Tweets I Didn’t Tweet: Patriots/Steelers (Week 15)

Okay, so I’d like to welcome everyone to second NFL-edition of Tweets I Didn’t Tweet. If you want some more insight into what this blog series entails, simply reference the title. In other words, these are blogs where I post all my thoughts in real time since I harbor a feverish hatred for Twitter. Anyway, let’s get into it…

1st Quarter

  • I’m not sure if I heard this correctly but the broadcast just mentioned that the Patriots haven’t loss two straight games in the month of December since 2000. For those keeping score at home, that’s a LONG time. In other words, the Pats haven’t dug themselves a pre-Christmas hole since the Backstreet Boys dawned matching First Communion digs for their Millennium album cover.
  • It looks like future HOF’er JC Jackson will have the responsibility of shadowing Juju Smith-Schuster. Let’s hope he can prevent Juju from one of his routine stat lines of 2/3 catches for 120+ yards.
  • Gilmore’s been targeted 4 times so far in Pittsburgh’s first drive. The good news: one of those targets resulted in an incompletion; the bad news: Big Ben completely overshot the 45+ yard end zone bid that would’ve made him 4/4. This could be a long day…
  • Pats force a 3rd and goal—showing signs of the old “bend don’t break” assemblages of garbage this team used to roll out in the past—before Ben connects with Vance McDonald on a short post to cap off a drive that chewed up half the quarter. Chung was on the coverage and I can’t really fault him. Those bigger tight ends give him fits.
  • Following a too many men on the field penalty on Pittsburgh, Brady hits Hogan for a 63-yarder!!! WIDE OPEN! I mean, WIDEEE open. Sadly, it’s also the longest play of the year from scrimmage for the Pats but better late than never. For some reason, Hogan owns Mike Tomlin and co. It’s often overshadowed by the comeback in the Super Bowl against Atlanta (and rightly so) but Hogan probably had the best postseason run of anyone on the offense that year. People forget he TORCHED Pittsburgh for 9 receptions/180 yards in the AFC Championship. Side note: I was at that game, no big deal…
  • Two straight sacks for the Patriots. One on a blitz from Van Noy with the second coming from Jones as our secondary gave Ben absolutely nothing to work with. As is tradition, the offense dictates the momentum of this team. Following the Hogan touchdown, you can just see the tide turn. Defense looks faster, Ben looks tentative, things look up…
  • Edelman with yet another big drop that would’ve moved the chains, followed by Brady over-anticipating pressure, rolling out and missing James White for what would’ve likely extended the drive. The O-line’s been admirable this season; however, Brady just doesn’t look comfortable throwing downfield. Maybe it’s the mental loss of Solder, perhaps it’s the Max Kellerman “cliff.” I don’t know, but he needs to shake this come February.

2nd Quarter (NE: 7  PIT: 7)

  • Jonathon Jones gets called for “Breathing” on Eli Rodgers down the right sideline, resulting in a 50+ yard gain for Pittsburgh. Next play, Ben throws Antonio Brown in motion and finds him on a seam route that puts six on the board. I guess the Pats haven’t given up a touchdown on any drive over 80 yards this season. That one went for 92. As I said before, better late than never…
  • Jonathon Jones redeems himself for his ruthless pass interference on a Ryan Allen punt by gracefully dive-bombing into the end zone and lateraling a ball into the air for Rex Burkhead to lateral once again to the one yard line. I don’t normally throw highlights in my blogs (you can find them anywhere on Twitter) but this is deserving. That’s some major league, Cirque Du Soleil shit.
  • Duron Harmon picks off Ben and THANK GOD! That’s a game-saving play from a guy who seemingly only has a nose for the ball whenever the Pats need a nail in the coffin. That play, fortunately, showed up in time to stop the bleeding. It also happens to be Duron Harmon’s fourth interception in five regular season games against Pittsburgh. You can call that the Hogan-effect.
  • Roethlisberger’s hilarious. Dude’s CONSTANTLY injured. I guess he has some rib injury, as well as some other “muscle segment” soreness or something. Guy just defies contemporary medical theory. Almost makes you think he may just be embellishing it… *sips tea*
  • Cordarrelle Patterson catches one and fights like a pitbull through two defenders to get dangerously close to a huge 3rd down conversion. Upon further review, his shin was down but I’m starting to love Patterson. I get he’s more or less just a sloppy vertical guy with some special teams pop but he’s been willing to do everything for this team—receiever, runningback, gunner, return man, ect.—and he runs heavy. Big time ego as well but those guys are the ones who turn up significantly in the postseason.

