We've officially had a progress report sent home to our parents. Is that what they were called? When you're failing a class and it's pretty close to the end of the semester, so the school feels the need to tell your mother that you are one more missed hw assignment from embarrassing your whole family. Do you realize how hard it is to fail a HS classes by the way? You have to actively want to fail. It's a joke. Anne Frankly, that's pretty much how I feel about how hard it is for this Pats team to lose 5 games. We are so much better than everyone in the league maybe minus 2 or 3 teams. Two of them are in the NFC and we don't play them, and the third one we did play and we beat. I'm not saying you can't lose to teams that are worse than you, it's the NFL, it happens all the time. But we have puked on ourselves this season through no one's fault but our own, and now mom knows about it. It's going to be an important final exam in a few weeks. Class is officially in session.
I said in Ramblings that it's hard to gun the defense when Pitt only scored 17 points and we had a chance to pull this thing back at the end, but from the eye test it still felt like we sucked on that side of the ball. Well, watching the highlights again, I'm doubling down on that take. There were so many plays I wanted to capture to show how pathetic our efforts were on Sunday. The one I'm choosing I think is the most concerning because it was a situation where everyone knew what was going to happen and we did nothing about it.
This is the Steelers first play from scrimmage after the circus routine by Jonathan Jones and Burk to down that punt on the 1 yard line. We just had a bad third down miss after going down 14-7. It felt like 21-7 was a real possibility, so to pin them deep and get the ball right back would be massive. After the incredible special teams play, Pitt comes out with a heavy set. Five OLinemen, and then two TEs to the right of Ben. We counter with our meat house package. You've got MY BOY Trey Flowers, Guy, Brown, and Butler down on the line. Then you've got Jonathan Jones and Van Noy standing upright ready to crash the edge, because there is no WR that Jones is responsible for. If the second TE releases he will run with him, but spoiler alert, the second TE is run blocking. Then behind those 6 (!!!) guys you've got Roberts and HIGH ready to fill any running lanes, along with Chung who will also crash the box unless TE1 releases. Second spoiler alert. TE1 is run blocking. So for those keeping score at home you've got NINE guys in the box ready to stop the running back, which, good news, is Stevan Ridley, who STINKS.
With the fullback, the Steelers have 7 blockers, so it isn't a crazy outnumbering, but we do have two extra bodies. Everyone slams into the line instantly, and no one wins a one v one battle to save their damn lives. The bad ones are the three I'm pointing at. Roberts is supposed to explode running lanes, but he has essentially run up the asshole of Lawrence Guy. HIGH should be filling the gap on the side Ridley is running, but he's being blocked by a freaking guard, combined with the fact that he is running up the asshole of Malcom Brown. And then you have poor Adam Butler, who is being tossed aside like the sweater you get on Christmas morning. A sad sight indeed.
Chung didn't take the best angle in the above, but he was least responsible for that lane so I don't blame him. Roberts, and certainly HIGH, were in better position presnap to fill that gap. By the time Chung gets to Ridley he has already gone for 8, which has completely fucked the field position. Ridley running through the tackle for 5 more yards was just the cherry on top of the shit show that was this play on defense.
We did less than nothing on offense for the 6th straight quarter of football, but naturally I want to look at the last two plays of the game because they pissed me off the most. I am going to show them to you in reverse order because low key the third down play might have been an even worse look from Brady.
Here's fourth down. I ranted on Tuesday that I thought Jules should have sat down at the sticks. But I also thought live that Tommy threw it pretty quick. I'm sure everyone heard the reports yesterday that his MCL is torn, it happened during the Titans game on that MORONIC pass back to him, and he's been playing through it. But it has thoroughly screwed up his lower body mechanics and has him bailing out of some throws. Look at this image. TJ Watt is close by for sure, and gave Cannon fits all game, plus he's not about to take ANOTHER half ending sack, but this throw is a little early no??? He's got time, no WRs are even looking yet, and he's essentially falling over without being touched.
And look where this ball is going! I know these get blurry when its moving fast, apologies, apologies all around. And I know the DBs are reacting to where the throw is going, and might not have been exactly here before the camera panned over. BUT, look at Patterson! (Who should have been Flash) making a break across the back line. Considering the time Tom clearly had from the previous picture, shouldn't this throw have been to Patterson, knowing he was about to make a break and would have a chance to flash open? The reality is Tom trusts Jules with his life, and wouldn't hesitate to turn state's evidence on Patterson if it would get him thrown off the team, so there's an obvious answer as to where he's throwing the ball. But I'm just saying, Jules tripled covered was never ever ever catching this ball.
Now here is third down. We came out with our favorite set from Sunday, three WRs with Gronk. And you have Wiggle in the backfield. We don't have any time outs but there are 26 seconds left. And we need 21 for a tuddy and 15 for a first. Not a great situation but we've seen and survived worse. We are going to run essentially the same routes we ran on the ensuing fourth down. Four verticals occupying different areas of the end zone.
Well, everyone except for one person. Wiggle chips a rusher, and then releases. LOOK AT THIS SPACE. LOOK AT IT. DON'T AVERT YOUR EYES. I WONT LET YOU. I know Tommy is scrambling here, and doesn't want to get hit from behind. That internal QB clock in his head must have been saying let it go. But I refuse to believe he doesn't realize he has a Wiggle check down available to him. So when he looks up and sees a covered Gronk and is considering firing the ball 8 feet above his head out of the back of the end zone, I wish he thought maybe just maybe there is a better option. I almost guarantee Wiggle picks up a first down here. He legit might even score. No joke. But at the VERY LEAST he picks up 10 yards and steps out of bounds. Now there are 17 seconds left, clock stopped, and we huddle up looking at 4th and 5 from the 10 yard line. This is impossibly more manageable than the 4th and 15 cluster fuck we were left with. Tom is the check down king lately, we did it twice on this drive already, so this felt like a huge missed opportunity.
As of post time, Flash Gordon has quit the team, and if this isn't the end of days I don't know what is. Not sure how we plan on moving the ball against Buffalo, so everyone strap in for a 13-10 barn burner. Yay.