Tom’s Ten Takes – Steelers vs. Raiders

After every game of the 2022 Steelers season, I’ll give you my 10 takes. These will not be hot takes and will shock the world. These will be instant reactions to the game, written during that post-game period when emotions are high and ideas are fresh. Included are thoughts, observations, questions, and reasons that caused me to yell at the TV.

Game 15 – Las Vegas Raiders

1. Outstanding Achievement Goes To… – The defence. On a night when the offensive fought. On a night where Chris Boswell, who was as good as it gets, missed twice. The defense came into play. Shut down the Raiders offense in the second half. Three passes in the second half. It’s no surprise that Cameron Heyward led the way. When they needed a break, he was there. He had two sacks. Three tackles for one loss. The guy was a monster all night.

2. Flag Free Football – Games are much more fun when the umpires aren’t constantly throwing flags. In the NFL, the average number of flags in a game is usually in the tens. There were only five accepted penalties in the game. None in the first half. Did these two teams magically play so well that there was no reason to throw a flag? I doubt it. Did the weather have anything to do with it? Is it possible that the referees decided that with the weather being so cold, there was no reason to make the game longer? Or was it just a Christmas miracle? Whatever the reason, I’ll take it.

3. KP Doody – There are ups and downs for beginners. Kenny Pickett looked very shaky in this game. He looked indecisive and sometimes didn’t want to pull the trigger. He left the pocket early at least half a dozen times, half of which ended with him throwing the ball wide. When he threw the ball, the vast majority were out of the numbers. The two drops probably didn’t help his confidence. The final drive was sufficient. Seven of his nine passes were checkdowns, so those were solid decisions. I would expect to see more of him this late in the season.

4. Spil lane filler– His season high in that game was seven. He did that three times. He finished that game with 12. Twelve tackles that game and he did it by attacking the run. Half of those tackles were for a gain of three yards or less and half were for a loss of four yards. Much like Cam Heyward, it seemed like Robert Spillane was playing with a little Grinch in this game. When it comes to passing, I wish he would focus more on tackling than trying to knock the ball out. This usually gives up more yards. He does it because the linebackers weren’t making splash plays, just concentrating on tripping the guy and limiting the win. Good idea of ​​Spillane.

5. Throw them the D*$% Ball – It’s not just me, is it? You expect more from this offense, don’t you? Pat Freiermuth, Diontae Johnson and George Pickens combined for 17 receptions on 20 goals. Two of those three incompletes were drops. 19 out of 20 balls should have been caught. The other incompleteness was a wide open Johnson thrown up and behind him. These guys can do plays. Why does it take 20 minutes of play before Freiermuth gets the ball? Why does it take 23 minutes for Pickens to get the ball? Let them do plays. Canada needs to worry less about the movement and more about the potion to make this offense click.

6. Can you get one of these? – The slot wide receiver has been a mess since JuJu Smith-Schuster left. You get next to nothing from these players. You need a hunter Renfrow. A player who excels at route running, opening up and catching the ball. Renfrow is not that fast. He ran a 4.59 40 after college. He’s not tall at 5’10”, 185 pounds. It doesn’t produce big numbers, but it does produce first downs. He moves the chains and keeps drives running. As a bonus, he also returns punts. The Steelers need to find a renfrow for them.

7. Maximum effort? – I’d like to know what the offense coaches thought when they decided not to worry about blocking the Raiders’ best defenseman. Maxx Crosby is an outstanding edge defender. The Steelers thought, “We don’t have to block him all the time.” And if it does, we’ll just use a tight end. He was in the backfield in several running games. He recorded four hits at quarterback. What were they thinking? I wish other teams would do that to TJ Watt.

8. 2% milk – With that win, the Steelers now have a two percent chance of making the playoffs. In the spirit of the season, it evokes the image of Lloyd Christmas saying, “So you tell me there’s a chance. YES!” In the middle of the season you tell me that in two weeks they still had a chance to make the playoffs, I would have signed you. But there is a chance, albeit very small. So buy the milk or has this season Spoiled your taste for this season? They play almost everyone hard. I’d like to see how they do it.

9. Safe and Snore – There is no excitement about this offense. It’s really difficult to watch and enjoy. You tune into the Red Zone earlier in the day and see many of the same plays Pittsburgh does. They just don’t repeat it like your favorite middle school song. When the Steeler Chase had Claypool, they often threw him down. And he couldn’t catch it! Johnson and Pickens can catch it. We saw more shots from Mitch Trubisky than Pickett. Why isn’t Pickett squirting? Did the interceptions earlier in the season shake his confidence? I don’t understand his hesitation.

10. Seeing Double – I’ve only seen it once, but tell me if you’ve seen it more than once. On one of the punt returns tonight, the Steelers had both Steven Sims and Gunner Olszewski back to return. Sims ended up making a fair catch for the game. Did they plan some kind of trickery? A reversal? A review? Has it gotten so lackluster on offense that they try to rely on special teams to make a big game? It is possible. I’m not convinced of such a game, but we’ll see.

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