Ray  Porter Jr. on Sports 

  1. Steelers lose to the Jaguars(again)-I really don’t think anybody saw this outcome (well, except maybe the Jaguars) but most folks expected to see a masterful performance at Heinz Field Sunday, but apparently, they were looking at the wrong team. Most were expecting it from the Pittsburgh Steelers, but it came from the Jacksonville Jaguars, who won 45-42.
  2. Don’t let that score fool you– It truly wasn’t as close as the final score, as the Jaguars punched the Steelers in the mouth early and often in the first quarter and led 21-0. Why? Because the Jaguars were ready, and the Steelers defense looked horrible. I believe they once again they took QB Blake Bortles for granted, and he handed it to them.
  3. The Offense tried to win the game-They truly did. QB Ben Roethlisberger passed for 469 yards and passed for 5 TDs (unlike 5 interceptions in the first game) WR Antonio Brown caught 7 passes for 132 yards and 2 TDs, RB Le’Veon Bell had 155 total yards and 2 TDs, good for 42 points, which is usually good enough to win games, except when the other team scores 45.
  4. As a Result-The Steelers lose in the AFC Divisional Round and stay home, while the Jaguars play the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship game, with the winner didn’t deserve it.
  5. Who’s to blame for this Steelers loss? The defense, of course. They talked a lot of trash on the Jaguars, some players even allegedly standing out of the Jags locker room, l admit that I thought the first game was a fluke, but I knew the Jaguars weren’t pushovers. Apparently, the Steelers thought they were, and got embarrassed in front of their fans. The defense could only sack Bortles once and he torched them with play-action passes and his scrambling ability.
  6. Leonard Fournette-And then there’s this guy. The Jaguars rookie truly stood tall against the Steelers, rushing for 181s in the 30-9-win Oct 5th, and for 109 yards and 3 TDs in the Divisional Round. He’s their modern-day Fred Taylor. I like this young man’s game.
  7. The Jaguars D-They may have given up 42 points, but this unit made key plays when they needed to: No turnover on downs, an interception and a fumble recovery for a TD. Impressive.
  8. Other Steelers News: They parted ways with offensive coordinator Todd Haley and promoted QB Coach Randy Fitchner to OC, but he keeps his QB Coach duties and WR Coach Richard Mann announced his retirement after Coaching 33 years in the NFL. Meanwhile, the Steelers plan to make zero coaching changes on defense.
  9. Did Haley Cost the Steelers the game? No. But decisions on 4th and 1 helped cost the Steelers opportunities to tie the game. And I don’t think Big Ben threw Haley under the bus either, he simply told the truth.

10. Can the Jaguars beat the Patriots? Good question. If they play them the same way that they played the Steelers, then anything’s possible. But I can’t see the Pats allowing the Jags to go up 21-0 on them. They’re too disciplined for that. But if their defense knocksQB Tom Brady around, then they have a chance.

11. NFC Championship-It’s intriguing to see the Philadelphia Eagles take on the Minnesota Vikings. It’s been a long time since both have reached this level, and the Vikes would’ve missed it if it weren’t for some heroics from QB Case Keenum and WR Stefon Diggs, then it would’ve been the New Orleans Saints. But not so, the Vikes have a chance to be the first NFL team to host a Super Bowl.

12. Who’s the Better Team? Right now, I would say the Vikings because they knocked off a pretty good Saints team and earned that 1st round bye. Keenum and the offense has gotten it done and the defense is tough. I wish the Eagles had QB Carson Wentz because that would’ve put them over the top. But their running game and defense will give them a shot and QB Nik Foles is decent, but no Wentz.

13. Rams HC gets honor-Head Coach Sean McVay of the Los Angeles Rams was named Coach of the Year by the Pro Football Writers of America. He truly earned it after leading the Rams to their first division title and playoff appearance in years. Congrats.

14.LeBron, Curry named ASG Captains-Much deserved as they are two of the game’s best players and ambassadors. The NBA will adopt an old NFL idea for their All-Star Game: Not having conferences and having 2 captains pick teams. I think it’s a dumb idea, but they must find that out themselves, like the NFL did.

15. Other ASG Starters– Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo, Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid, Boston’s Kyrie Irving and Toronto’s DeMar DeRozan were also selected as starters from the Eastern Conference and Houston’s James Harden, Golden State’s Kevin Durant and New Orleans teammates Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins were also selected as starters from the Western Conference. Still should be fun to watch.

16. Ariza, Green suspended after fight– Rockets forwards Trevor Ariza and Gerald Green will be suspended two games by the NBA for their roles in a locker room incident following Houston’s loss to the Clippers Monday, but the NBA said that the Rockets James Harden and Chris Paul will not be suspended. I wonder why, since they were involved in that scrap as well?

17. Cole, McCutchen traded-You knew it was a matter of time, but it still didn’t make it easier to see when it happened. On Saturday, the Pittsburgh Pirates traded P Gerit Cole to the Houston Astros and OF Andrew McCutchen to the SF Giants. What did they get in return? Nothing.

18. Cole was happy to go-Wouldn’t you be? He goes from a Pirates team who has no vision (Just ask owner Bob Nutting) to the defending world champions who know how to spend. I wish him the best as I know they will pay him his worth as well, provided he can pitch to his potential.

19. Sad to see McCutchen go-This Pirates fan is truly sad to see him go as he was not only the face of the franchise, but also a class act. He didn’t deserve to be treated like this, but he did deserve to have an exit strategy from the bad comedy that are the Pirates.

20. The Pirates Outlook? They have a cheapskate front office that has no vision, nor do they care about winning, despite GM Neal Huntington’s claims that they hope to make the playoffs this year. Sorry Neal, your Jedi mind trick only works on the weak minded.

 

Please e-mail Ray at ray@urbanmediatoday.com

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