Posted by Mission146
Sep 26, 2022


I’m going to jump right into this and start off by saying Offensive Coordinator, Matt Canada, sucks. I had strongly suspected before that he sucks, but one play last night was enough to drive that conclusion home for me. Before we talk about that play, however, let’s talk about what else about him fundamentally sucks.

The first problem is that Matt’s last name is Canada. I have no problem with our brothers to the north, but let’s face it, this is the United States of America. Canada has an inferior American Football league, the CFL, which might explain why Matt is so poor at play calling. Perhaps Canada can go up to Canada and become an assistant coach for the Ottawa Redblacks, or something.

In fact, we’ll even throw in Mason, ‘Looks Good in Practice,’ Rudolph if Canada goes up and takes over the Redblacks’ gig. Rudolph, that’s also a crappy last name; the hell is he, a reindeer? We can take Canada’s namesake and the reindeer and send them both to Ottawa; he’s not even a good reindeer, as far as I can tell, he’s never flown.

Mason Rudolph will go up to Ottawa and lead the Redblacks to whatever the hell they call their third-rate championship up there (this is all in jest, by the way, I actually like the CFL). Mason is going to be an absolute stud; he’ll throw for more than 4,000 yards and 30 touchdowns and will overtake Zach Collaros, whoever the hell that is, in both categories.

Do we have any receivers we can throw into the mix? Probably not–we need all of the receivers we can get. I suspect that we’ll try actually throwing the ball downfield more often with Canada gone.

I think the only problem with Canada HC’ing a Grey Cup winning team is that would compel the Steelers to bring him back, which defeats the purpose of sending him away in the first place. Perhaps some other team would scoop him up and offer him an HC gig in the NFL. I imagine the destination would be either the Oakland Raiders or the Denver Broncos; most likely the Broncos, because it seems that the Raiders only like to fire coaches who actually get their team to the Playoffs, so McDaniels isn’t going anywhere.

While most of this is in jest, there is one play in particular that has me so fired up:


The situation is that the Steelers are behind by a score of 23-14 with under two minutes in the Fourth Quarter; they have one timeout. On 4th & 6 they trot out the Field Goal team (on Cleveland’s 21 or 22) to attempt a relatively short Field Goal from Boswell’s, ‘Automatic,’ range.

All of that is fine. I can understand, while I don’t love it, why you would go ahead and take the points in this situation. You’re probably going to need to recover the onside kick to have any chance anyway; you also need two scores. The Field Goal here is acceptable.

Boswell sinks the Field Goal, except there’s no play; it doesn’t count. The reason why it doesn’t count is because Cleveland had too many men on the field, ‘The Dirty Dozen,’ as it were, but that actually ended up helping Cleveland a little bit.

The reason that it helped Cleveland is because it was a pre-snap penalty, so as a result, the make was nullified and didn’t count. Boswell would go on to hit the shorter (34 yard) attempt as well, but he conceivably could have missed. The too many men is the sort of boneheaded play that you expect from the Browns, and had Boswell had an uncharacteristic miss from that distance, then Cleveland’s penalty would actually benefit the Steelers.

Of course, Matt Canada and the Steelers offense refused to accept the help that they were given. You see, on the 4th & 1 now from Cleveland’s 17 yard line, they kept Boswell on the field and he made the Field Goal.

Why did that not help the Steelers, you wonder.

The first reason that it didn’t help is because it ultimately had no bearing on the result, which was a successful FG attempt by Boswell. In fact, Steelers HC, Mike Tomlin, had a brief exchange with the refs as to why Pittsburgh couldn’t just have the original Field Goal as the original make was being negated by the Browns penalty, thus causing the Browns to technically benefit.

The fact is that the play had been blown dead before the kick was made, but I think that’s a stupid rule that should be changed. If the defense has too many men on the field, then I don’t think a play should EVER be blown dead because of that. Instead, I would let the play unfold as it unfolds and then the offense should always have the option, if the end result of that play benefits them, to decline the penalty.

That’s neither here nor there. For the time being, let’s talk a little about the help that Matt Canada refused.

You see, the Steelers are now in the Red Zone with a 4th and 1 situation. They need two scores in order to potentially win this game; there is nothing that will change that fact. While I understand the offense hasn’t been great in the Red Zone, ultimately, they need a touchdown, successful extra point try and a FG, then they win the game.

So, what gets called? Boswell to make the FG again.


If you ultimately recover the onside kick, which they almost did, then you have to go roughly half of the field and nothing except for a touchdown helps you. This is all while you have a kicker on your roster who has made from 59 in a game before, and also, just so happens to make more than 79% of his field goals from more than fifty yards.

In other words, if the Steelers go for it on 4th and 1, eventually end up with a TD and then successfully recover the onside kick, then you essentially just need to gain a few yards to give Boswell a chance. Had the onside recovery not been negated by a penalty, the Steelers would have had the ball at about their own 46. Even if they only manage to get to the Browns 46, (this would be eight yards in gains) then you’re still giving Boswell a shot at a 63 yard attempt…unlikely, but he could make it.

