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Pittsburgh Steelers have been well represented throughout the NFL’s Top 100 plays list

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 09/14/2019 - 4:06pm

The NFL Network is listing their Top 100 plays, and the Steelers have been well represented so far on the list.

The NFL Network is currently doing a Top 100 plays in NFL history to coincide with the commeration of the NFL’s 100th season.

This list has been going from 100 to 1, and the Pittsburgh Steelers have been well represented throughout the list to date. There are plenty of plays from the dynasty of the 1970s, but more modern day Steelers have made their mark on the list too.

If you haven’t had a chance to check out the show, or you don’t want to sift through all the other plays and just want to see the Steelers plays, you can check out the videos are below. Some are longer than others, but every single play is worth watching.

In fact, some of these plays bring up some tremendous memories as a fan, and some were nightmares which eventually turned out okay for the black-and-gold...I think you know what play I’m talking about.

Check these out:

'That is just pure awesomeness. That true grit of what Pittsburgh is.' - @bretmichaels

Super Troy, indeed. #NFL100

NFL 100 Greatest airs Fridays at 8pm ET on @nflnetwork. pic.twitter.com/TByB8Kq47Z

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) September 13, 2019

One of our personal favorites comes in at #80 on the @NFL 100 Greatest Plays. #NFL100 pic.twitter.com/WdDLstGH8N

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) September 14, 2019

Coming in at 5️⃣7️⃣ in the @NFL 100 Greatest Plays is @_BigBen7's game-saving tackle in the 2005 AFC Divisional Playoff game vs. the Colts.#NFL100 | @nflnetwork pic.twitter.com/5qcWSzH7zT

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) September 14, 2019

Terry Bradshaw ➡️ John Stallworth in #SBXIV checks in at #45 on the #NFL100 Greatest Plays.

: @nflnetwork pic.twitter.com/ELzryngVoV

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) September 14, 2019

How the Seahawks will try to stop the Steelers offense in Week 2

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 09/14/2019 - 12:16pm
Photo by Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images

Taking a look at how the Seattle defense will try to put the clamps on the Steelers’ offense.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are gearing up for the Seattle Seahawks in Week 2 of the 2019 regular season. After Week 1 the Steelers are limping back home after being smacked around by the Patriots in New England; however, the Seahawks were able to squeak out a home victory vs. the Cincinnati Bengals in front of the ‘12th Man’.

Since this is a unique matchup for the Steelers, hosting an NFC West team, there is a lot fans don’t know about these type of teams. And that is okay, but what I wanted to do was to get a lowdown on what the Seahawks might have in store for the Steelers by talking with Field Gulls, SB Nation’s Seahawks website, editor Kenneth Arthur to pick his brain on the upcoming matchup.

In this second of many installments, I asked Arthur what he thinks the Seahawks will do when they have they are on defense and trying to stop the Steelers’ offense. Check out his response:

When the Steelers have the ball, you can expect the Seahawks to heavily utilize their 2019 linebacking corps to their advantage. Since the Legion of Boom officially lost its last member in Week 4 of last season when Earl Thomas broke his leg, the team has had to re-focus its defense on its new strength: the front 7.

In Week 1, we saw Seattle use three linebackers on over 90% of their defensive snaps and when the third linebacker was Bruce Irvin or Malcolm Smith or Barkevious Mingo it was nowhere near that figure. It was more like 30% with a nickel corner out their 70% of the time.

Instead, Seattle struggled to replace Thomas, Kam Chancellor, and Richard Sherman so they turned to Mychal Kendricks. They turned to K.J. Wright. And just before this season, they traded for Jadeveon Clowney. Last week it was Quinton Jefferson getting the start at defensive end opposite of Clowney and he had two sacks, two batted passes in the game of his life. This week, Ezekiel Ansah makes his Seahawks debut.

Where the Seahawks are expected to be hurting in their front-seven is defensive tackle though, as Poona Ford is hurt and likely out, while Jarran Reed serves a six game suspension. That could have Jefferson and Clowney playing some inside. This is a long-winded answer to say that I expect them to blitz Big Ben, they led the NFL in blitzes in Week 1, use their linebackers to pressure him, and they’ll try to close off any hope for James Conner and the run game early.

With a weaker secondary (Bradley McDougald and Shaquill Griffin could be the strengths at the moment, with Tre Flowers being inconsistent and Lano Hill potentially making his first start after Tedric Thompson got injured) the Steelers might find success going to JuJu Smith-Schuster over and over again. This one could have a lot of passing yards, though Seattle’s offense will still try and filter through the run game.

As with most games, this game will likely come down to the offensive line. Can the Steelers keep Clowney and company away from Roethlisberger? If they can, as Arthur depicts above, they should be able to find space in the passing game. However, if the Seahawks are getting to Roethlisberger, they will have to lean on James Conner and the running game, which isn’t a certainty at this juncture of the season.

Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below, and be sure to keep tabs on BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the Seahawks in Week 2.

The Steelers need to show out and impress against the Seahawks this Sunday

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 09/14/2019 - 11:06am
Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

The Steelers got off to the rockiest of starts in Week 1, with a 33-3 road loss at the hands of the Patriots. Back at home for the first regular season game in 2019, Pittsburgh will be facing another playoff team from 2018 in the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday. This is a great opportunity to show everyone that the Steelers are, indeed, true contenders.

Did the Steelers stink or what in their 2019 regular season debut against the Patriots last Sunday night at Gillette Stadium?

In a vacuum, 30 point losses don’t mean a whole heck of a lot in the NFL. In Week 3 of the 2016 season, for example, the Steelers were blown out in Philadelphia, 34-3, before turning around seven days later and blitzing the Chiefs, 43-14, on Sunday Night Football. Were those results an accurate barometer of how each team’s season would go?

Not really.

The Eagles went on to miss the playoffs with a 7-9 record, while the Chiefs and Steelers managed to keep it together long enough for a rematch in the divisional round of the playoffs, months later, with the latter advancing to the AFC title game.

No, in and of itself, getting your doors blown off at Gillette Stadium is nothing to be a shamed of (even if it is a fate suffered by your Pittsburgh Steelers every single time they travel there).

What is alarming, however, is the Steelers overall quality of play, dating back to last November. In fact, the last time Pittsburgh even resembled a postseason contender was during a Thursday night affair against the Panthers at Heinz Field.

The Steelers prevailed that night, 52-21, and looked about as dominant as they had in a few years.

Then, the mediocrity kicked in, as Pittsburgh squeaked by a blah Jaguars team the following week before losing four of its final six games en route to missing the postseason for the first time since 2014.

Thankfully, like those Panthers, the Seahawk is a creature whose natural habitat is the National Football Conference.

Fortunately for the Steelers, they seem to enjoy feasting on NFC opponents at home, and with the Seahawks coming to town this Sunday afternoon for a 1 p.m. affair, what better time to get right?

Pittsburgh has a 7-3 home record against NFC foes, dating back to the 2014 season, with the last loss occurring on November 13, 2016, vs. the Dallas Cowboys.

With a 27-6-1 record going all the way back to the venue’s first season in 2001, the Steelers obviously do a great job against NFC teams at Heinz Field.

This is rather cliched to say, but Seattle is a West Coast team traveling to the East Coast for a 1 p.m. kickoff. Traditionally, this match-up is one that should favor the home team—all things being equal, of course.

