MONDAY BUZZ COLUMN
The Steelers are lucky. They’re also very good, especially on offense.
They’re lucky that their defense was facing Brock Osweiler in the second half on Sunday instead of Peyton Manning.
They’re lucky to be facing Jimmy Clausen and his 70.5 passer rating next Sunday in Baltimore.
They were lucky to avoid Andrew Luck and get Matt Hasselbeck two weeks ago.
Osweiler was able to light up their defense in the first half on Sunday and somehow managed to go 6-27 in the second half.
Did the Steelers’ defense make miraculous adjustments at halftime or did Osweiler just wake up and realize he was Osweiler?
The Steelers’ offense is unstoppable and showed it in the second half.
Antonio Brown is in the process of putting up receiving numbers never seen before in the NFL and Ben Roethlisberger is playing better than he ever played before.
But Roethlisberger is lucky that it was Brock Osweiler and not a healthy Peyton Manning who came on to the field with 2:07 left and down seven after one of the dumbest interceptions of his career.
Roethlisberger threw 55 passes which usually means a Steelers loss.
They’re 7-12 the last 19 times he has attempted more than 40 in a game and the hideous pick that could have cost the Steelers the game is an example of what can go wrong when Roethlisberger or any quarterback is forced to throw it too much.
The Steelers are lucky that the Ravens stink.
What looked like one of the toughest games on the schedule back in August looks like an almost automatic win now. Remember, the Steelers lost to this team at home when it was a lot healthier and Joe Flacco was playing quarterback.
Despite losing one of the most dangerous offensive players in the league, Le’Veon Bell, early in the season, and despite losing two starters from the offensive line and despite having to play four games without their starting quarterback, the Steelers are probably going to finish 11-5 and have a decent chance of winning their second straight AFC North Championship.
They’re lucky the Bengals have to start A.J. McCarron at quarterback in Denver Sunday night.
How’s that old saying go? “It’s better to be lucky than good.”
The Steelers are both.
Lots of things are falling into place for the Steelers right now and if they can avoid major injuries, they have a legitimate chance of making a run to the Super Bowl.
Unless their defense is unlucky enough to run into a healthy team with a healthy, elite quarterback.
PENGUINS NEITHER LUCKY NOR GOOD
— The Penguins are neither lucky nor good right now and they’ll be facing the Columbus Blue Jackets without Sidney Crosby tonight.
That should make the people who reduce the Penguins’ problems to Crosby’s low point total happy.
Patrick Kane of the Blackhawks has as many points as Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby combined. He also has more points than Makin and Phil Kessel combined.
You might say that the Kessel trade has been a little disappointing.
But, could we please stop with the second guessing of the trade?
Most people loved it when it was made. Crosby got his winger. How many games did they play together? Eight?
Kessel has one point – an assist – in his last eight games with Malkin.
GM Jim Rutherford also traded James Neal for Patric Hornqvist before last season.
Hornqvist scored 25 goals last season and 22 the year before. He has five so far this season. Bad trade or a bad year for Hornqvist?
PIRATES PAYROLL TALK
— According to Maury Brown of Forbes.com the Pirates raised their payroll 20% from 2014 to this past season. His numbers include pensions benefits and other costs beyond the actual salaries of players but the Pirates final number was $116 million, compared to about $96 million in 2014.
So, the Nutting family paid almost $20 million more in 2015 for the same result they got in 2014 – a loss to a really good pitcher in a play-in game.
What makes anybody think they’d be interested in throwing $15 or $20 million more at the 2016 team?
DON’T ASK ART ABOUT THE MOVIE ‘CONCUSSION’
-The movie “Concussion” comes out Christmas Day. It’s centered in Pittsburgh and is about a local doctor who made disturbing discoveries about brain damage caused by playing football.
The NFL is not presented in the most favorable light and former Steeler Mike Webster’s case is part of the story.
When Art Rooney II met with the media last week on an unrelated subject, reporters were told not to ask any questions about the movie.