The 19th Annual Steelers March to the Super Bowl Thread

Last year ended in ignominious fashion. The formerly hapless Cleveland Browns utterly destroyed my beloved Steelers in the playoffs after an 11-0 start to the season. As we learned, running backs do in fact have value, as does an offensive line. While Ben Roethlisberger had himself a decent season, by week 11 everybody realized that all they had to do was drop in coverage because there was zero threat from the running game.

Well, the offensive line is all new and the Steelers drafted Najee Harris, so they at least attempted to address the situation. It’s difficult to draw any conclusions from preseason, but Harris looks to be everything they hoped for and the line is serviceable at worst, so they perhaps turned that corner. They also got a good tight end and the receiving corps is top-5 in the league. A lot depends on the play calling from Matt Canada, the new offensive coordinator. Lots of uncertainty, but it looks promising.

Things are more solid defensively. They lost Bud Dupree, Mike Hilton, and Steven Nelson, but TJ Watt got a huge new contract and the pass rush is everything it was last year when it was the best in the league. The secondary is a bit more suspect but Minkah Fitzpatrick and Joe Haden are still high-level players.

The bottom line is that this year could go either way. Pittsburgh has the toughest schedule in the league and the division is stupid tough.

Speaking of the division, the Browns are legitimate contenders assuming Baker Mayfield doesn’t Browns it up. He didn’t get a fat new contract so that’s sitting in the back of his mind, but all he really has to do is hand the ball off to Chubb and protect it the rest of the time. The Ratbirds looked super tough, then they lost 5 players in 19 days including their best cornerback and starting backfield. However, the got Le’Veon Bell, Devonta Freeman, AND Latavius Murray, three blue chip running backs only three seasons ago, as replacements. Time will tell if they have anything left, because the Rats are a running team as well. As for the Bengals, they still can’t protect Joe Burrow but at least he has weapons. They’re not ready for prime time yet but they’re getting there.

And with that, I still think the Steelers have a shot at the division, and they will have a winning record and make the playoffs. More than that with this schedule is too much to ask.

My prediction for week one: Pittsburgh holds tough with Buffalo and wins by a field goal, 31-28. As always, could be wrong, and I wouldn’t bet that forecast, but hope springs eternal and surely you didn’t expect a loss prediction, did you?

As for the NFC, the Packers will make the Super Bowl. As long as it’s not fucking Brady I don’t care. Speaking of which, Dallas looked really good and Brady needed the typical bullshit Brady call to bail him out on Thursday. Am I the only one that’s sick of seeing that? Anyway, NFC, do us all a favor and stomp Tampa out this year.

Enjoy the season, everyone.

I think I have a man crush on Pressley Harvin the Third. Sure, he has a fantastic name (I really, really want him to have a posh, British accent), but I think it’s seeing a 5’11" punter who weighs 263 pounds that makes me smile.

I was right about the holding tough part, but 54 yards of offense ain’t gonna get it done, Pittsburgh. I know the Bills are tough, but it doesn’t get too much easier the rest of the year, either.

God I hate the DPI enforcement now, it’s a fucking joke. Now, WRs apparently have to be allowed to move through the space where the defensive player is to make a catch. Fucking ridiculous.

Just fucking heave the ball downfield every play and take the DPI.

He never turned his head. All he had to do was look back and it’s legit. The reason they don’t look back is because they’re torched, and that will draw a flag every time.

As for the game… man, the Steelers’ defense is beast. And the demise of the offense has been greatly exaggerated. It took a while to warm up and they should have gone for it on 4th and 1 in the third quarter, but they did their job and that catch from Diontae Johnson in the corner of the endzone was outstanding.

They need to play better, but this was week 1. And they’re 1-0 walking out of Buffalo so it’s not a bad start at all.

especially since buffalo was the “most improved team” via the draft trading and free agency this year on paper …

There is no way the DB was “torched” on that play. And the “draw a flag every time” is kinda why I was bitching. It’s a stupid rule if it forces the DB to “turn his head” when he’s in excellent position with his entire body between the WR and the ball making the catch impossible and he’s barely touching the WR. It gives any pass catcher the right to go through a defender no matter what. It’s a stupid rule, it’s unfair to defenses that are already working at a massive disadvantage, and it’s led to the ridiculous increase in passing offenses and wasted time during games.

Anywho, great defensive game by the Steelers. Why didn’t they resign Villanueva?

I was very impressed with the way the Steeler defense stifled the Bills offense. That Buffalo team is a good one.

Villanueva was a turnstile last year, and wanted to test free agency. Pittsburgh let him.

“Over the past three years, Villanueva ranks 12th among left tackles in pass-blocking grade and has routinely done his job in the ground game, producing a negatively graded run-block rate that sits in the 82nd percentile at the position.”

“Villanueva has played left tackle his entire career, so it will be an adjustment moving to the right side. He’s been the model of consistency at the position, grading between 74.0 and 81.2 in each of his past five years while never grading below 77.0 as a pass blocker during that time.”

" There’s immense value in solid, mid-tier offensive linemen, and that’s exactly what Villanueva has been throughout his career. He’s graded between 74.0 and 82.0 in each of his last five seasons; he ranks in the 54th percentile in PFF pass-blocking grade and the 46th percentile in pass-blocking grade on true pass sets during that time.

There’s a similar level of dependability to Villanueva’s game as a run-blocker. He ranks in the 74th percentile at avoiding negatively graded plays but just the 23rd percentile in positively graded plays. NFL teams must avoid having disastrous options at offensive tackle, and Villanueva’s profile makes him a valuable asset."

All quotes from PFF.

Then what did you ask me for? Last season his performance was, to my eyes, worse than it was in years previous, and I watch every game.

Furthermore, the Steelers finished dead last in rushing last year, which is as much the responsibility of the offensive line as it is the back that gets mauled by 4 guys coming to kill him when the offensive line can’t stop them.

It’s not like I dislike the guy, though I might now that he’s a damn Ratbird. He simply didn’t get the job done, and the people who decide such matters let him walk, which says everything you need to know.

Because I didnt understand why the Steelers didnt re-sign him. I thought he was fine, the Ravens are paying him only a bit more than he made with the Steelers in 2020, and the Steelers had next to nothing to replace him with. It didnt make sense. Since I’m not deeply into the guy (although I love his ex-military story) and I have no insight into the Steelers’ way of doing business, I asked. I didn’t know if he was a Brown/Bell issue, a salary cap casualty who was still good, or if the Steelers just thought he stank.