Are all things equal, right now? Are the Steelers on the same level as a Seattle team that made the playoffs in 2018? Pittsburgh not only didn’t make the postseason in 2018, its record over the last seven games against those that did is 2-5.

At some point, that trend has to cease, same for the mediocre play on display since late in the 2018 campaign, if we are to believe the Steelers are serious contenders.

The Steelers have a great opportunity this Sunday to make a statement against a really good and well-coached football team that comes complete with one of those franchise quarterbacks in Russell Wilson.

If they do, maybe the fans that have been on the fence since their late-2018 slide began will start to believe in their ability to contend.

More importantly, maybe the Steelers players will start to believe in themselves and what they are capable of in 2019.

Steelers 2020 NFL Draft Analysis: College game day and prospect watch

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 09/14/2019 - 10:45am
Photo by Randy Litzinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Another week of college football means another chance to get a glimpse of some prospects the Steelers might have their eyes on.

One last time...

The Pitt Panthers and the Penn State Nittany Lions are set to square off for the 100th meeting, and at the moment, one last time. The series has Penn State with a 52-43-4 advantage and winning the last 9 out the last 11 games.

Two things which stand out to me. One, the iconic Penn State uniforms, I love them. Two, the players that have played for these two schools, some of the greatest of all time to play at the next level and some currently playing are headed in that direction.

Some famous Pitt alumni:

Mike Ditka, Tony Dorset, Dan Marino, Larry Fitzgerald and Aaron Donald

Some famous Penn State alumni:

Franco Harris, Jack Ham, Mike Munchak and Saquon Barkley

Now let’s get to the game...

Pittsburgh at Penn State Noon ABC

Prospects to Watch

Yetur Gross- Matos, Edge, No. 99 Penn State

In 2018, Gross-Matos made a living in the oppositions backfield registering 8 sacks and 20.5 tackles for loss. Outstanding length and has a non stop motor. Combines a decent first step along with a great burst to finish off plays. More than likely a 4-3 DE but he has some reps standing up as a rusher. One of my favorite players in the draft but may not fit our scheme, we’ll see.

To be honest, this week’s college game day schedule is pretty horrendous. When Pitt vs. Penn State is the marquee game it speaks volumes about the entire docket of games.

Nonetheless, click HERE to see the full slate of games for Saturday:

Go Steelers!!!!

Predicting the Steelers’ Week 2 inactive list vs. the Seahawks

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 09/14/2019 - 9:17am
Photo by Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Which six players will join Roosevelt Nix on the inactive list Sunday?

With Week 1 of the NFL season under our belt, there were many things the Steelers told us about their team for 2019. While many focused on the on-field action, I’m taking their inactive list from last week assuming it gave a pretty decent snapshot of what the Steelers are planning to do each week. As usual, injuries always factor in heavily. But for this week, only one player is ruled out while two others are questionable.

Game Status

Out:
FB Roosevelt Nix (knee)

Questionable:
C Maurkice Pouncey (ankle)
CB Joe Haden (shoulder)

Here are the possibilities to end up inactive for Week 2:

Definitely:

FB Roosevelt Nix- he was already ruled out with a knee injury for Week 2 and possibly beyond.

Most Likely:

DT Isaiah Buggs- taking on the role filled by L.T. Walton in 2018, Buggs probably does not get a helmet anytime soon unless there is another defense of lineman out for the week

TE Zach Gentry- the Steelers showed last week they weren’t interested in Gentry getting a helmet or, for that matter, having the tight ends factor much in the game plan. While the tight ends will look to get more involved this week, I don’t see any reason for things to change activation-wise for Week 2.

OT Chukwuma Okorafor- It seems Chuks was just as surprised as I was at his being in active last Sunday. But if Banner won the swing tackle role, Okorafor is not getting a helmet unless there’s an injury at tackle.

Possibly:

C Maurkice Pouncey or G Fred Johnson- while I believe Pouncey will suit up for Sunday, if he does not then B.J. Finney will be the starting center. If so, Johnson will get the nod over Chuks because of the need for a reserve guard.

CB Joe Haden or Justin Layne- although I was tempted to say Lane does not get a helmet even if Haden is out, I don’t know the Steelers would go with only four corners in one game. So if Hayden doesn’t go, I guess Layne will.

OLB Olasunkanmi Adeniyi or Jayrone Elliott- only dressing three outside linebackers all of last season, there is very little chance the Steelers would dress five. While I project it will be Elliott who is out, it’s hard to say for sure with him being a new player since the Steelers’ last game.

Unlikely:

ILB Ulysees Gilbert III- dressing a fifth linebacker is a luxury, but the Steelers were able to do it last week. Once Nix returns, this is a position which could be in danger. But for this week Gilbert should be just fine since he led the team in special-teams snaps last week with 23.

WR Johnny Holton- while it’s uncharacteristic the Steelers dressed six wide receivers last Sunday, they did it at the expense of a tight end. I feel that Holton is the last guy available, especially since he only played 10 special team snaps in Week 1. If the Steelers ever decide to go with five, Holton would probably sit.

Projected Inactive List:
  1. Roosevelt Nix
  2. Isaiah Buggs
  3. Justin Layne
  4. Fred Johnson
  5. Chuks Okorafor
  6. Zach Gentry
  7. Jayrone Elliott

If not for the questionable status of Maurkice Pouncey and Joe Haden, I would feel extremely confident in this inactive list. The only difference from last week is Roosevelt Nix and Jayrone Elliott in place of Sean Davis and Joshua Dobbs. With Dobbs being traded to Jacksonville earlier this week, this will be the first Steelers’ inactive list in a very, very long time where there is not a quarterback.

The reason I went with Jayrone Elliott with the last spot was due to his recent addition to the 53-man roster. If he was one of the top 46 players on the Steelers, he would’ve been signed initially. Therefore he will probably be inactive unless there is an injury or a lack of production at the outside linebacker position.

As always, feel free to list your projected inactives in the comments below.

DK Metcalf is a problem the Steelers need to have an answer for

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 09/14/2019 - 8:02am
Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

The rookie WR was a major focal point of the Seahawks offense, and for good reason.

After facing Josh Gordon, Julian Edelman and the Patriots last week, the Steelers are going to get a similar match-up facing DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett and the Seahawks in Week 2.

DK Metcalf is at the bottom of the screen.

This is the deep threat he’s always been. He’s big, and fast enough to just take outside leverage and run up the field. It’s really hard to overthrow him. Here Russell Wilson under-throws him a bit, so he slows up while getting in-front of the DB and still makes the catch.

Here’s a better shot of the catch.

Look at his feet, the defenders left shoulder, DK just runs through the defender to get the ball, his strength and bulk allow him to bully the DB without laying hands on him.

That’s who we knew he was. The problem Metcalf had was he didn’t do anything else in college, and teams would camp on the deep ball knowing he wasn’t going to run other routes. That has changed.

DK Metcalf is at the bottom of the screen.

This is the slant that Calvin Johnson used to run all the time. It’s not a quick slant designed to get YAC, this slant is designed to create a window for the ball by blocking the DB with the WR’s frame. DK Metcalf doesn’t make 90 degree cuts, Calvin Johnson didn’t either, but you can’t sit on the go route against him if he’s running this route. That’s a 16-yard gain, and he’s not easy to bring down. Calvin Johnson earned the nickname Megatron by breaking a tackle on these routes and going for big yardage frequently.

