I’m tempted to simply list ten times, “I’m so happy.” But I had some actual thoughts that stuck with me even after such a glorious evening. Here are ten of them.
- I am becoming my father. Were he still with us he would have concluded, with 10:30 left in the first, that not only was the game over, but the season. Heck, he would have probably worried the Steelers would move to Reno. I’m not at black-belt level of pessimism, but I admit it, I thought we were in for a long night.
- Two plays, two touchdowns. Oh what a difference a minute can make. And it was all gold from there on in. Blowouts are way underrated.
- In fact, the only way this game could have been any better would be if, a. It was the Super Bowl. b. It was the AFC Championship game and the Panthers were the Patriots. c. Every Steeler were a rookie who’d made a vow of poverty. Not that I’m complaining.
- On that long pass to AB, Ben had so much time in the pocket I think I saw him take out his smartphone, look up BTSC and read my column. I presume that’s why he was smiling so big throughout the night.
- Scoring has gotten so high in the NFL that I’m seeing opponents’ field goals as victories for us, and their punts as the equivalent of a turnover. It struck me, however, that we had a higher percentage in scores per possession than Carolina had converting third downs. When Buck and Aikman pointed out at one point that we were 7 of 9, my jaw hit the floor. It’s a great thing to celebrate another outstanding performance by the D that has had us so worried all year. But that is one dominant offensive performance.
- Did you notice that we heard about Joe Haden about as much as we heard from the zebras? Every week that guy shows up to play. When I’m tempted to think, “Where would we be if we hadn’t allowed the Browns to tie us?” I think instead, “Where would we be if the Browns hadn’t been stupid enough to let Joe go?” And like Hines from back in the day, and AB on the other side of the ball, how can you not love that smile? I love a man who loves playing for the Steelers.
- I’ve often thought that if I were ever a GM, I’d only do deals with terrible teams. It’s the football equivalent of that old poker nugget of wisdom, “If you look around the table and can’t figure out who the fish is, you’re the fish.” Dumb GMs make the GMs they deal with look smart.
- Watching this game I actually started to look forward to the rest of our schedule. If we can do this to the 6-2 Panthers, we could certainly go 2-1 with News England and Orleans and the Chargers. Even if we go 1-2 and win the other four we ought to win, we finish 11-4-1 and have a shot at a bye.
- That said, if we weren’t as bad as we thought we were in September, we may not be as good as we think we are in November. You gotta admit though, we sure looked good.
- As if last night could not have gotten any better, we got our first snow here in Indiana. After my wife, kids and the Steelers, snow is my next favorite thing.
It doesn’t snow in Jacksonville, but here’s hoping we blow through there like AB plowing on Mcknight Road.