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Knee jerk reactions to the Steelers 20-16 Week 11 win over the Jaguars

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 11/18/2018 - 3:43pm

One BTSC writer shares his real-time, initial thoughts of the Steelers’ jaunt in Jacksonville.

The Steelers win over Carolina was easily the most dominant in decades. But following up a statement game like that is most difficult, especially against a team that owned them twice a year ago. While all games are crucial this time of year, beating the Jags means something to the Steelers. Outside of the AFC North, Doug Marrone’s team may be their biggest rival.

Nonetheless, a simple reminder, a knee jerk reaction is an immediate and unthinking, emotional reaction. It’s basically shooting first and apologizing later. I can safely say that’s a true definition of your’s truly and a good lot of Steeler Nation. Here’s my real-time reactions during the Steelers’ most recent battle.

Quarter 1
  • I’m a big fan of deferring the kickoff. Glad to see Mike a Tomlin do that.
  • Not a three-and-out, but that is a promising defensive stop.
  • That QB sneak was a very peculiar call on third down after a timeout.
  • Berry with a 51-yarder. Nice.
  • I chuckle thinking about Steeler fans trying to pronounce the name Yannick Ngakoue.
  • Ben is looking antsy and today so far. That needs to clear up quick.
  • Berry again looking sharp. They need to take advantage of this pinback.
  • A one-two-three punch of Leonard Fournette, Carlos Hyde and T.J. Yeldon is not an easy task to defend.
Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images
  • Fort missed a chance to get Bortles, but with the illegal contact on Joe Haden...it doesn’t matter.
  • That was a cheap call on Haden.
  • First Quarter is over. Maybe things will get better.
Quarter 2
  • That hold on Shatley is huge.
  • Bud Dupree got mauled. Flowers could have been called for that.
  • Nice tackle by Hilton.
  • That first quarter was my fault, I was wearing my new, black, Vance McDonald jersey. Switched to my white JuJu jersey.
  • Well defended? More like James Washington was well mugged.
  • This Jax defense is looking fired up.
  • So is their patch work offensive line.
  • And their stable of rushers.
  • They have to hold them to a field goal. You can’t get too far behind these guys.
  • Tuitt’s absence is looms large.
  • Okay, this needs to be the drive.
  • Dammit. No steam on that pass. That was TD to AB.
  • That kind of looks like a catch to me.
  • This is bad.
  • Do I need to take of my jersey and just go shirtless.
  • You’re kidding me. Even when it goes wrong for Jax, it goes right.
  • Wonder if No. 80 is related to Principal Oh-Shag-Hennessy.
  • Huge by Hargrave.
  • They really need a TD on this drive to get things closer to fine.
  • Why am I elated by an eight-yard completion.
  • They’re more likely to go to Conner on third and short than other backs in recent history.
  • Show us some form of points here...anything.
  • Dont blame AB. He’s been open.
  • Ben is scared of this defense.
Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports
  • Hargrave against a backup center, reels him in again.
  • Brown had no chance to catch that ball. And I started Ben in my FanDuel league.
  • Cmon Davis!
  • I wish I drank.
Quarter 3
  • This is the drive that can get the Steelers back in the game.
  • Got lucky. That roughing penalty was questionable
  • Ben had no business throwing that ball. Great pick by Jalen Ramsey.
  • He was down in the end zone.
  • They’re just shredding the Steelers D now.
  • 16-0. Gross.
Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports
  • Yes! AB is wide open.
  • Wait! Washington is going to get nailed fo a hold.
  • Thank goodness. Touchdown. That was pretty.
  • They really need this 2PC.
  • That hurts.
Quarter 4
  • Ben is just not throwing right.
  • AB is livid on the sidelines.
  • Coverage sack? JuJu was wide open.
  • Huge sack by Williams. Defense is trying to win this game.
  • Bad ball by Ben. Great grab by Switzer.
  • Feiler whiffed there.
  • Ngakoue should have got roughing on that play.
  • Four down territory here. Ben with a vintage scramble and completion.
  • Conner just dropped the first down.
  • Heyward sack, nice.
  • Didnt first notice the facemask. I thought they were going to nail Jax with a late hit, which would have been ridiculous.
  • Great throw to JuJu.
  • Vance McDonald is a combat-catch genius.
  • Wonder why Tomlin didn’t call time out before the 2MW.
  • Great three and out,
  • Beautiful to JuJu.
  • Just don’t do anything stupid.
  • Oh my God, Conner!
  • AB is loose.
  • Can’t throw a pick here. This is too reminiscent of the Pats game last year.
  • And he did.
  • Wait. Switzer got his head torn off.
  • He’s in! Yesssssssssssss!!!!!!!!!
  • Cam and Watt close it out.
  • Heartstopping win

...

So...now as I replay the game more and more in my head, my perceptions and maybe my prescriptions will alter. But for now, you just got a glimpse of the first thoughts that popped in my mind while I was watching this game. Feel free to get your knee jerks on in the comments section.

Steelers pull off improbable comeback win by beating Jaguars 20-16

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 11/18/2018 - 3:17pm

It looked bleak, but the Steelers did the improbable and came back to beat the Jaguars 20-16 in Week 11.

The Pittsburgh Steelers entered their Week 11 game vs. the Jacksonville Jaguars on a five game winning streak. Conversely, the Jaguars entered this home contest on a five game losing streak. Would one of the two streaks end? Or would it be more of the same for these two AFC teams?

After winning the opening coin toss, the Steelers elected to defer their possession to the second half, giving Blake Bortles and company the football to start the game. After Chris Boswell slipped on the kickoff, the Jaguars’ offense was only able to muster one first down before punting the football to Pittsburgh.

After failing to do anything with their first possession, a series of punts by both teams ensued before the Jaguars put together an impressive drive, all driven by the running game. Whether it was Leonard Fournette, T.J. Yeldon or Carlos Hyde, the Jaguars were averaging well over 4 yards per carry, and eating up the clock.

To start the 2nd quarter the Jaguars were well within Pittsburgh territory, but an untimely holding penalty pushed the drive backwards, and forced a 48-yard Josh Lambo field goal to give Jacksonville an early 3-0 lead.