He also showed he can make plays for his QB when things go wrong.

DK Metcalf is at the top of the screen.

The route ends, his QB is scrambling and Metcalf just starts running. Wilson’s lob puts DK in a bad spot but he comes down with the catch anyway, converting the third down.

The Steelers are going to need to put effort, and possibly multiple players into guarding Metcalf this week. Of course, Cincinnati did that and then this happened:

Metcalf starts the play lined up off-screen to the left, Tyler Lockett off-screen in the slot to the right.

Several things happen in this play. First, Wilson motions the TE, and the defense confirms that they are running a cover-3 zone. Second, the play action keeps the FS up a bit to start the play. As the run is revealed to be a fake Wilson goes from looking right to looking directly at Metcalf, the Safety who was starting to turn to follow Lockett let’s him go and focuses on DK Metcalf, who has been killing the Bengals all game. Lockett changes direction and catches the ball wide-open right where the FS needed to be.

Just look at Jessie Bates’ (#30, top middle partly on screen) feet. They manipulated him perfectly. You can see DK Metcalf raise his hand as soon as Russel Wilson throws that ball over his head, he knows they got it. They designed that play to take advantage of the attention the Bengals safeties were paying to Metcalf.

That’s the kind of play design you see Bill Belichick torch the Steelers with every year. If Kam Kelly or Sean Davis get caught up in play action and worrying about DK Metcalf, the Seahawks will take advantage.

The Seahawks ran a lot of their offense through DK Metcalf, how the Steelers defend him will be a big factor in the result of Week 2.

Podcast: It’s always sunny in Pittsburgh, I think

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 09/14/2019 - 7:23am

In a brand new show titled ‘Yeah, I said it’, we talk about some burning topics surrounding the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Pittsburgh Steelers fans have been known to put blinders on and only see the sunny side of things. In other words, It’s always sunny in Pittsburgh, I think...

This is where the newest BTSC podcast “Yeah, I Said It” comes in. My co-host on ‘The Standard is the Standard’, Lance Williams tells fans why it is always sunny in and around 412 area code and around the globe with Steelers Nation.

Time to deliver the goods on the latest show.

If you haven’t heard, we have a YouTube channel, and the main reason for this is to increase the sound quality on our shows. But if you’re a visual learner you can watch the show below. Be sure to subscribe to our channel!

Check out the audio below:

Feel free to give us your thoughts on the topic in the comment section below, and don’t forget to follow us on all our audio platforms by following the links below:

Apple Users: CLICK HERE
Spotify: CLICK HERE
Google Play: CLICK HERE

NFL Odds and Predictions: Picking all the Week 2 games against the spread

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 09/14/2019 - 6:30am
Photo: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

BTSC’s Jeff Hartman and Dave Schofield pick all remaining NFL games both against the spread and over/under point totals

The NFL season is underway! While many teams are excited with their 1-0 start, if the last few years are any indication nearly half of the NFL will be 1-1 after the second week. Most importantly, teams don’t want to be in that dreaded 0-2 category this early in the season.

Week 2 of the NFL season also helps to give perspective on what was witnessed in Week 1. Are the Ravens and Patriots that good, or are the Steelers and Dolphins that bad? Is Chicago’s offense unproductive, or is Green Bay’s defense the real deal? After Week 2, these things are much easier to bring into focus. Until then, predicting winners, spreads and the over/under can still be a bit of a shot in the dark.

For the 2019 NFL season, both Jeff Hartman and myself will be picking every game (except Thursdays) against the spread and the over/under point totals. Please remember we are not experts on betting or any kind of sports gamblers. We are just a couple of Steelers’ fans saying who we think will come through each week.

Last week, I took a slight lead in picking games against the spread with an 8-7 record with Jeff just slightly behind at 7-8. When it came to picking the over/under, Jeff fared much better going 9-6 as I only managed to pull off a record of 7-8.

So here are the picks for the 15 games this Sunday and Monday for Week 2 off the NFL season. Please feel free to list your choices in the comment section below and play along!

All selections are based off of the consensus data from oddsshark.com as of Friday night.

Hey Pittsburgh Steelers fans, Steelers writers have varying opinions

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 09/14/2019 - 5:28am
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

This may be hard to believe, but Behind the Steel Curtain has many different writers who have varying opinions about various subjects involving your Pittsburgh Steelers.

BTSC: “Preseason doesn’t matter.”

Also, BTSC: “‘Why preseason matters.’”

That is a comment I saw recently on social media, or whatever that had to do with some article posted by a Steelers writer on Behind the Steel Curtain. It was similar to many comments I’ve seen over the years from frustrated readers who can’t seem to grasp that different writers from the same publication could have different opinions about the same subject.

I didn’t think I’d have to point this out to anyone, but most publications do have many writers. Take the sports section of (insert whatever newspaper that you don’t hate and won’t lead to a 400-comment “discussion” that will have the BTSC manager angry with me here), for example. There are usually a few columnists and even beat writers who have varying opinions about something. One writer might hope that the doomed Trans American flight bound for Chicago is landed safely by Ted Striker, while another columnist might say: “They bought their tickets, they knew what they were getting into. I say, let ‘em crash.”

It’s hard to blame you for not thinking there are many unique individuals in the sports writing world. After all, in this day and age of fan-type sites and social media, there must be a gillion voices out in the atmosphere writing about the Steelers and other NFL teams on an endless basis. It’s easy to forget that there are actual human beings behind these articles. Heck, I just read seven BTSC articles, and I can’t remember who wrote any of them.

Besides, with everyone linking every article to social media these days, does anyone even www websites anymore? I suppose it’s easier to see a sports site as an author-less entity when links to articles just appear out of nowhere on your Facebook page or Twitter feed.

“Damn it, this BTSC must be on the fritz. Just the other day, it said it hated the idea of an 18-game regular season.”

But, no, it’s not on the fritz. While I may love the idea of the Steelers giving veteran cornerback Joe Haden $22 million to play through the 2021 season, fellow BTSC writer Flip Fisher may feel the team should have used that money to sign three Willie Gay-type corners, plus a backup tight end (in Flip’s defense, the Steelers tight end depth is abysmal in 2019).

Then, there are those frustrated fans who may or may not know that sites such as BTSC have different writers with different opinions, but they definitely DO NOT want any writer to talk about a specific topic, a topic, for example, that starts with A and ends with B.

I don’t know what the article was about that some site (not BTSC) posted on Facebook recently, but someone actually said: “If you talk about this one more time, I will unlike this page! This is your last warning!”

Oh, really? You mean, you will no longer read this content that you totally get for free? How will that site ever bounce back?

Again, I didn’t think I’d have to point this out to anyone, but BTSC, for example, has some writers who want to talk about the train wreck that is Antonio Brown, while others just want to focus on those X’s and O’s.

Take me. I’m supposedly a journalist (although, some think I’m just a clown—I’ve seen the memes). How could I not talk about Brown, arguably the greatest receiver in Steelers history, who had, perhaps, the messiest divorce? How is that not a relevant topic, even if he’s no longer in Pittsburgh?

