Monthly Archives: January 2021

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The 2002 season for the Pittsburgh Steelers was unique, to say the least. At the apex of the Cheap Tommy Maddox Jersey era, the offense was anchored by names like Hines Ward, Cheap Jerome Bettis Jersey, Antwaan Randle El, Plaxico Burress, Cheap Amos Zereoue Jersey and Jerame Tuman. Plenty of weapons on the offensive side of the ball, and the defense wasn’t to be out done. Cheap Joey Porter Jersey, Cheap Kendrell Bell Jersey, Cheap Clark Haggans Jersey, Cheap James Farrior Jersey, Cheap Larry Foote Jersey, Cheap Casey Hampton Jersey, Cheap Aaron Smith Jersey and Cheap Chris Hope Jersey kept the defense on lock down throughout the season.

With Maddox at quarterback, the team was able to complete an 11-5-1 record in 2003, enough to give them the AFC North title, and to host the Cleveland Browns in the Wild Card Round at Heinz Field. The Steelers swept the season series with the Browns in 2002, but their first game was won 16-13 in overtime, and their second victory by a 23-20 margin. Needless to say, no one thought this game would be a walk in the park, and it wasn’t.

It was the Browns who came out of the gate and dominated the game. Behind Kelly Holcomb’s ridiculous day, throwing for 429 yards and 3 touchdowns, the Browns were leading 24-7 in the 3rd quarter after Holcomb hit Dennis Northcutt for a 15-yard touchdown pass, but Bill Cowher’s football team wasn’t about to crawl into a hole and die. Instead, they started to chip away at the lead.

After Cheap Plaxico Burress Jersey and Cheap Jerame Tuman Jersey touchdowns, it looked like the Steelers were ready to complete their comeback, but a 22-yard touchdown pass to Andre Davis gave the Browns a 33-21 lead in the 4th quarter. After Cheap Hines Ward Jersey caught a 5-yard touchdown pass to narrow the deficit, the Steelers were still trailing 33-28, and would need another score to take the lead in the game.

Thanks to a huge Northcutt drop, the Steelers were able to get the ball with a chance to take the lead.

With under a minute left in the game, the Steelers found themselves in a 2nd and goal situation, and then this happened:

The comeback was complete, and after Cheap Antwaan Randle El Jersey two-point conversion pass to Tuman, it proved to be enough for the Steelers to claim the playoff win by the final score of 36-33. The win meant the Steelers were able to advance to the divisional round of the playoffs against the Tennessee Titans, but that is a game best left forgotten as it was the nightmare of DeWayne Washington’s phantom “roughing the kicker” penalty.

That is another Throwback Thursday for another time, but in the meantime, as the 2020 Steelers prepare for the Browns this Sunday at Heinz Field, always remember the last time the Browns were in the AFC Playoffs…and the Steelers sent them home on the back of Chris Fuamatu Ma’afala.

If you want to watch the entire game, shortened, check out the link below:

If you want to check out BTSC’s Retro Show podcast of this game, check it out in the player below:

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The Pittsburgh Steelers have plenty of members of their organization enshrined forever in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, OH. There are so many Steelers busts in those hallowed halls many who vote on who gets in, and is left out, think there are too many Steelers in the Hall of Fame.

That is what we like to call the Steelers bias.

Nonetheless, there are two prominent figures vying for induction in 2021, and with the vote/announcement just around the corner, members of the Hall of Fame Selection Committee spoke on behalf of those who are hoping to get the good news phone call in just a few weeks.

For the Steelers, the two who are finalists to be inducted in the Class of 2021 are Alan Faneca and Bill Nunn. Faneca has been a finalist the past several years, with this being Nunn’s first time being considered for induction.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame shared the video of the Committee members speaking for those involved, and you can see the two speeches below:

Ed Bouchette of The Athletic speaking on behalf of Cheap Alan Faneca Jersey

The HOF Selection Committee is meeting virtually today to discuss the candidates for the #PFHOF21 Class.