Near midway through the second quarter, the Steelers’ offense had yet to achieve a first down without the assistance of a penalty. On the other side, the Jaguars continued to gash the Pittsburgh defense in the running game. However, the bend, but don’t break, defense was able to hold Jacksonville to another field goal to make the score 6-0 with 8:34 left in the second quarter.

The next possession was more of the same for the Steelers’ offense, as Roethlisberger’s first pass was intercepted by Jalen Ramsey giving the ball right back to the Jaguars. However, Blake Bortles and company still hadn’t hit pay dirt yet, and another Lambo field goal made the score 9-0 with 3:35 left in the second quarter.

Jordan Berry continued to have a tremendous day, but it also meant more and more failed conversions by the Steelers’ offense. After a three-and-out by Jacksonville, the Steelers got the ball back with 1:16 left and no timeouts trying to put up their first points of the game before halftime.

Rather than putting up points, Ben Roethlisberger threw his second interception of the game when Barry Church nabbed the pass intended for Antonio Brown. Nonetheless, Jacksonville wasn’t able to convert the turnover into points, instead punting the ball back to the abysmal Pittsburgh offense.

Despite a dominant performance by Jacksonville, they led only 9-0 heading into halftime, and the Steelers followed suit with their first possession of the third quarter. A three-and-out gave the Jaguars the ball back, but the Steelers’ defense led by T.J. Watt pushed Jacksonville back giving the offense their best field position of the game.

James Conner moved the Steelers inside the red-zone for the first time of the game, but the result was more of the same — a Roethlisberger interception...again by Jalen Ramsey. It was Roethlisberger’s third interception of the game, and took points off the board when the team needed them the most.

How did the Jaguars respond? Try with an 80 yard drive down the field which was highlighted by Bortles moving the ball through the air, and Fournette leaping into the endzone from the 4 yard line to give the Jaguars a 16-0 lead — which felt insurmountable for the dead Pittsburgh offense.

With just under 2 minutes remaining in the 3rd quarter, Pittsburgh’s offense found life when Roethlisberger threw a 78 yard touchdown to Antonio Brown for the first touchdown of the game.

7️⃣ to 8️⃣4️⃣ for 7️⃣8️⃣. pic.twitter.com/Uwx7MBR6SY

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) November 18, 2018

Pittsburgh, down 16, chose to go for the two-point conversion, and failed making the score 16-6 with 1:17 left in the third quarter.

A series of punts eventually led to the Steelers facing a fourth and four on the outskirt of Chris Boswell’s field goal range, and the pass intended for James Conner went through his finger tips giving the ball back to Jacksonville on downs with just under 7 minutes left in the fourth quarter.

Roethlisberger and the offense started to warm up, albeit under 5 minutes left in regulation, and the team was able to put together a drive which resulted in a Vance McDonald touchdown with 2:28 left in the game.

Tremendous throw.
Tremendous effort. #Vanimal pic.twitter.com/QHuHYBcySl

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) November 18, 2018

The Boswell point-after made the score 16-13, and the Steelers had the choice to kick an onside kick, or to kick the ball deep after the McDonald score.

They elected to kick it deep with 2:23 left on the clock, and the Steelers having all three of their timeouts remaining. After forcing a three-and-out, and only using two timeouts, Roethlisberger and company got the ball back with 1:43 left in the game with one timeout and a field goal needed to send the game to overtime.

On second down, Smith-Schuster went up and made a beautiful catch down the sideline to put the Steelers inside field goal range. After James Conner dropped what would have been an easy touchdown, Antonio Brown caught a pass taking the team down to the two yard line. With one timeout remaining, the Steelers ran two plays which were negated by Jaguars’ penalties, leaving the team with just 8 seconds left on the clock.

The Steelers ran a read option, and Roethlisberger kept the ball and was able to reach the ball over the goal line for the game-winning score.

not a cell phone in sight. just living in the moment. absolutely beautiful. pic.twitter.com/K7JVko1qTg

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) November 18, 2018

There were just five seconds left on the clock, and it would be too little too late for the Jaguars. The final score would be 20-16 in favor of Pittsburgh.

The win gives the Steelers their sixth straight win, making their record 7-2-1, as they prepare for the Denver Broncos in Week 12. Stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes regarding this exciting game and what ensues after.

Steelers vs. Jaguars, Week 11: 3rd quarter in-game update

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 11/18/2018 - 2:24pm

The Pittsburgh Steelers are back, and we keep you up to date with those who aren’t able to watch the game live.

1st Quarter In-Game Update

2nd Quarter In-Game Update

Despite a dominant performance by Jacksonville, they led only 9-0 heading into halftime, and the Steelers followed suit with their first possession of the third quarter. A three-and-out gave the Jaguars the ball back, but the Steelers’ defense led by T.J. Watt pushed Jacksonville back giving the offense their best field position of the game.

James Conner moved the Steelers inside the red-zone for the first time of the game, but the result was more of the same — a Roethlisberger interception...again by Jalen Ramsey. It was Roethlisberger’s third interception of the game, and took points off the board when the team needed them the most.

How did the Jaguars respond? Try with an 80 yard drive down the field which was highlighted by Bortles moving the ball through the air, and Fournette leaping into the endzone from the 4 yard line to give the Jaguars a 16-0 lead — which felt insurmountable for the dead Pittsburgh offense.

With just under 2 minutes remaining in the 3rd quarter, Pittsburgh’s offense found life when Roethlisberger threw a 78 yard touchdown to Antonio Brown for the first touchdown of the game. Pittsburgh, down 16, chose to go for the two-point conversion, and failed making the score 16-6 with 1:17 left in the third quarter.

The quarter would end with the Jaguars leading 16-6 and facing a 3rd and 11.

Steelers vs. Jaguars: Second-half live updates, injury news and open thread

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 11/18/2018 - 1:35pm

The Steelers are back on the gridiron! The 2018 regular season is here with the Steelers and Jaguars locking horns in Week 11. Keep tabs on all things Black-and-gold with our updates and open thread.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are back on the field in the 2018 regular season as they prepare to face off against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 11.

