‘Tis the season.
I’m not just talking about the holidays, either, mind you. I’m speaking about the seemingly new routine the Pittsburgh Steelers have built themselves – winning in December. Sunday’s win against the Denver Broncos marked the 10th straight victory for the Steelers in the festive month. In a league that relies heavily on winning when it matters, this stretch of victories is commendable.
That does not mean it is over, however.
In the spirit of the season, here is the Steelers’ Christmas wish list.
1. FOR MAURKICE POUNCEY TO RETURN
This one could potentially be true as Maurkice Pouncey, the four-time All-Pro center, was never placed on season-ending injured reserve this season. This has left the door slightly ajar in allowing for him to return this season to once again anchor the middle of the offensive line. With Cody Wallace’s season long struggles, both in technique and taking unnecessary penalties, this would be one of the biggest returns to the line-up, aside from when quarterback Ben Roethlisberger returned under center. The issue of continuity has been brought up, but this is a center that has anchored the line for years and has chemistry with both David DeCastro and Ramon Foster. Continuity would be the least of this offenses worries.
2. FOR THE OFFENSE CONTINUES ITS DOMINANCE
The streak survived the best defense in football. 30 straight points in six consecutive games. This is the best offense in football. It is no longer debatable. It is the most explosive with the most talent on the roster, and is seemingly unstoppable. Receiver Antonio Brown thoroughly ripped through the leagues best secondary to the tune of 16 catches, 189 yards and 2 touchdowns. This was against cornerback Chris Harris Jr., a defensive back that had not allowed a touchdown reception since 2013. It appears as if someone forgot to tell Brown.
The next two games fall under the category of “trap game”. The Baltimore Ravens and Cleveland Browns are bad football teams. There’s no dancing around this point. Both teams lack talent on both sides of the ball and both teams have secondaries that can be exploited by a strong passing attack. There’s absolutely no reason for this Steelers’ offense to not put up 40+ points in both of these games on the road. The last time the Ravens played the Steelers, Mike Vick quarterbacked that game and would have won if it wasn’t for that meddling Josh Scobee. Vick almost out-dueled Joe Flacco.
This time around, it’s Ben Roethlisberger vs. an undisclosed quarterback to be named. Perhaps Matt Schaub. Perhaps Jimmy Clausen. Perhaps it’s newly signed quarterback Ryan Mallett. Whomever it is has to outplay one of the hottest quarterbacks in football right now throwing to the leagues best receiver.
The offense shouldn’t stall and if it doesn’t, history could be made.
3. ANTONIO MAKES HISTORY
What can Brown do for you? TouchBrown.
There are many sayings for the season Brown is having this year, but it can be summed up by simply saying he’s unbeatable. Unguardable. Unstoppable. Brown has registered 116 catches for 1586 yards and 9 touchdowns, all while missing his franchise passer for a quarter of the season. The season Brown has had is simply remarkable, and it’s not over yet.
Brown needs 414 more receiving yards to register 2000. While unlikely, he has yet to play the Ravens secondary with Roethlisberger at the helm and may be poised for another monster game against a secondary that has allowed receivers to run all over it. 414 yards is all he needs to etch his name as the first receiver in history to hit the 2000 yard mark.
The most terrifying thing is that we’re even discussing the possibility with all of the injuries this team has had to battle through. Brown is simply unstoppable and deserves the mark.
While unlikely, it remains a possibility. If he does indeed register two back-to-back monster games and if he achieves the marker, while extraordinarily impressive, it would not be surprising. As Roethlisberger puts it, it would simply be “Brown being Brown”.
4. VERNON HARGREAVES FAILS A BUNCH OF DRUG TESTS, OR SOMETHING
Like last year, this draft class has a fairly top-heavy cornerback crop. Vernon Hargreaves is going to be out of range of the Steelers’ pick, unless he manages to fail a bunch of drug tests and falls down boards considerably in the meantime. Or maybe he has too much fun at a Christmas party and some unsavory pictures leak on social media.
While this is tongue in cheek, it’s not entirely a joke. Here’s to hoping.
5. IT WOULDN’T BE CHRISTMAS WITHOUT GOOD TIDINGS AND HEALTH
If Santa’s checking his list twice and going over who is naughty and nice, Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict is going to land on Santa’s naughty list. Enjoy your coal, Vontaze.
But for the last item on the list, the Steelers are simply wishing for good tidings and health for the roster. There are two games left in the regular season and the hope is for no more injuries on either side of the ball. This team has already had to battle through tremendous odds to be where they are currently and cannot afford another setback. This team needs to continue to fire on all cylinders and can only do so if operating at full capacity.
The NFL gods owe this team good tidings.
From everyone at The Point of Pittsburgh, we wish you a Merry Christmas and tremendous New Year.