Instead, if the Steelers can manage to get a first down and perhaps get out of bounds…perhaps on a Diontae Johnson sideline route to Trubisky’s left, which is the ONE downfield play that seems to actually work regularly, then the Steelers find themselves in the position of only needing to get a few more yards to be well-within Boswell’s range.

Let’s face it: Actually recovering the onside kick is the least likely aspect of this entire scenario; that’s just a fact, but if you DO recover the onside kick, you want to give yourselves a chance to win. With that, here’s what I think the Steelers should have done:

4th and 1 Cleveland 17: The first thing that you should do here is probably just try to pound it up the gut for one yard, but even if you don’t think you have that, with a 4th and 1 NFL conversion rate of nearly 70% expected, if you don’t think you have a high probability play, then your offensive coordinator should already be fired.

1st and 10 Cleveland ?: At this point, you can either take your timeout so you can discuss things, or alternatively, Trubisky can just get up to the line and spike the ball. Hell, maybe you even think about the old fake spike here, which is something that the Steelers have actually pulled off in the past. Still, that can go pretty wrong, so I would lean more towards an actual spike or go ahead and just burn the TO.

1st (or 2nd) and 10, Cleveland ?: Okay, so you have burned the timeout or executed an actual spike. As we have already established, you’re going to need the onside kick anyway. If you went with the timeout route, then you definitely need the onside kick. The clock is probably somewhere around 1:30-1:40, at this point.

This is basically going to be a free down. The plan here would be for Trubisky to either find someone in the end zone, have Najee Harris underneath if it looks like he’s going to have room and I guess you could have Freiermuth run a route across the middle, but I don’t like the dea of completing a pass here and then having to spike to third down. I’d really only want to complete a pass short of the goal line if it’s going to see a Najee Harris have a realistic chance at a touchdown, or if it’s going to see someone catch it on the sidelines and get out of bounds.

The other thing is Trubisky has legs and this spreads out the field. If the Browns make the mistake of completely selling out for pass coverage and don’t send anyone, and also don’t have anyone spying Trubisky, then Trubisky can take off with it if he sees a ton of running space with touchdown potential. He’s going to want to roll out to his left, however, that way he can get out of bounds if he needs to take off with it…and that would at least get the Steelers closer.

If the worst case scenario happens and Trubisky can’t find anyone, and also has pressure coming that he doesn’t think he can escape, then he can heave it out of the endzone and we move on to the next down.

I’m not going to get into the other plays to follow this one, if needed, because it would just be more of the same.

-THE POINT is that you would just need to convert the 4th and 1 and now you have a fresh set of downs inside the Red Zone. In my mind, this scenario represents a much better probability of scoring the touchdown (which you are going to need eventually) that does recovering the onside kick and having to travel half of the field to get there…probably only to end up with the same sort of scenario in the Red Zone with far less time on the clock.

In terms of offensive efficiency, granted, the drive leading to the Field Goal was the most efficient offensive drive the Steelers had all game, but that’s also WHY you try to convert the 4th & 1. The most efficient drive of the game still saw the Steelers eat up a minute and a half to cover most of the field.

In other words, that drive is an outlier in the context of this game. You take the gift; you make the most of that drive, especially since you probably lose the game either way, but trying to get the touchdown NOW is your best chance to get a touchdown, which you absolutely need, and therefore, represents your best chance to win the game.

Some might say, “Oh, Mission, you have the benefit of hindsight, if you’re so good, why aren’t you an NFL Offensive Coordinator?”

Okay, my point is not that I am so good, because I absolutely am not. My point is that Matt Canada’s play-calling sucks. I don’t have to be good at calling a game for Matt Canada’s play-calling to suck; the two things are not mutually exclusive.

Secondly, I texted a friend of mine the following as the Steelers lined up for the second attempt, “I hate this ******g play calling!!!! 4th and 1; you go for it!!! Even if you recover the onside kick, you still have to go half the field, unless you only need a FG. 4th and 6 I understood.”

So, I think current sight was 20/20 on that one.

Let’s look at the highlights and jump to about 4:30.

Okay, so we’re nearing the end of the second half and the Browns attempt to give the Steelers another gift, by going for it on 4th & 2 from just short of the Steelers’ 30. I’m pretty neutral on this because it would be a long FG attempt and a Browns touchdown to end the half would be something of a dagger 2PT attempt.

Even if you don’t end up scoring, the Browns would at least gain enough (one would assume) to give rookie Kicker, Cade York, a higher probability FG attempt, though he hasn’t actually missed a FG yet. However, York had boinked an extra point try earlier in the game.

It ended up being irrelevant as the completed pass call on the field was overturned, as a result, the ball went to the Steelers.

