Monday, January 06, 2014

Who Dey? The Bungles!

A pivotal moment: Antonio Brown's momentum carried him
out of bounds vs. Miami in the snow at Heinz Field
Steelers' players and coaches must've been saying, "That should've been us," while watching the Chargers push around the Bengals.

It's the Steelers' own fault.

Blessed with a soft schedule, the Steelers fell flat against six teams they should have beaten: Tennessee, Chicago, Oakland, Minnesota, Baltimore, Miami.

That's six losses to teams that were poor to middling, at best, this year. And that says all you need to know about the 2013 Steelers. As a team, average, at best. There is room for improvement.

What a miserable day Cincinnati fans endured on Sunday, what with the weather and that execrable mess they witnessed on the field. And what a long, miserable off-season it's going to be for Andy Dalton. We'd say it may be a short off-season for Marvin Lewis, but owner Mike Brown is likely to stay the course. On the other hand, if Brown wants to keep defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer ...

Philadelphia Eagles fans
So much for the Eagles. Philadelphia fans are famously gentle and forgiving, however, so all should be happy and upbeat in the City of Brotherly Love.

The Saints were impressive in Philadelphia, but their recent track record of playing on the road is not good. Winning in Seattle won't be easy, but something tells us NFL defensive coordinators are beginning to figure out Russell Wilson and the Seahawks.

We could see New Orleans defeating the Seahawks to set up a Saints-49ers NFC Championship game, and that would promise to be a doozy of a wildly entertaining affair.

The 49ers have a defense, a running game and a play-making quarterback. They look like the team to beat in the NFC. Although Carolina beat San Francisco by a score of 10-9 in Week 10 of the regular season, the playoffs are a different animal. Carolina is going to have to actually accomplish something in the post-season before they convince Joey Porter's Pit Bulls they're legit.

What a performance by Oliver Luck and the Indy Colts vs. the Chiefs on Saturday. Good for them. Down 28 points in the third quarter, so much had to go right for them to win that game, and it did, including Alex Smith's fumble on an early third-quarter strip-sack by Robert Mathis, the extraordinary leaping catch by Da'Rick Rodgers, solid running by Donald Brown and the big-time breakout game by T.Y. Hilton.

Now, all the Colts have to do is go to Massachusetts and defeat Tom Brady, Bill Bellichick and the Patriots. Good luck.

Since about mid-season, we've suspected that San Diego is better than most people acknowledge. Still, it will be a big challenge for the Chargers to go into Denver and beat the Broncos. But they did it just a few weeks ago. And Peyton Manning has gone one-and-done in the playoffs, what? Eight or nine times? Should be interesting.

The Bengals had Zoltan Mesko punting? After his lousy performance with the Steelers, we were surprised to see him back in the NFL.

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