Sunday, October 25, 2015

A Messy Loss Featuring Sloppy Tackling and Unforced Miscues

Sloppy tackling. That was the thing that stood out most glaringly in the Steelers' loss in Kansas City. 

Albert Wilson
The defense forced no turnovers and didn't get off the field often enough on third down: The Chiefs converted 56 percent (9 of 16) of their third-down conversion attempts -- their best production of the year in that key category.

The linebackers were probably the guiltiest culprits when it came to sloppy tackling. The secondary was leaky, too, somehow allowing two heretofore obscure rookie receivers, Chris Conley (3rd rounder, out of Georgia) and Albert Wilson (undrafted free agent, Georgia State), to have breakout games with clutch, big catches for chunk plays in key situations. Together, the two caught nine passes for 134 yards. Inexcusable.

Travis Kelce victimizes Mike Mitchell
Add tight end Travis Kelce's 73 yards receiving on five receptions, and it's easy to see how Alex Smith cobbled together 250 yards passing even without his No. 1 receiver, Jeremy Maclin.

Perhaps most telling, the defense allowed some guy named, improbably, Charcandrick West to run through, over and around it for 110 yards and a touchdown. West's 110 yards just about cancelled out Le'Veon Bell's hard-earned 121 yards rushing.

Antonio Brown's miscue
On offense, unforced errors thwarted momentum at several key points. First of all, DeAngelo Williams's drop of an on-the-money pass right to his hands on the first drive that would have given the Steelers an early 7-3 lead instead of settling for a 3-3 tie.

After that, it seemed like an uphill slog through the rest of the game. Antonio Brown's rare drop/bumble also hurt.

Play calling was questionable, on both sides of the ball.  The Chiefs' offensive line had been a sieve prior to today, but the Steelers generated just one sack. The absence of Stephon Tuitt makes us wonder all the more why Cam Thomas remains on this team.

The Steelers just didn't make the big play(s) they needed in any phase of the game: offense, defense or special teams. The Chiefs did enough to win on their home turf; the Steelers made too many mistakes to win a road game vs. a 1-5 team.

Next up: The Cincinnati Bengals, coming off a bye week, visiting Heinz Field.

Game Day: Steelers at Kansas City

First NFL start for quarterback 
All eyes on him.  
Landry Jones was dandy last Sunday vs. Arizona. 
Antwon Blake decleating Dwayne Bowe last year.
The 1-5 Chiefs can still bring a pass rush -- especially Justin Houston (#50) and Tamba Hali (#91)

Visitors locker room at Arrowhead this morning
(photo courtesy of

Monday, October 19, 2015

It's time ...

Zac Dysert
... to sign a new third-string quarterback. And it's long past time to dump Michael Vick. Sever ties with Vick. Now.

Joey Porter's Pit Bulls are intrigued by former Miami of Ohio quarterback Zac Dysert, who broke Ben Roethlisberger's records at Miam of Ohio. Dysert is currently on the practice squad of the Houston Texans, under the tutelage of head coach Bill O'Brien, the former QB coach for some guy named Tom Brady.

You can watch video of Dysert here or read more about Dysert in this scouting report from

Meanwhile, in Dallas, Jerry Jones is wringing his hands over how he might be able to obtain Dandy Landry Jones, another Oklahoma University product.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

The Unstoppable Landry Jones.

Landry Jones: Winner.
The Steelers scored on all five possessions with Dandy Landry Jones at quarterback. A relatively small sample size, but, really, What's Not to Like?

When he entered the game, expectations were low, but Joey Porter's Pit Bulls barked, "It's gotta be easier to watch Jones, even if he's gonna suck."

As it turned out he did just fine, with five scoring drives, two touchdown passes and a gaudy 149.3 quarterback rating. No turnovers; no sacks.

It's awkward and painful to watch the wretched quarterback play of Marcus Michael Vick, who should have been intercepted at least three times today -- just like last week vs. San Diego.

