Thursday’s “First Call” shows us how long the odds have gotten for the Steelers. Some harsh projections for Ben Roethlisberger. Honors for a Duquesne Duke. And yet another former Pirates pitcher is ticketed for a postseason start.
Riding the wave
If it has been an up and down ride for you as a fan watching the Steelers to start 2021, you aren’t alone.
The oddsmakers are right there with you.
Via BetOnline.AG, the odds for the Steelers to win the AFC North started at 17/4 against. Then they dropped to 3/1 after that stunning upset of the Buffalo Bills. Now they have crept up to 25/1, behind even the Cincinnati Bengals at 17/2.
As far as going to the Super Bowl, the Steelers started the season at 40/1. The number is now 125/1.
NFL.com is ranking all 32 of the league’s quarterbacks ahead of Week 5. They’ve got struggling Steelers signal caller Ben Roethlisberger all the way down at 27.
That’s behind the likes of Jared Goff, rookie Mac Jones, Jimmy Garoppolo and Taylor Heinicke.
“The next stage of Roethlisberger’s apparent steep decline includes him missing open receivers,” writes Gregg Rosenthal. “A quarterback known for shaking off defenders is falling away from some throws and holding the ball too long on others. If he can’t make second-reaction plays or be accurate, it will be a very long season.”
Gregg, it already has been exactly that.
The only veteran QB on the list after Big Ben is Miami’s Jacoby Brissett. All the rest are rookies: Justin Fields, Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, Davis Mills.
We’ve already talked about how the New York Yankees started Gerrit Cole in their wild card loss to the Red Sox. And the Tampa Bay Rays are starting Shane Baz in Game 2 against Boston.
But there’s another ex-Pirates hurler who is getting the call early in the divisional round. It’s right-hander Charlie Morton.
At 37, Morton had one of his best years, going 14-6 with an ERA of 3.34 and 216 strikeouts. He’s now back with the franchise that got him to the major leagues in 2008. Morton’s Atlanta Braves are taking on the Milwaukee Brewers in the National League Divisional round.
Game 1 of that series is Friday. Morton is 7-3 with a lifetime 3.38 ERA in the playoffs between appearances with the Pirates, Rays and Astros.
Duquesne defensive back Jeremiah Josephs has been named the Northeast Conference (NEC) Defensive Player of the Week.
The Gateway product got the accolade following a huge performance in the Dukes’ 37-14 victory at Merrimack.
Josephs — a Miami (Oh.) transfer — picked off two passes and logged a tackle for loss against the Warriors. The sophomore totaled five tackles and two pass break-ups in addition to the two first-half interceptions.
On the whole, the Dukes defense totaled five interceptions on the day and had two more called back because of penalties.