Let’s be clear on what happened last night.
The Cleveland Browns won a playoff game for the first time in 28 years.
They beat the Pittsburgh Steelers, my beloved Steelers, in Pittsburgh, with a 28-0 first quarter and a 35-10 half, en route to a 48-37 triumph.
The Steelers, who went 11-0 to start the season, belched up a 1-5 record to finish it out, including a horrifying playoff loss so bad, I thought that the Browns had hired Tim Tebow to torture the Steelers once more.
So who do I lay the blame for this utter collapse in the playoffs?
Can’t lay it on the tight ends and wide receivers, they played as strong as always. Juju Smith-Schuster and Chase Claypool and Diontae Johnson are straight-up studs. And James Washington caught some clutch passes to extend drives.
Can’t lay it on the defense, they had to battle injuries to Devin Bush and to Bud Dupree, yet the Steelers persevered. If T.J. Watt doesn’t earn Defensive Player of the Year, I’ll be shocked.
Can’t lay it on the coach. Mike Tomlin worked incredibly hard with every hand he was dealt – rescheduled games due to COVID-19, injuries, everything. He still coached the Steelers to their first playoff game in three seasons.
No, this lies on one person.
The starting quarterback.
The starting quarterback who, on the first play of the playoff game, watched the snap sail over his head and drift into the end zone, where the Browns pounced on it for a 7-0 score. Okay, that’s fine. But then the quarterback throws an interception. And then he throws a second interception. And a third one, so now the Browns are 28-0 IN THE FIRST QUARTER.
Don’t give me that he eventually threw four touchdowns – two to Chase Claypool and one to Juju Smith-Schuster and one to Eric Ebron. Because in the fourth quarter, down by 16, he did it again. Another interception. And at that point, I turned off the television.
Yeah, those four picks are on him. Straight-up on him. He also botched two throws for 2-point conversions, and he played like he was ready for the old folks home.
By the way, in case you’re wondering why I don’t mention his name in my blog, well, this is why. Quarterbacks who assault women don’t get a pass from me. And in the eleven years since I wrote that initial blog post, I’ve only referred to him as “the quarterback,” in that his actions off the field have reduced him from quarterback hero to simply an employed quarterback. Think about it. You see plenty of Aaron Rodgers commercials, don’t you? How about ones featuring Patrick Mahomes? Or Baker Mayfield? Yes, indeed. The Steelers quarterback, however, does not bode well in selling car insurance or soup or sneakers. Not when you know what he’s done with women in the past. Ugh.
Well, now it’s time to un-employ him. I don’t care if the Steelers get a monster hit in the salary cap. Cut this guy loose. Sign someone else. Promote Mason Rudolph or Josh Dobbs to the starting position. Go sign Landry Jones. Maybe make a trade for Sam Darnold or Tyrod Taylor. Hell, bring in Colin Kaepernick and put him in black and gold. Anybody else would be better than what we have now. Sign whoever was throwing footballs for the Albany Empire, put him in the game. Pick someone up from the scrap heap of the XFL or the AAF, they can’t do any worse than last night.
If you don’t want to cut him, then he should do the honorable thing and retire. Because last night’s playoff game was a stinker. A gigantic swirling turd in the toilet. Nathan Peterman thought that performance sucked. Even Neil O’Donnell, who tossed two game-losing INT’s in Super Bowl XXX, thought that performance sucked.
No, he’s not a hero. He’s a person who can play the quarterback position for a football team. And come the day when he can’t play any more, then give the job to someone else. Anyone else.
So right now, my football season is over. My Steelers were knocked out of the playoffs.
They were knocked out by a big, lumbering 38-year-old stoopnagle who couldn’t keep his junk in his pants 11 years ago, and who played like a pile of junk last night.
Yeah, we met the enemy, and it wore a black #7 jersey.
If Myron Cope were alive today, last night’s performance would kill him.