Throughout the game, be sure to check back here for score updates, injury news and any breaking news from those on the sidelines following the team live. You can also follow along in the Twitter feed below.

For those wondering, you can enjoy some lively commentary with the best Steelers fans across the globe in the open thread for all BTSC members in the comment section below. Let’s remember to keep it clean, respect everyone’s thoughts and ideas, and ultimately remember we’re all here for the same reason—to root on the Steelers!

So enjoy the game and be sure to follow BTSC for all the latest news surrounding the team throughout the game and afterwards!

HERE WE GO STEELERS!

Steelers vs. Jaguars, Week 11: 2nd quarter in-game update

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 11/18/2018 - 1:31pm

The Pittsburgh Steelers are back, and we keep you up to date with those who aren’t able to watch the game live.

1st Quarter In-Game Update

The Jaguars had put together an impressive drive, all driven by the running game. Whether it was Leonard Fournette, T.J. Yeldon or Carlos Hyde, the Jaguars were averaging well over 4 yards per carry, and eating up the clock.

To start the 2nd quarter the Jaguars were well within Pittsburgh territory, but an untimely holding penalty pushed the drive backwards, and forced a 48-yard Josh Lambo field goal to give Jacksonville an early 3-0 lead.

Near midway through the second quarter, the Steelers’ offense had yet to achieve a first down without the assistance of a penalty. On the other side, the Jaguars continued to gash the Pittsburgh defense in the running game. However, the bend, but don’t break, defense was able to hold Jacksonville to another field goal to make the score 6-0 with 8:34 left in the second quarter.

The next possession was more of the same for the Steelers’ offense, as Roethlisberger’s first pass was intercepted by Jalen Ramsey giving the ball right back to the Jaguars. However, Blake Bortles and company still hadn’t hit pay dirt yet, and another Lambo field goal made the score 9-0 with 3:35 left in the second quarter.

Jordan Berry continued to have a tremendous day, but it also meant more and more failed conversions by the Steelers’ offense. After a three-and-out by Jacksonville, the Steelers got the ball back with 1:16 left and no timeouts trying to put up their first points of the game before halftime.

Rather than putting up points, Ben Roethlisberger threw his second interception of the game when Barry Church nabbed the pass intended for Antonio Brown. Nonetheless, Jacksonville wasn’t able to convert the turnover into points, instead punting the ball back to the abysmal Pittsburgh offense.

Despite a dominant performance by Jacksonville, they led only 9-0 heading into halftime, with Pittsburgh to get the ball to start the third quarter.

Steelers vs. Jaguars, Week 11: 1st quarter in-game update

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 11/18/2018 - 12:37pm

The Pittsburgh Steelers are back, and we keep you up to date with those who aren’t able to watch the game live.

The Pittsburgh Steelers entered their Week 11 game vs. the Jacksonville Jaguars on a five game winning streak. Conversely, the Jaguars entered this home contest on a five game losing streak. Would one of the two streaks end? Or would it be more of the same for these two AFC teams?

After winning the opening coin toss, the Steelers elected to defer their possession to the second half, giving Blake Bortles and company the football to start the game. After Chris Boswell slipped on the kickoff, the Jaguars’ offense was only able to muster one first down before punting the football to Pittsburgh.

The entire quarter featured more punts than explosive plays, and the Jaguars had the ball, and were moving, as the first quarter came to a close.

The score: 0-0

Steelers vs. Jaguars: First-half live updates, injury news and open thread

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 11/18/2018 - 11:46am

The Steelers are back on the gridiron! The 2018 regular season is here with the Steelers and Jaguars locking horns in Week 11. Keep tabs on all things Black-and-gold with our updates and open thread.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are back on the field in the 2018 regular season as they prepare to face off against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 11.

Throughout the game, be sure to check back here for score updates, injury news and any breaking news from those on the sidelines following the team live. You can also follow along in the Twitter feed below.

For those wondering, you can enjoy some lively commentary with the best Steelers fans across the globe in the open thread for all BTSC members in the comment section below. Let’s remember to keep it clean, respect everyone’s thoughts and ideas, and ultimately remember we’re all here for the same reason—to root on the Steelers!

So enjoy the game and be sure to follow BTSC for all the latest news surrounding the team throughout the game and afterwards!

HERE WE GO STEELERS!

NFL Picks: Predicting the winner of Steelers vs. Jaguars, Week 11

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 11/18/2018 - 11:14am

Time to pick the winner of Steelers vs. Jaguars!

The Pittsburgh Steelers and Jacksonville Jaguars will go head-to-head in Week 11 in a rematch of their two 2017 contests which were tilted in Jacksonville’s favor at Heinz Field.

Different venue. Different team. Different year. Steelers fans are hoping for a different outcome of the Week 11 showdown.

After this game was flexed out of prime time, largely because of the Jaguars’ poor record heading into the game, the Steelers will be looking to put a huge dent into the Jaguars’ playoff hopes with a road win over their rivals from the AFC South.

While their records might seem as if this is an easy pick, there is something deep inside of me which knows this game will be far more difficult than most believe.

The Jaguars’ defense is still stout, and the red-hot Steelers’ offense will have to perform well to win the football game. Oh, and there is that pesky Leonard Fournette the Pittsburgh defense will have to stop to force the game into Blake Bortles’ hands.

This is the classic game where you literally throw out records, and prepare yourself or a brawl. Could this game be a blow out, similar to the shellacking the Steelers gave the Carolina Panthers in Week 10? Absolutely, but I wouldn’t put money on it.

I think the game will be close in the first half, with the Steelers pulling away in the second half. Some garbage time points for Jacksonville will make the final score closer than it was in reality.

My prediction:

Steelers - 31
Jaguars - 20

What is your prediction for the game? Let us know in the comment section below!

Steelers Film Room: Jon Bostic showing critics he is not a liability in coverage

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 11/18/2018 - 10:45am

Jon Bostic was supposed to be vulnerable in coverage, but he has been anything but so far this season.

