The Steelers Through Tweets: My Interesting Experience "Watching" the Steeler Game from Jamaica

I had a very interesting experience this weekend.  Those who follow us closely, or just follow us on Twitter, know that I got married two Saturdays ago and was on my honeymoon In Jamaica this past week.  In fact, we took a little hiatus to celebrate and this is our first article back from break.

The interesting experience though, beyond the honeymoon itself, was due to my unique circumstances with Wifi during the Pittsburgh Steeler game against the Detroit Lions on Sunday that resulted in a 16-16 tie.  For an international flight, they ask you to be at the airport three hours early.  And for those who have flown to the Caribbean or have been through international customs and security, you know that you use every second of those three hours waiting in line for something. 

For whatever reason apps like ESPN and CBS Sports would not function on the Wifi in Montego Bay airport.  However, what would function is Twitter.  Therefore, I had the unique experience of following the game solely through tweets from those we follow from the Gold Lot Sports account (the account is @GoldLotSports and we’d love for you to give us a follow so you can stay tuned in to our articles and giveaways!)

What this experience gave me was a unique finger on the pulse of the fan base like I have never had before.  Every play was dictated to me through opinions on players, referees, the broadcast, Coach Tomlin, and more.  And let me tell you, there are several major points that every Tweeter seemed to have on Sunday.

The Mason Rudolph Experiment is Over

As I stated above, I was not able to watch Mason Rudolph play.  After the first drive though, I was feeling great about him.  He appeared to drive down the field fluently and end the drive with a touchdown pass to, former Oklahoma State teammate, James Washington.  However, it all seemed to go downhill from there.

On the day, Rudolph was 30 for 50 through the air with 242 yards passing, one touchdown, and an interception.  The major plot point on Twitter was, why in the world is Mason Rudolph throwing the ball 50 times??  The Steelers have one of the best emerging running backs in the league, which I will get to later, and yet they have their backup quarterback throwing 50 times.  Additionally, he was asked to throw 50 times against the second worst running defense in the league.  Very odd and any frustration not directed toward Rudolph on the offensive side was directed toward offensive coordinator Matt Canada and head coach Mike Tomlin.

Furthermore, from Twitter’s perspective, Rudolph did not look great and certainly did not warrant this additional pass play calling.  He was either missing wide open receivers by sailing balls over their heads or throwing the ball on target at a million miles per hour.  That was a particular comment to what was said to be a wide open Diontae Johnson in the 4th quarter that should have resulted in touchdown.  Instead, Rudolph fired one in to Johnson that was at an uncatchable speed. Also, from what I read, even though Canada called a ton of passes, none of them were for much more than five or six yards down field. 

So whether it is Tomlin and Canada unable to game plan with Rudolph or Rudolph should not ever be a starting quarterback in the National Football League, the fan base will not accept Rudolph as the solution post-Ben Roethlisberger.  Canada and Tomlin should be around a while and that combination does not work.  We never know what organizations will decide but the fan base has decided, and it’s not good for Rudolph.

Devin Bush is an All-Time Draft Bust

Devin Bush has been bad this season.  I spoke about it before the bye week, when I outlined who in the organization needed to step up, and he continued to play poorly on Sunday.  In addition to many tweets discussing the poor tackling by the defense overall, most of them singled out Bush.  Some even had videos and images attached that showed incredibly poor attempts by him.  I have posted some below for your cringe-worthy amusement.

The fan base has absolutely turned on Devin Bush.  There has not been a single positive thing said about him on social media, from what I can tell, the entire season.  Some Steeler draft busts don't hurt too much.  Typically that's because the Steelers are picking guys in the second half of the first round, and even late first rounders can be a crap-shoot.  Unfortunately, Bush was drafted 10th overall by the Steelers as a result of a trade the team made specifically to get him.  This elevates expectations and magnifies his disappointing play even more. 

I knew fans and talking heads had wanted more out of Bush, but this is the height of what I have seen from hatred toward him.  People are calling for him to be pulled any time the Steelers even suspect there could be a run play.  And unfortunately, as bad as his run defending has been, he is not much better on passing downs either.  He still has just one recorded pass defended on the season.  For all intents and purposes, the fanbase has labeled Devin Bush a bust and do not expect anything positive from him moving forward.

Najee Harris is the Best Offensive Player on the Team

The overwhelming sentiment, and really the only positive topic coming out of Sunday, is that Najee Harris is incredibly talented and the best player the Steelers have on offense.  I didn’t see any of his rushes yet, but it sounds like on Sunday he gained the extra yard or two every single time.  He lowers his shoulder, breaks a few tackles and plays like a Pittsburgh Steelers running back of ole.

And, the fan base absolutely adores him.  If it was up to the Twittersphere, the Steelers would have ran every single play, and if they do pass, it should be a pass to Harris.  There is still caution about not overeating to Harris too early, but that caution is fading very fast.  In addition to him displaying incredible skill, he is having a great season behind what is known as a weaker offensive line. 

I also think he has had the biggest change in terms of social media.  The sentiment immediately after the draft, and part-way through the season, was that the Steelers needed more than just a good running back.  The fans felt that without a strong offensive line it wouldn’t matter who was back there.  Most fans wanted a first-round offensive lineman or tight end and disagreed with the pick.  That sentiment has changed.  Tweeters now appear extremely happy about the pick and the fan base as a whole is really embracing this young star in the making.

Overall Frustration

However, the largest, and concluding point from social media on Sunday is frustration.  Fans are frustrated with the play calling, the inability to do anything on offense, poor tackling by the defense, and the lack of plan to replace Ben Roethlisberger in what appears to be his final season.  This proud Steeler fan base is frustrated and the frustration is beginning to boil over.  And right before diving into the tougher half of the schedule.  The Steelers have to figure something out fast before any hope of the postseason, and good fan sentiment, fades.