Sunday, January 18, 2015

Blount Talk in Pittsburgh

Let the moaning in Pittsburgh begin.  I guarantee it's already happening, and will happen big this week, after the New England Patriots blew out the Indianopolis Colts to represent the AFL in the Super Bowl.  They did so with 148 yards and 3 touchdowns on 30 carried by LeGarrette Blount.

For most of this season, Blount was a Steeler.  But after a game which saw Le'Veon Bell dominate the running back carries and install himself as the starter as well as a league leader, Blount left the team early and was soon released.

Then in the final game of the regular season, in which the Steelers won their division, Bell was injured and could not play in the first playoff game.  Without Blount, the Steelers had no experienced quality backup and no running game.  They lost, badly.

The Steelers may have had few good choices but at the moment it's going to look to many like they managed themselves out of a Super Bowl.  With Blount they would have had a good chance to win their playoff game against the Ravens at home.  And on Sunday, Blount showed what he could do against Indianapolis, and perhaps what New England lacked without him.

(The counter-argument is that the Steelers offense actually outgained the Ravens, but their defense couldn't hold. But then there are all those trips to the red zone with only field goals.)

There's a real possibility the Steelers were punked.  Blount saw that he'd lost the starting role, and knowing how Belichick operates on both edges of the rules, I wouldn't be surprised if Blount had already been in touch with the Patriots (or that the Patriots "informally" got in touch with him), and deliberately got himself thrown off the Steelers so he could sign as the Patriots feature back.

Could the Steelers have kept Blount somehow?  Could they have promptly replaced him with an experienced backup, instead of assuming in what now looks like wishful arrogance that they could always depend on Bell?  Some of this discussion has already been raging, but now all of it will be hashed out endlessly and angrily in Pittsburgh this week and probably next.