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Steelers put together a tremendous team victory in 40-17 romp over Titans

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 11/18/2017 - 11:30am

Pittsburgh delivers the complete game Steelers Nation has awaited for weeks, running the overmatched Tennessee Titans right out of Heinz Field.

As the legendary Pittsburgh Pirates sportscaster Bob Prince was fond of saying after a big win, “How sweet it is!”

On prime-time TV—only four days after their narrow win in Indianapolis last Sunday—the Pittsburgh Steelers unveiled some remarkable capabilities which, as recently as last Sunday in Indianapolis, had been subject to some serious doubts. Despite shaving the Steelers’ lead to only two points on the first play of the second half, the Titans never were truly competitive in a game dominated by the Black-and-gold on both sides of the ball.

Pittsburgh got off to a fast start on their first possession, driving the ball downfield in six plays for a first-quarter TD—capped by a 41-yard pass to Antonio Brown on a free play when the Titans were flagged at the snap. Then the Steelers added a Chris Boswell field goal after Mike Hilton grabbed a sailing pass by Marcus Mariota for the first of four interceptions. This gave the Steelers an early 10-0 lead but, before they could savor it, the Titans drove down the field for the first of their two TDs, making the score 10-7 at the end of the first quarter. In the second quarter, Pittsburgh added two more Boswell field goals—including a 50-yard beauty that split the uprights with only 18 seconds remaining in the first half to give the Steelers a 16-7 lead.

After the intermission, but before fans at Heinz Field could even get settled back into their seats, the Titans struck again on the first play of the second half, catching the Steelers’ secondary napping with a 75-yard TD pass from Mariota to Rishard Matthews. At that point, any number of Steelers fans could be seen banging their heads on coffee tables around the world and mumbling incoherently about what looked like another protracted affair of the cardiac variety taking shape.

But that's when Roethlisberger took the game into his own hands. Three second-half touchdowns and a fourth Boswell field goal later, the Titans’ defense was trying to get the license plate number of the truck that flattened them. On this particular Thursday night, though, they weren’t referring to the Steelers’ ground game, but to a lethal, precision passing attack triggered by Big Ben and energized mainly by the matchless Brown, who finished his night’s work with 10 catches for 144 yards and three touchdowns. On his last TD of the evening in the final quarter, Antonio added to his collection of spectacular catches, pinning a Roethlisberger pass between one hand and his helmet, as he fell to the turf in the corner of the end zone—somehow miraculously maintaining possession.

For the most part, Roethlisberger was deadly accurate, completing 30 of 45 passes for 284 yards, 4 TDs, zero interceptions and a passer rating of 115. A couple of the more interesting stats from this game appear to indicate that Ben altered his approach from what we’ve seen in previous weeks. While Le’Veon Bell was held to only 46 yards rushing on 10 carries, he caught nine passes for 57 yards. JuJu Smith-Schuster, Martavis Bryant and Jesse James combined for 11 catches good for an additional 98 yards. Bryant also took a big stride into the hearts of those who questioned his motivation when he made a heads-up recovery of a fumble by Brown after he caught a bullet from Ben over the middle near the end of the first half, then had the ball punched out of his grasp from behind. Bryant’s heady reaction to get on top of the loose pigskin set the stage for Boswell to strut his stuff by nailing that 50-yard beauty with time nearly expired in the first half.

Total team effort

We’ve got plenty of time to dissect all of the Xs and Os in the coming week, but Pittsburgh’s huge win leaves us with some very encouraging and subjective impressions. For one, the Steelers successfully extended the tenor and tempo they established during their gritty, fourth-quarter rally in Indianapolis last Sunday, but this time it carried through for an entire 60 minutes of football. Putting points on the scoreboard in all four quarters on Thursday night, the Steelers’ offense never took its foot off of the gas. When the Titans opened the third quarter by narrowing the score to 16-14, Pittsburgh responded immediately with a 10-play, 75-yard drive of their own, consuming nearly five minutes on the clock and capped by a 5-yard TD catch by Brown. By the time No. 84 made his incredible helmet-catch in the fourth quarter, there no longer was any doubt which team wanted the win more.

