Here we go ladies and gents. The actual season has begun. The three games that are actually the only ones that matter to Tom Brady, Bill Belichick, and Robert Kraft. Three men who stand united by the way.
In the AFC Divisional round the Pats got the best matchup they could have asked for in the Tennessee Titans. I went into last week begging Zeus himself to get Mariota in our first playoff game, and I got him. So now what do we need from this game?
NUMBER 1. I need Tom to pass the ball early and often. No one has been more team DIDI than I have for the past 7 weeks. He’s been the best offensive player on the team and he’s running the ball better than we’ve ever seen from him. It’s a genuine joy to behold. This hesitation run in week 17 was so sexual, I had to get in a cold bath after seeing it.
That said, Tennessee’s run defense is no joke. 4th best in yards allowed, 3rd best in forced fumbles, 1st in tuddies allowed, and 4th best in yards per carry. Don’t get me wrong, I want DIDI to get the rock. I want that momentum to keep on cruising and I want to ball in an electric player’s hands always. DIDI getting the ball also means Tom isn’t getting hit which I will take ALL DAY after the red headed step child abuse he’s been taking this year.
I also want Tom to get his rhythm going. Titans were 25th in yards given up through the air this year, 25th in yards per game, and 24th in tuddies given up on the season. That’s a defense that Tom can pick apart, and with a lot of his friends back (Hoags and Money Mitch) I’d love to see him get his mojo working. If this team can go the distance, we’re going to need Brady to have good vibes with his receivers. Use this as a tune up game.
NUMBER 2. GET TURNOVERS. The Titans’ backs fumbled only 4 times all season, so I don’t expect to get a lot of headway there, but Mariota has been known to throw the ball away…More times than he throws it into the end zone in fact. This season, Mariota threw 13 tuddies and 15 picks. That is NOT a QB that you can allow to beat you through the air, so the simple answer is to make him try to do exactly that.
All season you could find me pissing and moaning about scrambling QBs. I hate them. I want nothing to do with them. So the fact that I see facing Mariota as a favorable opponent means I’m confident in our ability to destroy him if we can merely contain him. This season Mariota had 60 rushes for 312 yards. Compare that Cam Newton’s 139 for 754, and Russell Wilson’s 95 for 586, and Mariota seems like a child. Keep this fool in the pocket and force him to make mistakes. If the defense can contain Derek Henry to an extent and get a lead, that will force Mariota to throw the ball. If we keep him in the pocket, he’ll throw picks, and the game will be over.
NUMBER 3. Let’s go Jags. I am Jaggin Off. I’ll say it again, call me a coward if you want. Get the Steelers away from me. It’s not so much a fear thing as it is a boredom thing. How many times do we need to humiliate Tomlin before he figures it out. I don’t want to deal with it anymore.
The Jags defense is as stout as a tall Guinness in an Irish pub. They are more than capable of taking down Big Ben, a hobbled AB, and a financially frustrated Le’Veon Bell. Now that does make me a little nervous about having to play them if we get passed Tennessee and they handle Pitt. I’ll take Tom vs Bortles any day, however, so I welcome the challenge with open arms.
It’s just a distraction that no one wants. Pitt and Tomlin make a big show of it saying they aren’t afraid of us. You have nitwits with Mike Mitchell saying he’d play us in Hell and still win before they’ve even played the Jaguars. It’s a circus, and I for one hate clowns. It will bring me great joy watching Mike Mitchell get turned inside out in a playoff loss to the Jaguars. We’ll then get an extra week of the “Is Big Ben finally retiring?” and the “Will the Steelers finally give Bell a contract?” I can’t want.