The criticism of Jon Bostic’s coverage skill set churned out from Pittsburgh Steelers fans before the ink was even dry on his two-year contract. A chunk of the criticism was founded, another chunk of it was due to him being poorly schemed into positions he was bound to struggle with. The criticism hit a crescendo when three-time Pro Bowl tight end Travis Kelce dismantled the Steelers with seven receptions for 109 yards and two touchdowns during the Kansas City Chiefs Week 2 win. Undoubtedly other SB Nation boards have been filled with disgruntled fans this year with Kelce amassing 57 receptions for 787 yards and six touchdowns so far on the season. In fans’ minds they may remember what Kelce did weeks ago, but what has Bostic done for the Steelers lately?

In the Carolina Panthers Week 10 game, Pro Football Reference credited Bostic with eight of his 10 tackles during passing plays. What makes the number of tackles even more impressive is the yardage and the number of tackles against slippery running back Christian McCaffrey and speedy (4.42-yard dash at the Combine.) wideout DJ Moore. McCaffrey had a solid game receiving against the Steelers totaling five receptions for 61 yards and two touchdowns. Out of the five receptions, Bostic was involved in three, helping limit McCaffrey to 16 yards. Bostic was in on three tackles of Moore limiting the 2018 first round selection to 19 yards on the grabs.

Bustic’s cover skills will be needed during the Jacksonville Jaguars game as T.J. Yeldon leads the team in reception with 42 to go along with four touchdowns. Leonard Fournette is again healthy and has nine receptions over three games and one touchdown.

Steelers fans need to understand the limitations that Bostic has. Fans also cannot expect Bostic to blanket elite tight ends in the league when premiere cover linebackers Bobby Wagner and Telvin Smith struggle against the same tight ends. Hopefully Sunday the Steelers coaching staff will ask Bostic to cover areas on the field he is best suited for as they did in the Carolina game. Steelers fans do not want to see Yeldon rumbling for another 40 yard gain after a quick dump off again while Bostic is 20 yards down the field covering seldom targeted tight end James O’Shaughnessy.

He might have his limitations in coverage, but give credit to the Steelers for noticing his shortcomings and being able to scheme and adjust around him.

Steelers release list of inactive players for Week 11 vs. Jaguars

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 11/18/2018 - 10:34am

Stephon Tuitt and Marcus Gilbert will join a familiar list of names on the sidelines this Sunday.

The Pittsburgh Steelers list of inactive players for Week 11 should come as no real surprise after Marcus Gilbert and Stephon Tuitt were ruled out of the game due to injury on Friday. They will once again be joined by a group of familiar faces who have become the core names regularly sitting on game day.

Missing his fourth game in a row and fifth of the season, Gilbert will be replaced by Matt Feiler in the starting lineup. With Tuitt sidelined, Tyson Alualu will be the next man up in his place and L.T. Walton will get a rare opportunity to suit up as his backup.

Mason Rudolph, Zach Banner, Brian Allen and Marcus Allen have become fixtures on the inactive list this season, with Justin Hunter apparently the newest permanent member having seemingly lost his battle with James Washington for the job as the fourth choice receiver on game day.

The full list of inactive players for the Jaguars. Sadly, Landry Jones will not be in uniform today.

The following players are inactive in today's game against the Steelers. pic.twitter.com/sWbrNDPY8q

— #DUUUVAL (@Jaguars) November 18, 2018

Predicting the Steelers’ Week 11 inactive list vs. the Jaguars

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 11/18/2018 - 9:52am

One change on the injury front should be the only difference from Week 10.

The only two injured players on the game status report play the same positions as the ones from last week. Therefore the inactive list for Week 11 should be pretty straight forward.

Game Status

Out:

OT Marcus Gilbert (knee)

DT Stephon Tuitt (elbow)

Here are the possibilities to end up inactive for Week 11:

Definitely:

OT Marcus Gilbert- since teams do not have to disclose if players have a surgical procedure, it wouldn’t be shocking to find out Gilbert already had something done to fix his knee. Regardless, Matt Feiler gets a chance yet again to show his competency as a spot-starter.

DT Stephon Tuitt- it seemed as if Tuitt was really starting to get going this season. Hopefully he’s only out one week much like Mike Hilton was when he suffered a very similar injury earlier this year.

Most Likely:

QB Mason Rudolph- depending on who gets the start in Baltimore this week, Rudolph could be the highest drafted QB from 2018 who has yet to start a regular-season game.

OT Zach Banner- no silly play-on-words this week. Banner is inactive again while occupying one of two roster spots who could be at risk if the Steeler’s need to add depth at another position.

S Marcus Allen- speaking of players who could lose their spot on the 53-man roster, Marcus Allen could end up on the practice squad if the Steeler’s were in a pinch.

CB Brian Allen- it appears as if this Allen would be the next man up if someone went down in the secondary. This week everyone is healthy so both Allens sit this one out.

Possibly:

WR Justin Hunter- it just doesn’t make sense to play Hunter over Washington at this point. But Hunter surprisingly got the helmet against Cleveland so nothing is guaranteed.

Unlikely:

WR James Washington- although he was never targeted against Carolina, Washington did play 46 of the 58 offensive snaps. Look for at least a couple passes to be thrown his way in Jacksonville.

Projected Inactive List:
  1. Mason Rudolph
  2. Zach Banner
  3. Marcus Allen
  4. Brian Allen
  5. Marcus Gilbert
  6. Stephon Tuitt
  7. Justin Hunter

If ever there was a week to bet big on the inactive list for the Steelers, this would be it. Barring a crazy injury or illness, I don’t see how the Steelers would go in any other direction.

Feel free to list your projected inactives in the comments below.

Three Steelers who need to step up in order to beat the Jaguars in Week 11

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 11/18/2018 - 9:00am

The Steelers want to win 6 straight games? They need some big contributions from these three players.

Short and sweet — the Jaguars were victorious in the two match ups last year, with one of those coming in the playoffs. They weren’t just wins, they were beat downs with Jacksonville being the more physical of the two teams. Even with the lopsided records, I fully expect another hard nosed game on Sunday. I feel if these three Pittsburgh Steelers players have great games they will have their sixth win in row.