Another big plus was the overall play of the Black-and-gold defense which generally made life miserable for Mariota, sacking him five times in addition to posting nine QB hits. With the exception of a blown secondary coverage on the Titans’ 75-yard touchdown bomb—plus a bit of good fortune when Tennessee’s talented tight end Delanie Walker dropped what might have been a momentum-shifting touchdown pass from Mariota in the third quarter—the Steelers’ defense largely continued its bend-but-don’t-break ways. The Titans were never able to get their running game going, as DeMarco Murray had a pitiful 10 yards rushing on eight carries, while man/beast Derrick Henry was held to 32 yards on seven carries. To put the icing on the cake, the four interceptions by four different Steelers (Mike Hilton, Coty Sensabaugh, Robert Golden and Sean Davis) were the most in a single game for any Steelers team in more than 20 years.

Not to be outdone by his fellow kicker Boswell, who accounted for 12 of the Steelers’ 40 points, the sometimes-maligned Jordan Berry walloped three punts for a 50.7-yard average.

Last but not least, this was a great team victory. Practically every one of the Steelers’ starting 22 players—as well as a host of outstanding backup players—made important contributions to the win that extended Pittsburgh’s record to 8-2. While Big Ben and Antonio Brown were the offensive standouts, clutch efforts by Bell, Smith-Schuster, Bryant and Boswell were crucial to this dominant performance. On defense, Cameron Heyward, Stephon Tuitt, Ryan Shazier, Vince Williams and Bud Dupree were equally outstanding.

For one marvelous, chilly evening tailor-made for football, the Steelers put it all together, playing a complete game from start to finish. And for the diehard fans of Steelers Nation, whether at Heinz Field or around the globe, it was a rare treat to finally be able to put your feet up during the game’s final quarter and relax for a change. Say what you will about the thrills and excitement of games not decided until the final two minutes, but the occasional 40-point mauling works wonders for the psyche of your average, rabid Pittsburgh Steelers fan.

2018 NFL Draft Prospects: Steelers College Football Discussion and Open Thread

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 11/18/2017 - 10:45am

Enjoy the college football action with fellow fans of the Black-and-gold.

It’s Saturday, and that means a full slate of NCAA college football! While you’re watching, you might as well enjoy the games with fellow Pittsburgh Steelers fans.

As a full and exciting day of games awaits, we’ll be watching with an eye on players the Steelers might be looking to target in the upcoming 2018 NFL Draft.

Here are some questions which can spawn some good conversation throughout the day of action:

  • Which game(s) are you watching?
  • Any specific prospects you’ll be keeping your eye on?
  • List some players you’d like to see wearing black-and-gold in the future, and why?
  • And if comes down to it, feel free just to talk about the Steelers as they head into their mini-bye week before playing the Packers on Sunday night!

Enjoy the college football game day!

HIGHLIGHTS: Bell, Week 11

Steelers.com Videos - Sat, 11/18/2017 - 10:20am
RB Le'Veon Bell made a big impact eclipsing 100 total yards and helping the Steelers defeat the Titans in Week 11.

HIGHLIGHTS: Steelers Defense, Week 11

Steelers.com Videos - Sat, 11/18/2017 - 10:10am
The Steelers defense dominated the Titans, racking up five sacks and four interceptions in the victory.

HIGHLIGHTS: Brown, Week 11

Steelers.com Videos - Sat, 11/18/2017 - 10:00am
WR Antonio Brown dominated as he racked up three TDs to help the Steelers defeat the Titans, 40-17.

HIGHLIGHTS: Brown, Week 11

Steelers.com Videos - Sat, 11/18/2017 - 10:00am
WR Antonio Brown dominated as he racked up three TDs to help the Steelers defeat the Titans, 40-17.

