The Pittsburgh Steelers had one of the ugliest wins of the 2018 season. For most of the game, they stooped down to the Jaguars’ level of offense, but managed to leave with a 20-16 win.
The Steelers came out flat. All of their first-half drives ended in punts, interceptions (two), and one on downs. At one point late in the first half, Ben Roethlisberger’s passer rating was 1.7 (!). Roethlisberger has been known to have his hot and cold moments, but I like to imagine the Blake Bortles’ stench rubbed off on him pregame.
The Jaguars were mostly bad the whole game too, which is why the Steelers were able to survive. Jalen Ramsey’s two interceptions were the highlight of the game, along with Leonard Fournette’s 111 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown. Other than that, they were the same ol’ bad Jags on offense.
The Steelers didn’t get their first score until there was 1:17 left in the third quarter, when Roethlisberger hit Antonio Brown with a 78-yard touchdown pass. The Steelers went for two and missed it. Then, with two and a half minutes left, Roethlisberger found Vance McDonald for an 11-yard touchdown to make it a 16-13 game.
On their final drive, things got weird. JuJu Smith-Schuster came up with this ridiculous catch to get the Steelers into Jaguars territory:
OKAY, @TeamJuJu!— NFL (@NFL) November 18, 2018
: CBS #HereWeGo pic.twitter.com/lLcVRv0yRX
Shortly after, James Conner dropped what would have been the go-ahead score, inspiring what I’m sure were hundreds of thousands of “LE’VEON WOULD HAVE CAUGHT IT” tweets:
James Conner, and the Jaguars mascot, appear to have both assumed this was already a touchdown.#PITvsJAX pic.twitter.com/LJG0tVQVgm— Allan Bell (@AllanBell247) November 18, 2018
[The Jags’ mascot is the best part about the screenshot]
Later, the Steelers had a 25-yard connection from Roethlisberger to Brown to put the Steelers to the Jaguars’ two-yard line. Three plays later, Roethlisberger scored one of the ugliest touchdowns in NFL history:
BIG BEN!— NFL (@NFL) November 18, 2018
BIG BEN!#HereWeGo pic.twitter.com/TQds9zqcgq
This came after the fact that the Steelers refused to run the ball in with a timeout in the chamber. But it worked out, and we’re not questioning that line of playcalling today. That’s just how this goes.
Here’s one of those nifty win probability charts to show you that the Steelers really just pulled this one out of their asses:
Bortles'd pic.twitter.com/erjj9rgEmG— Eric Levenson (@ejleven) November 18, 2018
It was one of the ugliest wins you’ll see, but they got the job done, and that’s really all that matters. In fairness, teams that are true contenders win these stupid games, the games where nothing’s going right and things click at just the right time.
The Steelers are 7-2-1 after the win, with the Bengals and Ravens trailing behind them in the AFC North at 5-5. Le’Veon Bell is officially not playing in the 2018 season, so that’s not something they have to answer questions about anymore. Although in instances where Conner drops a pass, tweets will be had. That’s fine, we all gotta get these jokes off.
Barring any bad injuries, the Steelers have the most certainty they’ve had all season. Conner has proven himself to be a fine back, and there are definitely worse receivers to throw to than Brown and Smith-Schuster. They were one of the favorites in the AFC coming into the season, so we’ll see if they can keep up the winning, though they’ll hope none of them will look as heinous as this one.
Let’s get to the other #stuff from Week 11.
Hellooooooooo, Lamar Jackson
Lamar Jackson got his first career start on Sunday for the Ravens with Joe Flacco out due to a hip injury.
Jackson had a solid start, completing 13 of his 19 passes for 150 yards and an interception. But he provided value on the ground his 117 yards as well in the 24-21 win over the Bengals.
Sometimes, his run ability turned into passing success:
.@Lj_era8 scrambles and finds @Jwalk_back12! pic.twitter.com/OcPCW8OeF9— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) November 18, 2018
He also proved himself to be pretty fast, as if we needed any more proof:
Lamar Jackson reached 15+ MPH on 14 rush attempts in his first career NFL start. No other player has reached 15+ MPH on more than 9 rush attempts in any game this season.#CINvsBAL #RavensFlock pic.twitter.com/vVOofcSy1q— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) November 18, 2018
A lot of people tried to peg Jackson as a wide receiver during the pre-draft process, despite him having one of the most prolific college careers from a quarterback.
Sunday, he showed those people why they were wrong about him. Sure it’s just one start, and he didn’t stuff the box score, but Jackson got the job done.
He also made the Ravens offense exciting — that’s something it’s never really been.
Julio Jones can play safety for the Falcons
Julio Jones has recently started getting into the end zone, after previously being in a drought that went almost an entire calendar year. Along with scoring touchdowns, he’s added defensive prowess to his game, as evidenced by this hit:
Julio Jones was an All-Pro safety in another life... pic.twitter.com/NI7d4x13uM— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) November 18, 2018
The Falcons are thin at the safety position. Keanu Neal was lost for the season early with a torn ACL, and Ricardo Allen to a torn Achilles. Julio’s not a bad body to put back there in center field, and had some solid technique on his hit.
I’m just saying, if things don’t get better, let him be like Troy Brown back in the day and play on both sides of the ball. There’s plenty of weapons on offense to get him his rest when he needs it.
I’m only kind of joking ... I think.
Andrew Luck is a gigantic dork
I mean this in the best way possible. Luck is having a great comeback season after many of us questioned whether or not he’d return to form. He went into Sunday’s game with 2,472 yards, 26 touchdowns, and nine picks on the season.