Ben Roethlisberger

The simple truth is Ben has had struggles going against past Jacksonville teams. Dating back to 2004, Ben has had a 4-5 record vs. Jacksonville. The two thrashings in 2017 include a home playoff loss. Speaking for myself, those two games were physically dominating by the Jaguars and they have brought the wood in other meetings.

In those 9 games Ben, has a decent 62% completion percentage going 209 of 336, throwing 17 touchdowns to 12 interceptions. The alarming number is the amount of sacks taken, a total of 30, along with 6 fumbles and three of those recovered by the defense.

The five losses alone account for all 12 of those interceptions. It’s up to Ben to protect the ball and it’s up to our O-line to keep Ben upright. Both the line and Ben have been playing lights out but proving it against a defense that has dominated in recent past will be yet another test for the 2018 season. Don’t let that record fool ya.

Matt Feiler

Piggy backing off of the stat above, thirty sacks is way to many to be giving up. Jacksonville can get after the QB.

Matt Feiler has been playing solid as a back up, but I believe he will get plenty attention on Sunday. The unit as a whole have kept Ben upright and it will need another solid outing from the former fourth year undrafted player. Mike Munchak continues to churn out solid lineman.

Yannick Ngakoue and Calais Cambell can bring it, and it’s up to Feiler and Company to stop that from happening.

Javon Hargrave

Javon had 6 tackles against a Carolina team that posed many challenges and questions, and those questions were answered. He will need to have another solid game going against a thumping runner in Leonard Fournette.

Take into account that Stephon Tuitt will likely not play and you have yourself a need for not only Hagrave but Alualu to play big. The rotation of that line also changes and that will be something to watch. Hopefully the guy mentioned in the opening can turn this into a one dimensional game where the Steelers can just pin their ears back and go.

...

I gave you my trio, time to tell me what your thinking in the comment section below.

NFL Odds and Predictions: Picking the full Week 11 slate of games against the spread

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 11/18/2018 - 8:22am

We make our picks against the spread and versus the totals for every game on the NFL schedule in Week 11.

With the Cincinnati Bengals set take on the Baltimore Ravens this Sunday, the Pittsburgh Steelers could potentially take a two game lead in the race for the division title if they can take care of business against the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Ravens can do them a favor at home.

At just 5.5-points, it is unusual to note that the Steelers are the third biggest favorites of the week behind the New Orleans Saints (-8) and Los Angeles Chargers (-7). With the bookmakers seemingly expecting a number of close contests on Sunday, there could be value to found in a number of games this weekend.

The Indianapolis Colts giving up just 1.5-points at home to the Tennessee Titans is sure to attract some interest, as are the Houston Texans giving up only a field goal on the road against the Washington Redskins. Picking the outright winner in these games is likely to give you the winner against the spread in Week 11, but that might be easier said than done for us given our recent track record.

Selections have been made using the consensus Las Vegas odds from VegasInsider.com as of Saturday night and we encourage you to play along with us by adding your picks below.

James Washington has not been productive, so it is time for the Steelers to use their TEs more

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 11/18/2018 - 7:20am

The Steelers are looking for a No. 3 wide receiver, but that might just be their tight ends, not James Washington.

Pittsburgh Steelers fans have been seeing rookie wide receiver James Washington on the field a lot this season but the receiver has been lacking one important thing. Production. Washington has been in on 331 plays (51.88% of all offensive plays) and has seven receptions on 19 targets. Have his paltry totals been due to play calling or a lack of trust by quarterback Ben Roethlisberger or the lack of getting open? An offensive weapon not being used against the Jacksonville Jaguars may hinder the Steelers from keeping their winning streak alive. Steelers fans do not want to be reminded again that 42 offensive points might not be enough to win a game against Jacksonville. Cutting back Washington’s snap counts while increasing the Steelers use of two tight ends may be the firepower the Steelers need if the game ends up being a shootout. No time like the present to carry out more two tight ends and sending an unproductive Washington to the bench.

The Steelers passing game is humming along with the sixth most passing yards, sixth most pass attempts and seventh most passing TDs in the NFL. On Sunday Pittsburgh will need every weapon on the field when they face the Jaguars and their top-ranked pass defense. Steelers fans can still remember the bitter taste in their mouths at the hands of the Jaguars during last season’s playoffs. The Steelers put up an impressive 42 points but still fell short.

Tight end Jesse James has seen the field on 58% (370)of offensive snaps and turned those snaps into 22 receptions on 28 targets and a pair of touchdowns. The athletically gifted Vance McDonald has made the most of his 47% (299) of snaps with 30 receptions on 38 targets and a pair of touchdowns.

Week 6 against the Cincinnati Bengals game exemplifies what the Steelers can carry out with two tight ends while limiting Washington’s time on the field. Steelers tight ends accounted for 14 receptions for 129 yards and six drive-extending first downs. While the offense put up 481 total yards, Washington did not secure his lone target on 16 snaps.

Looking at the number of receptions the Jaguars, fans may think this is a poor time to implement a high rate of two tight end. Jacksonville has given up 33 receptions which is fourth best in the league. But those catches have been for 431 yards and six touchdowns. The number of touchdowns is tied for third most in the NFL. In years past, Telvin Smith has been one of the league leaders in defending against the pass. That is not the case this year as he has struggled.

While the Jacksonville defense held Rob Gronkowski to two receptions for 15 yards, Travis Kelce roughed them up (5-100) as did Zach Ertz (4-26-1 TD which was the game-deciding score.). The Indianapolis Colts game is the one that hits home on running with two tight ends. Jack Doyle and Eric Ebron combined for six catches on six targets for 105 yards and two touchdowns.

Pittsburgh sits second in the AFC and would earn a first-round bye in the playoffs. A win would not only keep them there but also keeps their confidence sky high. A loss could throw them back behind the Houston Texans and the New England Patriots not to mention within striking distance of the Cincinnati Bengals. With seven games to go there are plenty of stumbling blocks left on the Steelers schedule.