But if I do write anything about Brown, I know I’ll have to read at least one comment that looks similar to this: “Hey, do we have to keep reading about people who are no longer with the Steelers?” And then I’ll write a defensive comment. And then that person will retort with something like, “Hey, Tony, you know I love your work, so please don’t take offense to my comment that seems to be totally offensive, but I’m just exhausted from hearing about Antonio Brown. I just want to focus on the players who are still here!”

Really? You’re exhausted from reading about something? That sounds like a medical issue that goes well beyond the game of football. If I were you, I’d call your healthcare provider.

Anyway, as someone usually points out whenever someone else says, “Do we have to keep talking about (insert whatever exhausting topic you hate right here)!?!” you’re not obligated to read an article about a topic you do not like, but you can’t do anything about it existing.

Fortunately for you, the way things are going with technology, there may be a time when you can say, “Siri, write an article about the Steelers special teams,” and you’ll have one to read and discuss within seconds. But that time isn’t here yet.

However, this may be your lucky day. The Brown story has been such a roller coaster (he's now a Patriot!), I feel like Austin Powers while trying to come to grips with the logistics of time travel in the movie, The Spy Who Shagged Me.

In other words, I’ve gone cross-eyed and don’t know where to start.

Finally, the Steelers began the 2019 season with a 33-3 butt-whippin’ at the hands of the World Champion Patriots at Gillette Stadium on Sunday Night Football; BTSC will publish many articles about that game and countless others over the course of the regular season.

And those articles will be written by many different folks. Some may like stuff. Some may like other stuff.

I suggest you don’t worry about this sort of thing, and just enjoy yourself.

Black and Gold Links: Steelers coordinators must be better in Week 2 to claim first victory

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 09/14/2019 - 4:28am
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Time to check on the latest news surrounding the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are moving into Week 2 of the NFL regular season, and as the team prepares for the Seattle Seahawks, we continue to provide you with features, commentary and opinions to tide you over until the season starts!

Today in the black-and-gold links article we take a look at how the Steelers’ offensive and defensive coordinators must do a better job in Week 2 if the team wants to claim their first win of 2019.

Let’s get to the news:

  • Randy Fichtner and Keith Butler both got their share of criticism after the Steelers’ 33-3 loss to the New England Patriots in Week 1. Needless to say, they need to be better in Week 2.

Steelers coordinators vent about Patriots loss, improvements needed for Seahawks

By: Tim Benz, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Defensive coordinator Keith Butler speaks first. He remains on edge after the loss in New England. You are going to hear four “dadgum” drops, a “crap,” and a “freakin’.”

Frankly, given that his defense yielded 33 points in Foxborough, I expected more.

He’s still fired up about players getting picked last week by the Patriots, poor communication by his own club and not biting on play-action.

Meanwhile, Randy Fichtner isn’t exactly sunny either following a paltry three-point effort from his unit against the Patriots.

Fichtner addresses some pretty specific woes, all of which I echo.

The team needs to target Vance McDonald more. His players need to win more one-on-one battles at every level of the field. And Fichtner needs to be more committed to the running game while also sending in smarter run plays.

Aside from all that, the Steelers were great on both sides of the ball last time out, weren’t they?

To read the full article click HERE (Free)

  • A potential matchup nightmare lurking in the Week 2 Seahawks vs. Steelers game.
Tim Benz: A potential matchup nightmare for Steelers vs. Seahawks

By: Tim Benz, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

During a conference call with Pittsburgh media members this week, Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll rattled off Metcalf’s attributes that went well beyond his impressive frame.

“A competitor. Toughness. He’s really bright,” Carroll gushed. “Football makes sense to him.”

It is the mental aspect of the position that seems to impress Carroll the most.

“There’s a lot of receivers who come out of (college) programs, and it’s hard for them to adapt quickly,” he continued. “It takes them a couple of years. But he’s been very adept at picking things up.”

Carroll says Metcalf’s aptitude has allowed the coaches to move him around the offense to exploit defensive matchups earlier than what some other raw rookies may be capable of doing.

Steelers cornerback Joe Haden sees the comparisons to Gordon (6-foot-3, 225 lbs) and expects Seattle to deploy Metcalf in a similar way to what New England did.

“He’s a big dude,” Steelers cornerback Joe Haden said. “A big target. Very fast. They’ll try to put him into good positions for him which are the slant and the fade route.”

To read the full article, click HERE (Free)

  • Fans better get ready to see some James Conner carrying the rock this Sunday, or at least Randy Fichtner hopes so.

Making sure they don’t ‘neglect’ the run

By: Teresa Varley, Steelers.com

Offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner admits while he ran the ball early, he did shy away from it after James Conner was stopped twice on third-and-one, once for no gain, and the second time for a four yard loss, which had the bigger impact.

“I think we ran it 10 times in the first half,” said Fichtner. “It probably wasn’t as efficient per run. I probably got a little bit down when we didn’t make the first third-and-one. I think we blocked it. I think we had more in it and we didn’t get it, and it probably drained on me for the next several calls that I made. But there was a point where maybe game circumstance lead to the way the second half played out.

“But we don’t want to neglect the run. We actually went into the game with a pretty extensive pony package where we would have both of our running backs in the game at the same time. It’s a unique balance in trying to keep certain guys fresh in certain packages, especially early in the season. And it just never seemed like it flowed enough that we every really truly got in any of them.”

To read the full article, click HERE (Free)

.@_TJWatt talks about being excited about getting back to @HeinzField, being on the same page as a team & more. pic.twitter.com/N9FPXJet05

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) September 13, 2019

.@umdsfinest21 & @joehaden23 discuss how they're improving from injuries, preparing for our matchup vs. the Seahawks and more. pic.twitter.com/3SRWIZpUSq

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) September 12, 2019

.@missi_matthews sits down with @RamonFoster to talk about Week 1, playing starters in the preseason, preparing for Week 2 & more. pic.twitter.com/qvoQJphQaZ

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) September 12, 2019
  • Social Media Madness

.@DVEMike brings you the key points from Coach Butler and Coach Fichtner's weekly press conferences on Steelers Live. pic.twitter.com/vwSVrtCSq4

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) September 12, 2019

.@francoharrishof is BACKKKKKK‼️

The Franco Harris statue has returned to the @PITairport thanks to detailed updates done by @HistoryCenter! pic.twitter.com/rwdMeQWSlh

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) September 12, 2019

.@missi_matthews, @BobLabriola & @DVEMike discuss the offensive line, the team's approach going into Week 2, & more. pic.twitter.com/sDXNOygbKQ

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) September 12, 2019

Friday Night Steelers Six Pack of questions: Seahawks, Week 2 Edition

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 09/13/2019 - 5:47pm
Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

There is plenty to talk about regarding all things black-and-gold!

Several people have asked if we could bring back the Friday Night Open Thread. I had moved the event to Saturday morning, but after minimal success, I decided to bring it back to Friday night — with a slight twist.

I liked the Saturday Six-Pack theme, so I decided to just take the six questions and move them to Friday night. Say hello to Friday Night Six-Pack of Steelers Questions and open thread!

The rules haven’t changed...

Quick rundown of the ground rules.

  • I’ll ask at least four questions strictly related to the Steelers.
  • The rest of the questions could be about anything.
  • Be respectful.
  • Have fun talking about the Black-and-gold.

That’s it! With that out of the way, it’s time to get this party started. Hey, don’t act like you’ve never done a little Friday night drinking. Here goes:

1. The Steelers’ offense last week was a flaming bag of dog poo. If you were drawing up the game plan in Week 2, what would it entail?

