Pittsburgh Steelers vs New England Patriots: AFC Championship Final Thoughts

That LeVeon Bell guy is pretty important, huh?

I know, that’s oversimplifying what happened in New England Sunday night. You can’t quantify, though, what losing someone like that to injury- again- does to a team. Sure, backup RB DeAngelo Williams has proven to be a capable backup in the past, but Bell is a special talent. You can’t tell me there wasn’t a collective sigh when it was announced Bell was done.

That being said, what you saw was two teams who took the same basic approach to defending each other’s Pro Bowl caliber QB’s. Little blitzing on pass plays, instead focusing on taking away options.

The only problem is that the Steelers absolutely failed. Patriots WR Chris Hogan- who first attended college to play lacrosse and has been cut by three teams- blew up for 9 catches, 180 yards and 2 TD’s. Fellow WR Julian Edelman chipped in another 8 catches for 118 yards and a score.

Which begs the question: if you weren’t going to try to pressure arguably the best QB in the game today; and you weren’t going to cover anyone either, how exactly did you expect to stop the Patriots from scoring? Hmm? I’ll listen to your answer off the air.

Getting back to Bell, though. I know he missed games earlier this year due to a suspension, which is technically much different than an injury, but missed time is missed time. In the end, they were still in the Conference Championship, so I can’t beat on the guy too hard but he’s made a habit of missing time for various reasons. Only playing a full 16 games only once in four years is the kind of thing that makes me hesitant to think they can lean on him.

But he’s on my fantasy team, so yeah, go ‘head.

The Pats held the Steelers absolutely in check. The top 5 offensive grades at ProFootballFocus were Brady and 4 offensive lineman. Not even Hogan. That’s just grinding the X’s-and’O’s into the Steelers’ shiny black helmets.

Tip your cap, the Emperor has done it again. Now the Pats play an Atlanta Falcons team whose offense is approaching legendary status, led by a coordinator who apparently will start prepping for the San Francisco 49ers draft Monday, February 6th.

It would be soooo Belichick to spoil that for Kyle Shanahan, wouldn’t it?


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