Limiting the snaps of an unproductive Washington while using two tight ends against a vulnerable Jaguars defense just makes sense when connecting the dots. Using James and McDonald as the Steelers did against the Bengals will go a long way to wrapping up a much-needed road victory. A win against the Jaguars will also dull the pain stemming from that fateful 45-42 loss last January and inch closer to evening the series between the two teams which Jacksonville leads 14-11.

2018 NFL Distribution Map: Will you see Steelers vs. Jaguars in Week 11

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 11/18/2018 - 6:14am

Check and see if you will be lucky enough to get to watch the Steelers in Week 11 in the comfort of your own home.

If you were like me, before I decided to sign up for the DirecTV Sunday Ticket package every week I was wondering whether I’d be able to watch my beloved Steelers in the comfort of my own home, or if I’d have to go elsewhere to watch the game.

Before there were websites devoted to this, it meant a lengthy trip on the television guide screen to see which game was scheduled to air, but now it’s just a click away.

So, will you get to see the Steelers and Jaguas go head-to-head in Week 11? Check out which games you’ll see in your local viewing area.

For those who want to know which game they’ll see, check the map below, courtesy of 506 Sports:

[Steelers fans: Sign up for FanPulse, our weekly Steelers survey]

Week 11

RED - Steelers at Jaguars
GREEN - Texans at Redskins
YELLOW - Bengals at Ravens
LIGHT BLUE - Titans at Colts
BLUE - Broncos at Chargers (LATE)
ORANGE - Raiders at Cardinals (LATE)

So, are you lucky enough to be able to watch the game live in your own home, or are you one of many who will have to find other means to view the game? Either way, today is the day to get pumped!!

HERE WE GO!!

Burning Questions Surrounding the Steelers vs. Jaguars Week 11 game

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 11/18/2018 - 5:23am

The Pittsburgh Steelers and Jacksonville Jaguars will go head-to-head in Week 11, and there is a lot to talk about.

The two teams scheduled to meet at 1:00 P.M. on Sunday in Jacksonville are at opposite ends of the spectrum. The Steelers are riding a five game win streak while the Jaguars have lost the last five games.

Looking back to being swept last year, and ultimately having the season ending at home in the Divisional Round of the AFC Playoffs, one would think that would play heavily in the minds of the players and maybe even the coaching staff.

The Jaguars have seemingly always played Pittsburgh tough and the games have resembled that of the Pittsburgh/Baltimore rivalry. I don’t think we should take those guys for what the standings suggest. The question is, if we lose this game will it get labeled as a “typical Tomlin loss, playing down to the competition” ?

Jalen Ramsey

I’m sure some remember the article in GQ where Ramsey spouts off about the quarterbacks currently playing in the league and his comments regarding Ben.

On Ben Roethlisberger: ”Decent.” “It’s not Big Ben, it’s [Antonio Brown]. Big Ben slings the ball a lot of the time. He just slings it, and his receivers go get it... I played him twice last year, and he really disappointed me.”

Ben’s response: “That’s the awesome thing about this country we live in,” Roethlisberger said a few hours before practice at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex. “Everyone is entitled to their opinion. I think he’s a fantastic football player.

“We play them at some point. They got the best of us last year, so I guess he has the rght to say whatever he wants.”

This stat may say it all, 0 touchdowns to 3 interceptions and a QBR of 56 going against Jalen Ramsey.

Looking at the game and more so at our quarterback, Ben has a stubborn side, bordering on “I’ll show you” mentality.

Does Ben still remember the comments that Ramsey made?

Will Ben go into full bore gun slinging mode and attempt to prove Ramsey wrong. Or will he be the “New” Ben and take what’s being given by the defense and run within the framework of the offense?

Is it annoying to hear a Jags fan say Duuuuuuuuuuval?

Let’s get fired up for the game in the comment section below!! HERE WE GO!!

How consistency is the one lacking factor for the Jaguars as they prepare for the Steelers

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 11/18/2018 - 4:23am

I get to get the low down on the Jacksonville Jaguars by going behind enemy lines to get the answers we all want to know.

The Pittsburgh Steelers and Jacksonville Jaguars are preparing to go head-to-head in Week 11, and although disappointing, the Jaguars pose a serious threat to the 6-2-1 Steelers.

To get a better handle on the game from the other side of the fence, I reached out to Ryan O’Bleness of Big Cat Country. I was able to ask him some questions about the upcoming game. Check out the Q&A session below, and be sure to check out Big Cat Country for the best news on this matchup, from the Jaguars’ perspective.

Blake Bortles has been a mess this season. What are the theories on his lack of consistency? After all, this team beat New England in Week 2.

You used the word “consistency,” and that is the exact issue that has plagued Bortles throughout his entire career. He can have a four-game stretch where he plays incredibly well, with accurate passes, good decision-making and limited turnovers, but then go on a two or three game stretch where he almost single-handily losses the game for the Jaguars because of things like bad reads, forced throws and/or far too many giveaways. And because of this, I don’t think fans of the Jacksonville Jaguars will ever be truly comfortable with him under center. It’s hard to say why he is this way, but at this point it is evident that he is who he is -- a subpar quarterback, who can occasionally light it up, but not often enough. Bortles has flawed mechanics, which have improved over the years, but still aren’t great. He has a tendency to make poor decisions. He won’t win in most situations where opposing defenses put the game on his shoulders. It’s really a combination of things. The Jaguars’ struggles shouldn’t be blamed completely on Blake -- the offensive line has been awful/injured, his receivers drop a ton of passes and the defense has had its struggles -- but he is the main culprit on most weeks (he certainly was not this past week in Indianapolis, though).

Leonard Fournette has finally returned to the lineup, but the Jaguars also lost their center Brandon Linder. Talk about how this impacts the Jaguars’ offense, and the depth situation filling in.

