Big Ben's Return

And the Danny Turnovers we know and love.

Jim Rome
September 15, 2020 - 10:22 am
Daniel Jones

USA Today

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The Steelers and Giants faced each other in the first game of last night’s doubleheader and there were two questions going into the game. One, how would Ben Roethlisberger look in his return after elbow surgery? Two, why are the New York Giants on national television again? Seriously. Does anyone, anywhere, want to see these guys? They have one winning season since 2012 and yet every year, they get rolled out on national television as anyone, anywhere, wants to see them. And no one does. 

They have been the worst team in the league over the last three years. That’s a fact. They have the worst record in the league over the last three years. They’re bad.  How bad?  Cleveland went 0-16 during that stretch and the Giants are still worse. That bad. So what the hell are they doing on my TV? 

And sure enough, they did exactly what you’d expect the Giants to do, but let me talk about Roethlisberger first. In the buildup to the game, he talked about his jitters and nerves in returning after last season ended for him in Week 2. But he had nothing to worry about. First off, he looked good and secondly, he was playing the Giants.

He completed 21 of 32 for 229 yards and three touchdowns. Benny Snell Jr ran wild when James Conner went out and the Steelers offense looked good again. And nobody is happier about that than JuJu Smith-Schuster. Remember last year when his numbers fell off a cliff and some people started doubting him?

Well, he was back last night and back to his old ways. There was this touchdown.

The touchdown was nice, the touchdown dance was even better. My guy broke out the “who’s next?” Dance, which is such a legendary move and a reminder of just how funny this dude is.

And to the question of who’s next – last night the answer was James Washington. If Steeler fans were looking for a sign of Ben being back, it came in how he executed the two minute drill before halftime. Actually, it was about an 85 second drill and it was capped off by this completely absurd catch and run by Washington.

 

James Washington had absolutely no business getting into the end zone on that play, but he made it his business. He caught the ball at the ten, had two Giants in front of him, and one coming up behind him, took them all on and refused to go down and was not going to be denied. 

That was incredible for the Steelers and humiliating for the Giants. And I wish I could say that was the only embarrassing moment for the Giants, but you know that’s not the case. It never is with the Giants. 

And that’s why it’s hard to figure out exactly how good the Steelers are coming out of last night. Are they that good? Or are the Giants just that bad? And as always, the answer is….yes. They looked good. Ben needed a bit to knock off the rust, but for a guy coming back from serious elbow surgery, he threw it well.

The line got banged up and Conner went down with an injury, but Benny Snell Jr stepped up with 19 carries for 113 yards. Smith-Schuster had two touchdowns, which almost tied his output for last year, and a crucial fumble recovery, and he was back to being himself and celebrating. And having fun. 

And yes, the defense looked dominant. Roethlisberger said it may be the best defense they’ve had since he’s been there. Maybe. Who am I to say he’s wrong. But I am the one to say that unit did it against the Giants. So until, we actually see it against, an actual NFL team, maybe you hold off the best ever, platitudes, big dude. I mean, yes, they completely shut down Saquon Barkley. Yes, the defense did look good. But if you look good against the Giants, does it even really count? Not really. Not until I see that against someone who matters. Because the Giants don’t. The only ones who matter less, are the Jets. 

And if that sounds like I’m being harsh or unfair to the Giants, I would argue they are being unfair to everyone who watched that game. Because they were not good. BELOW NOT GOOD.

Remember when everyone was looking to crown Daniel Jones after his first NFL game last year?  You know, Danny Dimes mania. You remember that, right. I do. It was a stretch at the time and it seems even more whack now, especially when you see some of what he did last night.

Sure, there was some good, his touchdown pass to Darius Slayton.

But Danny Dimes often hangs out with his buddy, Danny Turnovers, and DT was definitely in the building last night. There was this pick.

And maybe you want to give Jones a break on that one, because it was a hell of a play by Watt, but you can’t give him a break on the next one.

On New York’s first drive of the second half, the Giants got the ball on their own nine yard line and put together a monster drive. 18 plays all the way down to the Steeler 4 yard line. And on the 19th play of the drive, second and 3 from the Steeler 4, Danny Turnovers did this.

 

What was that? Seriously, what was that? What was the play call, to have him roll to his left and then throw, and what was that decision to just float it up in the air? Cam Heyward picked it off, but any one of five guys were in position to get that pick. If Cam decided he didn’t want it, four other guys in white jerseys could’ve grabbed it. And no Giant had a chance.

That is the Danny Turnovers we know and love. Back-breaking turnovers when you can least afford it. And let’s be clear – those weren’t interceptions made by cornerbacks breaking on the ball or fighting off a receiver. Those were two picks by defensive linemen.

And I know what you’re thinking – if your quarterback is still a turnover machine, why don’t you hand the ball off to your Pro Bowl running back. The Giants tried that and it didn’t work particularly well.

Saquon Barkley: 15 carries for 6 yards. That’s not 15 carries averaging 6 yards, that’s 15 carries for 6 yards. Total.

His longest run of the night was 7 yards. If you take that away, he had 14 carries for negative 1 yard. At one point in the first half, he had eight carries for minus eight yards. He was hit behind the line of scrimmage on 11 of his 15 carries. And this is Saquon Barkley we’re talking about, not some clown off the street. This is one of the best running backs in the game, their best player, and he averaged less than half a yard per carry.

Now the credit for that goes to the Steeler defense, but come on, New York. I thought this was supposed to be a new look New York Giants with Joe Judge bringing his wacky approach to practice and Jason Garrett geniusly dialing up the plays.

Instead, what you got in the first quarter was taking a delay of game penalty on 4th and 1 from their own 40, only managing a field goal after getting the ball on the Steeler 3 and settling for a kick on 4th and 2. And a lot of postgame spin that Jones wasn’t really that bad and there’s a lot to like from the performance.

I guess. Maybe. Whatever works for you? Just know, none of that is working for anyone else. And know this: if you lose by double digits, at home, and you’re alleged Phenom at qb throws two picks to d lineman your takeaway is that overall, it wasn’t that bad a night, you really are that bad a team. And you’re essentially looking up at everyone not named the jets after week one. Do better. Because being slightly less embarrassing than the jets, is not nearly good enough.