con la incorporación de un vocabulario popular y nacional.
Taim uil tel, mi amigo… Taim uil tel.
El Dr. de Acero (con la colaboración del prof. Marcelo Vallejos)