After Luck found T.Y. Hilton for a 68-yard touchdown to make it a 16-0 game over the Titans in the second quarter, he just.... did this:
Andrew Luck shows T.Y. Hilton some love after hitting him for a 68-yard TD#TENvsIND | #Colts pic.twitter.com/XFIgaOk4gx— Kevin Boilard (@247KevinBoilard) November 18, 2018
That might be a thing? I don’t know, but it’s goofy and funny because it’s Luck. The Colts ended up beating the Titans, 38-10, so Luck can do whatever he damn well pleases.
This is why Jalen Ramsey talks the talk
Antonio Brown is the NFL’s best receiver and has been for a good minute. So when Ramsey is able to pull off an interception like this one, it’s kind of a big deal:
Jalen!— NFL (@NFL) November 18, 2018
AGAIN!@jalenramsey with an INCREDIBLE INT!
: CBS #DUUUVAL pic.twitter.com/a95LLAgLIH
Ramsey’s got an extensive list of people he’s talked trash about. Your team’s quarterback is probably on it, along with a variety of receivers and tight ends.
But a play like this one against Brown is the only proof you need for why he does it. He’s just that good. Unfortunately for Ramsey, his team couldn’t seal the victory.
D.J. Moore, but also Darius Slay
There’s a lot to this play, with most folks focusing just on the play that D.J. Moore made, which is undoubtedly good. But there’s also bad tackling on the part of the Lions.
OH MY @idjmoore!— NFL (@NFL) November 18, 2018
: FOX #KeepPounding pic.twitter.com/ToAVlFEKqd
However, we need to highlight Darius Slay, who might now be the fastest person in human history.
Slay was not even in the camera’s view when Moore (who ran a 4.41 at the NFL Combine this past April) had a clear path to the end zone from his own 36-yard line:
And then all of a sudden, Slay (who ran a 4.36 back in the day) catches him at the Lions’ 18-yard line, and nearly punched the ball out:
The play by Moore is impressive, but he was disappointed with himself after Slay caught up to him. Moore might have made most of the Lions look bad, but Slay was not going to be one of them.
Glaine Babbert is back
The Peter Man is a free agent, which is a damn shame. Where oh where will we find somebody who can come in and do some really du— BLAINE GABBERT!
Blaine Gabbert...what a throw! Hits Darius Leonard right in the numbers pic.twitter.com/bZpKtjCRz3— RPO Podcast (@RPOpod) November 18, 2018
Gabbert was in the game for an injured Marcus Mariota, and did not disappoint those of us who are fans of horrific quarterback play.
This was a lot
Gaints safety Michael Thomas intercepted Fitztragic just before the end of the first half against the Bucs. Thomas then proceeded to run to the end zone, and take what ended up looking like an elementary school-esque class picture with his Gaints teammates:
.@Michael31Thomas picks off Ryan Fitzpatrick!— NFL (@NFL) November 18, 2018
And the whole @giants SQUAD is loving it
: FOX #GiantsPride pic.twitter.com/mqTGuEdFtR
The group photo celebration has been stolen time and again after the Saints did it after
almost every play most turnovers last season. It’s a good and fine celebration, as most celebrations are. The game is fun, and players should express themselves.
However, this one came off as kind of funny and sad considering the circumstances. It was very aggressive in a game between two dumpster teams. That doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things, I suppose, but I’m still going to laugh about it.
The Giants won, 38-35, which was aided by a three-interception game by Fitzpatrick that forced the Buccaneers to go back to Jameis Winston. Yep.
The best reaction to a spike of all-time
The Chargers have been good about closing out games this season, which is unlike them.
They got back to their old ways, when they allowed Case Keenum and the Broncos to get down to their 18-yard line for a game-winning field goal. But this reaction from Emmanuel Sanders and Courtland Sutton was one we haven’t seen before, and was hilarious:
The synchronized reaction by @ESanders_10 and @SuttonCourtland pic.twitter.com/Yw0vCkdpyK— The Checkdown (@thecheckdown) November 19, 2018
The Broncos won, 23-22, and hurt their draft positioning, congrats to John Elway!
Kirk Cousins has this year’s best weird pump up tactic
Telling his team that they needed to win the game to help their standing in the NFC North would have sufficed. Instead, Kirk Cousins went the unused path of Primetime Television Motivation:
Vikings QB Kirk Cousins to his teammates just now on NBC: "They're not the reason this game moved to prime time. We are."— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) November 19, 2018
This is as close as we’re going to get to Jameis Winston eating a W as pregame motivation. It’s not nearly as odd, but that’s 1) a weird flex (but OK), and 2) just not true.
The Saints are really good
There weren’t any big things that stuck out between the Saints 48-7 thrashing of the Eagles, except for the Saints going for it on fourth-and-seven up 38-7 and scoring a touchdown.
On 4th and 7...@DrewBrees to @A_Kamara6 for the touchdown! #GoSaints #PHIvsNO— NFL (@NFL) November 18, 2018
: FOX pic.twitter.com/Nyjb3Ixi1E
That prompted a wave of tweets from angry people because the Saints “don’t have class.”
Oh, and the Saints being really, really good stuck out. Thanksgiving might end up being pretty difficult for the Falcons. Speaking of ...
Thanksgiving is here!— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) November 24, 2016
You know what that means... pic.twitter.com/hs1BzHKmNu
See y’all next week.