It was no secret what kind of game this was going to be. The only secret was the craziness that ensued in the last two minutes of the game.
Good afternoon, Steelers Nation!
Unlike me, I hope all of you got plenty of sleep. There was obviously a lot to be excited about last night. Our beloved Steelers sent the Bengals packing after a 18-16 victory at Paul Brown Stadium. Not only will I cover the defense’s performance, but I’ll also touch on everything else. The last two minutes of the game was nothing short of chaos, so I can’t only cover the defense, I got to talk about everything.
Let’s get into it.
-This defense played lights out until the 4th quarter. They get ripped a lot (and for good reason) for their awful pass defense, and not getting off the field on third down. But I don’t think anyone expected them to hold the Bengals to zero points for over half the game. Obviously McCarron has quite a few weapons at his disposal, he’s also played pretty well since Week 14. Coming into this game, McCarron has thrown for 845 yards, six touchdowns, and only two interceptions. Our defense was given a tall order in the Bengals, and I think they responded well for the most part. It definitely could’ve been worse.
-I was pretty impressed with Fitzgerald Toussaint & Jordan Todman last night. I thought they responded well, given the fact of almost zero snaps on offense this season. I had a lot more confidence in our running-backs this time around than I did against the Ravens. Hats off to Kevin Colbert & Mike Tomlin for adding these guys to our backfield. I think our running game will be alright if DeAngelo Williams can’t play against Denver.
-You know the old saying “Great players make clutch plays.” Well, that’s exactly what one defender did. Just when we thought our season was over, Ryan Shazier stepped in and made a play when it mattered the most. On 1st and 10 with 1:35 left in the game, McCarron hands it off to Jeremy Hill, Shazier comes in and tears the ball out. The best part about that play is Shazier forcing the fumble right before Hill was down. If Shazier would’ve gotten there a mili-second later, Hill would’ve been ruled down.
Okay. I’m not the type of guy to rip my team after a win, at least not that much. All that really matters to me is getting the win. But since the Steelers struggled in some areas, and this is the playoffs, I’ll go ahead and point out a few things.
-For awhile it looked like our defense was going to post a shutout, but instead they allowed 16 points in the 4th quarter. On 3rd and 7 with 1:56 left to play, McCarron threw a 25 yard touchdown pass to A.J. Green. Green broke two tackles and walked into the end zone. It’s extremely important for the Steelers defense to close out games, if needed.
STARS OF THE GAME:
Ryan Shazier: for his 13 total tackles, and two forced fumbles.
Chris Boswell: for going 4/4 in his first playoff game, while it was raining.
Jarvis Jones: for playing the best game of his career. Jones finished with 4 total tackles and a strip sack.
And last, but certainly not least, Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant. Brown: for his 119 receiving yards, and his catch on 4th and 3 on the Steelers final drive. Bryant: for not only making an amazing TD catch, but also for accepting Ben’s challenge.
It stresses me out when our Steelers play games like this. They always gotta make things interesting. But if a win is the end result, all the stress, frustration and anger was worth it. These kinds of games always make for great stories and great memories. I can just picture all of Steelers Nation walking into work tomorrow like Vince McMahon walking to the ring. Well, at least that’s what I’ll be doing.
Here we go, Steelers! Here we go!