My son will be four years old in a few months and he still struggles to tell the difference between football and basketball. This is what happens when you blow by the television to play with Thomas and his many, many friends.
But the sport didn’t matter on Friday, when he caught me whistling “Renegade.”
“What song is that?” he inquired.
“Renegade — it’s a Steelers song. You wanna hear it?” I offered.
“Yeah!” he responded enthusiastically.
So I fired it up on my computer and we both danced. When the song ended I let out a “Go Steelers!” And without missing a beat, he blurted, “Go Steelers! … Just don’t wait for anything.”
It’s a silly story but I love it. I love the thought of a kid with no real understanding of what it means to be fanatical about a bunch of stuff out of your control boiling Pittsburgh’s game plan down to one sentence. “Just don’t wait for anything.”
My son has long been asleep as I type this at nearly 11 PM Sunday night, but he’ll be happy to hear that the Steelers took his advice (more likely, he won’t care): they didn’t wait around, instead choosing to spend the first 30 minutes repeatedly punching the Jets in the mouth.
The final 30 minutes was a different story, but as Tomlin likes to say, style points don’t matter.
Onto the randomness…
* I had a dream before last week’s Ravens playoff game that the Steelers trailed 55-14. This week, I had another dream, even more improbable: that William Gay would score a defensive touchdown. I’m scared to think what I’ll dream next week.
* I had no idea Ben’s numbers were so dreadful until I heard Deion talking about them on NFL Network’s post-game show. Watching him live, I thought he played extremely well (turns out, he did), you’d just never know it by looking at the box score. Then again, you could argue that Hines Ward and Rashard Mendenhall could have scored on Big Ben passes but came up short. (And in Mendy’s case, the turf monster saved Antonio Cromartie from getting trucked into the end zone.) And that the first pick was a fluke, and the second pick was a punt. Whatever, Roethlisberger made plays with his feet all night, and completed the two biggest passes of the game on that final series: one to Heath Miller and the other to Antonio Brown.
(Also: apparently, Ben runs more effectively after he gets the crap knocked out of him. It happened in Buffalo and again Sunday night.)
* Quick refresher: Brown, as you may recall, hauled in a decisive 58-yard catch on third-and-19 against the Ravens last week. He had a third-and-6 reception against the Jets to end the game. Oh, and he also had a huge return to set up that last drive. Just something to keep in mind as Santonio is making the “flying jet” gesture back to the team bus.
* Back in September, Peter King picked the Packers and Steelers in the Super Bowl. Last Monday, he wrote in his Monday Morning Quarterback column that Rashard Mendenhall wasn’t “a big-time back.” King offered no explanation, just stated it matter-of-factly, and moved on. Here’s to hoping he calls Deebo overrated next week.
* Now, a word on Marshall Faulk: douchebag.
* The talk leading up to Sunday night was that Troy would be back after missing the Week 15 get-together. We didn’t hear his name mentioned much, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t have an impact. Brian Billick made a solid point on NFL Network earlier this week: Mark Sanchez had never faced Polamalu and he would either always be looking for him, or he wouldn’t, and Troy would make a big play. The latter didn’t happen, although I have no idea about the former. All else equal: gimme Troy in the lineup, game-changing performances or not.
Somebody who did make a tangible difference: Heath. Humongous catch on the final series on a ball that was thrown behind him.
* I know the Steelers are fond of giving the Jets two points every time they face each other, but that botched snap aside, hats off to Doug Legursky. JJ’s conditioned me to not even bat an eye when an offensive lineman goes down, and even though losing Maurkice is potentially devasting, I knew that Dougie had experience at the position. And while he’s not nearly as athletic as Pouncey, he — like just about all of his o-line mates — is serviceable. And when Big Ben’s under center, serviceable is more than enough.
* Finally, make of this what you will.