It’s time for a whole bunch of things to happen in NFL

  • Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger sits on the turf after throwing an interception in the end zone during the second half of an NFL football game against the New England Patriots in Pittsburgh on Sunday. AP PHOTO

Associated Press
Monday, December 18, 2017

After 15 weeks of the NFL season, it’s time to acknowledge a whole bunch of items that have become apparent.

Some did so over the course of the schedule, and some became crystallized Sunday.

Such as:

Teams get antsy and/or dumb when they play the Patriots.

Looks as if the AFC road to the Super Bowl will go through Foxborough again, but not because an opponent played with fear against New England. Many do, of course. And others make ridiculous decisions with a chance to beat Tom Brady and Company; think back to the two most recent NFL championships the Patriots won, against Seattle and Atlanta.

The Steelers had no fear Sunday. And they had some real bad luck once more; in the AFC title contest last January, they lost Le’Veon Bell early. This time, it was Antonio Brown.

Yet they were in position to win, or at worst, force overtime. But Ben Roethlisberger gambled when he didn’t need to — and lost.

“We’re not going to look back and second-guess anything or anybody,” Roethlisberger said. “We lost a game and I threw a pick in the end zone at the end of the game to lose it.”

Just as bad, the Steelers were in control in the fourth quarter and didn’t look comfortable. Happens all the time against the Patriots, especially for Pittsburgh.

The Seahawks are out of control.

Pete Carroll is one of the NFL’s best coaches; nobody gets his guys to play harder. However, what Carroll has been getting for more than a month will cost Seattle a playoff berth, ending five straight appearances. The Seahawks commit far too many penalties, lose their minds over some flags, and are as undisciplined as any team. It’s a shame, because Russell Wilson has enhanced his game so much, but has little to show for it.

“No, there is nothing to be happy about. That was a really dismal performance by us,” Carroll said after getting hammered by the Rams, 42-7.