The first play of the Steelers’ possession resulted in a defensive penalty; the second play would see Trubisky complete a twenty-yard pass to Chase Claypool to bring the Steelers to the Browns 43. This is going to be on the very high end of Boswell’s range if you try it from here, and also, conditions might have played a hand in the ultimate decision not to try the FG.

The next two plays were deep attempts that both resulted in incompletions. The final play of the half was a short pass incompletion.

Here’s what grinds my gears, as Peter Griffin might say:

Absolutely NOBODY was going deep on that final play of the half. They all ran short routes and pulled up…what’s the idea, here? Are they hoping to complete a short slant and have someone get 40+ yards after the catch!? There was only one guy even working the sidelines! There are six seconds on the clock!!! If the idea was ever to try to get Boswell a little closer (sideline route and go OB) to give him a chance, then why would you only now attempt to do that?

Anyway, I don’t think that’s what the Steelers were attempting. I think there were trying to complete a short route to give someone room to run and then try the old lateralroosky, perhaps. Otherwise, I simply don’t understand the play call. Why aren’t you going to at least send one guy deep on the off chance that he gets separation from his defender(s)? You’re going to try to bomb it twice before this and then call a play that could almost never result in a score?

If the goal was to get Boswell in range, then just do that, though I don’t think that was ever the plan. If you threw it deep the last two plays, then just throw it deep again; it’s a low probability pass attempt, but hey, at least you’re TRYING to score.

Obviously, of the two drives, my biggest problem is the one that would end up being the Steelers’ last meaningful offensive possession of the game. The final, ‘Drive,’ if you even wanted to call it that, was a lateral-roosky attempt that would see the Steelers needing to go basically the entire field and resulted in a fumble that was recovered in the endzone just for embarrassment points to go along with the loss.


Of course, people are going to blame Trubisky for this.

As a matter of fact, I had a short little drive this morning and, once again, people are already calling for a change at quarterback. I honestly don’t know why such a change would be called for–what do these talking heads think Kenny Pickett is going to do that Mitch Trubisky is not already doing?

The fact of the matter is that people are calling for a QB change just so they can say they tried. They also see Pickett not playing immediately as a waste of draft capital, which is something that they were already complaining about vociferously as it became increasingly apparent that Trubisky would emerge as this season’s starter.

“Oh my God,” they ask, “WHY would you use a first round draft pick on a quarterback and not start him right away? Tomlin has started other rookies right away. WHY would you not start Pickett over Trubisky and see what happens?

I don’t know. Why not start Mason Rudolph over Trubisky? I suppose that I shouldn’t default to what an OC who I happen to think sucks thinks, but we can MAYBE assume that he knows just enough to know what quarterback presently gives the team the best chance to win. I feel like, especially this early in the season, you’re going with the quarterback that gives you the best chance to win.

Trubisky is not the Steelers, “Mr. Right,” or I don’t think they would have drafted Pickett. That said, he seems to be the, “Mr. Right Now,” in the sense that the apparent thought is that he gives the team the best chance to win football games. I am quite fine with that.

In the meantime, if the season unfolds in such a way that it looks like the Steelers are almost certainly not going to the Playoffs, which they probably won’t, and Trubisky is not showing significant improvement, then I think you will see Pickett, at some point.

I believe their bye week comes in Week 9, so I think that you might see Pickett come in if the Steelers have maybe five losses by that point, and definitely if they are 2-6, or God forbid, 1-7. The Jets come to town next week, so I would seriously hope they come out of that game with a 2-2 record, but then they have some serious problems after that. Here is the schedule leading into the bye week:

  • Week 4 (10/2): New York Jets
  • Week 5 (10/9): at Buffalo
  • Week 6 (10/16): Tampa Bay
  • Week 7 (10/23): at Miami
  • Week 8 (10/30): at Philadelphia

Okay, so the Jets aside, can we find two wins here? If the first two weeks are any indication, and this does not count as me talking AGAINST Tom Brady, (as I want to be the only person on this planet who called for him to not, “Fall Off a Cliff,” like this loud-mouthed idiot spent about ten years doing and being wrong) but if Brady’s performance doesn’t improve (even though I expect it will) that could be a win. It would have to be, like, 10-3 or 10-7, or something.

In the meantime, T.J. Watt could be healthy for the trip to Miami, and should be healthy by the time the Steelers visit the City of Brotherly Love, (HA!) so I think the defense will look much better as a result, and the Steelers should have a chance in those games.

Okay, so you hope to beat the Jets, which they had BETTER do, and then somehow sneak into the Bye Week having gone 2-2 after that for a 4-4 overall record and you’re in the mix. If that happens, then I don’t think you move off of Trubisky, though I am sure any number of the talking heads will still be calling for them to do so.

I also think where the Browns and Ravens (and, to a lesser and less likely extent, the Bengals…who are a few boneheaded losses away from getting called, “The Bungles,” again) are at might also be relevant. If the Browns (who play the Ravens and Bengals by Week 9) somehow manage to win both of those games, then that’s 4-1 along with whatever else they do in their other three contests (at Atlanta, Chargers, Patriots) by then.

