Inside Conditions…Gloating of the Goats

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AUBREY BRUCE

Last Sunday the beleaguered Pittsburgh Steelers visited the New York Jets. The “men of steel” won the “skirmish” 19-6.   The Steelers were only playing for survival and the New York Jets were playing without their starting QB, Mark “the human dartboard” Sanchez. The “missiles from metropolis” replaced the underachieving Sanchez at least for the moment and according to most New Yorkers with an overachieving QB from “West Virginny” University Geno Smith.

Sanchez just happens to be sidelined with a shoulder injury. In early September an article penned by Rich Cimini of espn.com Cimini pointed out the NY Jets response to the injury of Mark Sanchez. “Even though general manager John Idzik didn’t rule out the possibility of Sanchez becoming the starter again, the organization has moved away from the onetime face of the franchise. He won’t go on injured reserve, Idzik said, and he won’t be released, according to Johnson, who doesn’t want to eat the guaranteed $8.25 million salary. But, according to sources, the Jets’ preference is to keep him on the bench.”

This action really gained some steam during the first four games of the season but  because of the “clipping” that the NY Jets administered to the wings of the lovable, last minute losers the Atlanta Falcons last Monday under the bright lights of MNF.

A miniature “QB controversy” was brewing in the “sports speak caldrons” of Gotham city; well at least until Geno Smith and the Jets ran into the Dick LeBeau “buzzsaw defense” and lo and behold reality has set in. Former Pittsburgh Steelers O-lineman, native New Yorker Willie Colon had this to say about his current QB. “It’s tough. You have to deal with it. We have to stay behind Geno. We’re a unit. It’s not about one guy messing up.”  It appeared to most NFL aficionados’ that the Steelers defense “mentored” Smith on Sunday.

This was safety Ryan Clarke’s reflection on competing against the rookie. “I think Geno is going to be a guy who’s going to win a lot of games for the New York Jets. I’m excited for him and the organization.”

Rich Cimini of espn.com had this to say after the Ryan Clarke assessment of the young rookie, “typical Steelers: Confuse the kid, then compliment him. They have the routine down pat.”

Clarke failed to mention that over the years that any Dick LeBeau led defense sports a 16-2 won-loss record when facing rookie quarterbacks.  As far as the first victory of the season is concerned “Big” Ben Roethlisberger had this to say; “Oh, it’s big.” Brett Keisel the longtime Steelers defensive end said; “We’re not going to quit. Obviously, it wasn’t the start we wanted, but the men in this locker room believe there’s a chance that something great could come out of this if we all work toward it.”

Did you notice that Ben Roethlisberger had no picks or fumbles? Is it just coincidence  that when your team, specifically your quarterback does not turn the ball over the chances of your team winning increase significantly? When your defense is not on the field all day it is a known fact that they can function far better when they can catch their breath.

Hey you don’t believe me? Hey, the Steelers won the time of possession game 35:49 to 24:11 that is 11 minutes and 39 seconds more than their NY counterparts and the fact that your defensive teammates can be sitting on the sideline drinking mint juleps as long as your primary ball handler does not “give” the opposition “unearned” opportunities to score points while your squad has a flying chance of raising the “Jolly Roger.”

Case in point Ben Roethlisberger committed two turnovers and the Steelers lost to the Tennessee Titans on opening day by the score of 16-9.  The black and gold lost the second game of the season in Cincy to their inner division rival the Bengals by the score of 20-10; again a fumble and interception were two of prime factors in the loss. The Steelers losing ways continued in game three with a loss to “da” Chicago Bears with the help of three fumbles and two picks. 

I say old chap was the theme for the day as the “men of steel” traveled across the pond for their fourth contest to give the UK a taste of NFL football 2013 style but instead the Steelers got a taste of Minnesota Vikings, Adrian Peterson style, losing a back breaker, 34-27. Pittsburgh had 13 more first downs than the “Vikes” but again a fumble and a interception roasted the “goat.” How Pittsburgh managed to float back across the Atlantic sporting a 0-4 record puzzled me. 

There is a time tested formula that the Pittsburgh Steelers implemented over four decades ago that continues to be effective if the team sticks with it. Put an above average defense on the field. 

Ask your offense not to commit any silly or unnecessary turnovers and presto; the magic of winning can be pulled from a hat.

 

 

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