On the night of Sunday, Dec. 15, the Pittsburgh Steelers were poised to write at least the first few chapters chronicling their 2019 march toward “destination” playoffs. However, the Buffalo Bills hijacked the script forcing Pittsburgh to do a quick rewrite. The Bills won the game by the score of 17-10 even though the Steelers committed five turnovers; one fumble and four interceptions. Now that the Steelers have swallowed the dust against the Bills there are a few after-the-fact tidbits that are appearing on our plates at the coulda, wouda, shoulda buffet. According to Tim Benz via triblive.com, Steelers QB Devlin Hodges talked just a little bit more pregame “smackaroo” than he should have; providing a bit more bulletin board material than was needed. Benz wrote that Hodges said the following about the Buffalo defense; “They are just a solid group. They’ve got really good players all around. I don’t know if there is anything they do special. But they just are a solid, solid defense that comes each and every week. Ready to play.”
There will be no excuses offered here but the Steelers only lost the game by a mere 7 points! That doesn’t say a lot about the Bills’ offense, either. They had five turnovers and could only muster up 17 points. I am sure the rest of the AFC top-tier teams are shaking in their boots. The effort from the Steelers defense against the Bills bodes well for the team because the next opponent they will be traveling to face will be the NY Jets at the Meadowlands this Sunday, Dec. 22.
The week after, the Steelers will be making their way to M&T Bank Stadium to face the Ravens. The Ravens are on the verge of clinching the #1 seed in the AFC this weekend against the Cleveland Browns so the chances of Ravens’ all-universe QB Lamar Jackson playing any extended amount of time against the Black and Gold will be slim and none. That being said the Steelers might have a chance to be a bit more competitive against the Ravens’ second-string QB Robert Griffin III who will be subbing for “levitating” Lamar than having to chase down Mr. Jackson for 60 minutes. I can’t envision the Ravens packing it in against the Browns this week, blowing the #1 seed just to have to fight a desperate Steelers team whose playoff lives are dependent upon a win at Baltimore. There is also the possibility that the Ravens may be resting a few other starters as well.
The Steelers are not yet dead, but the nurse has her hand on the plug. This is my advice to whomever may be standing under center for the Steelers. Keep your mouth shut and your eyes open. Mr. Hodges, as far as you are concerned, there is no such thing as a normal NFL defense when your alma mater is Samford University. If you are fortunate enough to redeem yourself against the Jets this weekend you had better play like you are starving and a frankfurter will taste like medium, well-cooked filet mignon. Don’t trip because if you cost the team a chance at the playoffs many of the “duck” mania fans will be burning duck uniforms under Kaufmann’s clock. Remember you are only as good as your last win and if some fans have a parachute they will bail on you at 10,000 feet.
by Aubrey Bruce, For New Pittsburgh Courier