Steelers Survive the Desert Heat; Defeat Cardinals

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin. (Brian Cook / Golden Sky Media)

(GSM) — The Steelers gain another victory, this time in the desert!

The Pittsburgh Steelers continue to impress by winning at home — and on road — after leaving Arizona on top of the Cardinals 23-17 on Sunday. 
Wide receiver Diontae Johnson had 2 touchdowns one from an 85-yard punt return and the second from a Devlin “Duck” Hodges pass from 3-yards out.
Cornerback Joe Haden had 4 tackles and 2 interceptions on the day and helped give the necessary pressure from the secondary. “This is a great team; a great defense,” Haden said. “I’m just happy to be a part of it.”
The Cardinals passing attack,  led by rookie QB Kyler Murray, played well enough to give the Steelers a run for their money. Murray threw 20/30, 194 yards and 2 touchdowns. After the game Murray assessed his own performance saying, “If I don’t throw the two interceptions, we probably win that game.”
Linebacker T.J. Watt had an interception of his own in the 4th quarter. Watt says it all about being in the right place at the right time, “We just want to impact the game as much a we can.” Watt says about the defense as a whole, “Everyone is making the most of their opportunities.”
The Steelers will play Sunday night in what could potentially be the last home game of the year when they host the 9-4 Buffalo Bills. Now the Steelers are currently the 6th seed and the Bills are in the 5th slot if the playoffs were to start today. Expect the Bills to come into Heinz Field fired up as they are in a position to move up in the postseason seeding as they sit 1-game behind the New England Patriots who are 10-3 and coming off of a loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.


Steelers ‘Bloody but Unbowed’ Heading into Final Stretch of Season

(Brian Cook / Golden Sky Media)

PITTSBURGH (GSM) — Responding to a line from the poem “Invictus” by William Ernest Henley, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin says his team’s job is to win, despite shortcomings. “Bloody but unbowed” exemplifies the true definition of grit and determination it takes to be successful.

Tomlin’s best — and most challenging — coaching job is taking place this season due to the unforeseen circumstances with injuries during the 2019 season. The Steelers have, “smiled in the face of adversity” and currently have a 7-5 record to show for their efforts. “Football is our game, but our job is to win,” Tomlin said. “Regardless of circumstance, we have a job to do. We openly talk about that and go to work.”

Starting center Maurkice Pouncey is back following a 2-game suspension which will help the offense as he prepares to re-gain his role as anchor of the offensive line. However, the team hasn’t skipped a beat, winning both games (Bengals and Browns) while he was away. Starting QB Ben Roethlisberger is out for the season and despite the quarterback carousel with Mason Rudolph and Devlin “Duck” Hodges, injuries to RB James Conner and WR JuJu Smith-Schuster plus starting defensive end Stephon Tuitt, the Steelers are persevering. 

The Steelers head into Arizona to face the Cardinals (3-8-1) who have struggled to stack wins. In his weekly press conference, Coach Tomlin acknowledged the elusiveness of quarterback Kyler Murphy which could be a test for his edge rushers despite their current record, “We’ve got our work cut out for us.” When it comes to the Cardinals’ rookie star Tomlin said, “He’s got some impressive tape under adverse circumstances. He has done an awesome job of preserving and protecting the ball, a really unique thing in a young quarterback.” 

No matter the outcome of Sunday’s matchup in the desert, Tomlin deserves the credit for keeping his players and coaching staff on task as December football is where teams separate themselves from the pack, especially when the postseason is well within reach. 


Antonio Brown Apologizes, Posts Workout Video

Former Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown scores a touchdown against the Green Bay Packers on November 26, 2017 at Heinz Field. (Brian Cook / Golden Sky Media)

(GSM) — Free agent all-pro wide receiver Antonio Brown posted a video showing him donning Steelers colors — complete with his former helmet — working out and catching passes.

As he currently looks for another chance to play for an NFL team, he continues to take his talents to social media, hoping scouts will afford him that opportunity. 


Also this week, he posted (what appeared to be) a heartfelt apology to those he has offended. Brown said he, “…worked hard over the years to earn a chance to compete in the greatest game on earth.” 


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First and foremost, I’d like to apologize to my family, friends and anyone who I offended. I never once meant to make anyone feel like I wasn’t thankful and appreciative of the opportunity that I was afforded to play the game I love. I’ve worked hard over the years to earn a chance to compete in the greatest game on earth. Over the years I was met with challenges and I can honestly say I didn’t handle those challenges in the manner that I should have. Over the past few weeks I’ve had the opportunity to think about everything that’s transpired and I am deeply sorry to all who I’ve offended. While my behavior was inexcusable, sometimes when people are coming at you with false information and allegations, we handle ourselves in ways that we sometimes regret. I do take full responsibility for my actions and I’m working everyday to repair what I broke. I do know that if I’m ever given the opportunity to play the game that I love, I’m going to work extremely hard to show the world how much I appreciate another chance. To the organizations that I offended, I offer my sincere apology to you and my hope is that you forgive me and help me move on from this minor setback. I look forward to competing and helping a team reach their goals.