While it was nice to have Leonard Fournette back in the lineup on Sunday, -- he totaled 109 yards and two touchdowns through the air and on the ground -- the running game itself was still poor. The offensive line struggled to generate a push, and Fournette averaged just 2.2 yards per carry (53 yards on 24 attempts). Still, it was good to see Fournette healthy and getting so many touches without re-injuring his hamstring. At the very least, he made the Colts’ defense account for the run, and helped open up the passing game for Bortles, who had one of his best performances of the season. Fournette tore up the Steelers last year, so I am hopeful that another week healed from the lingering quad issue will allow for another strong performance, but Jacksonville’s running game woes have been far from solved. The Jaguars lack playmakers at the wide receiver and tight end position, so the running game has to get going if the team wants to have a shot at beating the extremely hot Steelers on Sunday, albeit with a depleted offensive line against a stout rush defense.

The Jaguars have been bitten hard by the injury bug in 2018, which is the complete opposite of the successful 2017 season. The Brandon Linder injury hurts. He is the No. 7 ranked center in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus, and one of the few Jaguars playing with any kind of consistency along the offensive line. Tyler Shatley is a capable backup, but he’s not Brandon Linder. Left tackle Cam Robinson tore his ACL early in the season, and his backup Josh Wells also went to IR, so Jacksonville is already playing its third-and-fourth string tackles on Bortles’ blind side, and several of the other offensive linemen have been playing dinged up all year. It’s not a good situation.

How do the Jaguars view the Steelers, from a rivalry standpoint? The two teams have a pretty rich history, and the Jags have done damage in Pittsburgh throughout the years. The Steelers’ fan base has grown irritated of the boys from Duval, but what about the other way around?

Personally, I would argue that Pittsburgh is Jacksonville’s biggest non-divisional rival, and it’s hard to speak for the fan base as a whole, but I would think the majority agrees with me. Of course, there is a long history between the two franchises, as both competed in the AFC Central from Jacksonville’s first year of competition in 1995 through the 2001 season. I wouldn’t say the hatred from Jags fans is quite as strong as it is for a team like the Tennessee Titans, but it’s clear that there is disdain between the two franchises and fanbases. The Jags have been a constant thorn in the Steelers’ side, with an all-time record of 14-11, including 2-0 in the playoffs, so as you have pointed out, it’s not surprising that the Pittsburgh faithful isn’t too keen on the Jaguars. I am sure calling Pittsburgh “Duval North” didn’t exactly get many laughs from Steeler Nation, either.

The most surprising aspect of the Jaguars’ slow start has been the defense. What is going on which is causing this team to not be as dominant as everyone expected?

I wish I had a definitive answer to this question. The unit looked lost and had several communication errors, especially in the first half, this past week at Lucas Oil Stadium. The defense has struggled to create turnovers and get sacks, which it was known for in 2017. Additionally, blown assignments and a seemingly inability to play zone coverage concepts has allowed opposing offenses to shred the secondary from time to time. The odd thing, though, is that statistically speaking, the unit is still doing very well. Despite being carved up by Andrew luck, the Jags still rank No. 1 against the pass in the NFL, and No. 3 in the league in total defense. The unit has had its struggles stopping the run, too, though the last matchup against the Colts was opposite -- couldn’t stop the pass, but held Indy to just 81 rushing yards (and 53 of those came on one run). Part of that could be because A.J. Bouye was out for a second consecutive game with a calf injury. To me, though, the fact that the Jaguars are not getting to the quarterback in time (pressures have been there, but not sacks), and not generating giveaways is the biggest reason for the demise. I think head coach Doug Marrone and defensive coordinator Todd Wash need to take a hard look at the scheme this week and make necessary adjustments because whatever they’re doing isn’t working.

How do you see this game shaking out, and what is your prediction?

I don’t think records matter in a game like this where there will be a lot of passion due to the rivalry, and perhaps anger at the fact that the game was flexed out of a prime time slot, so I expect a close, hard-fought game as it usually is between these two franchises. But at the end of the day, it would be irresponsible for me to pick the Jaguars given how both teams are playing. I expect it to be close entering the fourth quarter, with the Steelers getting a late touchdown in the final few minutes to seal it, as I’m sure the Jacksonville offense will turn the ball over on the ensuing potential game-tying drive. Plus, the Steelers are looking for revenge from last season.

Score prediction: Steelers, 28, Jaguars 20

The Steelers mic’d up during their Week 10 win over the Panthers is fantastic

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 11/17/2018 - 4:45pm

Sit back, and enjoy the show!

There are some things which I can watch over, and over, and over again.

The video below would be one of those things.

Call it envy of the superstars I grew up putting on a giant pedestal in my mind, or just a general curiosity as to what is said and done on an NFL football field, these mic’d up videos are must-watch TV for me.

When NFL Film was able to capture the sound from the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 52-point output vs. the Carolina Panthers on Thursday Night Football in Week 10, the end result was pure magic.

So, without further ado, sit back and enjoy the near 5 minute video with some tremendous sound coming from Ben Roethlisberger and Mike Tomlin both wearing the microphones for this prime time matchup.

Man, this is amazing stuff.

"Time to shine."

Big Ben and Mike Tomlin were #NFLMicdUp in the @Steelers' Week 10 WIN! (via @NFLFilms) pic.twitter.com/dbIxRgy86v

— NFL (@NFL) November 17, 2018

Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black-and-gold as they prepare for the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 11.

Random Thoughts from a Black-and-Gold Mind: Voldemort, Klinger and Blazing Hip-Hop Stars edition

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 11/17/2018 - 2:02pm

BTSC’s Version of the 1979 Michael Jackson album, Off The Wall, shares his unhinged Steelers meanderings with you.

With another crazy Pittsburgh Steeler “Week That Was” in the books, my black-and-gold mind is humming like a dirty diaper in a Cuban safety deposit box. As always, I feel compelled to pass the ravings on to you. But first, I must offer up apologies for any offense that was taken after my last submission. So a clog-closet full of clean slates to be willfully wiped goes out to and for the following...

  • Teasing the fans with the possibility of a Styx biopic called “Renegade”.
  • Bringing up Erika Alexander’s Cousin Pam from “The Cosby Show”...yet again.
  • Labeling the fallen star of said show above as a roofie distributor.
  • Fredo
  • Fibbing about writing a screenplay about Artie Burns.
  • 1912 boat passengers
  • Harvey Clayton

Now That I apologized, I urge KFC to do so for that “Dirty Dancing” parody with Colonel Sanders and Mrs. Buttersworth while trying to peddle chicken and waffles. I’m just glad they didn’t recreate the love scene from that movie. That would have been as nauseating as maple syrup and chicken. But then again...hmmmmmmm?

