John Mehno

Pats look human for one night

PITTSBURGH — If you watched the Monday night NFL game, you saw that Tom Brady and the New England Patriots are capable of a bad game. Are they capable of two bad ones in a row? That’s the question as the Patriots head to Heinz Field late Sunday afternoon for their heavyweight battle ...

How dumb can some fans be?

PITTSBURGH — Within 24 hours after the brutal Bengals-Steelers Monday night game, someone was producing t-shirts inspired by one of the jarring hits. The shirts — unlicensed and unauthorized — had a drawing that showed Steelers rookie JuJu Smith-Schuster standing over Bengals linebacker ...

Hits tough to watch

PITTSBURGH — It’s never a good idea to watch something scary on TV right before bedtime. But this was Steelers-Bengals from Cincinnati, an AFC North game of some significance in the Monday night spotlight. It was scary, and not just because the Steelers needed another last-second field ...

Slimy tactics all over college football

PITTSBURGH — There are probably more corrupt businesses in America than college sports. Human trafficking comes to mind. But most of the other slimy pursuits aren’t wrapped up in bouncy school spirit, a marching band and officially licensed team apparel. It’s that time of year when ...

Tomlin just being honest

PITTSBURGH — So Mike Tomlin came out and said it — the Steelers are aware they play the New England Patriots on Dec. 17. Coaching rhetoric being as guarded as it is, this was seismic news. Tomlin was interviewed by Tony Dungy for the NBC-TV pre-game show on Sunday and admitted what ...

For the moment, style points don’t matter

PITTSBURGH — Mike Tomlin wasted no time in admitting the obvious: His evaluation of the Steelers’ 31-28 victory over the injury-depleted Green Bay Packers Sunday night will be determined by the calendar. In the moment, there was the warm glow of a victory that pushed the Steelers to 9-2 ...

Suspension doesn’t raise eyebrows

PITTSBURGH — The Steelers’ Marcus Gilbert was suspended for a quarter of the season last week, and it seemed like nobody noticed. There was more buzz about JuJu Smith-Schuster’s bicycle being stolen a few weeks earlier. Is failing a steroid test just an occupational hazard that the ...

Gilbert doesn’t help Steelers

PITTSBURGH — Marcus Gilbert’s timing wasn’t any better than his judgment. Gilbert had known for at least a week that he failed an NFL test for performance-enhancing drugs, but his penalty — a four-game suspension — wasn’t announced until Monday. That means the fourth game he ...

SkyCam doesn’t seem necessary

PITTSBURGH — The buzz after the Steelers’ Thursday night win over Tennessee wasn’t the season-high 40 points. Instead, the talk was about the SkyCam view the NFL Network and NBC provided. Basically the camera hovers above the actual playing field and offers a view that’s vertical ...

High-powered offense shows up in all its glory

PITTSBURGH — The Steelers scored a season-high 40 points Thursday night, and here’s the crazy thing: They could have/should have had more. The offensive explosion that everyone expected to see in the season opener at Cleveland finally popped on a frosty night at Heinz Field in ...

Bottom line: A victory doesn’t have to be pretty

PITTSBURGH — Sloppy. Unimpressive. Lucky. You can use any or all of those words to describe the Steelers’ 20-17 victory over the Colts in Indianapolis on Sunday. The only thing that matters is they won the game and moved another step closer to setting themselves up for the ...

Mehno: Pitt football program has major problems

PITTSBURGH — Pitt lost to North Carolina on Thursday night in a mostly empty Heinz Field, and two truths were immediately evident on social media: 1. Pitt needs a new head football coach. 2. Pitt needs a new on-campus stadium. Pat Narduzzi is the coach, and he was the coach last year ...

Steelers can’t afford injury to the Big 3

PITTSBURGH — We’re halfway through the Steelers season and this is the middle of the week, so it’s a perfect time for some of those look back/look ahead observations. n The Steelers’ biggest second-half concern: Injuries. If the Steelers lose Ben Roethlisberger, Le’Veon Bell or ...

Morton shines at right time

PITTSBURGH — As if the Pirates’ 2017 season wasn’t rotten enough and thankfully buried, there was a post-Halloween haunting. That came with Charlie Morton pitching the last four innings of Game 7, nailing down the Houston Astros’ first World Series championship. Ouch. Yes, the ...

Slow down on the Ju-Ju love affair

PITTSBURGH — There’s a lot to like about Steelers rookie receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, beyond his name. (By the way, his given name is “John Sherman” and “JuJu” came from his aunt). He’s enthusiastic. He works hard. He rides his bike to work because he came here without a ...

Bryant needs to think before he acts

PITTSBURGH — If Mike Tomlin sticks to his plan, Martavis Bryant will stay on the sideline tonight in Detroit, somewhere between the table full of Gatorade cups and the kicker’s practice screen. (They’re letting him make the trip, which makes sense. Imagine what trouble he could get into ...

Bryant story will not go away

Commentary PITTSBURGH — OK, Martavis Bryant shouldn’t be the lead of this column. What has he done? He’s the Steelers’ third-leading receiver, and he has modest numbers. He’s caught 18 passes in seven games, averaging 13 yards per reception. His longest catch has been for 51 yards, ...

Trump’s anthem soapbox has USFL roots

PITTSBURGH — We’re still a month or so away from ski season, but I’m going to head down this particular slippery slope anyway. Official disclaimer: This is not a political statement or column. This is still the sports section, and let’s give thanks for that. But... Before Donald ...

Bryant needs to go at end of season

Commentary PITTSBURGH — It doesn’t matter whether Martavis Bryant asked the Steelers to trade him. This should be his last year with the team. Bryant is an exceptional talent. Unfortunately, his ability has been undermined by the lack of professionalism that has plagued his ...

MLB replay gets one wrong

PITTSBURGH — Replay in baseball became a good idea around the time that Jerry Meals blew an easy home plate call and cost the Pirates a game. If everyone could see it was the wrong call, why not correct it? Even Meals admitted his mistake the next day, long after it was too late to do ...