Duck mania had its limits.
Fans wearing ridiculous hats, mallard calls at games, Rubber Duckies flying off the shelves – Duck mania seemed to be growing with every terrible defense he barely managed to beat.
But it had its limits.
Until last night.
I feel like Mike Tomlin overrides Kevin Butler’s defensive calls quite a bit. Why doesn’t he do the same with Randy Fichtner?
While sports talk radio callers clamored for more of the Duck, “Let the Duck wing it all over the field, ya know, like, let him throw it on every play. He’s the Duck – he can do anything,” the madness seemed to stop in these Musings, and in the minds of the Steelers’ offensive game planners and play callers.
Until the most important night of the season. That’s when the Steelers strayed from a winning formula (namely, keep the Duck grounded) and opened up an aerial attack that displayed every single one of Hodges’ warts.
His weak arm being the biggest of those warts.
“Joe Montana didn’t have no cannon for no arm, and Drew Brees ain’t got no strong arm neither, and both them’s pretty good.”
True. to borrow a metaphor from former Vice Presidential candidate Lloyd Bentsen, Duck Hodges ain’t no Joe Montana.
Or Drew Brees.
Or even Chad Pennington, Ken Dorsey, or a thousand other quarterbacks with weak arms who preceded him into football obscurity.
Which is just where Hodges will end up. A Movie-of-the-Week, a forgotten faux pas like New Coke, Morton Downey Jr. or Michael Richards after Seinfeld. It begs the question:
Why in blue freaking heck would the Steelers trust Hodges to throw the ball 38 times against the 3rd-ranked pass defense in the NFL?
Let that sink in: 38 passes.
27 of them occurred before the Bills took the lead in the fourth quarter, so the, “they had to throw it cause they was behind,” argument is invalid.
The results speak for themselves. Hodges has been bailed out by some very-good-to-great catches by receivers, and he was just fine throwing about 20 passes a game (he threw 19 against Arizona- one of the worst pass defenses ever – literally – look it up) against bad teams, why would he suddenly throw more than he has ever thrown against the best pass defense he has seen this year, and on the biggest night of the season?
If the Duck is to play out the season as the Steelers’ starting quarterback, Fichtner, Tomlin, and whoever calls the shots needs to ground him, allow him to make safe throws, and understand that they do not have their quarterback of the future, their diamond in the rough, their Prince Charming trapped in a frog. They have a lame duck who needs to swim in very shallow water.
- Pittsburgh is a gorgeous city in prime time. It was fun watching Chris, Marc and Steve pregame with a shimmering Allegheny river and gleaming Heinz Field in the background. The atmosphere inside Heinz Field was awesome last night, and what a moment when Steelers legend Rocky Bleier presented retired United States Marine Corps Master Gunnery Sergeant Timothy P. Mecca with the Purple Heart. The Steelers also presented Sgt. Mecca with a trip to Super Bowl LIV in Miami. Read more about Sgt. Mecca here – a true American hero.
- Erin was mad at me last night for Duck bashing, but I really was just pointing out that he’s just not very good. It’s okay. The Steelers can win games with Hodges at quarterback, but probably not against good teams, and who would not root for him? The story is great and he is a class act who has handled his sudden rise with poise. I am a big fan of Devlin Hodges, but not of Duck mania or the idea that the Steelers are better when Hodges just wings it all over the field.
- I hope I’m wrong about Hodges.
- Pat Narduzzi’s job is safe. I just scratch my head and wonder why, then laugh hard when he says things like this out loud: “Pitt will win an ACC championship within the next two or three years.” Uhm, coach, you can’t recruit, and you can’t win a game that matters, so how you gonna do that?
- I hope I’m wrong about Pat Narduzzi.