And now for the latest edition of Random Thoughts from a Black-and-Gold Mind.

  • I hear a lot of fans, even Ben Roethlisberger, talking about the need to talk about Le’Veon Bell again being never. However, that is far from the case. An upset loss, the New England game, the playoffs, a missed Super Bowl or a James Conner injury and everyone will be like Snoop Dogg. But instead of having “Gin and Juice” on the tongue, It will be comparisons of Jim and Juice.
  • The transition tag still lingers, as well. If that is placed by the Steelers on No. 26, this whole fiasco could be resurrected in February of 2019. So just when you and Ben thought you were done with Le’Veon, he could still remain in drama with the Steelers.
  • The above scenario reminds me of Roseanne Barr. Just when you thought you’ve seen the end of her tv family last year when “Roseanne” got cancelled, the franchise was ultimately revived in the form of “The Conners”. How ironic is that?
  • Speaking of James, his durability concerns me. If the powerful back gets injured, Jaylen Samuels and Stevan Ridley don’t exactly instill fear in defenses. It’s kind of like Coy and Vance Duke driving the General Lee after their cousins (Bo and Luke) disappeared in 1982 on “The Dukes of Hazard”. If I were Kevin Colbert, I’d kick the tires on C.J. Anderson and even call on the football shape of Demarco Murray. The last one is definitely a long shot though.
  • No that the Bell saga is over for the season, maybe tv can get back to important stuff like State Farm officially disclosing who really burnt down Cheryl’s she-shed. My guess is her husband Victor did it...or maybe even the ghost of “Left-Eye” Lopes. Andre Rison never saw that mansion arson coming.
  • One last thing about Bell. I have heard some disapproval of the raiding of the AWOL RB’s locker. People are so righteous behind a keyboard. This stuff was hardly anything Bell left behind. Shoe and equipment companies send free merchandise to the players. He cleaned that locker out in January. Dimebags, watches and Iphones were long gone. But the display was put on mostly for fun/one last message. The organization has boxed up the belongings and will ship them to Bell.
  • It’s taken awhile, but like Jamie Farr’s portrayal of Klinger on M*A*S*H...Jesse James is finally getting noticed for elevating a supporting role into one of respect. No. 81 is very much a valuable part of the cast.
  • Speaking of respect, Mike Tomlin is enjoying one of his finest seasons at the helm of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Both inside the locker room and on the football field, he has held this team together in a way most couldn’t.
  • Ryan Switzer loves being a Steeler and it shows. Colbert really found a great puzzle piece here. This deal makes previous trades for J.J. Wilcox, Josh Scobee and Justin Gilbert look like...well ahhhh...trades for J.J. Wilcox, Josh Scobee and Justin Gilbert.
Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images
  • To appease the fan base that unrealistically thinks there should be no mention of Bell at all, from this point forward I pledge to attempt to go the way of J.K. Rowling characters and label Bell as they do Voldemort....“He Who Shall Not Be Named”. Not that I’m bowing to the masses, but more for the fact that the storyline is complete for the year and mostly for the reference to Harry Potter.

And finally...

  • I wonder what J.J. Wilcox, Josh Scobee and Justin Gilbert are doing these days.

Untill next time, I urge you to ponder the significance of the poignant lyrics of Lionel Richie and the Commodores’ 1979 smash “Sail On”.

Sail on, down the line

About half a mile or so

And I don’t really wanna know ah

Where you’re going

Maybe once or twice you see

Time after time I tried

Hold on to what we got

But now you’re going

And I don’t mind about the things you’re gonna say Lord

I gave all my money and my time

I know it’s a shame

But I’m giving you back your name

Take that for what it’s worth, Don’t Stop Shalievin’ and Go Steelers.

Bold and bizarre predictions for Steelers vs. Jaguars, Week 11

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 11/17/2018 - 12:48pm

BTSC’s Nostradumbass predicts the Steelers’ upcoming game vs. the Jaguars.

The 6-2-1 Steelers, on a five-game streak, venture to the dangerous confines of Everbank Field to take on a dangerous and underachieving team from the AFC South. Will they conquer the demons that first appeared last October and extended to January? Will Steeler fans outnumber Jags fans? Will Ben surface into a pick-6 machine against the NFL’s top-ranked defense? Will a missed Boswell XP kill the Steelers?

With these storylines, and more, I’ve compiled a list of predictions (some basic, and some utterly idiotic) to look for in this Week 11 contest:

  • In a departure from what has sadly become the norm, Ben Roethlisberger does not throw a pick-six against the Jags.
  • Ben does not go sack or interception-free though.
  • Leonard Fournette scores twice, but the Steelers 4th-ranked rush defense keeps No. 27 under 60 yards.
  • Playing for Stephon Tuitt, Tyson Alualu registers a sack and a forced fumble of Blake Bortles.
  • At halftime at a Zaxby’s off of I-95, “He Who Shall Not Be Named” performs his latest rap single, “Raid my locker, but you can’t steal Juice” to confused tourists and employees.
  • To commemorate the 55th anniversary of the debut of the first push button phone, JuJu Smith-Schuster rejoices a touchdown by pulling out a 15-lb, beige jobby from 1963 and attempting to live stream. Upon realizing you can’t tweet on the artifact, No. 19 tries to go to his backup plan but trips over the aforementioned phone’s cord instead.
  • Although friends, tensions rise between Jalen Ramsey and Antonio Brown.
  • Vance McDonald goes off in this game. Ben finds him over eight times.
  • Artie Burns, dreading the loneliness of the bench, makes his way to the upper-level pool and chills with the hot people.
  • In the end, the Steelers edge out the home team 27-23 to extend their winning streak to six.

...

Will any of this actually happen? I’ll bet at least one or two. Heck, maybe every one of them. Be sure to post your predictions — basic or bizarre — below.

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