Monday, September 24, 2012

GTOG Recap and Podcast: The Evil Genius of Brett Keisel; Steelers Lose 34-31

By Finesse

This was the game we always wanted Ben Roethlisberger to play.  He was poised, he was accurate, he was smart.  He showed real emotion after his touchdown pass to Mike Wallace, running around the field like a Phil Rivers on meth instead of his calculated humility and point-to-God-thank-your-O-linemen routine.  He completed passes to 10 different receivers, threw four touchdowns and, most refreshing of all, he wasn't even that annoying when he limped up the field after twisting his knee.

But, of course, the Steelers still lost.  We discuss on our podcast (subscribe on iTunes), with a full written recap below...

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Football can be broken down into four units: passing offense, passing defense, rushing offense and rushing defense.  [Ed. Note: We don't care about special teams unless they're terrible.  Neither, apparently, do the Steelers.]  The Steelers may have the biggest discrepancy of any team between the one unit that keeps them in games (the passing offense, obviously), and the other three units that are so far from being elite that they could be called "Cleveland."  (Obviously this excludes any unit involving Chris Johnson, whose yards per carry is so low that if it was a batting average he could hit cleanup for the Pirates).

So, what's going wrong?  Let's see what the defensive captain has to say.

Not that he likes attention or anything.
At some point in the last decade (2004 draft) it has become tradition after every loss for individual players to seek to come across as accepting the entirety of the blame for the loss.  No one does this better than Big Ben, so let's name this practice after him: Roethlisblame (example from Week 1: "It's my fault, and it's on me").  On Sunday, everyone wanted the Roethlisblame.

Antonio Brown: "It's totally my fault."

Brett Keisel: "Blame this loss on me."

Even Ben, who deserved no blame, tried to get a piece of Roethlisblame:  "I put it on the whole team.  There's no offense, no defense, no special teams, we're one. Whoever it is can take the blame but no one needs to shoulder this right now."

We know that Ben Roethlisblaming himself is just what Ben does, and we know that Antonio Brown is just a really good player who made a couple mistakes.  That leaves "Key," so let's break down exactly what's going on here.

Keisel is the unashamed, self-appointed leader of the Steelers' defense, and this has become something that everyone seems to accept, if not celebrate.  But as Artistry pointed out this morning:  "I was reading Ron Cook this morning as a way to punish myself for something - I don't know what - and I saw Brett Keisel say, 'As the leader of this defense, put this on me.' And I thought, maybe the problem is Brett Keisel is the leader of the defense."


We're sure Keisel is a nice guy, that much of his humility is genuine, and that he's undoubtedly been a key part of the Steelers' defense over the past several years.  But as his physical skills have eroded with age, he's played Yinzer-nation like a drum.  By growing a monstrous beard and wearing hunting shirts to training camp, Keisel has made an indelible mark on the Yinzer-psyche (especially women, says me, based on nothing) and this is not by accident.  He's become such a world-class panderer to the people of Pittsburgh that he's going to come out of the tunnel in week 5 actually wearing a hard hat and carrying a lunch pail.

"What a great Steeler." - Everyone in Pittsburgh
More thoughts after the jump, including the most surprising statistic of the year...
- What's so frustrating about how this season is shaping up is that Roehlisberger finally seems to be getting close to finally reaching his potential, and not just his potential as a human in the "If You Don't Have Anywhere Nice To Touch, Don't Touch Anywhere" kind of way.   If you are OK with the fact that he hates Todd Haley and actively tries to sabotage him, then this is the season you should be going all in for Big Ben.

- This is not a fake quote (via PG).
"I think offensively we did the things we wanted to do," Roethlisberger said. "We no-huddled the whole second half, I felt we moved the ball down the field. There are plays out there I called that aren't in our playbook. I know that sounds crazy, things we had from years past, guys were on the same page and it worked."  
- If you missed it last week, some thoughts on why I love the replacement referees.

- Stat of the year: the Steelers are not last in the league in rushing.

"I'll make sure it stays that way."

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