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BOSTON MASSACRE

The score: New England 36, Pittsburgh 17 The bottom line: Needing a near-perfect effort to win, the Steelers rolled out their worst performance in more than two months Sunday at New England, with young receivers dropping critical passes and young defenders blowing critical coverages, ...

AFC CHAMPIONSHIP Pregame Stretch: Steelers at Patriots

AFC CHAMPIONSHIP: Pittsburgh Steelers (13-5) at New England Patriots (15-2) at Gillette Stadium, capacity 66,829; Sunday at 6:40 p.m., CBS Announcers: Jeeeeeeem and Pheeeeeeel. Annoyance factor: Off the charts, unless... There’s only two things worse than Jeeeeeeem and Pheeeeeeeel doing ...

PLAYOFF PREGAME STRETCH: Steelers at Chiefs

AFC DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS: Pittsburgh Steelers (12-5) at Kansas City Chiefs (12-4) at Arrowhead Stadium, capacity 76,416; Sunday at 8:20 p.m., NBC Announcers: Al Michaels and Chris Collinsworth. Well, well, well, if this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is. It’s hard to keep track of the ...

PHIN-ISHED OFF

The score: Pittsburgh 30, Miami 12 The bottom line: The oddsmakers were right. Miami wanted nothing to do with the frigid Pittsburgh weather or the red-hot Steelers offense and never really put up a fight in an exactly-as-easy-as-it-was-supposed-to-be-and-can-you-believe-that blowout of ...

PLAYOFF PREGAME STRETCH: Miami at Pittsburgh

AFC WILD CARD PLAYOFFS: Miami Dolphins (10-6) at Pittsburgh Steelers (11-5) at Heinz Field, capacity 65,050; Sunday at 1 p.m., CBS Announcers: Jeeeeeeeeem and Pheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeel. Annoyance factor: Ugh. You know what’s really amazing about Phil Simms? He goes on national television 15 ...

SURREAL DEAL

The score: Pittsburgh 27, Cleveland 24 The bottom line: The Steelers deactivated six starters and most of the ones on the field were playing at three-quarters speed, their quarterback was clueless and their defense soft and STILL the Cleveland Browns could not defeat them, turning the ball ...

PREGAME STRETCH: Browns at Steelers

Cleveland Browns (1-14) at Pittsburgh Steelers (10-5) at Heinz Field, capacity 65,050; Sunday at 1 p.m., CBS Announcers: Kevin Harlan and Rich Gannon. Annoyance factor: It’s all relative. Apparently, Ian Eagle and Dan Fouts are now the No. 2 CBS team and these guys are No. 3, but ...

GOOD STRETCH, YOU MERRY GENTLEMAN

The score: Pittsburgh 31, Baltimore 27 The bottom line: The Steelers were 70 seconds away from a crushing defeat that would have let loose a flood of questions about the competence of their head coach, Hall of Fame quarterback and preening star wideout, when a clutch drive, with a ...

PREGAME STRETCH: Ravens at Steelers

Baltimore Ravens (8-6) at Pittsburgh Steelers (9-5) at Heinz Field, capacity 65,050; Sunday at 4:25 p.m., NFL Network/WPXI Watch watch: As of this writing, no other affiliates outside of Pittsburgh’s WPXI had worked out deals to carry the game. That means Steelers fans in tens of ...

DUMB AND DUMBER

The score: Pittsburgh 24, Cincinnati 20 The bottom line: The Steelers did just about everything you could imagine to lose a late-season road game against an inferior opponent, committing critical penalties and failing to finish on numerous drives. But when that inferior opponent is the ...

PREGAME STRETCH: Steelers at Bengals

Pittsburgh Steelers (8-5) at Cincinnati Bengals (5-7-1) at Paul Brown Stadium, capacity 65,515; Sunday at 1 p.m., CBS Announcers: Ian Eagle and Dan Fouts. We watched last week’s game in a crowded sports bar in the French Quarter in New Orleans and did not hear one word Jeem or Pheel ...

PREGAME STRETCH: Steelers at Bills

Blogger’s note: We’re traveling to New Orleans for vacation this weekend so this pregame blog is abbreviated and there probably won’t be a game blog this week. There will be plenty of witty, incisive tweets, though, @15MinutesBlog. (Not from me, mind you, but I’ll retweet some witty, ...

(NOT QUITE) GIANT STEPS

The score: Pittsburgh 24, New York Giants 14 The bottom line: We don’t think there’s any question the Steelers have enough talent to win Super Bowl 51, but whether they are a good enough TEAM to even get into the playoffs is yet to be seen. Sunday’s relatively easy 24-14 win over the ...

PREGAME STRETCH: Giants at Steelers

New York Giants (8-3) at Pittsburgh Steelers (6-5) at Heinz Field, capacity 65,050; Sunday at 4:25 p.m., FOX Announcers: Joe Buck and Troy Aikman. Annoyance factor: Minimal. One of the best things about this season full of fairly terrible football has been the absence of fairly terrible ...

TURKEY DROP

The score: Pittsburgh 28, Indianapolis 7 The bottom line: They say history is written by the winners so we guess the version of Thursday’s night’s game where Pittsburgh’s young defense came of age with a couple of goal line stands is just as valid as any version, but we saw the ...

PREGAME STRETCH: Steelers at Colts

Pittsburgh Steelers (5-5) at Indianapolis Colts (5-5) at Lucas Oil Stadium, capacity 70,000; Thursday at 8:30 p.m., NBC Announcers: Mike Tirico and Cris Collinsworth. Annoyance factor: Depends. There are those in the broadcasting business that would call this the ultimate dream team in the ...

WHAT CAN BROWNS DO FOR YOU?

The score: Pittsburgh 24, Pittsburgh 9 The bottom line: The Steelers did just about everything they could (field goals instead of touchdowns, dropped interceptions, missed tackles, dumb penalties) to lose to the hapless Browns (except turn the ball over), but Cleveland just would not be ...

PREGAME STRETCH: Steelers at Browns

Pittsburgh Steelers (4-5) at Cleveland Browns (0-10) at First Energy Stadium, capacity 67,431; Sunday at 1 p.m., CBS Announcers: Kevin Harlan and Rich Gannon. Annoyance factor: Moderate. Harlan reached legend status with his epic “idiot on the field” play-by-play earlier this season ...

DUMBSTRUCK

The score: Dallas 35, Pittsburgh 30 The bottom line: The Steelers and their quarterback were good enough to beat the Dallas Cowboys in a critical showdown Sunday in Pittsburgh, but following the lead of their head coach and his coaching staff, they weren’t smart enough, cramming enough ...

Pregame stretch: Cowboys at Steelers

Dallas Cowboys (6-2) at Pittsburgh Steelers (4-4) at Heinz Field, capacity 68,400; Sunday at 4:25 p.m., FOX Announcers: Joe Buck and Troy Aikman. Annoyance factor: We know both of these guys have their faults (and tons of detractors) but they are Hall of Famers compared to Jeem and Pheel ...