Steelers fan rooting guide Week 11: Who Steelers fans should root for in other games this weekend

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 11/18/2017 - 9:05am

BTSC's guide for rooting in the wake of another Steeler-less Sunday.

Steelers fans know who to root against week in and week out. They usually know to root against Baltimore, Cincy and New England. But sometimes, you have to look at the bigger picture—the playoff picture.

We’re all aware of the significance of the Steelers’ victory over Tennessee. But Sunday doesn't have to be a day of rest from rooting. Here’s a guide to other significant matchups and whose losses the Steelers would benefit more from this weekend.

If the season ended today, the Steelers would have the top seed in the AFC. Here are the current AFC playoff standings.

  1. Pittsburgh Steelers 8-2 (Would win AFC North and get a First Round Bye)
  2. New England Patriots 7-2 (Would win AFC East and get a First Round Bye)
  3. Jacksonville Jaguars 6-3 (Would win AFC South and host Wild Card Buffalo)
  4. Kansas City Chiefs 6-3 (Would win AFC West and host Wild Card Tennessee)
  5. Tennessee Titans 6-4 (Would earn Wild Card and travel to Jacksonville)
  6. Buffalo Bills 5-4 (Would earn Wild Card and travel to Kansas City)
  7. Baltimore Ravens 4-5
  8. Oakland Raiders 4-5
  9. Miami Dolphins 4-5
  10. New York Jets 4-6
  11. Houston Texans 3-6
  12. Cincinnati Bengals 3-6
  13. Los Angeles Chargers 3-6
  14. Denver Broncos 3-6
  15. Indianapolis Colts 3-7
  16. Cleveland Browns 0-9

Kansas City Chiefs at New York Giants-1 PM

Who to root for: I have a better chance at convincing my wife to let me purchase a PSL on eBay than the Giants do at beating KC. But the Steelers need the distance. Go New York football Giants.

Baltimore Ravens at Green Bay Packers-Sun 1:00 PM

Who to root for: You don't need GB coming into Heinz Field after a loss and the Ravens need to sink further into their gutter. Go Pack Go!

Jacksonville Jaguars at Cleveland Browns-Sun 1:00 PM

Who to root for: Gotta check the rivalry hatred at the door with this one.

The Steelers Week-5 loss to the 5-3 Jags gives them a head-to-head tiebreaker and Jacksonville needs to get knocked down a peg. Plus, Cleveland winning a few could keep them from picking first overall again in the draft.

Cincinnati Bengals at Denver Broncos-Sun 4:25 PM

Who to root for: Really no significance to this game whatsoever. A free ticket and a comped flight to Denver or a prostate exam. Not sure which one would be less appealing. But it's the Queen City convicts, so root for the home team of the Mile High.

Buffalo Bills at Los Angeles Chargers-Sun 4:05 PM

Who to root for: Actually Buffalo here. With the Ravens at seven and the Raiders at eight, a winning Bills team could keep them both out. Plus, Pitt's Nate Peterman gets his first start.

New England Patriots at Oakland Raiders (In Mexico)-Sun 4:25 PM

Who to root for: I don't need to explain this one, now do I? Da Raidahs!!

AFC Bye-Weekers: New York Jets 4-6, Indianapolis Colts 3-7

Steelers finally show fans, and the league, what they’re made of

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 11/18/2017 - 7:31am

It may have taken longer than expected, but better late than never, right?

Finally.

What many Steelers fans have been asking for (no, not a double egg and cheese from Primanti’s) arrived Thursday night at Heinz Field in front of a national TV audience. The team, who many said could score at will this year, did just that, while also playing a punishing brand of defense.

It’s still not Christmas yet, but for fans of the six-time Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers it sure felt like the fat man in the red suit came to town Thursday as the black-and-gold rung up a 40-spot on AFC South Division leader. Oh, and let’s not forget they also took the ball away four times, ending the Titans’ winning streak at four games in the process.