With that, I would say that Trubisky is almost certain to stay if the Steelers find themselves at 4-4 in the bye week as I don’t see anyone in the AFC North just winning out between now and then, so you’re still in the mix. If the Steelers are 3-5, then I would say Trubisky remains as the starter as long as he looks at least okay (as he has) and nobody in the AFC North (or perhaps the Ravens AND Browns) have a commanding advantage over the Steelers.

On the other hand, if the Steelers end up with a record of 2-6 or 1-7 (ugh) by then, I would say that all bets are off for Trubisky remaining the starter. Unless the other three teams in the AFC North all but completely lose out in non-Division games, then you might as well start getting Pickett some game experience and the improbable comeback to squeak into the Playoffs would be an amazing story anyway. I think the only exception with these record would be if Trubisky looked amazing between now and then, but that really wouldn’t correlate to being winless over the next five or only winning one game, so that’s highly unlikely.


Elite defenses are made of elite coaching and elite players, unless you’re the Pittsburgh Steelers, then elite defenses are made of elite coaching and an elite player.

The fact of the matter is that the real score of the game was 23-17 as the final touchdown is just stat padding (for the Browns) on a play that was almost certainly going to go nowhere anyway.

Over bettors would have to wait until Boswell’s Field Goal with under two minutes in the game to cash those tickets, so perhaps they were the only ones to like the decision not to go for that 4th & 1, but really, the game should have been long over by that point.

They let competent game-manager Jacoby Brissett throw all over them! It was positively ridiculous. You’ve got Brissett out there doing his best impression of Matt Stafford and averaging seven yards per attempt, throwing two TD’s against no picks, completing over 67% of his passes and basically just having his way with the Steelers D most of the game.

I make fun, but Brissett is not terrible and is quite capable of games like this. After all, this game is only Brissett’s tenth best QB RATE in quadruple that many starts, though he might not have started all of those other games–I didn’t bother to look.

The point is that Brissett should not be able to do this against elite defenses; I don’t care if the Browns were able to run a balanced attack because of their run game.

Which…the Steelers defense also did next to nothing about.

The Browns generated 171 yards on the ground to go with their 220 aerial yards for 391 offensive yards less the fifteen yards lost from the Steelers two sacks. Let’s recall the keys to victory from the article published just two days before this one was written:

1.) Get to Jacoby Brissett

-Jacoby Brissett has been pretty safe with the ball so far this season and has a stat line, after two games, that looks pretty similar to that of one Mitch Trubisky. Brissett completed more than 80% of his passes last week against the Jets, connecting on many short throws and screens.

I don’t expect the Browns offense, or Brissett, to take too many risks or make too many questionable throws. I don’t think zero sacks, which is the number that the Steelers had against the Patriots, is going to get it this week, so the Steelers are going to need to pressure Brissett into making some questionable decisions, or, at a minimum, being forced to throw the ball away.

In the absence of T.J. Watt, that might be easier said than done as Brissett has only been sacked once in each game so far. Much like Trubisky, Brissett can also move around using his legs a little bit, but I would say that Trubisky is a little better at throwing on the run than Brissett.

Also, Brissett is mostly going to try to connect on short strikes, so we need the Steelers to force some 2&10 and 3&10 situations by breaking up some of those short routes to force Brissett to drop back and attempt some intermediate or long balls…and then get to Brissett before he can or force some bad throws.

2.) Drop Browns in the Backfield

-Another area where the Steelers struggled against the Patriots was that they only had one tackle for a loss…the entire game!!! The Browns have a man named Nick Chubb playing for them; the same NIck Chubb who has averaged 114 yards on the ground these two regular season games and also punched it into the endzone three times last week.

The problem with Nick Chubb is that he represents a viable threat to just run for a first down in virtually any situation, excepting only third and very long. If the Steelers fail to drop Chubb in the backfield, and he remains healthy the entire game, then I don’t see how they win.

The entire defensive strategy for this game is going to consist of forcing Jacoby Brissett to attempt some deep passes, or alternatively, all but concede that offensive drive. Based on how the Steelers got to the Patriots in the backfield, which is to say that they did NOT get to the Patriots in the backfield, I’d be surprised if the game unfolds this way, but it will be needed.

3.) Balanced Attack

-The one thing the Steelers did better last week, compared to Week 1, was run the ball. THey weren’t great at it, but the ground was at least a viable threat.

Let’s start from the position that the Steelers offense doesn’t have the goods to win in a shootout. Beginning with that assumption, the Steelers are going to need to win this game by controlling the tempo, which means the offense staying on the field.

In terms of time of possession, the Steelers did better against the Patriots, despite losing the turnover battle, than they did against the Bengals. That being said, the Steelers still were at a considerable deficit when it came to the amount of time that the two offenses spent on the field.

