George Iloka of the Bengals won his suspension appeal for his helmet-to-helmet hit on Antonio Brown, but JuJu Smith-Schuster’s suspension for his hit on Vontaze Burfict was upheld. Many of the Steelers aren’t happy with that inconsistency, and safety Mike Mitchell is fed up with the vague nature of hits and suspensions in the NFL. “Fed up” is an understatement, “at the end of the day this is foot…ball. If you want to see flag football then lets take our pads off, that would make it easier for me because I don’t gotta wear heavy s***, but give us flags because then I know what we’re playing. I signed up to play full-speed contact football and we’re not doing that. I feel like I gotta ask an offensive player is it okay for me to hit you right now before I hit you, and that’s crazy. I’m gonna mess around getting hurt because I’m trying to protect an offensive player cuz he’s running an over-route. Your quarterback shouldn’t have thrown that ball. Messed up.”

 

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Within 90 minutes after their win over the Bengals, the Steelers released a statement on the condition injured linebacker Ryan Shazier, who was hurt while tackling receiver Josh Malone. The injury was as scary as it gets, but the statement from Steelers GM Kevin Colbert indicated that Shazier was making progress and that he would not need surgery. Both positive signs. Head coach Mike Tomlin spent a good portion of his Tuesday news conference talking about Shazier, but offered no medical update. Tomlin, along with Steelers president Art Rooney II and Colbert, visited with Shazier in the hospital last night, “it was a tough evening. Ryan’s a trooper. I had an opportunity to spend time with him. He’s in really good spirits. Tough guy, he’s got great support from family and loved ones there. It’s kinda painful to get on that plane last night.” Shazier will stay in the hospital in Cincinnati undergoing tests for the next 24-48 hours.

Denver at Miami  DOLPHINS
Detroit at Baltimore  RAVENS
Houston at Tennessee  TITANS
Indianapolis at Jacksonville  JAGUARS
Kansas City at NY Jets  CHIEFS
Minnesota at Atlanta  FALCONS
New England at Buffalo  PATRIOTS
San Francisco at Chicago  BEARS
Tampa Bay at Green Bay  BUCS
Cleveland at LA Chargers  CHARGERS
Carolina at New Orleans  SAINTS
LA Rams at Arizona  RAMS
NY Giants at Oakland  RAIDERS
Philadelphia at Seattle  EAGLES
Pittsburgh at Cincinnati  STEELERS

Pro Bowl voting has a Steelers feel to it. Le’Veon Bell is currently the top vote-getter among running backs and number three in voting overall. Antonio Brown is the top receiver in voting and number four overall. In addition, Alejandro Villanueva, Maurkice Pouncey, David DeCastro and Ryan Shazier lead voting in their positions. The final vote will be revealed December 19th.

 

The Steelers beat the Packers. That’s the only thing that really matters. But some are concerned that it took a field goal with time running out to secure the 9th win in 11 games. Did the Steelers play down to a lesser opponent? If so, history suggests that’s the norm and not the exception. On the way to their 3rd Super Bowl, the Steelers beat the Cincinnati Bengals in mid-November by only a point.  The Bengals finished that season with only four wins in 16 games. In the season leading up to Super Bowl 40, the Steelers lost three consecutive games in late November and early December.  That season, they went into the second week of December with a 7-5 record. And in 2008, on the way to their sixth Super Bowl title, the Steelers beat San Diego (a team that finished 8-8) 11-10. The road to championships isn’t always smooth. The Steelers are entering their final five games of the regular season, but hold off on the prognostication based solely on what happened in the 11th game.  Don’t predict. Let it play out.

Buffalo at Kansas City  CHIEFS
Carolina at NY Jets  PANTHERS
Chicago at Philadelphia  EAGLES
Cleveland at Cincinnati  BENGALS
Miami at New England  PATRIOTS
Tampa Bay at Atlanta  FALCONS
Tennessee at Indianapolis  TITANS
Seattle at San Francisco  SEAHAWKS
Denver at Oakland  RAIDERS
Jacksonville at Arizona  CARDINALS
New Orleans at LA Rams  SAINTS
Green Bay at Pittsburgh  STEELERS
Houston at Baltimore  RAVENS

Ben Roethlisberger was listed as a full participant in practice on Wednesday despite being under the weather, but the same couldn’t be said for JuJu Smith-Schuster, who missed practice with a hamstring injury. Vance McDonald also missed practice. The good news though, Mike Mitchell and James Harrison both returned to full practice, despite battling through various injuries. Mitchell is anxious to get back on the field to fulfill what he calls his obsession, bringing Pittsburgh its 7th Super Bowl title, “when you come through the doors here, you know you come through the doors to win a Super Bowl. That is the only reason you’re here today, and it’s the only reason I’m gonna come here tomorrow, and it’s that way for every man on the roster and that’s what makes this place so special.”

 

Steelers tackle Marcus Gilbert has been suspended four games for violating the league’s policy against performance enhancers. In a tweet late this afternoon, Gilbert apologized to his teammates, coaches, and the entire Steelers family. He says he “regretfully and inadvertently took a banned substance” and promised to come back in great shape. In a statement, Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert said the Steelers are disappointed and said Gilbert will not appeal.

 

 

Detroit at Chicago  LIONS
Jacksonville at Cleveland  JAGUARS
Baltimore at Green Bay  PACKERS
Tampa Bay at Miami  BUCS
LA Rams at Minnesota  RAMS
Washington at New Orleans  SAINTS
Kansas City at NY Giants  CHIEFS
Arizona at Houston  CARDINALS
Buffalo at LA Chargers  CHARGERS
Cincinnati at Denver  BRONCOS
New England at Oakland  RAIDERS
Philadelphia at Dallas  COWBOYS

The Steelers are working on a short week. On Thursday night at Heinz Field they’ll host the Tennessee Titans, and in that game, they’ll face no fewer than seven former Steelers coaches and players now on the Titans staff. That includes a Hall of Famer. Mike Tomlin talked about welcoming back his former defensive coordinator, “on the defensive side of the ball we playing Dick LeBeau and as awesome it will be to see Dick on a personal note, he’s not the type of guy you want to see on the headset. If you give him red paint he’s gonna paint the barn red. It’s one of his analogies. (hahaha)”