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Carolina Panthers Name Perry Fewell as Interim Head Coach

Perry Fewell, interim head coach for the Carolina Panthers. (Courtesy: Carolina Panthers)

CHARLOTTE (GSM) — In the wake of a major shake-up in North Carolina, secondary coach Perry Fewell will carry the team for the rest of the season. The Carolina Panthers fired head coach Ron Rivera after nine seasons at the helm. 

2019 is Fewell’s first season with the Panthers and served as secondary coach for Bears, Rams, Redskins, Giants and most recently the Jaguars, stemming back to 1998.

Fewell adds to the list of only 3 black head coaches in the NFL: Brian Flores (Miami Dolphins), Anthony Lynn (Los Angeles Chargers) and Mike Tomlin (Pittsburgh Steelers).

Interim head coach Perry Fewell addresses the media for the first time

Fewell spoke about his past coaching experience, his on-field coaching style and his goals for the last four games of the season.

As for Rivera, however, he ends his tenure with an overall winning record of 76-63-1 with a poor showing in the postseason at 3-4. “My biggest regret is not winning the Superbowl,” Rivera said at Bank of America Stadium Wednesday. He says he is not done with his career and on if he plans to coach again, “I want to be able to coach people and impact people.” 

Ron Rivera during the 2017 Carolina Panthers training camp at Wofford College’s Gibbs Stadium. (Montez Aiken, Montez Aiken Photography for Golden Sky Media)

Panthers owner David Tepper said in a statement, “I believe this is the best decision for the long-term success of our team.” Tepper said about Rivera, “I have a great deal of respect for Ron and the contributions he has made to this franchise and to this community. I wish him the best. I will immediately begin the search for the next head coach of the Carolina Panthers.” 


Steelers Stay Alive in Playoff Hunt with Win Over the Browns

Steelers’ wide receiver James Washington (13) focuses on catching the 30-yard touchdown pass from Devlin Hodges on December 1, 2019 against the Cleveland Browns at Heinz Field. (Brian Cook / Golden Sky Media)

PITTSBURGH (GSM) — The Steelers control their own destiny!

The Pittsburgh Steelers are sitting with a record 7-5 and have — at the  moment — solidified their spot in the 2nd place in the AFC North division after defeating the Cleveland Browns 20-13 at Heinz field, Sunday. With a litany of injuries to starters on both sides of the ball, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin realizes his team was faced with an uphill battle and after the victory simply said no matter what, you have to get it done. “It feels good to win always, but it definitely feels good to win when you are faced with adversity in terms of people available to you,” Tomlin said. “There’s just less margin for error. Not that we feel like we are incapable, we just realize we have to play closer to optimum level.”

Tomlin made the necessary adjustments before the second half based on what he observed throughout the game. 
Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin pointing at the referees during the game against the Cleveland Browns on December 1, 2019 at Heinz Field. (Brian Cook / Golden Sky Media)
“We felt like we needed to minimize their run in the second half more than we did in the first half and we needed to run it better than we did in the first half. We felt like it was 10-10 at the half, but they had won the line of scrimmage. They had more significant run plays, they had control of the time of possession. We needed to flip that.” — Mike Tomlin, Head Coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers
Cornerback Joe Haden sealed the win for Pittsburgh with an interception against Cleveland’s Baker Mayfield and took to the postgame podium with a smile on his face knowing that, despite his individual play of 2 tackles and 1 INT, it was a good team win. “We just have a group of guys with Terrell [Edmunds], Steve Nelson and then the addition of Minkah [Fitzpatrick]. This is one of the best secondaries I have ever been a part of because we have communication, we have guys that are very football smart and are very capable of making plays.” Haden said “I feel like I am holding my side down, but everybody else is doing their thing in the back end.”
Running back Benny Snell Jr. rushed for 63 yards on 16 carries and a touchdown. He said the win was dedicated to center Maurkice Pouncey who was suspended for the game due to the unfortunate on field altercation the last time the Steelers and Browns met where a fight broke out and Pouncey came to the defense of his teammates. “Him [Pouncey] not being out there with us, we wanted to get this win for him. That’s why we got the game ball for him as well. I’m happy and I’m proud!” 
Devlin “Duck” Hodges passes during the game against the Cleveland Browns on December 1, 2019 at Heinz Field (Brian Cook / Golden Sky Media)
For the second consecutive game QB Duck Hodges connected with wideout James Washington for a score. This time for 30 yards splitting two defenders for the touchdown. Washington says coach Tomlin’s motivation is what plays in his mind constantly. “Coach [Tomlin] would always say, ‘You never know how many opportunities you’re gonna get.’ What better game not to going out there and do that?!”
The Steelers head to Arizona to face the Cardinals who are 3-8 and in last place in the NFC West.