The Browns can score quickly and efficiently, and have a rather unique way of doing so in the modern day NFL—the ground game. Chubb can snap off a big gainer at any time, in fact, he has longs of more than twenty in both of the last two games. Obviously, that opens up the passing game for the Browns, which makes the short passing game dangerous because there are just so many threats the Browns have that can create first downs.

Okay, so let’s take these one-by-one, except point number three will come when we look at the offense.

POINT #1: Get to Jacoby Brissett

-I guess they technically did, but not nearly enough. While only registering two sacks was fine, the 21 completions on 31 attempts immediately tells you that Brissett wasn’t forced into throwing the ball away very often. Brissett also didn’t throw any interceptions, which wasn’t totally unexpected as he tends to play a fairly safe game, but it still means he wasn’t really pressured into too many questionable or low-probability passes.

Granted, he didn’t exactly have his way with the Steelers offense the way that Tua did against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 2, but Brissett didn’t have to play to that level. The Browns were never down by more than one point in this game, so as a result, Brissett was never really forced into throwing when he didn’t want to.

The defense looked good the first few drives. The first offensive drive by the Browns would end in a punt after Brissett was forced to heave it downfield on a 3rd & 10. The second Browns’ drive ended in a punt after Brissett ate one of the only two sacks he would endure on a 3rd & 2 play where the Browns, perhaps inexplicably, decided not to go with Nick Chubb pounding the rock.

The third drive was where it happened—what eventually started the charge that would lead to the Browns’ first touchdown was Nick Chubb snapping off a 36 yard gainer, which as everyone knows already and as I noted, he is capable of doing on any given play. An ineffective run after that followed by a touchdown strike by Brissett put the Browns on the scoreboard.

The fourth Browns drive, and first of the second quarter, would see Brissett just have his way with the Steelers on mostly on short throws (and one kind of long one) in which Brissett would complete six of his eight pass attempts. The Browns didn’t even run much on that drive, and when they did, they were held to short gains. It really didn’t matter as the Browns only had to convert on one third down attempt and zero plays on that drive resulted in a loss of yards.

The Browns would move the ball well on their last offensive possession of the first half, though they would fail to convert a fourth and short and give the ball to Pittsburgh with a little time left on the clock. Naturally, the Steelers offense failed to capitalize.

The first Browns drive of the third quarter would see them chew up seven minutes of game clock and eventually end in a field goal. The early stages of the drive would see Brissett move the Browns down the field using the air, then they turned to the run and had their way with Pittsburgh. The drive would end in a Field Goal after three consecutive Brissett incompletions, which seemed to be the only time in the game, first drive aside, that Brissett couldn’t really seem to find anyone.

The Browns would next drive in the fourth quarter and would have no trouble finding the endzone; the first play of this drive was a Brissett deep strike that went for more than thirty yards and took the Browns to the Steelers’ 39. Eight consecutive rushing plays later, and another fourth down conversion by the Browns (their third such conversion of the game) and they would take a 23-14 lead.

The Steelers would more-or-less contain the Browns’ ground game for the rest of the contest, which tends to be easier when the opposing team is up two scores and you absolutely know that their goal is to just pound the rock and eat the clock.

Altogether, the Steelers defense amassed two sacks as well as three tackles in the backfield, which is better than they did against the Patriots, but not good enough against a surprisingly effective imbalance-balanced attack (while the Browns did both, they mostly seemed to rely on either the pass or the run, almost exclusively, as far as individual drives go) and certainly not good enough against Nick Chubb who, for his part, ran for 113 yards and almost five per carry.

With that, they sort of accomplished keys one and two, but certainly not to the extent needed to win the game, and at times, the Browns moved the ball downfield so effortlessly that one almost has to wonder how the Steelers didn’t lose the game by more than they did.


The offense pretty much looked exactly as they have looked in all three of this season’s contests to date…which is to say prodding, often unnecessarily conservative (like not going for an end game 4th & 1 inside of the opponent’s 20 when you are going to eventually need a touchdown anyway) and pretty subpar, in general.

That’s honestly expected, and as much as some people might be clamoring to take Trubisky out and put Pickett in, this is pretty much how the Steelers offense looked last season.

Trubisky didn’t manage any touchdowns through the air, though to his credit, he did manage to find pay dirt with his feet on a play that Roethlisberger would probably not have been able to make.

Trubisky would go 20 for 32 for 207 yards, no TD’s, no Picks and would be sacked once. He targeted six different players, all of whom ended up with at least one reception.

The Steelers ground attack…existed. While the team would produce more than 100 yards using the ground, most of the Steelers’ drives were fairly short in length and time and starting RB, Najee Harris, would average fewer than four yards per rushing attempt, once again.