By way of their 40-17 victory, the Pittsburgh Steelers showed off their muscles, flexing them all game long. From an opening, no-huddle drive that ended in a touchdown, to the defense stepping in front of four Marcus Mariota passes, this win was by far the most convincing one of the season. The Steelers never trailed and controlled the game from the opening gun.

The talk since the season began was of when they would get their act together on offense. From the slow start of Le’Veon Bell to the very average play of Ben Roethlisberger (and let’s not even go there about Martavis Bryant), it’s been a wait-and-see approach regarding this offense, and why it hasn’t produced points, and a lot of them.

The wait, at least for one night, is over.

It was quite a show Ben and the offense put on. Roethlisberger hit on 30 of 45 passes for 299 yards and four touchdowns, three to his favorite target, Antonio Brown. Brown showed once again why he’s the best at his craft, snaring a ball with one hand and trapping it to his helmet for the game’s final touchdown. In sixty minutes of play, AB doubled his TD total for the season.

For Roethlisberger, however, this game had to feel good. And why not, he’s been outstanding in prime-time games at Heinz Field throughout his entire career, raising his mark to 19-3, including a 6-0 mark on Thursday night. He even ran the ball once for 10-yards, lumbering towards the end-zone.

And once again, the pillar of this team has been the steady, ferocious play of its defense all season long. The four interceptions were just part of the show, as the club sacked Mariota on five occasions. Two of those came from Cam Heyward, who in his seventh year is playing the best football of his career. And if you don’t believe me, just ask him.

“I do think I’m having a great year,” said Heyward after the game. “I just want to keep doing it. There’s still a lot of football to play. The defense allows me to do it and the guys are counting on me to do it.”

And they have, and will, keep doing just that. You can see the confidence in how this defense plays. That swagger as the cool kids say. This team has it on that side of the ball. For 60 minutes, the offense played the same way. It’s a good feeling to have. Let’s hope we see more of it in the final six weeks of the regular season.

Steelers take the extended break to participate in the annual ‘Rookie Dinner’

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 11/18/2017 - 6:38am

A yearly tradition for the Steelers is going out to dinner and making the rookies pay for it. Hence, the ‘Rookie Dinner’.

There comes a point in the NFL when you have to pay the piper, one way or another. Whether it be in your rookie training camp, having to carry pads, stand up and sing songs before the team or perhaps fronting the occasional dinner bill.

Steelers fans who have social media know all too well the “credit card roulette” game which has been famous on road trips, but they might not be versed in the annual ‘Rookie Dinner’.

This is a simple premise.

The players all get dressed up, head out to a fancy restaurant, eat like kings...and make the rookies pay for it. James Harrison documented this event with the defense (primarily the linebackers) on his official Instagram page, sporting his two Super Bowl rings for the evening.

Rookie dinner

A post shared by James Harrison (@jhharrison92) on Nov 17, 2017 at 6:29pm PST

This event goes beyond the players and included both the inside and outside linebackers coaches, Jerry Olsavsky and Joey Porter.

There are also times when players will show how much they owe for this meal, and let’s just say it’s quite the king’s ransom to feed NFL linebackers an exquisite meal.

Time to pay the piper...

Follow the leader

Steelers.com News - Sat, 11/18/2017 - 6:05am
Roethlisberger rallies offense before second-half explosion.

Steelers News: The skycam, it’s a love-hate relationship

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 11/18/2017 - 5:39am

The Pittsburgh Steelers and Tennessee Titans debuted the ‘skycam’ view on Thursday Night Football. What were everyone’s thoughts on it?

The Pittsburgh Steelers and Tennessee Titans did more than just play football on Thursday night. They were the guinea pigs for the NFL’s latest invention — the skycam view.

