First of all, I’m glad the Saints defeated the Jets on Sunday, putting New Orleans at 10-4 with two weeks to go in the NFL regular season. But second-place Carolina continued to win, picking off Aaron Rodgers three times in its victory over Green Bay to improve to 10-4, with the Saints holding the tie-breaker.
And then we had the marquee game – and I caught the final minutes at Red Card Sports Bar on Smythe and Seymour – with Pittsburgh hosting New England. Sure, it was busy at the establishment, but I was annoyed having to stand there and wait for seven minutes before a server actually showed up.
Anyway, Mike Tomlin, the Steelers coach, had said during a taped interview that was aired in the pre-game of a Sunday night game a few weeks back that he was looking forward to the Patriots this week. Big words too.
Well, I’m sure his players loved it. I recall watching the 2000 Ravens’ NFL Network championship video where Trent Dilfer said his coaches in Tampa Bay were like, “Let’s just get to the tournament and we’ll see.” But in Baltimore, Brian Billick was talking about the Super Bowl once the Ravens had clinched a playoff spot. Dilfer was excited Billick did that. So, I’m sure the Steelers loved Tomlin’s big words.
But fast forward to the final minutes on Sunday – and, by the way, Red Card Sports Bar seemed to be split with half Patriots fans and the other half Steelers supporters – it was devastating for me to see Pittsburgh get a late touchdown. But when it was overturned minutes later, I was happy and half of Red Card erupted.
Yes, the past month Pittsburgh had come back after falling behind, with the Bengals and the Ravens the week before unable to stop the Steelers. Yes, Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell are awesome – I saw them play in Cincinnati in 2014 and they were AWESOME that day – but I would think that if you’re always trying to come from behind, sooner or later you will be stopped. And that’s especially if you’re playing a playoff-caliber team.
So now both New England and Pittsburgh are 11-3, but if the Pats win out, they clinch home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. If both teams make it to the AFC title game, can the Steelers win on the road if the game is played in Foxborough? Well, any team can beat anybody in a one-game scenario. Hopefully, the Steelers will fall in the playoffs. We shall see.
And…Joe Flacco led the Ravens to a big win over winless Cleveland (0-14). But he had just one TD pass today, meaning he’s still at his unusual TD-per-game pace. It’s amazing, actually, as he’s got 14 TDs and 12 INTs in 14 games.