They were two completely different games, but they had the same outcome for two of the NFL’s most storied franchises. That outcome is a Black Friday in more ways than one for fans in Pittsburgh and Green Bay, as both teams lost to division rivals almost assuring that they will not make the playoffs this year.
The Pittsburgh Steelers mounted a furious comeback that put them within a two point conversion of tying the game with only a minute left to play. Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw a 1-yard touchdown pass to Jerricho Cotchery making the score 22-20. But when his pass to Emmanuel Sanders, for a game tying two point conversion, slipped through the wideout’s fingers the game was lost and so, it seems, was the Steelers’ season.
After the game Sanders took all of the blame saying, “Ben gave me a good ball. It hit my hands, and I’ve got to make the play.”
The Steelers are now 5-7 and trail the Ravens and four other teams for the AFC Wild Card. While there is still a slight chance for the Steelers they would probably have to win out to make the playoffs, a feat that does not look too promising for this year’s Steelers squad.
In the NFC it was the Green Packers who are sharing Pittsburgh’s Black Friday miseries, coming off of a humiliating defeat on Turkey Day.
The Packers were trounced 40-10 by Calvin Johnson and the Detroit Lions Thursday, their worse defeat to their division rival since the early 70s. Detroit also gained a staggering amount of yards against the Packers, 561, while giving up only a measly 126. It is the biggest differential in the NFL this year and may be all that is on the minds of Packers fans as they wait in Black Friday lines.
“We don’t feel very good about ourselves right now. We’re a wounded team that got drilled today,” said Packer’s head coach Mike McCarthy.
The Packers are now 5-6-1 and will probably need to be helped in order to make the playoffs. Their only way in is probably through winning the division. The good news for the Packers on this blackest of Black Fridays is that they expect to have quarterback Aaron Rodgers back next week. They have sorely missed Rodgers this season, not having won any game that Rodgers did not finish on the field. They did manage to tie one, however.
More good news for Packer’s fans to mole over on Black Friday is that their team has a fairly easy remaining schedule. They do not face any really bad teams, but they also don’t face any contenders either. The Packers will play the Atlanta Falcons, Dallas Cowboys and Pittsburgh Steelers over the next three weeks. If they manage to win those three it would set up an end of the year showdown between them and their rival the Chicago Bears.
While the rest of the country is out fighting for deals, Pittsburgh and Green Bay will be fighting to stay positive. Both teams lost crushing games against big division opponents on Thanksgiving this year. In Green Bay and Pittsburgh, Black Friday is named after the feeling Thanksgiving’s performances stirred up in their stomachs.
By Nick Manai