2. We discussed this on the Steelers Preview last night, you can hear it below...who is your offensive and defensive ‘X-Factor’ on Sunday? An X-Factor is someone who is dynamic enough to alter the outcome of the game.

3. Who will have a bigger impact in Week 2? Vance McDonald or James Washington?

4. Of the Steelers elgigible for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, who do you think gets in next year? Not who you believe should be in, but who do you think will be enshrined?

Troy Polamalu
Alan Faneca
Hines Ward
Bill Cowher
Donnie Shell
L.C. Greenwood

5. The line on the SEA vs. PIT game, as of writing this, is as follows:

PIT - 3.5
OVER/UNDER: 46.5

If you were betting, where would you put your money?

6. Caption the photo below:

Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

No matter what, always remember...

HERE WE GO STEELERS!

PODCASTS

Steelers Injury Report: Haden, Pouncey questionable vs. Seahawks after return to practice on Friday

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 09/13/2019 - 3:28pm
Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

As expected, Roosevelt Nix is out for Sunday’s game

After Friday’s practice, it seems the only player who will definitely miss Sunday’s game against the Seattle Seahawks is FB Roosevelt Nix who has been ruled out. After being full participants on Friday, Joe Haden and Maurkice Pouncey are listed as questionable according to the Steelers PR Department.

With 10 players initially listed on the injury report Wednesday, it seemed the Steelers would have to piece together various parts of their team in order to accommodate those players who were banged up. But with all the injured players other than Nix, Pouncey and Haden returning to the Field Thursday, the outlook seemed much brighter. Players such a Sean Davis, T.J. Watt, JuJu Smith-Schuster, and Terrell Edmunds all returned for two full days of practice and do not even carry an injury designation. With even better news on Friday, ESPN’s Brooke prior reports both Haden and Pouncey are expecting to play on Sunday.

After talking with guys in the Steelers locker rooms, sounds like the team is pretty healthy going into Sunday’s home opener.

Joe Haden (shoulder) and Maurkice Pouncey (ankle) both said they were full participants in practice today.

— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) September 13, 2019

While not technically a starter on offense, Nix is the Steelers’ special teams captain and will be greatly missed in those situations. Additionally, he is the only fullback on the roster. Although the Steelers did not use a fullback for even one play this past week against the New England Patriots, it is unclear if they will designate another player to fill-in at the position in the event they decide to use a particular offensive formation where a fullback is needed.

The return of Sean Davis for Week 2 is a welcomed addition to the Steelers’ secondary. Davis had only missed a handful of defensive snaps in 2018 before sitting out in Week 17 with an injury against the Cincinnati Bengals. In his absence Week 1 of this season, Kam Kelly filled in with a less-than-stellar NFL debut.

As for the Seahawks’ status report, it will be made available here once it is released.

How the Seahawks will try to attack the Steelers defense in Week 2

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 09/13/2019 - 1:55pm
Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers gave up 33 points in Week 1, and Seattle will look to add to that total in Week 2.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are gearing up for the Seattle Seahawks in Week 2 of the 2019 regular season. After Week 1 the Steelers are limping back home after being smacked around by the Patriots in New England; however, the Seahawks were able to squeak out a home victory vs. the Cincinnati Bengals in front of the ‘12th Man’.

Since this is a unique matchup for the Steelers, hosting an NFC West team, there is a lot fans don’t know about these type of teams. And that is okay, but what I wanted to do was to get a lowdown on what the Seahawks might have in store for the Steelers by talking with Field Gulls, SB Nation’s Seahawks website, editor Kenneth Arthur to pick his brain on the upcoming matchup.

In this first of many installments, I asked Arthur what he thinks the Seahawks will do when they have the ball against the Steelers’ defense. Check out his response:

When the Seahawks have the ball, I expect them to run. On the road in a tough environment at 10 AM (1 p.m. ET), I expect as much as ever for Seattle to keep the ball in the hands of its backs and its quarterback and on the ground because it’s what Pete Carroll has preached and played above all else.

The last time these teams met it was a shootout in Seattle, but I think a ground control attack is going to be more preferable to Carroll.

There are new wrinkles, however. Chris Carson got a career-high seven targets in Week 1. They plan to use him a lot more in the passing game than they’ve done with their lead back in the past. I could see another 15 carries to Carson and maybe 8-10 going to Rashaad Penny if the team is able to build a lead, or stay within a score. So there’s nothing mysterious about the plan, I’d say it’s to run the football as much as possible.

The other thing we’ll be watching for is the second game of receiver D.K. Metcalf. He’s the rookie every Seahawks fan has had their eye on the most since the draft, and he was dynamic in his debut with 87 yards on four catches. He was the most targeted receiver on the team and nobody other than him and Tyler Lockett was even involved at that position. Of course, things will change week to week, and we only have a one-game sample size. The Seahawks were led in receiving by tight end Will Dissly in Week 1 of 2018 and then he wasn’t a huge part of the plan in Week 2. (He tore his patellar tendon in Week 3.) I wouldn’t be surprised to see Dissly get some more run in this one and perhaps Lockett too, who only had two targets in his first game as Seattle’s de facto number one.

At this point the question becomes how do the Steelers combat this style of offense? Do they play Vince Williams more as a primary run-stopper, or try and go with Devin Bush and Mark Barron in hopes of containing Russell Wilson along with the running game?

Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below, and be sure to keep tabs on BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the Seahawks in Week 2.

Report: Steelers one of several teams showing interest in potential trade for Minkah Fitzpatrick

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 09/13/2019 - 11:48am
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers could use a dynamic player in the secondary, and Minkah Fitzpatrick might be worth the money.

Friday morning news got started early when it was reported Miami Dolphins second year safety Minkah Fitzpatrick was asked, and was granted permission, to seek a trade. Fitzpatrick is a phenomenal player, and extremely versatile at that. Fitzpatrick is able to play both slot cornerback, and free safety, making him a very useful tool on nearly any defense in the NFL.

But Fitzpatrick sees the writing on the wall, and that is the Dolphins are being blown up to start over from scratch. You can’t expect a player of his caliber to be okay sitting around and waiting another 3-4 years before the team becomes competitive.

If a team does get a trade done, this is what they get with Fitzpatrick on their roster:

Notes if Minkah Fitzpatrick were traded:
* Under contract through 2021 (plus a fifth-year option)
* Base salary/cap hit in 2019-2021: $1.23M, $1.98M and $2.27M
* Just 22 years old
* Can play either safety spot and slot cornerback
* Recorded 80 tackles, 9 PD and 2 INT as a rookie

— Field Yates (@FieldYates) September 13, 2019

So, should the Pittsburgh Steelers be interested in trading for Fitzpatrick? According to one online source the Steelers are one of several teams who are at least in the conversation for a potential trade for Fitzpatrick:

Vegas Source: Dolphins asking for 2nd for Minkah Fitzpatrick still might settle for 3rd+

Several Early teams involved:
Steelers
Packers
Broncos
Raiders
Seahawks
Jets

— Vegas Gambling Steam (@Pregame_Steam) September 13, 2019

The Steelers should at least put a call in to Miami to see what the asking price would be, but reports are the Dolphins are expecting a second round pick, and possibly more, to come their way. It makes sense considering Fitzpatrick was a first round pick himself.