They maybe looked a little better on the offensive side, particularly in the ground game, than they did against the Patriots, but they also weren’t playing against as good of a defense. Cleveland won the time of possession battle with a difference of greater than twelve minutes, so I would have to say the game unfolded almost exactly as I predicted it would, in part:

Let’s start from the position that the Steelers offense doesn’t have the goods to win in a shootout. Beginning with that assumption, the Steelers are going to need to win this game by controlling the tempo, which means the offense staying on the field.

In terms of time of possession, the Steelers did better against the Patriots, despite losing the turnover battle, than they did against the Bengals. That being said, the Steelers still were at a considerable deficit when it came to the amount of time that the two offenses spent on the field.

The Browns can score quickly and efficiently, and have a rather unique way of doing so in the modern day NFL—the ground game. Chubb can snap off a big gainer at any time, in fact, he has longs of more than twenty in both of the last two games. Obviously, that opens up the passing game for the Browns, which makes the short passing game dangerous because there are just so many threats the Browns have that can create first downs.

Okay, so the Steelers offense did not stay on the field, which gave the superior Browns offense, a legitimate dual-threat team, too many opportunities to make their way down the field…which they did.

In short, this game unfolded almost exactly as I expected, except the score was a bit higher than I would have projected, but that’s largely due to the embarrassing six at the end. My projection was Browns 23, Steelers 17…which I absolutely NAILED if not for the fumble recovery in the endzone with zeroes on the clock from the Lateralroosky.

Will I be all but dead on accurate again this season? Probably not.


As I said before, I could see the Steelers transitioning to Pickett after the bye if it doesn’t look like they will be in reasonable playoff contention because, at that point, why the hell not?

In the meantime, I think the best case scenario, which is arguably the most probable scenario, is that he comes out and there’s virtually zero difference between him and Trubisky.

The worst-case scenario is that, whatever the reasons might be for going with Trubisky in the first place, those reasons are valid and Pickett would fall flat on his face (especially with what he has around him) if you trotted him out right now without getting some more work in practice and watching Trubisky do his thing a little longer.

It’s very important for Steelers fans to remember that it is Kenny Pickett, not Mitch Trubisky (barring a serious change of course), who is the long-term plan at quarterback. Not only is Trubisky the transition plan at quarterback, they’re paying him competent backup level money, so he always was the transition plan at quarterback.

As I said in the pre-season, Trubisky’s ceiling was pretty high in that he’s great at throwing on the run, as well as scrambling, so maybe he could come out and surprise everyone—playing at the level he did his one better than par season with the Bears. He hasn’t.

Instead, with a 60% completion rate, two touchdowns, one interception and 5.5 yards per attempt, Trubisky is very much playing about where I set his floor. The floor for Trubisky was coming out looking no worse than Ben Roethlisberger, who presumably would have cost the Steelers more money to look like this.

You don’t have a team that is in reasonable Super Bowl contention this season; you never did have such a team. This is a transition year and you do transition things. I don’t think we need to be calling the offense like this is the 1960’s NFL, but other than that, everything is unfolding as expected. There’s absolutely no reason that you would want to pay top-tier money to an immobile Roethlisberger to get, probably, the same results.

If you’re going to back a team, then you have to be willing to get behind them through thick and thin and accept that not every season is going to have a championship caliber squad on the field. Steelers fans, for all of their unwarranted constant b****ing, have had it really good the last several seasons.

Mike Tomlin has never had a losing season; the Steelers organization has not had a losing season since 2004, which is longer than Tomlin has been the coach. The Steelers have appeared in two Super Bowls, winning one, with Tomlin at the helm. They have gone to the Playoffs ten times in fifteen years and have won the Division on seven of those occasions..

Do Steelers fans have any idea what the Browns or Bengals would have done for this kind of fifteen year run? Let’s compare since 2007:

The Browns have gone to the Playoffs exactly once in that time, back in 2020, and were bounced in the Divisional round. I guess they at least got to win a playoff game, right? That was one of only two better than .500 seasons since 2007, and in fact, you’d have to go to 2002 to find a third. They once had a three season span in which they went 4-44. In two seasons, they went 1-31.

The Bengals got to languish under former Head Coach, Marvin Lewis, for the first twelve of the years in question. During those twelve years, they won the division three times, went to the Wildcard Round six times, which includes a five-year run of consecutively getting bounced out of the Wildcard round. More than half of the seasons in that span have been sub-.500, this despite going to the Playoffs seven (total) times in that span. They did go to the Super Bowl last year, which they lost, but that is the only meaningful success that the Bungles have enjoyed since Tomlin has coached the Steelers.

For their part, the Ravens’ resume reads pretty similar to that of the Steelers, though they haven’t won the division as many times, had multiple losing seasons and only went to one Super Bowl—though they at least won.

In other words, the rest of the Division would kill for the success that the Steelers have had under HC Mike Tomlin…and this is the guy that the fans think is the problem!? In what world is Mike Tomlin the problem with this team?

