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.
When Emmanuel Sanders found himself wide open in the middle of the Jets defense to convert a third-and-a-mile on what would be the games final drive, my brother and I looked at each other and asked “what the hell just happened?”
When Mike Wallace made a catch a few plays later and almost broke it for a touchdown, we were convinced the Steelers were going to find a way to pull another one out of thin air. I kept thinking back to last year’s Green Bay game, and it almost happened!
But it didn’t.
Still, as frustrating as it was to lose to Rex Ryan and company, it doesn’t really change much in terms of the playoff outlook. For one, they’re already in (I’m not sure I fully understand how, but whatever). Also: Even if they had won yesterday they would still have to beat Cleveland in Week 17 assuming Baltimore wins out (and I have to imagine they will). The only difference would have been they wouldn’t have to beat Carolina on Thursday night. And you know what? If they can’t beat Carolina on a Thursday night at home (or Cleveland in Week 17) with a division title and bye week on the line, they probably don’t deserve it anyway. They still control their own destiny. So there’s that.
On to the game…
– There were two plays early in the first quarter where Mike Wallace blew past Antonio Cromartie only to have the ball be overthrown. I didn’t think that was possible but, hark, it is. On one of the plays it appeared that Wallace was tripped up a bit by a stumbling Cromartie, but it was difficult to tell whether or not he would have been able to make the catch anyway.
Wallace, however, did continue his recent trend of becoming more than just, as Mike Tomlin would say, a “one trick pony” and has been used way more often on intermediate routes, and it showed up in the box score with his seven catch, 100-plus yard day.
– Emmanuel Sanders also continued his recent emergence with a career-high seven grabs. He’s not only passed Antwaan Randle El on the depth chart, he’s blown past him. How far down the chart has Randle El fallen? There were plays on Sunday where the Steelers went five wide and Randle El wasn’t one of the five receivers on the field (Ward, Wallace, Sanders, Antonio Brown and Matt Spaeth). Because it took place at the opposite end of the field, Sanders appeared to be held up on the final drive on that one deep pass.
And speaking of Spaeth, I’m not going to blame him for not coming up with those catches on the final two plays of the game (the last play he had no chance), but I do question why he was out there. I could understand if they were leaving him in as an extra protector, but if you’re going to send him out as a receiver, why not use a receiver with better hands?
– A draw play on your own one-yard line with 2:45 to play when you’re trailing: Probably not the best idea.
– JJ will be able to analyze this much better, but the offensive line seemed to play a really strong game, which is not something I would have expected going in.
– Every once in a while somebody brings up the idea of banning beer sales at NFL games. I’m not saying I agree with that, mainly because I enjoy having a beer at the game, and I don’t think I should be punished because a handful of people are morons and can’t control themselves/handle their booze. However, if you’re so drunk that 1) You can’t talk, 2) Don’t know who is playing, 3) Who has the ball, 4) What quarter it is, and 5) Who is winning, you’re only furthering the argument that beer and football don’t mix.
You’re also an idiot.
– Special teams has been an improved area this year, but it was a huge difference in the game on Sunday. Not just on the kickoff return for a touchdown, but the punting game and the Jets ability to start every drive past their own 35 yard line.
– Number of people dressed as Santa Claus: Three. And I’m not talking Santa hat … I’m talking full blown Santa outfit. Red jacket, red pants, beard, hat.
– Number of people dressed as Jesus: One.
– And, finally, this guy in the Eric Tangradi Penguins jersey appeared to be two weeks early for the Winter Classic…