With Vick at quarterback vs. the Arizona Cardinals, the Steelers averaged 0.5 yards per offensive play. They were oh-for-six in third-down conversion attempts. Vick had six yards passing at halftime. Six!  The net yardage was even worse: With Vick at quarterback, the offense in the first half had a single pathetic net yard (one yard, net) passing on three completions in seven attempts. Total offense: a measly 59 total net yards,

Clearly, they were a much better offense today with the 26-year-old Matthew Landry Jones at quarterback, in his first NFL regular-season game. Who knew?

Coming Up
As for next week in Kansas City, Joey Porter's Pit Bulls agree: Jones should start. The way coaches think, however, we wouldn't be at all surprised to see Vick start ... the coaches' rationale being that it's a road game, a hostile environment, a noisy crowd, and Vick's a "veteran."

NFL coach-think typically is so conservative and risk-averse that it frequently defies common sense and what everyone else can see. No doubt, Mike Tomlin considers Vick the "safe" choice.  Despite all evidence to the contrary. Just ask Antonio Brown. Vick has proven to be the only player in the NFL capable of stopping Antonio Brown.

Other things to feel good about: 
  • Kicker Chris Boswell. Four field goals in his first appearance at Heinz Field, including kicks of 47, 48 and 51 yards. His kickoffs were deep, too. The Steelers finally might have a kicker who can go toe to toe, or nearly so, with Baltimore's Justin Tucker, who by the way, had a rare miss last week -- coincidentally, from 51 yards, in Baltimore -- and another miss on Sunday, from 45 yards, during the Ravens' loss at San Francisco.
Alejandro Villanueva
  • Left tackle Alejandro Villanueva. On one of his first snaps, he didn't flinch when the opposing defensive end jumped offsides. That's discipline. Even better, he accomplished what all good offensive linemen manage to do: Not get noticed. No flags; no sacks allowed; and no hurries, so far as we could tell. He did just fine. He's a feel-good story, sure, but not just a feel-good story. He looks like a good player, period, and there is every reason to feel good about him stepping in as the starting left tackle.
  • The defense: The "numbers" stats said Carson Palmer three for more than 400 yards, but the only numbers that mattered were points allowed. Thirteen points surrendered to an offense that had averaged 38 points per game prior to their visit to Pittsburgh. It's good to see the defense getting turnovers again, and timely ones at that: two interceptions and a forced fumble recovery.
  • James Harrison: The man is amazing. 'Nuff said. Let's hope he plays like this for another five years.
  • Martavis Bryant: Good for him. Falling down is part of life. Getting back up is living. Bryant got back up in a big way. Let's hope he stays on his feet the rest of his career and that we never see his name in embarrassing headlines again. The young man has a bright future, if he can stay clean. He showed today what he can do.  He is fully capable of sustained success.  

Monday, October 12, 2015

Con-Vick is a lousy QB

"The Baltimore Ravens have now given up 351 passing yards to Oakland's Derek Carr, 383 to Cincinnati's Andy Dalton and a whopping 457 passing yards to Cleveland's Josh McCown. The secondary's best performance came in Pittsburgh, but that was against Michael Vick." -- The Baltimore Sun, Monday, Oct. 12, 2015

Vick managed a measly 125 yards against the same Ravens defense that allowed  the journeyman McCown to shred it for 457 (!) yards the following week. Says it all about Vick as a QB.

Expect the Chargers to stack eight in the box and dare Vick to try to throw on them. On the other side of the ball, the Chargers' coaches should be looking at the fact that the Steelers surrendered 191 yards rushing to Baltimore.

And, on special teams, the Bolts have Jacoby Jones.  'Nuff said.

Even if the Steelers win tonight, Joey Porter's Pit Bulls expect an ugly game and some bad football.

Vick has always tantalized with spasmodic flashes of flick-of-the-wrist laser throws downfield and speed of foot. But there's something wrong with Vick, and always has been.  Vick has never been an accurate passer, and he's never exhibited consistent ball protection. He fumbles too often and throws too many incompletions and interceptions. He's not a very good quarterback, and he's made a lot money conning people into believing he can be a good NFL QB.  Vick's a fraud.