Pittsburgh/Buffalo Upset Part-Time Steelers Fans With Week 17 Wins
No matter how many times I see it..it still amazes me how many fairweather fans exist in Steelers Nation, giving up on our team as if they were Cowboys fans. But the majority of us never give in or give up..because it isn’t over until it’s over.
The Pittsburgh Steelers handled their business on Sunday afternoon, going into First Energy Stadium and defeating the Cleveland Browns 28-12. And the Buffalo Bills did exactly what I said they would do, coming out with a 22-17 win over the New York Jets..solidifying Pittsburgh’s playoff spot. An ugly road traveled but reaching their destination nonetheless.
Quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger after a shaky start and two interceptions ended the afternoon 24 of 36 for 349 and 3 touchdowns, while Pittsburgh’s defense dominated holding the Browns to 4 field goals..allowing the Steelers to slip into the 6th seeded position in AFC. With big thanks due to Bills coach Rex Ryan and company of course.
Roethlisberger’s main target was wide receiver Antonio Brown, hitting him 13 times for 187 yards and a touchdown. Markus Wheaton and tight end Heath Miller also added a TD a piece, while Darrius Heyward-Bey had 2 receptions for 74 yards..66 of which coming from a Big Ben cannon in the 3rd quarter.
Although the passing game was on point, the rushing game was basically non-existent. Running back DeAngelo Williams who left the game early in the 2nd quarter with a high ankle sprain had only 8 yards on 5 rushing attempts, averaging 1.6 yards a carry. Back up RB Fitzgerald Toussaint did not bode much better with his 12 carries for a mere 24 yards, but did add 2 points on a conversion pass from Roethlisberger.
Cleveland ended another losing season. Owner Jimmy Haslam, who vowed in August that he wouldn’t “blow things up” did just that, ousting Pettine and Farmer after two disappointing seasons. Pettine went 10-22 during his two-year stint with Cleveland, losing 18 of his final 21 games.
Pettine wasn’t surprised by reports he was on his way out.
“I’m not into pleading,” he said. “That to me is the resume: how hard the guys play, the effort that goes in, how hard we practice, what we do in meeting time, walkthrough, out on the practice field, how that carries over to the game field. I feel like we’ve done a lot of good things, but I’m the first one to tell you this is a pass/fail league, and the results aren’t there.”
In the closing minutes of the game, Roethlisberger heard the roar from Steelers fans in the crowd. Not only because Pittsburgh was about to walk away with the win, but also because the Bills had just Defeated the Jets.
“I assumed there was a fight or a Steelers fan was beating up a Browns fan,” Roethlisberger said with a laugh. “When I saw the towels getting out I kind of assumed what was going on. A lot of thanks to coach Ryan and the rest of the Bills and everybody in Buffalo. I know they’re excited about 8-8 and we’re excited they got us in.”
An incredible yet bumpy road traveled, because Pittsburgh overcame suspensions, injuries and a shocking loss last week in Baltimore. Most “so-called experts” and fans alike counted the Steelers out of the playoff race. Coach Mike Tomlin touched on that issue in simple quote.
“It’s been a tough, 16-week fight for us, but we’re where we want to be,” coach Tomlin said. “We’re where we need to be.”
With Cleveland down just 17-12 in the fourth quarter, Pittsburgh’s defense came up with the game’s biggest play as linebacker Lawrence Timmons dropped Davis, who fumbled inside the 10-yard line. Linebacker Arthur Moats recovered, and on the next play, Roethlisberger completed an 8-yard TD pass to Markus Wheaton.
All that was left was for the Bills to help out.
And when Buffalo completed its win over the Jets, the Steelers were back in the postseason. They hugged and high-fived on the sideline and thousands of Pittsburgh fans celebrated as the black-and-gold earned the right to play for the NFL championship in the Super Bowl’s golden anniversary season.
”It’s so gratifying,” said Brown, who finished the season with 136 catches for 1,834 yards. ”Sitting here as a Pittsburgh Steeler, that’s the expectation to make the playoffs and hoist the Lombardi Trophy. We continue to stay together no matter what people say.”
Exactly! #HereWeGo #Steelers #PlayoffBound #StairwayToSeven