3rd Quarter (NE: 7  PIT: 14)

  • Gordon with a drop to to halt the Pats first drive of the second half. For those keeping score at home, that’s the third outright 3rd-down drop on behalf of the Pats receiving core. For what it’s worth, Brady’s played above his stat line today. He hasn’t been electric, but continuous backbreaking drops like that are the reason why the Pats are getting smoked in the time of possession battle today. Can’t wear down a defense if you can’t wear down a defense…
  • McCourty loses a 50/50 battle with James Washington for a 30-yard gain. He follows that up by getting stiff armed into Narnia on the next play and blowing an open field tackle on the third of the series. Not a great look. Steelers look cocky. This could get ugly…
  • Ben gets called for a much needed intentional grounding call, which brings in Chris Boswell for a 32-yarder. Spoiler alert: GAGGED. For the record, I called that missed kick in my group chat. I’d post the evidence here but I’m slowly realizing it doesn’t matter. Just wanted everyone to know I called it. Joestradamus always gets his man…
  • Back to back flags on Edelman to push the tribe back. I hope Bill lines up this receiving core on the goal line at the end of the game and runs them Herb Brooks style.
  • Gut-wrenching pass interference call on Joe Haden gives Brady and co. a first down on what was a 3rd and 16. If the Patriots can’t capitalize on this, they don’t deserve to even make the playoffs. Pittsburgh has seemingly done EVERYTHING to hand New England a win today and the Pats offense is just refusing to take the bait.
  • Gostkowski sails one through the uprights for his 50th straight field goal under 40 yards. I know Gostco’s received a lot of flack this season (some of it’s justified) but after years of watching the NFL, people underestimate how reliable this guy is relative to others at his position. Sure, he’ll miss one or two significant ones a year but in terms of keeping you in a game, there’s very few (if any) better.

4th Quarter (NE: 10  PIT: 14)

  • Duron Harmen with his SECOND pick of the game!!! Steeler kryptonite like you read about! Capitalize, capitalize, capitalize!!!
  • Brady finds some guy over the middle named Gronkowski for about 15 yards. Not sure who this guy is but it’s a good sign moving forward.
  • Another false start on Trent Brown forces a 3rd and long. Brady finds that Gronk guy to move the chains but the Pats follow it up with what seems like their 2,000th penalty of the day. The holding call sends them back and we’re operating with less than house money yet again.
  • Joe Haden picks off a ball Brady looked like he was trying to throw away down the right sideline. Piss poor mistake by Tom. Just one of those mental mistakes I’d claim he NEVER makes if it wasn’t for that debacle heading into the half against Miami last week.
  • Chung has looked hurt all game. Guy just can’t cover Vance McDonald. Need to make adjustments. That’s all…
  • This defense makes me want to beerfunnel laundry detergent. The offense has been just as bad (if not worse) but watching this team get gashed like a jack o’ lantern week in and week out is taking years off my life. This Pittsburgh drive has looked like a hot knife through butter thus far.
  • Future HOF’er JC Jackson breaks up yet another HUGE end zone bid. When they’re creating the bust in Canton, just remember who said it first. Joestradamus always gets his man.
  • Brady gets the ball with 2 minutes and change left, brings the offense with 10 yards of the goal line in quick fashion, and—like clockwork—the Pats get flagged for ANOTHER red zone holding penalty. What a joke…
  • For some reason, the Patriots make absolutely no attempt at cutting down the yardage to the goal line with a screen or a dump near the sidelines; instead, they elect to sail two balls 20-yards into quadruple coverage. Listen, I’m no football genius, but this team doesn’t have a country shot downfield. They pay their bills in the short game. Easier said than done, but if you can bring that ball within 15 yards of the goal line, you open up your options exponentially.

Post Game (NE: 10  PIT: 17)

  • Not much to say. I knew this game would be tough. I knew Pittsburgh had a chip. I knew they had an axe to grind. I knew they were due for one. And most importantly, I knew those are the times where the Pats fail to show up. If Pittsburgh rolls into this game with 11 wins, the Pats run them out of the building. I have no analysis as to why but it just seems to be how it works in New England. We’re on to Buffalo…

-Joey Boats (@joey_boats)

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