2020 has defied everything about the term normal: Wearing masks have become a part of everyday life, football stadiums remain close to empty on game day, and the Pittsburgh Steelers aren’t off to such a slow start. Following a 38-29 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles, the Steelers reached a 4-0 start to their season for the first time since 1979.
As of late, both the Steelers and franchise quarterback Ben Roethlisberger have been known to begin their season slowly, whether it be on the scoreboard or simply terms of play. Some believe head coach Mike Tomlin’s lack of play time for starters in the preseason may be a catalyst for such events, while others believe Pittsburgh just takes a little more time to shake off the rust than the rest of the league.
Roethlisberger is no stranger to slow starts. Only three times since 2005, Roethlisberger held an average passer rating of 100.0 or higher: 2005, 2012 and 2016. Two of those years (2005/2016) saw the Steelers appear in the AFC Championship, with a Lombardi trophy brought back to Pittsburgh in 2005.
Roethlisberger’s passer rating through four games in 2020? 110.4, the second-highest in his career as a full-time starting quarterback. It’s also the second time he’s thrown 10-plus touchdowns in four games, but only has one interception compared to the four in 2016.
While planning championship parades now shouldn’t be a priority, the Steelers are 4-0 thanks to dominant defensive play and the revival of a Hall of Fame quarterback once thought to only be a shade of himself.
Heading into a prominent week six match-up with a 4-1 Cleveland Browns team, Roethlisberger looks to continue an impressive performance against a Philadelphia defense in which he completed nearly 80% of his passes with three touchdowns and zero interceptions in
Clemson found another reliable option in what the Tigers already felt was one of the deepest secondaries under the Dabo Swinney era Saturday night. Sophomore safety Jayn Phillips earned his first career start and he didn’t disappoint.
Defensive coordinator Brent Venables discussed the performance of the Lawrenceville, Ga. native who tallied four tackles on the night in Clemson’s dominant performance over the Hurricanes.
“Obviously Joseph Charleston was out with an injury so you know JP has been somebody that played for us last year as a true freshman and he understands football,” Venables said. “He doesn’t really get overwhelmed with the Xs and Os and has a very calm demeanor and great toughness as well.”
Phillips answered the call and overall the secondary had a breakout night with a trio of interceptions.
“We felt good about his opportunity to get in there and that he’s going to know the game plan and know adjustments and if he did something wrong, he’s got the kind of mindset, the toughness to overcome and take responsibility,” Venables said. “It was big for him to step up the way he did tonight.”
Led by the veteran Nolan Turner and Lannden Zanders, Clemson coaches have praised the secondary, and Saturday night was their moment to shine.
“We’ve got some young safeties that are coming and just need to play,” Venables said. “Fortunately, we’ve been able to play those guys and watch them grow up. There’s going to be some growing pains at times, it’s all part of the maturation process. But JP really stepped up big tonight.”
Allen is slated to start against the Dolphins on Sunday, Matt Barrows of The Athletic reports.
The 26-year-old hasn’t appeared in an NFL game since suiting up for the Steelers in 2018, but San Francisco finds itself in dire need of secondary help heading into a matchup against Miami’s 20th-ranked pass offense. The 49ers are dealing with a cluster of injuries to the back end of the defense, with K’Waun Williams (knee-ACL), Richard Sherman (calf), Emmanuel Moseley (concussion) and Dontae Johnson (groin) all unavailable for Week 5. Allen was on San Francisco’s practice squad as of Saturday morning, but with a seemingly strong week of practice, he has been activated and moved ahead of Ken Webster on the CB depth chart.
Google’s Meet videoconferencing service is getting breakout rooms, but they’ll only be available to Google Workspace Enterprise for Education customers at first, according to a Google blog post (via 9to5Google). With the feature, teachers and educators will be able to break their classes into smaller groups for things like projects or focused discussions.
Google will let you make up to 100 breakout rooms in a single call. Once you’ve decided how many breakout rooms you want, Google will randomly group up the people on the call into rooms, but moderators can manually add people to other rooms if they want. Meeting moderators can also hop between rooms to check in on groups.
If breakout rooms are something you might want to try out, but you aren’t an Enterprise for Education customer, you might be able to use them sometime soon — the feature will be coming to other Google Workspace editions “later this year,” according to Google. (Google Workspace, if you haven’t heard, is Google’s recent rebranding of G Suite.)
Videoconferencing rival Zoom already offers breakout rooms to all users (and has since 2015), so Google is playing catch-up with this feature. Zoom users can only split up into 50 different rooms, though, which is half of the 100 possible rooms offered by Google Meet.
Google Meet has steadily added features over the course of this year to compete with Zoom and other videoconferencing services as usage of those tools has skyrocketed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Current Records: Pittsburgh 3-1; Boston College 2-1
What to Know
After a four-game homestead, the Pittsburgh Panthers will be on the road. The Panthers and the Boston College Eagles will face off in an ACC battle at 4 p.m. ET on Saturday at Alumni Stadium. Pitt won’t have the home-field advantage, but they do enjoy a 6-point advantage in the spread.
It’s always hard to lose, and it’s even harder to lose by a single point. Just ask Pitt, the unfortunate recipient of a 30-29 loss at the hands of the NC State Wolfpack last week. What made the defeat an especially bitter pill for Pitt to swallow was that they had been favored by 14 points coming into the contest. Pittsburgh’s loss came about despite a quality game from QB Kenny Pickett, who passed for one TD and 411 yards on 39 attempts in addition to rushing for two TDs and 40 yards. That was the first 300+ yard effort for Pickett this season. Pickett’s sharp performance set his single-game rushing touchdown high for the season.
Special teams collected 11 points for Pitt. K Alex Kessman delivered a perfect 3-for-3 game.
Meanwhile, BC was within striking distance but couldn’t close the gap last week as they fell 26-22 to the North Carolina Tar Heels. The losing side was boosted by QB Phil Jurkovec, who passed for two TDs and 313 yards on 56 attempts.
Special teams collected ten points for the Eagles. K Aaron Boumerhi delivered a perfect 3-for-3 game.
The Panthers are now 3-1 while BC sits at 2-1. A couple defensive stats to keep in the back of your head while watching: Pitt enters the matchup with 19 sacks, which is the best in the nation. The Eagles are not quite