For the gamers out there, this was a view very reminiscent of the one you see while playing the Madden football game. The camera is directly behind, and elevated, behind the offensive line.

While fans knew of this debut, nothing really prepared them for the experience. After all, watching football for years one way, and then making a drastic change, isn’t always easy.

Some fans loved it, while others hated it. At first, I thought it was too drastic of a change, but after awhile there were things I liked, and still some things I didn’t like. For instance, I loved how you could see what the quarterback sees from the snap. The zone coverages, the tight windows to pass the football, as well as the running lanes and pass rush about to engulf the passer. A truly unique way of watching football and an experience few ever get to experience themselves.

The downside of this was a true lack of depth perception. A pass of 12-yards looked almost like a 5-yard gain. In the second quarter Marcus Mariota hit Delanie Walker for a big gain. I figured, by the view, it was about a 20-yard pick-up. Then the announcers state it was a 42-yard gain. Yeah, didn’t like that part of it.

I have to admit, after a while I got used to the skycam view, but hopefully the NFL finds a happy medium for it. For instance, I would love to see this view from the red-zone and on special-teams plays. The skycam view would also be amazing for replays to show how things worked/broke down, but when a team is driving around mid-field, I think it would be best to take the more traditional angle.

Just my thoughts...but what did you think? Let us know in the comment section below!

Pro Bowl ballots won't be counted for another month. That doesn't mean some early campaigning isn't being done in the Steelers locker room on behalf of their defensive captain.

“Cam Heyward for Pro Bowl!” a teammate yelled as he walked past Heyward's locker after the Steelers' win against the Tennessee Titans on Thursday night. Heyward couldn't suppress a sheepish smile.

But that was far from the only teammate expressing such a sentiment in the wake of Heyward's 2-sack game that helped fuel a dominant 40-17 victory.

“We need to get him (to the Pro Bowl),” fellow defensive end Stephon Tuitt said.

“He should be a Pro Bowler,” said linebacker Bud Dupree. “Absolutely.”

And while the Pro Bowl has lost much of its cache to fans, being named to the AFC roster would mean a lot to Heyward, a seventh-year pro.

“Yes, I'd love to be recognized for it,” Heyward said. “Recognized from my peers, my coaches, coaches and players around the league, and the fans. It's something that I strive for.”

Love it or hate it, the SkyCam perspective for the broadcast of Thursday night's Steelers game didn't appear to have a significant effect on the audience size.

The NFL and the network that broadcast the game aren't coming out fully for or against its future usage.

The Steelers' home game against the Tennessee Titans peaked at 15.2 million viewers across the variety of media platforms on which the game was available, according to figures provided by NBC Sports and attributed to data released Friday by The Nielsen Company and Adobe Analytics.

The telecast was the first in NFL history to use SkyCam as its primary viewing angle. The view –— from behind the offense with it traveling “up” the screen, not unlike the “Madden” video games franchise — was panned by many on social media , though it was liked by others as an alternative from the traditional sideline view.

“We enjoyed the challenge of presenting last night's game with much of the live action covered by SkyCam,” an NBC Sports spokesperson said in a statement released to the Tribune-Review on Friday. “As we expected, there was a range of reaction as some fans have become accustomed to the traditional camera angles, while many others were excited to watch the game from a perspective that they've grown up with, but was new to television. We look forward to evaluating the telecast further in the coming days.”

When Ryan Shazier conceived the Steelers defense's newest post-interception celebration, he never factored in how winded it could make him.

"I got a little tired today," the linebacker said in the locker room after the Steelers' 40-17 victory against the Tennessee Titans on Thursday night.

Shazier couldn't have been the only Steelers' defensive player feeling fatigued. After all, they victimized Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota for four interceptions, the most in a game for the Steelers in more than 20 years (Nov. 7, 1997).

That's a lot of celebrating – particularly on three days' rest—and especially when this particular celebration involves gathering as many defensive teammates as possible together in one spot to pose for a group photo.

