Insider Only Steigerwald: DeAngelo Williams a pretty important guy who could keep the ball away from Brady

Inside Pittsburgh Sports

Remember that time when Ben Roethlisberger was suspended for the first four games of the season and the Steelers started 0-4?

Of course, you don’t.

That was 2010 when Steelers fans everywhere went through months of sleepless nights wondering how the Steelers were going to survive starting the season without their starting quarterback.

They went 3-1 with Charlie Batch and ended up in the Super Bowl.

So, now they’re starting the season without two of their most important weapons- Le’ Veon Bell for two games and Martavis Bryant for four.

There’s angst, but not as much as there was five years ago.

Nor should there be. Would you trade Roethlisberger for Bell and Bryant right now?

Of course, in 2010, they didn’t open on the road against the defending Super Bowl Champions who, after being accused of cheating by every American not living in New England, are going to be especially fired up to take it out on someone.

Based on what you hear around town, you wonder if maybe the Steelers should just stay home. They have no chance of winning so why not just mail in the L and not risk anybody getting hurt?

williamsWe’ve all seen the Steelers’ defense and we all know what Tom Brady has done to them in the past and that makes DeAngelo Williams a pretty important guy. He’s the guy that could keep the ball away from Brady.

I know we’re now living in the Air Tomlin era, but, with this defense, possession time will be huge for the Steelers and not only Thursday night in Foxboro.

Five or six play touchdown drives are nice and you always want to score as quickly and as often as possible, but short possessions take a toll on defenses even when they result in touchdowns or field goals.

Ben Roethlisberger put up video game numbers last season and had, by far, his best season statistically, but here’s a number that may surprise you.

Roethlisberger threw 40 or more passes six times last season. The Steelers lost five of those games.

Keep in mind that they only lost five regular season games.

He was 31-45 in the playoff loss to the Ravens.

Which brings us back to Williams. He ran the ball well in the preseason and, even though he’s 32 with a lot of miles on him, should be able to do well in holding the fort for Bell.

Bryant being out could turn out to be a blessing for the Steelers because it will force them to play a more conservative, old time Steelers ball control game.

Here’s a prediction for you.

If Ben Roethlisberger throws the ball 35 times or more, the Steelers will get blown out.

If he throws it less than 35 times, it will be competitive and if he doesn’t have to throw 30 passes, they will win. Or at least cover the spread.

Brady threw 40 or more passes six times. The Patriots won five of those games, including two of the Patriots’ three postseason wins. He threw 50 passes in two of those three playoff wins.

So, if Brady has the ball long enough to throw between 40 and 50 passes it will be a long, long night for the Steelers.

– If Brady has a bad night against the Steelers’ bad defense how many people will blame it on his inability to control the footballs?

– The NFL likes to manipulate its schedule to create parity by scheduling two games each year based on where a team finished the previous season. The formula didn’t work out too well this season. The Patriots play a total of four teams that had winning records last year.

According to the Sporting News, the Steelers have the toughest 2015 schedule. The Patriots have the easiest.

– The Pirates still have a mathematical chance to catch the Cardinals but it’s the Cubs they need to worry about and not just for the next few weeks and the possible wild card game.

They’ve been hiding in the weeds for a few years developing prospects. They have Mega TV market money and are going to be a major problem for the Pirates for the long haul.

– The Patriots’ assistant equipment manager, John Jastremski and the officials game-day locker room attendant James “The Deflator” McNally are still out of work because of Deflategate.

The NFL told the Patriots to suspend them back on May 6th and only the league can reinstate them. If Brady hasn’t sent them a check yet, he has no shame.

– If you’re a Steelers fan, you might want to send Dan Rooney a note and thank him for forcing Bill Cowher to draft Ben Roethlisberger in 2004. (He wanted to take an offensive tackle.) The Steelers have had quarterback stability for 11 seasons.

– How would you like to be a Washington Redskins fan? They’re hanging their hats on Kirk Cousins this season. He’s 2-7 as a starter with 18 touchdowns, 19 interceptions and a passer rating of 77.

That should make you feel guilty if you’re feeling sorry for yourself because of Bell and Bryant missing a few games.
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About The Author

John Steigerwald

TIOPS Columnist

John Steigerwald, a life long Pittsburgher, has been covering PITTSBURGH sports since 1977 as a TV anchor/reporter, columnist radio reporter/commentator and talk show host. He is also the author of one of the best selling local books in Pittburgh history, "Just Watch The Game."

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