Tuesday, November 25, 2014

50-YARD LINE

     Your Pittsburgh Steelers are back in action this week as they battle the New Orleans Saints on the home turf of Heinz Field. The Steelers are in a dogfight in the AFC North as all the teams are within 1 game of each other. Cincy leads the division at 7-3-1. The Steelers, Clowns & Baltimorons are in a 3-way tie at 7-4. With 5 games left in the regular season, the Steelers control their own destiny.

     New Orleans may be tied for the lead in the NFC South but at 4-7, they're hardly dominating as in years past. As a dome-stadium team, they're also vulnerable to playing in the elements. Here's hoping for winter-like conditions this Sunday. The Steelers then travel to Cincy for their first meeting of the season with the Bungles. Here is where the Steelers can take control of the division and fight for a home playoff game. After that, the Steelers continue on the road to Atlanta, another weak NFC South team that can be ripe for the picking. The Steelers then travel back home to face the Kansas City Chiefs, a team that is also fighting for playoff position in the AFC. The Steelers close out their schedule at home versus Cincy. This game could come down to the division title.

       The Steelers appear to be getting healthy at the right time, too as safeties Troy Polamalu and Sharmarko Thomas, LB Ryan Shazier and CB Ike Taylor all returned to practice yesterday after missing time with various injuries. LB Jarvis Jones was activated from the injured reserve/designated to return list. This is certainly good news as the Steelers lack of depth on defense has been a glaring deficiency that they've been struggling to overcome in recent weeks.

      The Steelers have proven that they can run the ball, they can pass the ball. They just need to do both on a consist, week-in, week-out, 60-minute basis. Give QB Ben Roethlisberger time to put the ball in the hands of his playmakers, WR Antonio Brown and RB Le'Veon Bell, and watch them go to work.

     No one likes scoreboard-watching. The Steelers are in the driver's seat, they just have to drive it all the way to the playoffs and a 7th Super Bowl Championship. Let's Go Steelers!!!!!!

Monday, November 24, 2014

SLAP SHOTS

I'll be cow-kicked it's a great day for hockey! Your Pittsburgh Penguins take their show on the road to Boston to battle the Bruins. These are your keys to tonight's game. 1)The Pens have lost 2 straight and have dropped their last 4 in Boston. Batter the Bruins & get back in the win column! 3)The Pens are coming off a 4-1 loss to the Islanders Saturday night. Boston was shutout 2-0 by Montreal on Saturday. Pack up the Motley Crue & the Goals, Goals, Goals! 3)In their last 6 games, the Pens power play is 1 for 10. Take advantage of the man-advantage! Let's Go Pens!!!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING BLACK-N-GOLD

    We interrupt our regularly scheduled programming due to this week's Steelers bye. Normally in this space on a Sunday morning Mrs. Black-N-Gold would present to you the keys for the day's Steelers game . The NFL schedule makers have given our favorite football team the week off. But Mrs. Black-N-Gold never rests. Please allow me to take this opportunity to remind you of
"The Importance of Being Black-N-Gold".

     The Big Bossman and I have traveled all over this great country (and outside of it, too), and I always manage to sniff out the Steelers bars in the area. You know the type of establishment, there's usually a Terrible Towel hanging and if you're there during football season, you may fancy a cold Iron City or IC Light. These taverns are usually the home for the Pens and Pirates, too. You also almost always run into someone from the area be it Beaver County, Mt. Washington, or Upper St. Clair. You usually spot like minded people by the garb they wear, a Pirates hat, a Penguins t-shirt or a Steelers jacket.

     Face it, Black-N-Gold Nation is everywhere. It's now gone global. What other fan base can boast of all the greats who have worn Black-N-Gold? From Mario Lemieux to Sidney Crosby, Terry Bradshaw to Ben Roethlisberger, Roberto Clemente to Andrew McCutchen. And, oh those championships. Hall of Famers and record-breakers and championship trophies. Oh My!