Our own Dave Schofield put together this potential trade for the Dolphins, and it would make sense considering the Steelers don’t currently have 3rd round pick after giving that to the Denver Broncos to trade up and draft Devin Bush:

From Pittsburgh to Miami: 2020 second-round pick and fourth-round pick
From Miami to Pittsburgh: Minkah Fitzpatrick and a 2020 third-round pick

Analysis: Miami gains a selection in the fourth round and moves up into the second round with what would be a projected early choice in round three. The exact number of spots they would gain would depend solely on how the 2019 plays out for both teams. If both teams finish with similar records, the pick would be an entire round higher. But if Miami earns the number one overall pick and the Steelers win the Super Bowl, it would only be one position. So it ends up being a calculated risk of assessing the 2019 season.

For those who don’t know much about Fitzpatrick, I just did a stroll through some Twitter feeds about him, and the type of player he is, both on and off the field, and here are a couple interesting tweets I found:

Minkah Fitzpatrick is one of the cleanest prospects in past decade. If he’s available, this trade should get done today.

✅off-field
✅size
✅strength
✅athleticism
✅high IQ
✅tough
✅competitive
✅durable
✅griitty
✅leadership
✅work ethic
✅versatile
✅productive
✅winner

— Jim Nagy (@JimNagy_SB) September 13, 2019

I would seriously look into acquiring FS/slot cornerback Minkah Fitzpatrick away from the Miami Dolphins.
He’s like another coach on the field, excellent in coverage-he’s a tough dude in run support.
Also a leader and a mentally tough young man. He sees the train wreck in Miami. pic.twitter.com/eD3rNANNVN

— Michael Detillier (@MikeDetillier) September 13, 2019

If the Steelers were to somehow trade for Fitzpatrick, what would happen on their current roster? It would likely be the end of the road for Kam Kelly, but other than that the Steelers would be able to utilize him as much as possible in their defense. He could be a flex player in sub packages, as well as a pure safety if need be.

What do you think? Should the Steelers pull the trigger on the trade if the deal is right? Let us know in the poll below, and feel free to explain your vote in the comment section below!

Point/Counterpoint: After just one week, it’s time to panic about the Steelers

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 09/13/2019 - 10:58am
Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

BTSC writers Tony Defeo and Bryan Anthony Davis offer differing opinions on whether or not the Steelers are dead and buried after just one game.

The Steelers opened their season Sunday Night in Massachusetts against a team that has largely dominated them since 2001. The (rusty) Men of Steel succumbed in embarrassing fashion to the point that some fans are calling for the team to tank for the No. 1 pick, while others remain optimistic.

BTSC’s resident heels, The Steelers Hangover’s Tony Defeo and Bryan Anthony Davis, have differing viewpoints on this particular subject. Read them as they slug it out in text below.

After just one week, it’s time to panic about the 2019 Pittsburgh Steelers

Tony Defeo’s Point

Here we are after just one week, and the optimism couldn’t be lower about the prospects of your 2019 Pittsburgh Steelers. After one game, they sit at 0-1 following a 33-3 drubbing at the hands of the world champion New England Patriots last Sunday night at Gillette Stadium. What, you say? It’s not time to panic? Yeah, of course, you say that, and when I say “you,” I’m talking about the Internet, because it’s after losses such as the one the Steelers suffered Sunday night that I have to be subjected to article after article telling me that it’s not time to do that sort of thing. “Step away from the ledge/bridge!” you may be thinking. “RELAX!” you may be screaming in an all-caps retort. I’m telling you it’s time to push that big, red panic button. And while I may not be suggesting you rush to the nearest ledge/bridge to join me, I do think it may be wise to rush to your nearest social media platform and make some really irrational and illogical proclamations about these Steelers. Something along the lines of “Play for a top draft pick!” or “Wave the white flag instead of the Terrible Towel!” will work just dandy.

So why is it time to panic? Why is it time to admit defeat after just one week of the 2019 regular season?

Did you see how anemic the offense looked the other night with JuJu Smith-Schuster as the number one passing target and Donte Moncrief as the number two receiver, a newcomer who apparently is already number one in Ben Roethlisberger’s heart, considering he threw to him 10 times—or about nine times more than he should have?

In case your memory is fuzzy, Sunday night’s game was the second-straight of consequence without the services of star receiver Antonio Brown dating back to Week 17 of last year. “Thank the Heavens!” you might be proclaiming. Good point. These days, less Antonio Brown is good for everyone. Still, though, it may not be a coincidence that no “AB = no clue” in-terms of an offensive game-plan for your Pittsburgh Steelers.

And what about that “defense” Pittsburgh threw at the Patriots on Sunday? What defense, right? I mean, if Tom Brady was a tornado, Terrell Edmunds was one of those unfortunate barns that never stands a chance in those scary yet fascinating “Destructive Mother Nature”-type videos you always find on YouTube.

Thirty-three points, 465 yards, one sack and zero takeaways (again).

You might say one game is a very small sample-size. I remember the good old days when “sample-size” was a term I really despised. Unfortunately, “low-key,” as in, “I low-key love these new Jets’ uniforms” came to Twitter and threw “sample-size” over the top rope like it was one of the Bushwhackers in the very early stages of an early-90s WWF Royal Rumble main event.

Fine, I’ll give you that about sample size. But you know what isn’t a small sample-size? The Steelers record against playoff teams dating back to Week 2 of 2018: 2-5. That’s “low-key” half a season, right there, my friend. Now, I’m not expecting a 6-1 or 5-2 record, but at least be closer to .500 against some of the league’s elite teams. Shouldn’t a true contender be capable of that? Furthermore, the Steelers overall record dating back to last November 25 is 2-5. Can you say “trending,” as in the Steelers are low-key trending toward mediocrity, or even worse?

You might disagree with me, and while I do respect differing opinions, I must say that anyone who doesn’t share my view on this is TOTALLY WRONG!

Bryan Anthony Davis’ Counterpoint

Tony, I’m not sure just exactly what kind of mushrooms you’ve been ordering on your pizza, but to cite the album title of Weird Al Yankovic’s 1992 blockbuster, you my friend are “Off the Deep End”. If I gave up after my disastrous first attempt at obtaining a driver’s license, I wouldn’t be the auto insurance adjuster’s nightmare that I legally am today. Sure, I’d rather get a prostate exam over watching Donte Moncrief dropping more times than my old T-Mobile plan. Yes, the Steelers should have played at 11:30 on Saturday Night because they weren’t ready for Prime Time. But I’m not ready to scrap the entire season after one disappointment. The Steelers won’t either. I’m not telling you to pre-order a giant sub or start looking for great deals on flights and hotel rooms for February in Miami from Travelocity, Orbitz or the guy you met in the alley behind Arby’s, but give these guys at least a chance to rebound.

This team, under Mike Tomlin, has a history of coming together. In 2016, Jeff Hartman and I were doing our current podcast, “The Hangover” (subscribe and don’t miss a single, thrilling moment), and the Steelers were sitting at 4-5 and seemingly left for dead. But Jeff believed and so did I. Apparently the black-and-gold clad warriors that we vehemently root for did too. They stormed through the remainder of the regular season and found themselves in the AFC Championship Game. The only problem was that it was in Foxborough. Foxborough is Little Big Horn, the Upside Down (Stranger Things) and Spike’s Bedroom from Toy Story all wrapped into one for the Steelers. They can’t win there. But I will still hold out hope that it can happen. The biggest problem I had with the team was the unimaginative game plan and rust not being removed in preseason from starters. Ben Roethlisberger and James Washington need time to gel in actual real time action.

