View From 522: Steelers vs. Patriots

Since Gretz is a season-ticket holder, he’s going to take a look at the debauchery and insanity that takes place in the Heinz Field stands after every home game he attends.

– The best part of the night was the fact my younger brother and I somehow managed to get a free meal at a local Pittsburgh eatery. We’re still not sure how, or why, the manager covered our check, but he seemed quite concerned that we hadn’t been waited on within five minutes of us sitting down. It’s not like we were waiting long, and we didn’t even complain, but he picked up our dinner check and I wasn’t about to stop him. That, of course, was perhaps the best part of the night. Naturally, cosmic justice caught up to me later in the evening when I put $1.25 into a vending machine at the parking garage and it didn’t give me my damn bottle of Pepsi. It was simply that kind of night.

– Having been to many, many games since Heinz Field opened, this was, perhaps, my least enjoyable stadium experience ever.

We were actually debating whether or not this was the worst game the Steelers have ever played there, and kept coming back to the 2004 AFC Championship game as the worst, with honorable mentions to the 2003 Rams game and 2003 Browns game. This one was certainly in the discussion based on the total beatdown that was administered by the Patriots from start-to-finish. You could tell from the first Steelers series, and first Patriots series, that they just weren’t going to show up.

As if the play on the field wasn’t bad enough, the action in the stands was just as thrilling. I always hear people complaining about the fan behavior at Heinz Field, but I’ve never really had an issue, so I just sort of brush it off. Typically, the people in our section tend to be regulars and there’s not really any problems. Sunday? Geez. Two people were hauled out a couple of rows in front of us, encountered a major brawl before the game in the parking lot that was drawing quite a crowd, and had to deal with a collection of douchebags a couple of seats down from us. After Tom Brady’s quarterback sneak to put the Patriots up 23-3, this collection of mouth breathers took it upon themselves to start chanting for Brady to perform seemingly impossible acts of self gratification. After about five straight minutes, it got old.

If you’re a Penguins fan, you know how when Sidney Crosby scores his third goal of the game in Philadelphia, and the Flyers fans continue to chant “Crosby sucks” over and over again despite his obvious ownership of them? Yeah. It was kind of like that. And they sound ridiculous. After pointing out that, you know, he’s kind of embarrassing the Steelers right now and you sound like a bunch of Flyers fans, well … shit. You would have thought I burned a Terrible Towel in front of them. I was told that I should “take off my colors” and that I “wasn’t a Steelers fan and should go cheer for the Patriots.” Or some other bullshit that the drunken blowhard won’t even remember today.

At first I thought maybe I had been too confrontational and should have just let it slide, but then the people around me told me that, yes, they were in fact acting like douchebags and something needed to be said.

Be loud. Cheer. Get into the game. Go crazy. But don’t act like Flyers fans.

– The Steelers did to the Patriots in the fourth quarter what other teams do to the Steelers: Put up a lot of meaningless yards and points. The proverbial 15-yard gain on third-and-20. Ben finished the night with big numbers, but neither he, nor the offense, played well. Dropped passes, receivers not looking for the ball, bad throws. Not a good night.

– Jeff Reed. Oh, Jeff Reed.

– I might be the minority on this, but I don’t think the biggest problem on Sunday night was the secondary. The biggest issue: the complete lack of a pass rush. You can’t give NFL quarterbacks that much time to throw, especially NFL quarterbacks as good as Brady. The hardest hit he took all night was when he ran into his own running back on that hand-off attempt.

– I mentioned this after the Browns game, but there’s a guy that regularly sits in the row behind that is a Cleveland fan. He’s a really cool guy, and yesterday he went to both the Browns-Jets game, and the Steelers-Patriots game. I raise my glass to anybody that attends two NFL games in the same day. That is simply awesome.

– Finally, wear a Kordell Stewart jersey, and you’re guaranteed to have it end up on this site.

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  • Warriorblitz

    That game was completely painful. I agree that the secondary was not what worried me…I’m not even that upset at Gay. What makes me mad is that we cannot score in the redzone. I have a friend who is a Pats fan and during our (I think) second trip to the RZ, before Skippy shanked the FG, I actually told him “Don’t worry, the Steelers can’t score from here, we’ll only get 3.” Well, I was half right. If the O had been playing well this would have been an awesome game…but they just stink. The O-line was terrible, the WR looked pathetic, and Ben was off most of the night (might have had something to do with the O-line).

    Embarrassing is all I can say about last night.

    • Cols714

      The thing is though the Steelers dropped three TD passes. Not easy catches (except for Wallace’s) but they should have held on to some of those.

  • Anonymous

    Agreed on your points. The lack of a pass rush was painful, and our corresponding inability to protect the QB due to the replacement of our entire left side. Of course the lack of a pass rush was partially due to our fear of blitzing our best pass rushers like Harrison and Woodley due to the inability of McFadden or Gay to cover anyone in man coverage, thus the constant sitting back in soft zones waiting to get carved up.

    That being said, thank God we do not face a Brady every week. Our defense is more than “good enough” for most NFL QBs. But I think we got exposed tonight as a group that will have severe problems in the postseason.

  • Hcastanon

    I got to tell all the Steeler fans out there who attend Steelers game on a regular basis. I’ve lived most of my life in Texas and been a Steelers fan since ’75. And I finally had the pleasure of attending my very first Steelers game in Pittsburgh. For obvious reasons it was bittersweet. Besides the loss what I found most disappointing was lack of the 12th man. I was in section 516, row O, seat 8. During the Pats very first visit into the red zone I stood up from my seat waved my terrible towel trying to the crowd around me to make some noise in the hopes of making it difficult for the Pats to hear Brady at the line. I was surprised to see fans not making much noise or rising from their seats. I also rose from my seat and looked at the crowd to the sides and behind as I waved my towel with hopes of motivating the crowd. Still with no avail. I continued this throughout the game when the Pats had the ball in a 3rd down situation or in the red zone! WHERE THE HELL WAS THE STEELERS 12th MAN LAST NIGHT! I think I heard ‘Here we go Steelers, here we go!” twice the whole night. I can’t believe the electronic jumbotron didn’t display “IT’S 3RD AND LONG…LET’S MAKE SOME NOISE!’ I love my Steelers but during the first half it was pretty sedate. And remember we were only down by 7! ALSO, during the end of the first quarter I had some guy two rows back ask me not to stand because they could’nt see. Get the F&^% outta here! This isn’t a freakin’ opera or broadway show! VERY SAD. I gotta tell you all. I love the experience to some degree but I certainly didn’t expect such a mundane crowd. I read the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette at the airport before I left this morning and I noticed an article which grades the Steelers by position. Will someone drop him a message for me. Ask his to add a category to his grading categories. Add a category for the 12th man. I’d give them a C.