As the calendar switches from December 18th to December 19th, fans of the Pittsburgh Steelers should be able to breathe a little easier. With the loss to the New England Patriots, and most importantly the controversial finish, in the rear view mirror, hopefully fans can take a step back and see something major which changed on Sunday with the team.
This has nothing to do with the officials and nothing to do with the outcome of the game.
No, this is about confidence.
Despite losing, the Steelers proved to themselves, their fans, and the Patriots how they can beat anyone. The Patriots played a near-perfect game and were given an early Christmas gift with their victory at Heinz Field. They were penalized twice, for four yards, and it took Tony Corrente’s crew and a bad Ben Roethlisberger decision to let them escape with the ‘W’.
Although angry, or “pissed” might be the more appropriate word, the Steelers should be brimming with confidence and an us-against-the-world attitude to boot. That’s a deadly combination for a team gearing up for the post-season.
Fans want to talk about the possibility of the Steelers and Patriots locking horns again, but that’s down the road. Pittsburgh has bigger fish to fry before even thinking about that, and it starts with the Houston Texans on Christmas Day.
I have a feeling the Steelers will be taking out their frustrations on this special holiday...
Time to check in on the news surrounding the Steelers outside the walls of BTSC:
For 29 minutes and 29 seconds of the final 30:25 of Sunday's game, the Steelers held the lead. They trailed for only 56 seconds in the second half. They maintained game advantages in total yardage and time of possession, as well as in yards per pass attempt and yards per rush.
The Steelers converted third downs at almost twice the rate that the New England Patriots did, and Ben Roethlisberger's passer rating was significantly higher than Tom Brady's.
If it wasn't for a vexatious rule that has drawn the ire of NFL fans, the Steelers appeared to have an apparent winning touchdown reception with 28 seconds to play.
We were laughing at them again. Just two weeks ago. That team down the Ohio River.
The Bengals -- in all their Bengal splendor -- managed to come up with yet another creative way to blow a game against the Steelers.
Little brother lost to big brother in maddening fashion once more. And a Terrible Towel waving Lucy van Pelt stood over Charlie Brown in his Bengal stripes as she hysterically pulled the football away for the 100th time.
In today's edition of the comic strip though, Charlie Brown is laying on his back in his black-and-gold outfit and Lucy his mocking him with a harsh New England accent.
The Patriots did not deserve to win this game.
If I were a Steelers fan I would have been livid with the outcome. The Steelers came out and challenged the Patriots from start to finish, exploiting the Patriots’ weakness and pushing them to the brink of defeat. Pittsburgh was the better team throughout the night, which is not a testament to how the Patriots played as they were able to step up and make plays when they needed to.
But at the end of the day, it was New England who was breathing a sigh of relief as they escaped Pittsburgh with yet another AFC East title and the top seed in the AFC for the time being.