Thanks for bringing out your little stats on the 2018 season, but this isn’t the same team or situation. I know that I’m about to get the if “ifs and buts we’re candy and nuts” reply that you have warming up in the bullpen, but if Xavier Grimble dropped the machismo act instead of the football in Denver, Chris Boswell didn’t have the yips the entire year and the referees recognized a blatant offsides against the Chargers,that team would have been in the playoffs. This is not the “me first,” dysfunctional family that was the 2018 Steelers. This is a team that has great pride in their abilities, their performance, and the city that is their professional home. They know what they are capable of and I bet they’re playing with renewed vigor against Seattle on Sunday.

As fans, we saw this same scenario with opening game debacles against Cleveland in 1989, Jacksonville in 2001, Dallas in 1994, New England in 2002 and 2015. Those teams all posted playoff victories those seasons. Sure...that was then and this is now, but this team needs to make a few tweaks and not dismantle the whole kit and kaboodle. You have a cowboy quarterback with a chip on his shoulder, a talented rusher still running through holes manufactured by a stellar offensive line, an exciting young wide receiver that needs the other young pass-catchers to see more snaps to give him breathing room. You also have an outside linebacker that almost looks every bit as polished and dynamic as his all-world brother and a much faster defense. These guys started slow, but there are still 15 weeks to go. Let’s just keep the fevered excitement that we had all preseason long for at least another week.

By the way, the Bushwhackers? Wow! Nicely played. Next week, I’m looking forward to your reference to the Can-Am Connection. But if we are embarking down the WWE road, I seem to recall the great Daniel Bryan losing his belt to Sheamus in just 18 seconds at Wrestlemania 28 and Bryan is regarded as one of the great ring generals in the business today.

If Fleetwood Mac and Bill Clinton ever taught us anything, we should not stop thinking about tomorrow. It’ll soon be here. Because yesterday’s gone, Tony. Yesterday’s gone.

Bryan won last week’s debate, who will prevail this week? Which writer is on the money? Who is way off base? Sunday’s game will help moderate this debate even more. But now, it’s your chance to chime in below in the comments section and in the poll below.

Film Room: How Mark Barron struggled against the New England Patriots

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 09/13/2019 - 9:47am
Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Newly acquired Mark Barron had his debut with the Steelers in Week 1, and let’s just say he struggled vs. New England.

When Mark Barron signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers on March 17, 2019 fans were excited about his versatility due to him being a former safety. I was skeptical about Barron’s ability after watching tape from last season when he was with the Los Angeles Ram. Barron was released by the Rams earlier in March, saving $6.3 million against the salary cap.

Pro Football Focus’ tweet exemplifies Barron’s struggles in the past two seasons.

Barron has played 750+ snaps each of the last four seasons for the Rams. He is coming off the worst overall grade of his career in 2018 (54.0).

Overall grades by season:
2012: 55.3
2013: 60.1
2014: 56.8
2015: 67.0
2016: 65.0
2017: 61.8
2018: 54.0 https://t.co/AebYr81XJX

— PFF PIT Steelers (@PFF_Steelers) March 17, 2019

Focusing on Barron’s tape from the Sunday night debacle against the New England Patriots, there were more struggles than highlights from Barron. Barron was not a dumpster fire, but far from what Steelers Nation was hoping for. He did not look fast or fluid in changing direction defending against the run or pass. The struggles were mainly against the pass against the slippery running back corps from New England. James White walked out of the game with 56 yards receiving, while Rex Burkhead hauled in 41. In all, the Patriots running backs accounted for 188 total yards.

Looking ahead to Sunday’s game against the Seattle Seahawks, Chris Carson tallied 6 catches for 34 yards and a touchdown Week 1 against the Cincinnati Bengals. Barron has to do a better job of limiting Carson or it could be a long day against the Seahawks.

NFL Expert Picks: Steelers expected to beat the Seahawks, but not by a landslide

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 09/13/2019 - 8:32am
Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports

Do the experts see the Steelers getting their first win of the season when the Seattle Seahawks come to town?

The Pittsburgh Steelers fell flat on their faces in Week 1 against the New England Patriots, and if you followed the expert picks for that game, most experts were spot on in their predictions.

Take that for what it’s worth, but with the Seattle Seahawks coming to town for the Steelers’ home opener, you have to wonder what they think of this AFC vs. NFC matchup? Do they see a similar fate for the home team? Or do they think Mike Tomlin’s crew will get the bad taste out of their mouths and notch their first win of 2019?

Let’s take a look at what the experts are saying heading into Week 2...

At CBS Sports, their NFL expert Pete Prisco likes the Steelers to win. See what he has to say:

Seahawks at Steelers (-4)

The Steelers looked awful in losing to the Patriots, but this is their home opener and you can bet they will be focused after losing the way they did. Seattle showed some problems in beating the Bengals, which will be in play here – mainly their poor offensive line play and bad secondary play. The Steelers will get their first victory of the season.

Pick: Steelers 30, Seahawks 20

When going to the mother ship that is SB Nation, it is a mixed bag of picks from their experts who submit weekly picks. 6 of the 9 experts like the Steelers to hold serve at home and get back to .500 on the season.

USA Today might be the most pro-Steelers site out there, with a whopping 5 of their 7 experts riding on the Steelers wagon in hopes of claiming victory this Sunday at 1 p.m. ET.

The largest expert panel belongs to ESPN, and of the 10 people who make picks every week, 6 of them are in favor of Pittsburgh to get the best of Seattle, who is having to travel across country for an early start time in Week 2.

But there are just a handful of sites who submit weekly picks. What about all the others who aren’t listed above? This is where our friends at NFL Pick Watch come in. This website takes all expert picks and compiles them into an easy-to-read graph to see who the experts are favoring in every matchup that week. According to them, 76% of experts are in favor of the Steelers to win this rematch of Super Bowl 40.

Will the Steelers be able to get right against the Seahawks and show their fan base Week 1 wasn’t the norm, but an aberration? Or will Russell Wilson and company come to town and show they are still a contender in the competitive NFC? Only time will tell, but as of now the experts certainly like the black-and-gold this Sunday.

Crunching the Numbers: The Steelers history against the Seahawks, NFC West, and Week 2 games when playing at Heinz Field

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 09/13/2019 - 7:27am
Photo: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

After a crushing defeat in Week 1, returning to Heinz Field against an NFC West opponent may be the best historical scenario

The Pittsburgh Steelers didn’t give their fans anything to cheer about this past Sunday. Coming back to Pittsburgh 0-1, the Steelers are in need of an impressive showing against the Seattle Seahawks and, more importantly, a win. While the Steelers’ struggles when traveling to the West Coast are well documented, when those opponents come east to Heinz Field is a completely different story.

Although historical stats do not guarantee anything when it comes to quality of play and statistical outcome on a particular game, it can show some possible trends. In this week’s installment of Crunching the Numbers, we’ll take a look at how the Steelers have fared at Heinz Field against the NFC West, particularly the Seattle Seahawks. Additionally, we’ll answer the question as to how the Steelers respond when coming home to Heinz Field after opening the season on the road.