I don’t know where Steelers fans get the impression that the team is supposed to win the SB every year, and anything less means that the HC sucks, but the Steelers went well over twenty years without winning one, including literally every season in the 80’s and 90’s. The simple fact of the matter is that the Steelers are a well-above average and very consistent organization, but they haven’t been as good as fans think they ever were (70’s aside) and are certainly not going to be as good or consistent championship winners as the fans’ unrealistic expectations for them.

Also, the unanswerable question: Okay, jackass, but who are you going to replace Mike Tomlin with?

Do you know the answer? They don’t have an answer. This question catches them off-guard because anyone calling for Tomlin’s head isn’t particularly intelligent anyway and is incapable of thinking that far ahead. You guys want to go and get Gruden? I hear Gruden is probably available. If I didn’t like Tomlin so much, there is no way I would countenance numbering myself amongst this ridiculous fanbase.

No, Trubisky stays and he should stay. There is nothing about Trubisky’s play that would indicate he is failing to do his job competently, if you expect better than competence out of him, or Pickett, given what is around them on the offensive side of the ball, then you are expecting too much. Do you really want to throw Pickett to the wolves with this offensive line? Najee Harris can’t even average four per carry and the NFL defenses are much faster than what Pickett had to deal with in college. They hit harder, too.

The only way Trubisky should not remain the starter is if he doesn’t rise to the level of consistent competence and starts throwing picks all over the place. The alternative condition is after the bye week, or late in the season, if the team has no shot of making the Playoffs anyway.

Question: What do you expect Pickett to do?

Answer: Play better than this!!!

Question: Why?

Answer: (Crickets, kicks at rocks)

It’s that simple. Trubisky isn’t doing well, but he’s doing well enough. He’s meeting the expectations that anyone should reasonably have for him, which aren’t very high, and which he certainly hasn’t exceeded, but he is meeting them. If they thought expectations for Pickett should be higher, then he would already be in there.


The one thing that I want to make very clear is that I am a defender of Mitch Trubisky in this situation, but that does not make me a fan of Mitch Trubisky.

He has not exceeded my expectations for him at all. At best, he has slightly exceeded what I thought his floor should be, but really, a few exceptional plays aside, he has basically played to my floor for him.

I don’t think Trubisky is the long-term solution anywhere. My thinking for him is that he either becomes a career backup after this season (barring a drastic change), or alternatively, he goes a la Mayfield and start for a team that doesn’t have a chance of doing anything in the current season anyway.

The one takeaway on Trubisky is that he’s probably not going to lose you any games because of his play. Unfortunately, from what I can tell, he won’t win any with the team being carried on his back, either.

Jacoby Brissett, on the other hand, might just play himself into a starting job with a different organization, at this rate. You might think he remains even when Watson returns, playing at the level he has been, but I don’t see that happening at all. The problem with not starting Watson as soon as you can is that 100% guaranteed contract is sunk costs…and I can’t imagine any other team would want that contract in trade, which would never happen anyway.

Jacoby, on the other hand, will be a free agent after this season and might end up with another starting opportunity. I say, “Good for him,” if he does. I’d legitimately be very happy for him.

In trying to think of destination teams for next season, I keep coming back to the Seahawks (for Brissett) if they don’t draft a QB, but then, I don’t see how the Seahawks fail to draft a QB in the upcoming 2023 NFL Draft. I don’t know how married to Baker Mayfield Carolina will be, (and this is the last year of Mayfield’s contract anyway) but I don’t see how Brissett would be an improvement unless Brissett is cheaper. It would be a lateral move.

If they don’t draft a QB upcoming, then I could maybe see someone like the Texans be a potential landing spot for Brissett, then he would probably compete with someone for a starting gig. Alternatively, maybe a team drafts a QB and wants that new draftee to learn from the bench for a year. At this point, Brissett is basically a league veteran…man, I am getting old too quickly.

Oh, wait, ‘Steeler Talk,’ right.


New York Jets +4 @ Pittsburgh Steelers -4 O/U 42.5

The transitive property doesn’t necessarily work in the NFL so because Jets beat Browns and Browns beat Steelers does not mean Jets beat Steelers.

In reality, the Jets and Joe, “Yes, I’m still here,” Flacco didn’t beat the Browns as much as they escaped them, perhaps in the most Browns way possible. They scored two touchdowns with fewer than two minutes remaining in the game, which also required them to convert an onside kick successfully.

While the Steelers defense has looked less than elite the last two weeks, I can safely predict that the Jets will not be emerging from Generic Corporation Name Inc. Stadium with a victory in that fashion. Overall, I think you have two similar teams on offense—Trubisky is a slightly better game manager at this stage of his career, but Flacco has a cannon—on offense with the Steelers having the advantage on defense.