       So wear your heart on your sleeve, fans of the Black-N-Gold. And on your chest, on your head, and anywhere else you want to display your love of the Black-N-Gold. We may come from all walks of life but we all wear the same colors. Black-N-Gold, baby! Let's Go Bucs!!!!! Let's Go Pens!!! Let's Go Steelers!!!!!!


Saturday, November 22, 2014

SLAP SHOTS

Call Arnold Slick from Turtle Crick, it's a great day for hockey! Your Pittsburgh Penguins take their  show on the road as they continue their home-and-home set tonight against the New York Islanders. These are your keys to tonight's game. 1)The Pens look to re-group and get back in the win column following last night's shootout loss. Fire up the Goals, Goals, Goals! 2)The Pens are 7-1-1 on the road while the Isles are 5-2-0 on home ice. It's a Black-N-Gold home invasion! 3)Pens C Sidney Crosby was held scoreless in last night's tilt. Slap me silly & put it on the net, Sid! Let's Go Pens!!!



Friday, November 21, 2014

SLAP SHOTS

Great balls of fire, it's a hockey night in Pittsburgh! Your Pittsburgh Penguins are back on the home ice of Consol Energy Center tonight as they play the first game in a home-and-home series against the New York Islanders. These are your keys to tonight's game. 1)The Pens are 9-1-0 in their last 10 games, coming off a 4-0 shutout of Montreal on Tuesday night. Yes, the Pens have been flying high but received some bad news recently. It was announced that LW Pascal Dupuis would be out for at least 6 months with a blood clot on his lung. The Pens will not only miss Pascal on the ice but off it, as his presence has always been felt throughout the Pens locker room. It would be super to win it for Duper! 2)The Isles are 7-4-0 on the road. The Pens are 6-2-0 on their home ice. There's no place like home! 3)It will be a battle of high-powered offenses as the Isles are 3rd in the league with 3.1 goals per game. The Pens continue to lead the NHL at a 3.6 goals per game clip. Rock the Motley Crue with the Goals, Goals, Goals! Let's Go Pens!!!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

BLUES N'AT

     Christmas is coming and the Blues Society of Western Pennsylvania has the perfect gift for the blues-lover in your life. "Blues From The Burgh 4" is their latest compilation CD.  It's a chance to hear the latest and greatest from the many talented blues artists Pittsburgh has to offer.

     There are many familiar names to blues fans in the Pittsburgh area such as Jill West and Blues Attack, The Rhythm Aces, and Billy the Kid and the Regulators. There are also some artists that are new to the "Blues From The Burgh" series such as Vince Agwada, Stevie Pete and Ruby Red and the Dirty Devils.

     No matter your taste in blues, this set has something for everyone, from scorching blues-rock to  slower, country-tinged blues and everything in between. There's fiery fretwork from some of the best guitarists around such as Billy the Kid, Vince Agwada, Gregg Krupa (Jill West and Blues Attack), Jimmy Adler and Cheryl Rinovato (Bottom Shelf Blues Band).

    Mrs. Black-N-Gold loves the entire collection but there are certain songs that stick with her. Vince Agawada's "Blindsided" attacks the senses with it's funk-rock-blues explosion. The pulse-pounding guitar keeps the heart rate up. Jimmy Adler Band's "Wild Imagination" evokes images of rockbilly-swing and makes you want to cut a rug. "Gypsy Blues" by Ruby Red and the Dirty Devils is a tune that Mrs. Black-N-Gold can't get out of her head, especially the catchy chorus. The closing number, "This Whiskey" by Leigh-Anne Yost is one of two "whiskey"-inflicted songs. It's a straight shot of the blues for you.

     It doesn't matter if you've been naughty or nice. If you're a fan of the Pittsburgh blues scene or  you want to introduce yourself or your loved ones to what's going down in western PA blues, the "Blues From The Burgh 4" CD is for you. Until next time, boys and girls. Keep It Bluesy!