6-1

In the Mike Tomlin era, the Steelers have always played their first two games as one being on the road and one at home. When the Steelers opening on the road and returning to Heinz Field for Week 2, they are 6-1 since 2007. The single loss came last season in 2018 when the Steelers fell to the Kansas City Chiefs 42–37.

19.0

In the six Week 2 victories at Heinz Field under Mike Tomlin, the Steelers have an average margin of victory of 19.0 points. Even if you were to include the five-point loss in 2018, the Steeler still have an average margin of victory of 15.6 points. So the Steelers have not only won when they have come home to Heinz Field for Week 2, they have done so decisively. In these games, they have averaged 29.6 points scored

3-0

In a more appropriate scenario for Week 2, how did the Steelers respond when returning to Heinz Field with a record of 0-1? The Steelers are 3-0 at home after losing on the road in Week 1 under Mike Tomlin. Most recently was in 2015 when the Steelers lost to the New England Patriots 28–21 and returned to Heinz Field to defeat the San Francisco 49ers 43-18. The other years include 2012 when they beat the New York Jets 27-10 after losing in Denver 31-19 and in 2011 when, after falling to the Ravens 35-7, they bounced back against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 2 by a score of 24-0.

0

Speaking of the game against the Seahawks in 2011, the Steelers have hosted Seattle twice in the history of Heinz Field. In both cases the Seahawks were shut out, so in the history of Heinz Field, Seattle has yet to score a point. While I do not expect this trend to continue in 2019, it is still an interesting tidbit of information. The other game the Seahawks played at Heinz Field was in 2007 when the Steelers were victorious 21-0.

6-0

To broaden the scope beyond just the Seattle Seahawks, the entire NFC West has never won a game in Pittsburgh in the Mike Tomlin era. In the six games played since 2007, the Steelers are 6-0 while managing three shut outs. The average score in these games is 29.5 to 7.83. The closest opponent has come to beating the Steelers at Heinz Field under Mike Tomlin was in 2015 when the Steelers defeated the Arizona Cardinals 25–13 in a game started by Michael Vick with the second-half victory led by Landry Jones. With that said, every game against the NFC West at Heinz Field under Tomlin has been a double-digit victory.

7

To piggyback off the previous answer, the Steelers currently have a seven game winning streak at home against the NFC West. The Steelers have only lost one game to the NFC West at Heinz Field, and it was the first of such games they ever played in Week 8 of 2003. The Steelers fell to the St. Louis Rams by score of 21-33 in a match up of Marc Bulger versus Tommy Maddox. Since week 10 of the same year, the Steelers have racked up seven straight wins at home against the NFC West.

So there are some numbers which could give a glimmer of hope for the Steelers Week 2 match up returning to Heinz Field. Do you think these historical statistics matter? Does the Steelers past success at Heinz Field in this sort of game play an important role this time around ? Please leave your answers in the comments below!

Steelers Injury Report: Joe Haden and Maurkice Pouncey miss practice again Thursday

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 09/13/2019 - 6:29am
Photo: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

All players who were limited on Wednesday were full participants Thursday

Just like Week 2 gives NFL teams more of a perspective of what transpired in Week 1, day two of the Steelers injury report is a picture of the progression by certain players to see if they have a chance to play on Sunday. Even if someone was held out of practice completely on Wednesday, taking steps in the right direction gives hope for game action in the coming match up. What you never want to see is a player holding steady by not participating or moving backwards in their availability. In the second injury report of Week 2 courtesy of the Steelers PR department, all players who were limited on Wednesday progressed in the right direction as full participants on Thursday.

As expected, Ben Roethlisberger returned to practice on Thursday in order to prepare for the upcoming game. Additionally, James Conner and Zach Banner were full participants Thursday after suffering from an illness which limited their participation on Wednesday.

The most concerning injuries are currently with Maurkice Pouncey and Joe Haden, both of whom missed practice again on Thursday. Unless they can suit up in some fashion on Friday, their availability for Sunday is very much in question. Being 10 year or more veterans, if any players could not practice throughout the week and still contribute they would both fit into that small category.

Additional positive notes come from the full participation of JuJu Smith-Schuster, Sean Davis, T.J. Watt, and Terrell Edmunds. Unless any of these players face a setback, they might not even carry any designation on Friday’s status report.

As anticipated, Roosevelt Nix did not participate in practice on Wednesday or Thursday and is not expected to be available for some time due to a knee injury.

Two names who are new to the list on Thursday were LB Mark Barron and G Ramon Foster who were both held out of practice as a coaches decision. Even early in the season, it appears Coach Tomlin will be giving various veterans days off. With Pouncey already not practicing and B.J. Finney filling in at center, it is unclear who took the reps at left guard. If the Steelers chose to slide Matt Feiler inside as they did often in the preseason, once again he would be practicing in a different position from where he played every snap in Week 1.

As for the Seahawks’ injury report, four players did not practice for the second straight day while two players who sat out Wednesday returned in some capacity. Most notably was WR Tyler Lockett who returned to practice from a back injury, but in a limited capacity. A new addition to the injury report was DE Quinton Jefferson with a hip injury. Seattle’s complete injury report according to Seahawks.com can be seem here:

Seattle Seahawks

Did Not Participate

C Joey Hunt (Ankle)

DT Poona Ford (Calf)

FS Tedric Thompson (Hamstring)

CB Neiko Thorpe (Hamstring)

Limited Participation

WR David Moore (Shoulder)

WR Tyler Lockett (Back)

DE Quinton Jefferson (Hip)

Full Participation

T Duane Brown (Knee)

T George Fant (Ankle)

TE Will Dissly (Knee)

C Justin Britt (Knee)

G Mike Iupati (Foot)

DE L.J. Collier (Ankle)

DE Ziggy Ansah (Shoulder)

S Ugo Amadi (Shoulder)

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Podcast: Previewing how the Steelers can get their first win vs. the Seahawks

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 09/13/2019 - 5:30am

In the latest episode of “The Steelers Preview” show, we break down all the news you need to know surrounding the Black-and-gold from the week that was.

The 2019 season is upon us!! With the Pittsburgh Steelers now in the regular season, it is time to get back on the airwaves and discuss the Black-and-gold.

Take a look at the rundown for the latest episode of the BTSC podcast The Steelers Preview. On this show Jeff Hartman, Dave Schofield and Bryan Anthony Davis break down all things Steelers leading into the offseason.

Check out the rundown of the show:

  • News and Notes
  • Steelers Stat Geek
  • Preview of Steelers vs. Seahawks
  • Keys to victory
  • Fantasy Focus
  • Steelers Q&A
  • and MUCH MORE!

Jeff Hartman, editor of BTSC, Bryan Anthony Davis and Dave Schofield walk you through everything you need to know regarding the Black-and-gold.

If you haven’t heard, we have a YouTube channel, and the main reason for this is to increase the sound quality on our shows. But if you’re a visual learner you can watch the show below. Be sure to subscribe to our channel!

If you missed the live show, be sure to check out all episodes on the following platforms:

Apple Users: CLICK HERE
Spotify: CLICK HERE
Google Play: CLICK HERE

If you’re old-school and just want the audio, you can listen to it in the player below.

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