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Breakfast with Benz

U mad, bro? Fan anger toward Steelers' Le'Veon Bell a bit warped

| Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018, 7:39 a.m.
Steelers guard David DeCastro lead blocks for James Conner against the Titans Saturday Aug. 25, 2018 at Heinz Field.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Steelers guard David DeCastro lead blocks for James Conner against the Titans Saturday Aug. 25, 2018 at Heinz Field.

In this week's "U mad, bro?" I'm stunned at the lack of people mad over my Serena Williams column. As always, people are mad at Le'Veon Bell. Steelers play-calling isn't going over big either.


Sonny is mad at Le'Veon Bell. Who isn't?

Yeah, Sonny, you are. I get your angst towards Bell. I do. But the linemen aren't going to tank once he gets in there. And it's really easy to say "just let him walk" now when Bell isn't playing elsewhere and while James Conner is healthy and playing well.

It won't be as easy to think that if Bell were to be playing in a different uniform and if Conner gets hurt.


Mike emailed me to vent about the Steelers play-calling in overtime against the Browns.

"A minute left and one timeout, they made absolutely no effort to get closer before the kick. I was flabbergasted. A 42-yarder isn't necessarily a gimme even in great conditions."

Amen, brother. You are preachin' to the choir on this one. They made an effort, I suppose, but not a sincere one. Chris Boswell was overdue for a miss in that kind of situation, and they treated the sequence like it was a foregone conclusion.

And, as you pointed out, given the weather, that was unwise.


John also emailed and wanted to see more variety in the run game Sunday.

"Why didn't they play any other running back. No reason to showcase Conner and I would've wanted to see what I had in my other running backs, thoughts?"

John, giving a sequence to Stevan Ridley in the first series or two in the fourth quarter wouldn't have been a bad idea upon further review.

But it would definitely be upon further review.

No one was calling for Conner to sit until he fumbled. And one blight against Ridley in New England was that he fumbled too much. Coming in cold in wet conditions might have scared off the Steelers in that regard.

No, Conner didn't look as good in the fourth quarter as he did earlier. But he was facing a Browns defense that was selling out against the run, and the offensive line didn't get the push it had earlier in the game either.

I agree the run game flattened out considerably late in Cleveland. I doubt trying a new back would've made all that much of a difference.


Dave disagreed with my take about Penn State running up the score against Pitt as the Nittany Lions were en route to a 51-6 victory.

Dave, I'm the last person to cry a river on behalf of Pitt. I don't even care that the Nittany Lions did it. But come on. They did it.

Just because backups did it, that doesn't change the reality that they were trying to score in a game that was long decided. That's running it up. Throwing into the end zone in the fourth quarter up by more than 30 points, challenging turnovers with time running down in a rainstorm and 40 point margin, that's running it up.

I'm not offended by it. But don't offend me by telling me I didn't know what I was looking at.


Mike is NOT mad, bro. That's rare for this weekly post. He actually liked my column about Serena Williams' hissy fit at the U.S. Open.

Thanks, Mike. I've been really surprised at the responses to this column. They have been overwhelmingly positive. Rarely do I write a column, or take to the air with an opinion, and completely misread how it is going to go over.

When I submitted this one, I expected a torrent of replies suggesting I was a misogynist, racist, elitist and any other -ist you can imagine. I got a few responses with that tone. But the feedback has, for the most part, been

180 degrees the opposite of that.

I got the impression that many people had the same experience that I did. They heard about the incident, or just saw clips, before seeing the whole thing unedited. And when they did, they were offended at how the facts were warped and packaged to create aok sociological or political agenda where one didn't exist.

And, as sports fans, they were particularly upset that a sports platform was used as the launching point for that.

Again.

We saw it from the other side of the political fence during the anthem debate. This was a similar attempt by those with opposite political views.

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