Next up: Selector @EdBouchette presented on behalf of Modern-Era Player Finalist @[email protected]

— Pro Football Hall of Fame (@ProFootballHOF) January 19, 2021
Former NFL executive Bill Polian speaking on behalf of Bill Nunn

The HOF Selection Committee is meeting virtually today to discuss the candidates for the #PFHOF21 Class.

Next up: Selector and HOFer Bill Polian presented on behalf of Contributor Finalist Bill Nunn. @steelers

— Pro Football Hall of Fame (@ProFootballHOF) January 19, 2021
Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black and gold as Faneca and Nunn hope to join Cheap Troy Polamalu Jersey, Bill Cowher and Cheap Donnie Shell Jersey getting inducted in the summer of 2021.

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Following their disappointing end to the season, the Pittsburgh Steelers now turn their focus to the free agency, the draft, and, ultimately, next season.

Given their salary cap constraints, the team will look very different next year. The 2020 rookie class will still be in black and gold, though. It was a solid year for the rookies, led by none other than Chase Claypool.

With JuJu Smith-Schuster almost certain to be playing elsewhere in 2021, Claypool will be in for a much bigger role. Based on what we saw in 2020, he’s probably ready for the challenge.

Claypool’s Stat Line: 109 targets, 62 receptions, 873 receiving yards, 11 total touchdowns

Statistically, it was an impressive rookie campaign for Claypool, but it could have been much more. There were some games where Claypool frustratingly didn’t see a high number of targets.

Early in the season, when things were going well, Claypool was one of the biggest reasons for offensive success. The team made it a point to get him the ball, and good things usually happened. But during Pittsburgh’s three-game losing streak following their 11-0 start, Claypool had just 18 total targets and eight receptions. Without that down stretch, “Mapletron” would’ve had an even more impressive rookie campaign.

At his season-ending media briefing, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said, “I’m not going to maintain the status quo and hope the outcome changes. That’s the definition of insanity.”

Less than a week later, Tomlin slipped on a straitjacket and is hoping no one notices.

Replacing Randy Fichtner with Matt Canada as offensive coordinator is a matter of same thing, different bobo.

Fichtner took over for Todd Haley in 2018 because Fichtner was the quarterbacks coach, Cheap Ben Roethlisberger Jersey was comfortable with him and he would do what Roethlisberger wanted. Roethlisberger was the real coordinator. Fichtner was his bobo. Fichtner had input, but Roethlisberger had final say. Like when he drew up plays in the dirt.

But, after collapsing at season’s end a third straight time, the Steelers needed to put somebody’s head on a pike to placate the citizens. Fichtner was already a popular scapegoat. Firing Tomlin wasn’t an option because the Steelers don’t do that.

So Fichtner took the fall. Now Canada will be Roethlisberger’s new bobo. The Steelers didn’t even interview anybody else.

Canada is marginally qualified at best. He’s never been a coordinator at the NFL level. In fact, this past season was his first coaching in the pros.

But he’s very qualified to be Roethlisberger’s bobo. As evidenced by the bells and whistles Canada wanted to implement in this season’s attack — pre-snap movement, jet motion, etc. — mostly disappearing after seeing use early.

Roethlisberger’s resume dictates he gets a lot of say to go along with a lot of respect.

But after the Steelers went from 11-0 to losing five of their last six and exiting in the first round of the playoffs in humiliating fashion thanks largely to Roethlisberger throwing four interceptions, an appointment like this should be somebody else’s to make.

Canada will maintain the status quo. It will be said that he won’t and for a while, he won’t. But ultimately, he will.

Tomlin will hope the outcome changes. He must be insane.

Roethlisberger also reportedly wants the Steelers to keep Cheap JuJu Smith-Schuster Jersey. That’s highly unlikely because of the Steelers’ cap situation, Smith-Schuster’s price tag, and his desire to take his nickel-dime TikTok-level branding to a bigger market.

But here’s betting that Roethlisberger’s OGs who may be on the cusp of retirement — like Cheap Maurkice Pouncey Jersey and Cheap David DeCastro Jersey — are persuaded to come back for one last historic effort. The history in question being Tomlin’s first-ever losing season.

Get everybody fitted for a straitjacket.

The Steelers often use the offensive coordinator as a sacrificial lamb, a way station used to divert blame from its proper destination by way of satiating the marks’ bloodlust.

