- Best company ever? Veteran Beer Co. exists to employ vets, provide quality beer
- Iran official: Sanctions ‘utterly failed’ to stop nuclear program
- ‘Black Santa’ display at IU sparks student outrage
- Joint Chiefs chair Dempsey: Pentagon, VA too slow in merging medical systems
- Sen. Ben Cardin hits Ukraine for crackdown on Kiev protests
- Drone technology turns South, targets feral pigs to kill
- Puerto Rico caravan honoring Paul Walker ends in 6 drunken-driving arrests, 72 speeding tickets
- Better pack a lightsaber: House told space explorers could find alien life in 10 years
- Selfies gone too far? N.Y. woman snaps photo in front of suicidal man on bridge
- High times on D.C. radio: Toronto’s crack-addled Mayor Ford gets sports spot
Feast or famine for Steelers special teams
Question of the Day
PITTSBURGH (AP) - When it comes to the Pittsburgh Steelers special teams this season, they’re either making “splash plays,” or they’re getting all wet.
Pittsburgh has benefited from a few momentum-changing moments _ also known, in the vernacular of coach Mike Tomlin, as “splash plays” _ from its kick and punt return units. But it’s also been hurt by gaffes that had costly potential.
Sunday’s 38-17 win against the Tennessee Titans provided examples of each. The electrifying Antonio Brown’s 52-yard kickoff return, for example, set up a touchdown that put the Steelers ahead for good. A successful fake field goal pass also set up a score.
But Pittsburgh’s most memorable special teams play, for the second consecutive week, was having a kick blocked. This time it was a Daniel Sepulveda punt. There was a successful Tennessee onside kick, too.
It seems as if, this season, there’s been little middle ground on Pittsburgh’s special teams.
“You can play a whole game well, and have one play that’s disastrous, and it kind of gives the image of not playing well for that whole day,” special teams captain Arnaz Battle said. “That’s the nature of special teams, which is fine. I think we’ve done a pretty good overall, but we strive to be perfect, and we can be.”
Just like an offensive lineman or a stay-at-home defenseman in hockey, it seems nobody notices the special teams … unless something goes wrong.
Pittsburgh has had 37 kick plays this season (punts, field-goal and extra-point attempts). Counting a field goal just before halftime of a 17-10 loss two weeks ago in Houston, two have been blocked.
Those two mistakes do more than enough to erase the positives. The kickoff return unit is second in the AFC in average yards, the punt return team third, and the punt coverage team first.
“Making big plays on special teams, that’s expected of us,” special teams coordinator Al Everest said. “We can’t turn around and give them the opportunity to make plays on special teams.
“And that’s the nature of special teams. It always has been that way and we’ve got to accept that responsibility. Our job is to make those kind of plays and not give them up.”
Everest, 61, speaks from experience as he has coached at just about every level imaginable. The NFL, the Canadian Football League, the Arena Football League, professional spring football, multiple Italian professional teams, high school, college: You name it, Everest has coached it.
His experiences in the CFL, where smaller gameday rosters and 12 players on the field mean more players have to contribute on special teams, led him to adopt the slogan, “Get It Up.”
“We’ve gotta ‘get it up’ as far as making plays and providing something for the team situationally,” said Brown, displaying his bright gold shirt proudly.
By Tom Harris and Madhav Khandekar
Bad science puts rich nations on the hook for trillions in climate liabilities
- Hola: Boehner prepares to push amnesty bill through House
- Kill team: Obama war chiefs widen drone death zones
- U.S. drops 2,000 mice on Guam by parachute to kill snakes
- Doctors say profound new HIV treatment may prove the cure
- Inside China: Nuclear submarines capable of widespread attack on U.S.
- EDITORIAL: Motor City meltdown
- CARSON: Getting to the top by starting at the bottom
- Last call: State Dept. bought $180,000 in liquor before shutdown
- MILLER: Obamas EPA closing smelter will not affect ammunition supply
- Obama: Growing income inequality 'defining challenge' of this generation
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Headlines from Associated Press and around the Internet