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.  

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