I cried a little inside this week. Not because the Steelers lost a game. Not because they lost to a horrible, horrible team. I cried inside because they lost after I predicted the end to Steelers trap games.
So, let’s go ahead and move on, and enjoy the misfortune of others, below.
Vontaze Burfict is making my job easy.
In each weekly preview, I am making it a point to use Burfict’s name and the word "jagoff" in the same sentence. In his third game back, he took what looks like a clear cheap shot at New England tight end Martellus Bennett’s left knee. The league is looking into it, and at this point it would be hard to justify anything less than, perhaps, a ten-game suspension -- or a suspension for the remainder of the 2016 season, including playoffs. A fine at this point would serve no purpose.
All right, we’ll call it a draw.
The Steelers lost. We’ll get to that. But the minuscule silver lining in this embarrassing failure of coaching and player effort? The rest of the AFC North lost, too. In fact, in the last two weeks, what was just two years ago the strongest division in football is 1-7, the lone win coming as the Steelers downed the Jets. So, despite this humiliating moment — and the insult of losing Ben Roethlisberger to injury a week before the biggest game of the season — no one managed to gain any ground. So, there’s that.
Gurley men, all of them.
Toddy Gurley wasn’t the problem -- that was all Jeff Fisher and his brainless call to go for a touchdown as the first half expired, rather than taking the sure points from a field goal. I’m all for going for it, but it’s almost like Fisher had Gurley on his fantasy team this week. Jeff, you may have one of the top five runners in the game today, but offense isn’t exactly the strength of the Rams right now. And, since your quarterback certainly isn’t, either, it’s not advisable to do exactly what everyone in the known universe would expect you to do if you went for it on fourth and goal from the two. My two-year-old could have predicted that play call, if he hadn’t been napping at the time.
The mighty have fallen, and are landing with a wet splat.
The defending champion Denver Broncos are halfway to their 2015 loss total of 4, and just six games into the season. Their Super Bowl opponent, the Carolina Panthers, have five losses in the first six games — that’s the same number of games both teams lost in 2014 combined. The Broncos lost Peyton Manning to retirement. The Panthers lost...well...composure? A stigma of some sort? It wasn’t Josh Norman, because they last time I checked, he didn’t play offense. Ironically, you can make the same argument about most of the guys who are still in Carolina, because hardly anyone is playing offense there right now.
The Weekly Bellyflop Award goes to...
...the Steelers run defense. In a game where nothing went right for the Steelers, one thing went very, very wrong. There is little else to say about it — well, at least until we get to the film room — other than the Steelers couldn’t have stopped a Pop-Warner team on the ground.
College football bonus! We nearly saw the upset of the season in Clemson.
The Tigers snuck away with a victory, but not before unranked N.C. State took them to overtime. You have to give it to the Wolfpack, as they literally matched Clemson, score for score, the whole way — until overtime at least, when they got greedy and threw for the end zone on the first play of their lone overtime possession. They were playing catch-up at that point, and the Tigers won when the Wolfpack pass was intercepted. Regardless, nice effort, State. Nice effort.