Covering the Steelers, Pirates and Penguins, you may assume I’m not feeling particularly thankful this Thanksgiving.
Au contraire, mon frère!
I needed to bang out a super-quick “U mad, bro?” post before scampering off to visit family for the holiday. The Steelers are 3-7. They just blew a second-half lead against the hated Cincinnati Bengals.
As a result, my inbox was a cornucopia of angst! My friends, you all made my job a walk in the park today.
By the way, that walk in the park covered a lot more ground than the Steelers offense Sunday.
Enjoy the holiday, everyone. But take some Pepto-Bismol if you are reading these emails and tweets before dinner. They may ruin your appetite.
When I went after the Steelers defense for having a bad day on Sunday against the Bengals, this guy would’ve preferred I attack the offense instead.
No commentary necessary pic.twitter.com/XgWf4BWPCC
— Dave (@PTDukie33) November 21, 2022
Sure. But now take a snapshot of the two 90-plus-yard scoring drives the defense allowed. Or Joe Burrow’s passing stats. Or Tee Higgins’ receiving numbers. Or the “3” in the “TD” column alongside the name of backup running back Samaje Perine.
Like I wrote on Monday, I expect the Steelers offense to be bad every week. Meanwhile, we were all told by Mike Tomlin and the Steelers themselves that the defense was going to “dominate” this year — so long as it was healthy.
The defense was 99% healthy Sunday, and it still got skewered. That’s why I went after the defense.
Meanwhile, Frank agrees with me. He’s more upset with the defensive performance.
Your right. Both were abysmal. But the defense should have higher expectations than the offense given the pedigree of their roster.
— Frank (@FrankBokulich) November 21, 2022
Frank gets it. That’s my point exactly. It’s hard to be “disappointed” in the offense when you expect nothing from it.
When you have a defense with that much money and star power attached to that side of the two-deep, you have a reasonable expectation that they won’t become the extras in Samaje Perine’s personal highlight film.
Give Frank an extra piece of apple pie.
Then there is “Wayde.” He agrees with that first guy.
Thats a terrible take. Defense got 2 takeaways and the offense failed to cash in. There were also a few redzone-ish opportunities in which the offense moved backwards. Check the marked items in the pic. The offense is the problem with this team. pic.twitter.com/89D7Pf8iGD
— Wayde Philpot (@Waydigitty) November 21, 2022
See above, Wayde.
Look, I’m not “defending” the offense. At all. But, for instance, maybe the third-down-conversion stats look better because the Bengals didn’t need to get to third down very often before they moved the chains and scored.
I mean, the defense still gave up 37 points on a night when the offense didn’t have any giveaways.
So, let’s not accelerate a squabble. This is like arguing politics at the Thanksgiving table. Let’s put aside our differences about the offense and defense. In the spirit of the holiday season, just reach an agreement, raise a glass and say, “To the 2022 Pittsburgh Steelers! They stink on both sides of the ball!”
And let’s just be thankful that there are only seven games left.
As for “@dmc200802” on Twitter, he thinks my lack of faith in a second-half push by the Steelers is too bleak.
If Detroit and Washington can stack wins, so can the Steelers.
— Buckingham Fountainhead (@dmc200802) November 22, 2022
I hate to be the one to ruin your holiday with this bit of realization, but Washington (6-5) is better than Pittsburgh with Taylor Heinicke at quarterback. And at 4-6, Detroit (a team the Steelers couldn’t beat at home last year) is pretty much the same.
Enjoy your turkey.
Then there is John. He is like me on this front. He thinks the Steelers’ call to “stack wins” down the stretch is… a bit ambitious.
Can’t even stack first downs
— John Reynolds (@JohnRey05856314) November 22, 2022
Indeed, John. “Stack”? Speaking of being thankful, I would’ve been thankful for just one in the third quarter against Cincinnati.
A Twitter follower named @PGHLivin seemed unimpressed with Bengals linebacker Germaine Pratt claiming that his defense knew what plays were coming.
It’s a play pamphlet, not a play book.
— Mr.PGH (@PGHLivin) November 21, 2022
Absolutely. I do feel like the Steelers are putting Kenny Pickett in charge of the grocery shopping but are telling him to never leave the frozen foods aisle.
It’s Thanksgiving. A man cannot live on chicken fingers and pizza rolls alone!
Finally, “Larry in Lawrenceville” checks in this week. He’s mad that Steelers fans were leaving the Bengals game early on Sunday.
“Pittsburgh Steelers fans publicly & vocally pride themselves on being loyal & dedicated to The Black & Gold. They brag about it. But during the 2nd half of the Steelers/Bengals game Sunday, more & more empty yellow seats at Heinz Field were showing up by the minute on my TV than I’ve seen in a LONG time. So as long as The Steelers are WINNING their fans are loyal & dedicated. But if The Steelers are LOSING, hey, let’s show off all those empty yellow seats to the national TV audience as we leave Heinz Field!
(PS Always Heinz Field, Never Acrisure Stadium)”
To be fair, Larry, some of those people may not have been intending to leave initially.
They were probably just experimenting to see if it was really as hard to move 10 yards at a time as the Steelers were making it look on the field.
Then, once they got going, they were just trying to show Matt Canada’s offense how to do it and accidentally wound up in the parking lot.
But if empty seats mid-game at Acris… sorry, “still Heinz Field” for you … are your concern, avert your eyes after Franco Harris gets his number retired on Christmas Eve versus the Raiders.
I just hope the reindeer aren’t blinded by that much yellow.