Tom’s Ten Takes – Steelers vs. Raiders

After every game of the 2022 Steelers season, I’m going to give you 10 snaps. This stuff will not be hot and is meant to shock the world. These will be immediate reactions to the game written while still in that post-game period when emotions are high and ideas are fresh. Ideas, observations, queries, and reasons why I yelled at TV will be included.

Game 15 – Las Vegas Raiders

1. Outstanding performance goes to… – Defense. The night he suffered the offense. One night Chris Boswell, as good as he gets, missed out twice. Defense came to play. Hold off the raiders offense in the second half. Recording three assists in the second half. It’s no surprise Cameron Hayward is leading the way. When they needed a stop he was there. He had two phones. Three treatments for loss. The guy was a monster all night.

2. Flag Free Football – Games are more fun when the referees are not constantly throwing flags. In the NFL, the average number of flags per game is usually in the teens. There were only five penalties accepted in the match. Nothing in the first half. Did these two teams magically perform so well that there was no reason to throw the flag? I doubt it. Does the weather have anything to do with it? Is it possible that the referees decided that with the cold weather there was no reason for the match to continue? Or was it just a Christmas miracle? Whatever the reason, I’ll take it.

3. KP Doody – Ups and downs will happen for starters. Kenny Pickett looked pretty shaky in this game. He seemed indecisive and unwilling to pull the trigger at times. No less than six times he left the pocket too soon, and he ended up with half of those throwers out of bounds. When he threw the ball the vast majority were outside the numbers. Maybe the two drops didn’t help his confidence. Final drive was enough. Seven of his nine passes were checking so those were solid decisions. I expect to see more of him late in the season.

4. Spill-Lane FillerHis season high for this game was seven. He did that three times. He finished this game with 12. Half of those tackles were for a gain of three yards or fewer and one for a loss of four. Just like Cam Heyward, it looked like Robert Spillane was playing the little Grinch in this one. In a passing game, I would like to see him focus more on tackling rather than trying to knock the ball out. This usually gives more yardage. He does this because the midfielders have not played games but only focused on bringing the man down and limiting the gains. Good view from Spillane.

5. Throw them a D*$% ball – It’s not just me, is it? You expect more from this crime, right? Pat Freymuth, Deontay Johnson and George Pickens combined for 17 receptions on 20 goals. Two of these three shortcomings were drops. So 19 of 20 balls had to be caught. Another shortcoming was a wide open Johnson thrown high and behind him. These guys can play. Why does it take 20 minutes of playing time to get a Freiermuth ball? Why does it take 23 minutes to get the ball from Pickens? Let them play. Canada needs to worry less about movement and more about dose to get that attack flick.

6. Can they have one of these? – The wide-opening receiver has been in a bit of a mess since leaving JuJu Smith-Schuster. They hardly get anything from these players. They need Hunter Renfro. A player who excels at running, opening up and catching the ball. Renfrow is not that fast. Managed 4.59 40 graduated from college. He’s not big at 5’10”, 185 lbs. He doesn’t produce big numbers but he does produce first downs. He moves the chains and keeps driving. As a bonus, he returns punts too. The Steelers need to find them Renfrow.

7. Maximum effort? – I’d like to know what the offensive coaches were thinking when they decided not to worry about the Raiders’ best defender being fouled. Maxx Crosby is an outstanding defender. The Steelers thought, “We don’t need to block him all the time.” And if we do, we’ll use a tight end. He was in the backfield on several running plays. He scored four hits on the quarterback. What were they thinking? I wish other teams would do that for TJ Watt.

8.2% milk – After this win, the Steelers now have a 2% chance of making the playoffs. And drawing in the spirit of the season, he invokes a picture of Lloyd Christmas saying, “So you’re telling me there’s a chance. Yeah!” Halfway through the season, she told me that with two weeks before the end of the season, they would have a chance at the playoffs that I was going to commit to. But there is a chance, albeit a very small one. So do you buy milk or did this season spoil your taste in this season? They play almost everyone hard. I’d like to see them do that.

9. Safe and snoring – There is no excitement for this crime. It’s really hard to watch and enjoy. I ran the red zone earlier in the day and saw a lot of the same plays that Pittsburgh is making. They don’t just repeat it like your favorite middle school song. When Steeler had Claypool chasing them, they threw at him more often than not. And he couldn’t catch it! Johnson and Pickens can catch him. We’ve seen more shots from Mitch Trubisky than from Beckett. Why doesn’t Beckett take his shots? Did early season objections break his confidence? I don’t understand his hesitation.

10. Double Vision – I’ve only seen it once but let me know if you’ve seen it more. In a punt of the night, the Steelers brought back both Stephen Sims and Gunner Olzewski. Sims ended up getting a fair victory on the play. Did they plan some kind of deception? Reverse? Rebound? Has it gotten to the point that the offense is so lackluster that they’re trying to rely on special teams to create a big play? It’s possible. I don’t feel confident in such a play but we’ll see.

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