The Pittsburgh Steelers pulled off the upset in Buffalo—baffling the so-called “experts” who consistently expected the Steelers to be defeated. In a first half highlighted by a Bills 75-yard kick return, a stagnant Steelers offense, and a 2-minute drill led by Buffalo’s Josh Allen, it certainly looked like the experts would be right. However, Ben Roethlisberger and the defense erased a 10-point deficit; clawing and ripping their way into a 3-point lead. Then a special teams splash play put the Steelers in relative firm control. The offense and defense did what they needed to do to seal the deal. The Steelers came away with a 23-16 win.
It was quite an exciting time as Steeler Nation celebrated their 1-0 start. Up next, the Steelers host their long time conference foe in the Raiders—this time they hail from the sin city (Las Vegas, kiddos). The rivalry dates back all the way to the 1970s. The spark of it all came on December 23rd, 1972 when Franco Harris reeled the controversial game-winning reception. Or maybe you know it best as the “Immaculate Reception.”
Last week, we had 5 yay or nays for Week 1 in Buffalo. We managed to hit the nail on the head 4 out of 5 times last week (Yes, I can confidently say the Steelers out drank Buffalo’s wing consumption)! This week, I will look at a few things related to the game, series, players, and even fans. I will begin with a statement, observation, or question, discuss, and ultimately tell you… yay or nay. Nothing is off-limits.
Without further delay…
Ben Roethlisberger hits the 400 career touchdown passes mark
Coming into the season, Big Ben needed 4 touchdowns to reach the 400 touchdown pass milestone. Even if today’s game has “inflated” statistics due to the pass-happy league, this is a milestone that few have reached. It further proves that Ben Roethlisberger is among the least-appreciated quarterbacks when we think about the game’s greats. Some of that is due in part to the era he played in—constantly compared to Peyton Manning, Philip Rivers, Aaron Rodgers, and of course… Tom Brady.
He had one touchdown pass last week and faces a Raiders defense that, though hobbled, played well last week against the Baltimore Ravens. The new offensive line had its struggles in the first half, but seemed to have settled down and improved in the second half. While it is a good indication the offensive line could build on its improved second half, I wouldn’t expect a light show from the offense.
NAY—I expect a couple of touchdown passes, I don’t think he’ll hit the big 3 on Sunday, however.
We’ll hear about how Mike Tomlin coached under Jon Gruden at least 3 times during the broadcast
Last week, they only mentioned Sean McDermott and Mike Tomlin’s ties once after I predicted they’d mentioned 2 or fewer times during the broadcast. Coach Tomlin now faces one of his former head coaches in Jon Gruden. In case you’re out of the loop, Mike Tomlin coached under Jon Gruden for 4 years in Tampa Bay and even won a Super Bowl with him. Even in his press conference, Tomlin mentioned the impact and influence Gruden had on his philosophical approaches to aspects in the game. Tomlin has only faced Gruden once—in a cringe loss in 2018 in Oakland. He will certainly be looking to even the score this week. The question now is… will we hear about their connection at least 3 times during the broadcast?
YAY—I am expecting it in both a scripted segment and a few other mentions of it.
We’ll see a die-hard Raiders fan decked out in the whole armor deal…
Yeah, some Raiders fans really go all out and don the full Raider armor. I’m talking spiked shoulder plates, cloak, face paint, breastplate… it’s legit. And this isn’t a knock on the Raider fans. It’s a unique combination that isn’t typically replicated detail for detail.
They are oftentimes great photo-worthy shots and show the great spirit of fandom in football. Will we see it in the broadcast??
YAY—It will be simply too good to ignore for the CBS camera crew!
The defense shuts down Derek Carr’s air attack
And before you consider this an automatic YAY… let’s think about this… Derek Carr in his two career starts against Pittsburgh put up 623 yards passing, 6 touchdowns, and only 2 turnovers; good enough for an even 1-1 record. He has given the Steelers fits both in Oakland and at Heinz Field. He was brilliant against a tough defense in Baltimore after a slow start. Some are now debating if he is becoming a top 10 QB in the league.
On the flip side, he did make the comment “the ball touched the ground” this week when discussing the Steelers-Raiders rivalry. Will his offensive line be able to withstand the Steelers pass rush?
YAY—the Steelers defense has a strong pass rush and has a full cabinet of talent in the secondary. It won’t be a complete shutdown, but this defense has the makings of something special.
The Raiders will let go of the Immaculate Reception
Speaking of Carr’s hint, it’s been nearly 5 decades. The Steelers have won 6 Super Bowls since then and the Raiders, 3. Surely, everyone can move past this “controversy” and acknowledge that Jack Tatum caused the ricocheted ball, Franco Harris caught it cleanly, and the Steelers got the win fairly… HA!
NAY—they’ll never let it go even though everything I said is true. 😉
What say, Yinz?