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10 Things I Think I Thought as the Steelers’ playoff hopes slipped away

There was a flash of hope, and then it came crashing down.

NFL: Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

It’s a surreal world where you have to watch two games and with one of them hope the Browns win. Here’s what went through my mind along the way.

  1. We aren’t what we thought we were. It’s been a Jekyll and Hyde season. And just as in the short story, Hyde overtakes Jekyll in the end. Our offense, that was supposed to be the envy of the world, put up 16 points, while giving up 7, a net gain, for the math challenged, of 9 points. It was, of course, enough to win the game, but only because we were playing Joe Mixon and his Traveling Band of Replacements. Sure was fun seeing that rascal Keanu Reeves driving Gene Hackman crazy.
  2. After the game, which included a pick six, Big Ben aw-shucksed his way out of owning it, once again dubbing himself a gun slinger. Reminds me of a close friend I had in college. Not the wisest, most cautious fellow in the world. And when he’d get a gentle admonition from his friends to clean up his act he’d invariably respond by letting us know what we already knew, that he was a life support system for a hemorrhoid. Naming your flaw doesn’t erase the flaw.
  3. I complained earlier in the season that the Steelers were showing themselves to be 45, or worse, 30 Minute Men, starting off so slowly. Such a spirit seems to have invaded every offensive series. It’s like Ben thinks we get 5 or 6 downs to pick up a first down. This team, all season, lacked any sense of urgency. It seems they don’t much care that the window is nearly shut.
  4. And another thing on the pick six. What was Ben looking for? Is he just so used to having the refs make terrible calls that he assumed that must be what happened again? Not that he read the coverage badly, under threw the pass badly. Nope, what must have happened was a blown call.
  5. Seriously, how can you beat a team that is in the cellar of your division, that canned its coach the next day, that was missing its top defensive player, and its 1, 2, 3, 4 best skill position players by three points? At home. With your playoff life on the line? This may have been an uglier victory than the Jaguars game.
  6. Gotta give Keith Butler credit. Tyler Eifert has 0 catches for 0 yards, 0 touchdowns, and was no help blocking either. Actually, the defense, though playing junior varsity talent, had a pretty good game. And don’t be too hard on Butler for the Eifert gaffe. Could’ve happened to anyone and Bob Labriola is a stand-up guy for trying to take some of the blame.
  7. How weird was it, when we needed a field goal, to be relaxed because our kicker was playing Playstation all season? Honestly, I truly thought, “At least we don’t have to depend on Boswell.”
  8. The game was not shown on my home TV. I can’t blame the deciders. Why show one crappy team playing a crappy team from Ohio when they could show a different crappy team playing a different crappy team from Ohio? The AFC North should be treated like the winner of the MAC conference, and not be invited to the playoffs.
  9. The worse thing is I literally have no reason to believe it will be any better next year. This team clearly learned nothing from betting bounced last year by the Jags.
  10. Mercy it’s a long wait until September. But I’ve got this going for me- my beautiful wife still loves me.