Get involved with the ‘Dilly Dilly’mania with the latest BTSC T-Shirt

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 11/18/2017 - 5:01am

Be a part of Dilly Dilly mania with the latest BTSC T-Shirt!!

If you watched the Steelers Week 11 game vs. the Tennessee Titans, and was a part of the internet aftermath, you heard about the cadence Ben Roethlisberger used in the fourth quarter of the Thursday Night Game.

If you didn’t hear Roethlisberger say “Dilly Dilly”, this regarding the newest Bud Light ad featuring the slogan, you can get all caught up on the “Dilly Dilly” mania right HERE.

With that said, you can be a part of the fun with the latest BTSC t-shirt! Check it out!

This shirt comes in black, gold, white and grey, and ordering one now is easy. Just go to THIS LINK to place your order.

With the holidays approaching, this could be a perfect gift for the Steelers fan in your life, but if you don’t like this shirt there are plenty others which might suit your needs. Check out all of them with at the BTSC Apparel Store. The latest t-shirt designs are for players like JuJu Smith-Schuster, and some of the awesome Steelers’ celebrations.

Check them out!

HERE WE GO!

Steelers Playback: Ward's first 100-yd game

Steelers.com Videos - Sat, 11/18/2017 - 5:00am
Hines Ward notched his first 100-yd receiving game against the Jaguars in 2001.

Steelers Playback: Ward's first 100-yd game

Steelers.com Videos - Sat, 11/18/2017 - 5:00am
Hines Ward notched his first 100-yd receiving game against the Jaguars in 2001.

Cam Heyward couldn't get on the field. Now he's charging toward All-Pro status.

post-gazette.com - Steelers/NFL - Sat, 11/18/2017 - 5:00am

There was a time when Cameron Heyward couldn’t get on the field for the Steelers. He barely played in his first two NFL seasons as he waited his turn behind established veterans Brett Keisel and Ziggy Hood. Former defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau was criticized for his handling of the Steelers’ first-round pick in 2011. The oft-asked question: “How could a No. 1 pick need so much time to develop?”

Pittsburgh police have a new employee named Spirit, donated by a Steeler

post-gazette.com - Steelers/NFL - Fri, 11/17/2017 - 10:53pm

If the Tennessee Titans seemed large to Stephon Tuitt on Thursday night, Spirit, a Shire draught horse, was huge, weighing 1,615 pounds with two more years to grow.

Friday Night Steelers Six Pack of questions and open thread: Mini Bye Week Edition

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 11/17/2017 - 6:00pm

The Steelers are 8-2 and sitting pretty!

There has been clamoring—okay maybe not clamoring—but 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 back the Friday night open thread...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 drinking. Here goes:

1. Who would be your most underrated and underappreciated player on the Steelers after 10 games?

2. The Steelers enter a mini bye week after their Thursday night game. Which games are you looking forward to this weekend?

3. It may be early, but after 10 games, what positions, in order, should the Steelers look to target in th3 2018 NFL Draft?

4. If Ben Roethlisberger retires, and you can pick on pending Free Agent QB to be the Steelers’ next signal caller, who would it be?

5. NHL or NBA?

6. Everyone is different...what is your favorite day/time for the Steelers to play? Thursday, Sunday or Monday? 1 p.m., 4 p.m. or prime time?

Steelers Nation Unite salutes our military

Steelers.com Videos - Fri, 11/17/2017 - 5:00pm
Steelers Nation Unite jumped into Salute to Service night at Heinz Field.

Steelers Nation Unite salutes our military

Steelers.com Videos - Fri, 11/17/2017 - 5:00pm
Steelers Nation Unite jumped into Salute to Service night at Heinz Field.

Steelers vs. Titans game recap

Steelers.com Videos - Fri, 11/17/2017 - 4:15pm
Missi and Bob recap the Steelers 40-17 victory over the Titans.

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