On Sept. 30, when the Steelers lost, 26-14, to the Baltimore Ravens at Heinz Field, there were many funeral marches played. There were varied components that were credited with being the origin of the Steelers’ early season losing streak, from the “phantom-like” lax disciplinary methods utilized by Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin, to the disappearance of Pittsburgh running back Le’Veon Bell, to Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and wide receiver Antonio Brown not operating on compatible “Wi-Fi” frequencies.
Losing allegedly caused the Steelers to begin to sorta, kinda start looking for love in all the wrong places, not realizing that if they found it, it would be worthless anyway. It’s funny how winning eliminates the need to draw and quarter, coaches, players and to create scapegoats to unjustly accuse and vilify. It appears that victory helps those looking for persons on whom they can vent their anger instead of using real goats to throw on the grill and barbecue for some great tailgating and some fantastic eating. Genuine goat meat certainly does far more for the taste buds than eating crow and it is far better optics than dried feathers around the corners of a few mouths: No one is whining about how Mike Tomlin has lost the team or his lack of discipline now.
A few years back when former Steelers backup QB Landry Jones was pressed into duty after Roethlisberger was injured in the second half of a playoff game in Cincinnati against the Bengals, Jones appeared as if he were the “son of Bambi,” staring into a set of floodlights. From the outset, Jones was so ineffective that “Big” Ben was forced to re-enter the game in spite of his injury in order to at least give the Steelers a chance at victory.
Fast forward. During the 23-16 Steelers victory at M&T Bank stadium in Baltimore, Nov. 4, Roethlisberger was temporarily knocked out of the game. No one knew his status but the situation facing his backup QB, second-year signal caller Joshua Dobbs, was in a word, daunting. It was second down and 20, with the Steelers perilously with their backs against the wall. Now they were faced with an ice-cold quarterback with the Ravens “vulture” squad fantasizing about the taste of this new wonderful prey. Instead of handing the ball off, Mr. Dobbs zipped a 22-yard completion from the Steelers 5-yard line to the 27-yard line to JuJu (I can be myself on Halloween) Smith-Schuster and a first down. “Big Ben” returned on the next play and on the play after that Roethlisberger tossed a 51-yard completion to Steelers tight end Jesse James who for a second looked at the incoming football not entirely sure if it was friendly fire or not before finally hauling it in.
Tomlin had this to say about that one play. “Josh (Dobbs) is uniquely mature as an individual not as a football player. He’s ‘Steady Eddie.’ That is a personality trait. We have a great deal of confidence in him. You know, that guy was challenged in a big way to earn the job he has, the role that he has for us. He has never blinked at any point in the process even when it was seemingly stacked against him. He confirmed it with his play.”
I know one other thing that Joshua Dobbs confirmed. He made it clear that he has no intention of getting “clipboard elbow” backing up any quarterback and if he is given the opportunity is going to try to make certain that on his watch, the Pittsburgh Steelers offense will not miss a beat.
I think we may have gotten a just a small sample of his talent.
Sometimes competition can facilitate healing…you dig.
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