I also think the O/U is a bit high for this one and might have some recency bias given Flacco’s most recent performance against the Browns, the last two minutes of which should never have been allowed to happen. Opposing defenses haven’t seemed to have trouble getting to old Joe, so I think the Steelers should be able to produce a few sacks even without having T.J. Watt available to them. Flacco also has a tendency to take big risks, hence his worse than 2:1 career TD:INT ratio, so I could see Flacco making some overly aggressive decisions, and being punished for same, if the Steelers get consistent pressure on him.

It’s tough to get a read on the Jets ground attack, but Nick Chubb, it is not. They also play from behind a good deal, so I think that somewhat limits their action on the ground.

Having discussed getting pressure on Flacco and creating third and long situations, where Flacco is prone to err, let’s discuss the other two keys to victory.

Keys to Victory:

1.) See above.

2.) Time of Possession:

-There is absolutely no excuse for the Steelers not to be able to run the ball against the Jets, thereby creating a balanced attack, at least somewhat.

This is going to be another game that is won by the defense carrying the day, in fact, all of them are, but the offense is going to need to be effective enough to keep the time of possession disadvantage within a five minute difference between the two teams.

The Steelers lost one fumble (Harris) against the Browns, which was the lone turnover of the entire contest. Of course, that was also the humiliation score that ended the game, so functionally, turnovers were 0-0. That being accounted for, the Steelers didn’t give the Browns extra possessions, which makes the 12+ minute differential in time of possession even worse.

I don’t care if you have to run Najee Harris to death; if you do, then run Najee Harris to death…straight up the gut, at that. The Steelers need to do whatever it takes to give the defense a break and keep the Jets offense off the field, at least to a less absurd degree than opposing offenses have seen the field of play in the first three games this season.

There’s something of a narrative out there about the Steelers, ‘Playing down,’ to inferior teams, which we should be able to put to rest this season…because there really aren’t any teams that are significantly inferior to the Steelers. I guess maybe the Texans, but the Steelers don’t get that particular free win on the schedule.

This is going to be an important win for the Steelers to get, so they need to leave everything on the field in this one; if Najee Harris is getting a consistent four yards per carry, then I don’t care if you have to give it to him thirty times this game—do it. Coming out of this contest, I think the best they can hope for is 2-2 with the most likely result probably being 1-3.

If the Steelers are going to have any hope of making the Playoffs this season, then they absolutely can NOT lose to the Jets. They need to go out and play with the ferocity of this being for the Super Bowl.

What benefit is there in the Steelers going to the Playoffs? I guess probably none, but it’s fun to talk like this, isn’t it?

3.) Turnovers:

-I don’t care if someone coughs the ball up or they pick Joe Flacco, but the Steelers need to get at least one turnover in this game (even if the battle ends up being 1-1) and, ideally, that turnover would come in Ravens territory.

The simple fact of the matter is that the Steelers offense is simply not very likely to march most of the length of the field more than…maybe…once per game. That being the case, we’d really want to see a drive that the Steelers start on the Jets’ side of the fifty. Even if that only leads to a Field Goal, combined with one great offensive drive and a couple of other drives resulting in Field Goals, it could be enough.

How would you expect the Steelers to score more than twenty, against anyone, based on what we have seen? I don’t care if the Jets gave up thirty points per game last year, on average, I’d still be mildly surprised if the Steelers score more than twenty.

If Vegas thinks both:

1.) The Steelers win.

2.) It’s like, 24-17, or something.

I would like to know why they believe that the Steelers are going to score three touchdowns. Are they THAT confident that Flacco throws a pick six? Flacco has made some questionable throws downfield in his time, but I don’t think a pick six is the expectation, here.

That said, the Steelers will need to either win the turnover battle, or, if they tie in the turnover battle, then they need to take over in Jets territory.

SIDE NOTE: You have no idea how many times I typed, ‘Ravens,’ instead of Jets, even though it has been a few seasons since Flacco was a Raven.

My Prediction: Jets: 14 Steelers: 17

I know, I know, that means I’d be taking the Under and taking the points being offered to the Jets. I am a faithless and awful fan.


That’s it; we lost, that’s life, time to get ready for the Jets.

Because the Steelers played on Thursday Night, there isn’t any Monday vitriol to throw out there. Besides, this is already long enough as that FG on the 4th and 1 has me full of urine and vinegar. Fire Matt Canada; hire…um…maybe I’m no different than the other fans.


odiousgambit Sep 27, 2022

wow, a lot to catch up on here. Not finished by far, so more comments may be coming. At this point I'll say yes, fire Canada and hire Brandon James! good evaluation and every longterm football fan can relate, no matter the team, as it seems somewhere along the way some coach in some year makes consistently uncomprehendible decisions!

One thing though, seems to me the decision whether to go for it on 4th and one or a field goal try, that one might properly be one for the head coach ... not any assistant

Mission146 Sep 27, 2022

Thank you! It's possible that it was Tomlin's call, but he's more of a defensive guy and Canada runs the offense. Either way, even if Canada didn't call it, he'd need to be in Tomlin's ear to the effect of a touchdown being needed anyway.

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