Steelers late season push to a seventh Super Bowl

Steelers late season push to a seventh Super Bowl

Daniel Beeck, Sports Editor

The Pittsburgh Steelers are without a doubt one of the NFL’s perennial powerhouses. The Steelers have racked up six Super Bowls since the franchise’s inception during the early 1930’s.

Flash-forward to the year 2017, and the “Steel City” is hoping to write their names on the Lombardi Trophy yet again.

Before the season started, it seemed like the Steelers would be looking at a .500 (8-8) season, being that two key pieces on the offensive side of the ball would be sidelined for the opening few games. As Le’Veon Bell and Martavis Bryant watched from their couches at home, the Steelers went 2-1 before Bell’s suspension was reduced and he was allowed to lace up.

Although the Steelers would be without their number two receiver for the remainder of the season (including Markus Wheaton and Ladarius Green), Bell picked up the slack and even finished in the top five in the league with  1,268 yards on the ground, along with tacking on seven touchdowns.

With the Steelers run game averaging 100+ yards per game, and also having one of the best deep threats in Antonio Brown, defenses have to be weary when it comes to drawing up a defensive game plan.

Without a solid defense though, all of the weapons on offense wouldn’t have an opportunity to go to work. The Steelers rank among the league average in most categories, however, stand out as ninth in the league when sacking the quarterback. With weapons such as the always ferocious James Harrison, Stephon Tuitt, and Ryan Shazier rushing the quarterback on any given Sunday, throws have to be quick and accurate.

The only problem with the Steelers secondary was their age and lack of experience. With the four starters being an average of 24 years old, the veteran quarterbacks in the league had the upper hand all season long on the young competition.

With the exception of a few games during the season that the Steelers defense got exposed, the young players stepped up to the plate and locked down on their assignments.

Pressuring the opposition was the greatest challenge for the Steelers when they were anticipating what the Patriots would draw up, and the experience that Tom Brady had, showed on the field. Chris Hogan for New England had a fantastic game, hauling in nine catches for 180 yards and two touchdowns, as he zigged and zagged through the “Steel Curtain”.

The greatest surprise of the night was the running game for the Patriots, as LeGarrette Blount rushed for a mere 47 yards, however, found the end zone one time. Sticking with the run game disappointments, Le’Veon Bell couldn’t even get started as he suffered a lower body injury early on in the game, allowing DeAngelo Williams to throw on his helmet and lineup next to Ben Roethlisberger.

Williams showed how much of a talented back he is, as he broke quite a few tackles while on his way to only 34 yards on the ground with one touchdown. He played an even bigger part in the passing game too, as he brought in seven catches for 51 yards, but couldn’t get points on the board thanks to the stout secondary of the Patriots.

As touched on slightly above, Tom Brady was the main reason that the blowout even took place, as his experience shined. The stats sheet blew up after Brady tallied 384 yards a three touchdowns, after going 32-42 through the air. Getting everyone involved is something that Brady enjoys to do, after completing passes to nine different receivers, and helping two of them surpass the 100 yard mark.

Bill Belichick and Tom Brady have been a force in the league since Brady entered the league in 2000, and there’s no signs of slowing down. The talented 39 year old put on a show during the AFC Championship game and he will continue his dominance for the years to come.

When examining both teams that will face off in Houston, the audience is poised to witness the two best quarterbacks this season square off against two above-average defenses. I believe that the Falcons will prevent the Patriots from getting their fifth Lombardi trophy by a score of 35-21.