The Steelers said Bruce Arians “retired” after the 2011 season. Now, as Tampa Bay’s head coach, he has the Buccaneers one win away from the Super Bowl. (Tom Brady has helped.)

Watch other NFL playoff teams execute their offense. They’re playing chess. The Steelers play checkers. Simple can be good. With the Steelers’ offense, it isn’t. The Steelers ran less play-action than any team in the league. Roethlisberger averaged 3 air yards per completion. Dead people fall forward farther.

But if you prefer old school, the quarterback sneak was on prominent display in the Divisional Round. The Steelers have a 6-foot-5 QB who gains 2 yards by merely leaning north, but won’t try a sneak at gunpoint.

So much was wrong with the Steelers offense. So much of it was self-inflicted.

You hear the Steelers don’t run the ball because they can’t. But for their first six games, they could. They averaged 130 rushing yards per game on 31 carries per.

Then they stopped running the ball. They topped 100 yards on the ground just once more. They never topped 27 carries in a game. They rushed 18 times or less in five games. They finished dead last in the NFL in rushing.

The Steelers stopped running. Then they stopped winning.

Canada will solve all that. Just like Arians “retired.” What a crock.

When evaluating rookies, though, statistics are not the end all be all. Claypool’s flashes of excellence are what make him exciting for 2021 and beyond. His versatility is perhaps his best asset. There are things he needs to work on. He has a full offseason to do that, though, something he didn’t have entering his rookie year.

The first thing that should excite fans about Claypool is his deep threat ability. Of course, a quarterback who can consistently throw the ball deep would help with this, too.

In 2020, Claypool’s average depth of his targets was 13.2 yards downfield, the highest on the team. He led all Steelers wide receivers in both yards before and after the catch per reception, 8.8 and 5.3, respectively. Something else that doesn’t show up in the stat sheet is the yardage that Claypool drew from defensive pass interference calls.

His combination of speed and size make him a real nightmare for cornerbacks deep down the field; many times, their only chance is to interfere to prevent a completion.

Another area in which Claypool surprised was his route running. His 2.5 average yards of separation won’t blow anyone away, but that’s the same number as guys like Michael Thomas and Amari Cooper.

Coming out of college, Claypool’s straight-line speed was well-respected, but scouts weren’t as high on his ability to change directions. For the most part, he ran crisp routes in 2020. His size and strength help him beat press coverage of undersized corners. Further, he has surprisingly quick feet for a guy his size. He gets out of his cuts well.

Those traits should excite fans, too, perhaps more than his home run play ability. When the deep ball isn’t there, Claypool can still be depended upon to get open. It will be especially critical next year if Ben Roethlisberger’s deep ball doesn’t improve.

Something Claypool will be working on in the offseason is his consistency on 50-50 balls. Sometimes, he puts his big frame to good use and overpowers corners to win jump balls. Other times, he gets good position but doesn’t fully extend his arms to highpoint the ball, resulting in incompletions that should be catches.

If the offense isn’t throwing deep again next year, Claypool will be thrown to a lot in traffic. Whether it’s a jump ball along the sideline or in the corner of the end zone, he will need to make the plays more consistently. Claypool will never be covered by a guy as big as him. He uses his body well in those situations but just needs to be more dependable at completing the catch. That will likely be a major point of emphasis this offseason.

The success of using Claypool in the run game early in the season faded as the year went on. With Matt Canada being promoted to offensive coordinator, jet sweeps and the like will likely be a staple in 2021. It’s an effective way to put Claypool’s open-field speed and physicality to good use. Canada will likely try to build off of the motions and sweeps, and Claypool will play an important role in that aspect.

All things considered, 2020 was a promising start to Claypool’s career. Coaching and quarterback play held him back at times. In 2021, there will be no “rookie wall” potentially holding him back. He’ll have a full offseason to really adapt to NFL life and build chemistry with his offensive teammates.

It’s hard to predict what next year will look like for the Steelers. “Prepare for the worst but hope for the best” is probably the best approach for fans. But whatever happens, Cheap Chase Claypool Jersey will play an important role. That’s for sure.