The first quarter of the Steelers/Browns game on Sunday, Oct. 28, seemed as if it was one of the scenes from the “Bad News Bears” that ended on the cutting room floor but somehow ended up on the screen anyway. The Steelers’ so-called “high octane” offense performed as if someone had put sugar in their gas tank. The Steelers sputtered and sputtered along and Steelers Nation had to be on edge as well as the team itself, because from the beginning the Cleveland Browns appeared as if they came to play. The final score was a Steelers 33-18 victory with a “garbage” touchdown added by the Browns when the outcome had already been decided.
The first quarter for the Steelers offense has been atrocious. But the Browns couldn’t take advantage, with two long drives in the quarter but only six points to show. The Steelers did not gain a first down in the quarter. By the second quarter, though, the offense and defense found its rhythm and that spelled doomsday for the Browns, but it wasn’t the “Mistake by the Lake’s” only casualty. As you know by now, the Browns fired both head coach Hue Jackson and offensive coordinator Todd Haley the next day. Jackson’s record in a little more than two seasons was 3-36-1.
Hmm, the way that many of the pundits pine for the firing of Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin, one can only imagine if Tomlin had a 3-36-1 record. Tomlin would have probably been “extricated” shortly after his first losing season. In spite of his success some folks are even currently pushing for his removal based on “covert” reasons such as a “lack of discipline,” incompetent coaching decisions and inheriting and winning with players left over from the tenure of the Bill Cowher era. Why do the haters fail to point out how many games Bill Cowher won with players left over from the Chuck Noll era?
The doubters forgot to point out that in the previous 11 seasons since Tomlin took over as coach he has been to the Super Bowl twice, winning one, and the Steelers have only missed the playoffs three times. Also, since he has been the Steelers coach Pittsburgh has never finished a season with a sub-.500 record. It is not Mike Tomlin’s fault that the Steelers’ division, the AFC North, is one of the most “bipolar” divisions in the NFL. The current won-loss record of the Steelers is 4-2-1. Before last Sunday’s loss to the Steelers, the Browns beat the Baltimore Ravens in Cleveland by the score of 12-9. The Steelers tied the Browns, 21-21. The Steelers lost to the Ravens at Heinz Field by the score of 26-14. The Bengals beat the Buccaneers in Cincy, 37-34, while the Steelers beat the Bucs in Tampa, 30-27, and beat the Bengals in Cincy, 28-21.
Bipolar? Yes sir.
I could go on but I am sure that you get my drift that the wheels of the bus go round and round and so goes the carousel known as the AFC North. “Swami” Aubrey predicts over the next nine games that the best possible won-loss record will be 6-3 and Pittsburgh will finish the 2018 season at 10-5-1, that should net Pittsburgh a division title or an AFC wild card berth in the postseason. Here’s my picks—a win at Baltimore, a loss at home against Carolina. A win at Jacksonville and a win at Denver. A win at home against the LA Chargers. A win at the Oakland Raiders and a loss at Heinz Field against the Patriots. A loss at New Orleans and a win at Heinz Field against the Bengals.
Who can? The “Swami” can.
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