Steelers Week 16: Cheers, Jeers, and Fears
It’s not easy to put what happened at the end of that Patriots game into words.
Feelings inevitably take over. You go from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows within a matter of minutes.
I am always a rational observer and fan when it comes to sports, and I try not to show too much emotion when a play or game doesn’t go my team’s way.
On Sunday, as I walked out of Heinz Field with an angry and confused hoard of Steelers fans searching for an explanation to what they just witnessed, I couldn’t help but let feelings take over.
I was mad, confused, and disheartened. That was bologna.
From the non-calls on the Patriots to the Jesse James touchdown, that game was handed to the Patriots, and I was disgusted.
I get the rule on the catch, but you can’t tell me that that was indisputable video evidence. There’s no way. You can’t see the ball hit the ground, and I don’t know if he ever truly lost possession. #jessecaughtit
I’ve replayed those last few plays over and over again in my head, and it still doesn’t seem real.
But it was real, and now it’s time to push forward because there is still so much at stake this season.
With emotions still rolling, here are my week 16 cheers, jeers, and fears.
That was the best game the Steelers have played against New England in years.
In the immortal words of Dennis Green, “We had them beat, and we let them off the hook!”
Although it still counts as a loss, there is still cause for optimism coming out of this game.
They played with the current Super Bowl favorites without the services of MVP candidate Antonio Brown, or their best cover corner in Joe Haden.
Both will be back and looking to make an impact if an AFC Championship game does happen between these two down the road.
Pittsburgh is good enough to beat this Patriots team if given another opportunity.
More cheers go to the defense getting pressure on Brady, the continued emergence of JuJu as a solid wide receiver, and Bud Dupree finally showing up.
With the loss, Pittsburgh missed their opportunity for a first-round bye and almost certain home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
Throughout the game, there was a series of missed opportunities as well. Whether that be not controlling the ball to salt the game away, or the debacle that was the final 30 seconds that resulted in the crushing interception.
They couldn’t get it done, and now they will most likely have to go through Foxboro to make it to the Super Bowl.
This loss could mean more than losing home-field advantage.
It’s not out of the realm of possibility that Pittsburgh could have just played their way out of a first-round bye.
If they drop either of their final two games, they will most likely be playing on the first weekend of the playoffs.
Jacksonville is still nipping at their heels, and they own the tiebreaker with the win in that horrible game back at the beginning of the season.
Luckily for Pittsburgh, the last two games against Houston and Cleveland shouldn’t pose too much of a problem.
Let’s all just hope we don’t get one of those let-down games along the way.
Ever since Houston lost Deshaun Watson a few weeks ago, they have been one of the worst teams in the league.
I would expect the Steelers to have a sense of urgency in this game and get out to an early lead on a downtrodden Houston defense.