When we look back on the 2018 season, the Steelers really were on the bad end of luck. They were among the worst in the league in turnover differential and for those of you who are unaware, turnovers can be a result of good coaching, but sometimes it’s just luck.
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2019 started out with more bad luck for the Steelers. A season-ending injury to Big Ben put the Steelers in a very difficult situation to make a difficult choice. On the one hand, the Steelers could’ve put their hopes on hold, experimented on offense, and gotten a high draft pick in 2020. Their second option was to double down, sacrifice a bit of their future for some talent to help now, and make a push for the playoffs with a new quarterback at the helm. The Steelers chose option two.
I have to admit, I’m not a Steelers fan but what their front office did in bringing in Minkah Fitzpatrick in exchange for a 2020 first rounder was not only a bold move, it speaks volumes to the Steelers organization about how they prioritize a winning culture over everything else. They could’ve easily done the “wise thing” and mailed in 2019, trusting their fans would understand, but they stayed committed to excellence and it was absolutely the right call.
Minkah Fitzpatrick’s pick-six likely won the game for the Steelers. Since his arrival, he has four interceptions, two forced fumbles, and a fumble recovery. He has been a major reason the Steelers are competing for a spot in the playoffs this season. He’s also a big reason why the Steelers have flipped their luck from 2018 and now stand as the far and away number two ranked team in turnover margin (+11). The Patriots are currently atop the league with +17 and third place has only +7. When i said “Hope on the horizon for the Steelers,” I wasn’t trying to be optimistic. I’m not a Steelers fan, remember? I was being completely serious.
Recapping Weeks 8 and 9
Okay, so when I said “Lady Luck swings both ways”, I wasn’t just referring to the turnover margin. Perhaps the most cold-blooded, legendary kicker of all time missed the game winning attempt last week, breathing more hope into the Steelers’ 2019 playoff hopes. It was a true Finkle and Einhorn moment for the world to see, as the laces were definitely not out on the hold. Vinatieri hooked the ball, badly, and the Steelers went on to 500.
It also helped when the Colts lost their starting quarterback early in the contest, to be fair. It’s unfortunate for the Colts, but it appears it’s only a one week thing and so we shouldn’t feel too bad about that one. As for the game, Mason Rudolph went into Checkdown Charlie mode but it worked, I suppose. His interception was a daring pass to Juju, which could’ve easily just sailed as an incompletion, but Juju got just enough on it for a defender to scoop it just before hitting the ground. Aside from the pick, Rudolph looked pretty good throughout the contest. He didn’t appear to have the same levels of pass protection he did in previous games, but he made the right decisions by checking down under duress and as a result, the Steelers won.
I’m not going to lie, the Dolphins game was very much a tale of two halves as the Steelers fans were on pins and needles throughout a good portion of the game. A home loss to the Dolphins would have caused a ripple effect of great magnitude through the locker room, so Rudolph and the Steelers’ impressive second half was exactly what the team and fans needed.
Week 10 preview: The Rams off their bye week
Playsugarhouse has this game’s total points at 44, with the Rams 3.5 point favorites on the road. It’s definitely not good when you have to face a team coming off their bye. I suppose it’s only fair it has to happen for everyone at least once, but the Rams, really?
2019 has been a weird season for the Rams. Todd Gurley has been dealing with injury issues (likely related to his arthritic knee), while Jared Goff has been exposed on multiple fronts. Most notably, Goff has been statistically awful under pressure this season. Brandin Cooks likely isn’t going to play. Robert Woods has been underwhelming all season. Frankly, the offense has been mediocre, at best. Defensively, the Rams have been substantially better since the arrival of Jalen Ramsey from Jacksonville.
I’m not entirely sure that’s going to matter a whole lot. This game is going to be decided in the short and intermediate areas of the field and on the ground. The Rams have been inconsistent rushing and pass protecting, so I’m not really sure how they’re going to go about attacking the Steelers’ dynamic defense.
This game should be close, and I believe pretty strongly in the under in this game. I’m going to make a bold pick this week and take the Steelers.