Here’s a dirty dozen refreshing Steelers notes after yesterday’s rout of Cincinnati. I wish they had Jim Brown at running back.
*If the Steelers go 16-0, will Ben Roethlisberger finally get his first-ever vote for NFL MVP?
*Roethlisberger is putting up solid numbers. But his most impressive (and important) stat is his 22/4 ratio for touchdowns/interceptions. He fixed his biggest shortcoming from 2018.The gunslinger is dead. Long live the game manager.
*The Steelers threw on 70 percent of their snaps yesterday in a game where they never trailed. That’s more than the Steelers passed in ‘18, when two-thirds of their plays were passes. The Steelers averaged just 2.2 yards per run vs. Cincinnati. Can they run the ball better if they have to? Click HERE to indulge that debate.
*Before yesterday, foes had been converting 44 percent of their third downs against the Steelers defense. Yesterday, Cincinnati went 0-for-13. That defense solves its problems.
*If the Steelers play Kansas City in the AFC championship game – BTW, it isn’t too early to talk about that – the Steelers’ best bet on offense would be to maintain lengthy possessions via effective running. Their best bet on defense would be to drop seven and rush four. The Steelers will do neither.
*I normally don’t care who’s on mic when I’m watching a game. But Fox color analyst Jonathan Vilma is the worst. He talks over his partner, talks over plays and talks too much about himself. He also utters gems like, “Cincinnati keeps kicking themselves in the foot.” Huh?
*Old-time football purists go nuts every time a “soft” call is made for roughing the passer. But that’s how the game is officiated now. Protect the QB every single time. If that philosophy is applied consistently, you shouldn’t have a problem.
*If actor Robert Downey Jr. is such a hardcore Steelers fan, why did he refer to Cam Heyward as “Ironhead,” which was the nickname of Cam’s late father?
*Tight end Eric Ebron has 31 catches. He’s been a good get. But he’s also committed six holding calls, most on the team. If you can’t block, that’s one thing – and Ebron can’t. But hold less. Or ask Ebron to block less. That penalty yardage adds up.
*The Steelers may be 9-0, but don’t have the vibe of a juggernaut. The yinzer faithful say they haven’t played their best football yet. But what if they have?
*The Steelers will blow out Jacksonville. Some dopey talking head on WokeCenter said the Jaguars are the “scrappiest 1-8 team in football.” Nice try, but that’s not chicken salad.
*Mike Tomlin and special teams coach Danny Smith fixed the Steelers’ kick-protection problem, and kudos to both for having the courage to kick that first-quarter field goal and get off the schneid. It’s reminiscent of the fortitude shown by Tiger Woods to rack up five birdies in six holes after shooting that 10 on the par-3 No. 12 hole at Augusta yesterday, somehow making that the story instead of Dustin Johnson shooting the tournament’s all-time low score.
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