Wednesday, November 19, 2014

50-YARD LINE

     Put another one in the win column for the Steelers. As has been the norm during much of the Tomlin-era, it wasn't pretty but it was a win. Now that Mrs. Black-N-Gold has gotten a good night's sleep, she brings you the Good, the Bad & the Ugly from Monday's 27-24 victory over Tennessee.

Good-It looked good when the Steelers jumped out to an early 10-0 lead. Mrs. Black-N-Gold was starting to believe that the Steelers were awakening from the slumber of last week's loss to the Jets. Alas, it wasn't meant to be, not immediately, anyway. The Steelers allowed themselves to be outplayed by Titans rookie QB Zach Mettenberger for much of the game, going down 24-13 to start the 4th quarter. Thanks for RB Le'Veon Bell's beastly performance, 204 yards on 33 carries with 1 touchdown, the Steelers were able to pull off the win. Kudos to the offensive line, too. Although they allowed the Tennesse D to sack Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger 5 times and batter him most of the evening, they did pave the way for Bell's breakout performance, clearing holes so Bell could pick up at least 10 yards 8 times, and average 6 yards per carry. Yes, game ball goes to Le'Veon Bell and the O-Line and offensive line coach Mike Munchak. Give an honorable mention to Da Beard, DE Brett Keisel. During his sabbatical from the Steelers #99 found the fountain of youth. He's helped keep the defense going when the youngsters seem to peter out. Keisel had 2 pass deflections and a QB hit. Keeping it old school!

Bad-When you're down by 11 to a 2-7 team and their rookie QB, I don't care if you do win the game, there is definitely some bad going on, too. As good as the offensive line was in the running game, they were just as bad on passing downs, giving up 8 QB hits to go with the 5 sacks. And apart from WR Antonio Brown and TE Heath Miller, the receivers pretty much disappeared. Rookie WR Martavis Bryant, a touchdown machine since his insertion into the lineup, proved why he sat out the early part of the season, allowing 2 touchdown passes to slip through his hands. Ben didn't help matters when he threw an interception in the endzone towards the end of the 1st half. That pick setup the 80 yard touchdown pass from Mettenberger to former Steelers WR Nate Washington that put the Titans up 17-13 at the half. The defense let Mettenberger pick them apart for most of the game. Give the D credit though. They held up when they had to late in the game to help secure the win.

Ugly-This portion was going to be a tossup. RB LeGarrette Blount's unprofessional behavior of Monday night was extremely ugly. Pouting and leaving the field before the end of a game is not a good example of a model teammate. If you're not a team player, you don't belong on the team. Obviously, Coach Tomlin and the Steelers felt the same way as they sent the disgruntled Blount packing yesterday afternoon. Now this week's "Ugly" award goes to Dri Archer. Ok, maybe it's not the rookie's fault. Let's fault whoever the genius was that stretched to draft this kid. Was it GM Kevin Colbert? Tomlin? OC Todd Haley? Did we learn nothing from the Chris Rainey Experience of a few seasons ago? If the Steelers really think Archer can turn into an exceptional ballplayer, why not try hiding him on the practice squad where he can get some seasoning? Sorry, Archer looks like a wasted draft pick and a waste of time. Better do something about that and soon.

     The schedule makers have given the Steelers a bye this week as they get ready for a visit from the New Orleans Saints on November 30. Time to rest up, heal up and find some depth at running back. The Steelers did fill Blount's roster spot by signing rookie RB Josh Harris from the practice squad. They may not be done making moves before their next game.

     Meanwhile, let's look at the standings in the AFC North. Cincy is on top at 6-3-1 following their win over NOLA. The Steelers are on their heels with a 7-4 mark. The Baltimorons won and Cleveland lost, putting them both at 6-4.

     There's more work to be done and 2 weeks to get ready. Let's Go Steelers!!!!!!