Ugly win a good sign for Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH — The Steelers’ victory Sunday in Jacksonville was one of their most impressive games of the season, for all the wrong reasons.

The defense yielded too many rushing yards (179) to a team that doesn’t pass the ball well. Ben Roethlisberger’s three interceptions helped the Steelers lose the takeaway/giveaway game.

The Steelers were lousy converting third downs (3-for-11) and even worse (0-for-2) on fourth down attempts. One game after posting a perfect passer rating, Roethlisberger’s number on Sunday was 65.4, lower than his counterpart, Blake Bortels.

Yet when the messy game was over, they’d won it 20-16. They won on the last play and by an inch, but they won.

When you can do so many things poorly and still win, it’s a good sign.

Nobody wants to make a habit of that, but it’s ultimately a positive to take into a tough environment in Denver this Sunday.

Lighting it up

The statisticians who worked Monday night’s Kansas City Chiefs-Los Angeles Rams should have been packed in ice afterwards.

There was no chance to take a breath. It seemed like each team scored every time it had the ball, and there were enough spectacular plays to fill a one-hour highlights show.

Those who appreciate defensive football didn’t find much to like, but the NFL believes that most fans like a game with plenty of offense.

This fit that bill.

So many of the Monday night games are clunkers (the NFL believes Sunday night is its showcase), but this one was genuine prime time entertainment.

Picking 40

No surprises on the players the Pirates added to the 40-man roster.

Mitch Keller is their No. 1 pitching prospect and could get to the major leagues this season. Cole Tucker is their shortstop of the future despite his so-so season with the Curve.

J.T. Brubaker was the organization’s minor league pitcher of the year. Jason Martin was acquired in the Gerrit Cole trade, so they’re not going to take the risk that he might get away as a Rule 5 pick.

The Pirates painlessly cleared roster spots with the recent trades of Jordan Luplow, Max Moroff and Tanner Anderson. Luplow and Moroff went to Cleveland while Anderson was dealt to Oakland.

Happy Thanksgiving

This might be as corny as the family size bag of Green Giant niblets, but it’s time for the best holiday on the calendar.

Gluttony and football are a tough combination to beat, and it’s even better if you somehow get along with your family and/or like pumpkin pie.

(By the way, my advice is to have a McRib or two on Friday to break up the cycle of holiday turkey, leftover hot turkey with gravy, turkey sandwiches and turkey salad).

Between the games and the crazed TV commercials for potential gifts (People get cars for Christmas?), take a moment or two to reflect on the gratitude we should all feel. As crazy as things are, we have a lot of reasons to be thankful.

I’m thankful for the opportunity to have space in the Mirror on a regular basis, and to have readers who actually pay attention to the things I type.

To those who read, those who e-mail and those who fight the long odds to enter the Guess How Many Games The Pirates Will Win contest, thank you.

I literally couldn’t do it without you.

John Mehno can be reached at johnmehnocolumn@gmail.com


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