October 28, 2007

Big Ben - 9 | Ohio - 0

"That's why they're 5-2 and we're 2-5. Good teams put it in the end zone. Teams like us kick field goals."
- TJ Houshmanzadeh
Whine all you want, Cincinnati. Had you gone for it on 4th down instead of kicking a field goal, A- there's a good chance you would've gotten ZERO points off that drive and B- the 2nd guessing would be even worse than it is already. So I'd just take your loss like men, and deal with the fact that you've fallen way behind in the division and probably won't even make the playoffs. That ought to occupy you for a while...Oh yeah, and Anthony Smith slept with all your mothers...

But Steeler fans - Guess what? - we needed a win and we got a win! We took an embarrassing loss on the chin and shrugged it off this week to put down our not-so-worthy division rivals, the Bengals, and reaffirm our position atop the AFC North...for now. The bad news, if there is any at all, is the Browns (!) beat the Rams this afternoon 27-20, which means they're still just a game back, moving into 2nd place ahead of the Ravens. So the division is quite unsettled right now. But let's not go there. We won today. Let's just revel in that. Bask in the glory of beating a team whose city wanted a win so bad that elephants in their zoo were crushing pumpkins with Big Ben's picture on them. What a bunch of assholes.

The final score was 24-13, but it might as well have been 42-13 the way we controlled that game. Big Ben, FWP, Hines Ward and company took care of the ball today, mixed it up, and played the balance game we needed to stand victorious, while Farrior, Ike Taylor and Anthony Smith kept a lid on the Bengals so-called "electrifying" offense, holding their big three - Carson Palmer, Chad Johnson and TJ Houshmanzadeh to a respectable 205 yards through the air and only 1 TD. Pretty, pretty, pretty good, I'd say.

Now that we've won, let's take a look back at my thoughts from Friday and how the Steelers followed or did not follow what I thought we should do:
  • Run the god damn ball: Check! Run it, then run it some more, we sure did. FWP carried exactly 22 times (whoa...prophetic...) for 126 yards and 1 score and Najeh added 8 carries for 23 yards. I'd say that's pretty successful indeed.

  • Deploy a balanced offensive attack: Check! In addition to the 30 rushes by FWP and Deuce Davenport, the Steelers threw the ball 26 times, with Ben completing 19 passes for 230 yards and 2 TDs. Sure, he threw a pick...in the red zone...and that's pretty bush league. But I'm going to let it slide since he played a pretty decent game otherwise. I will say this though - Ben needs to get his passes down. There were too many balls above Hines and Santonio's heads that could have gotten them hit hard had the Bengals played any defense today. Watch out for those guys Ben, they're your lifeblood right now. Still, as I mentioned we needed to do on Friday, the Steelers mixed it up well, and were able to control the game with sustained, efficient drives. In fact, 3 out of 8 Steeler drives lasted 6 minutes or longer and 2 of those 3 were scoring drives (the 3rd would've been another score had Ben not thrown that pick). Can you say efficiency?

  • Stop the Bengals passing machine: Check! Carson "I like wieners" Palmer - 23 for 31, 205 yards and only 1 TD. Chad "I just gotta be me" Johnson - 5 catches, 51 yards, 0 TDs. TJ "I'd like some cheese with my whine" Houshmanzadeh - 7 catches, 81 yards, 1 TD. Ok, that last stat wasn't exactly ideal. But neither of the twin towers broke 100 yards or had more than 1 score. So I consider that a success. Although, at the risk of being a wet blanket - we did not register a single sack, and I really didn't see us in the backfield often enough to make Carson Palmer sweat. That was unfortunate. Plus, the other thing I would have liked to have seen that I didn't see from a defensive scheme POV was pressing the receivers a little more. We kept giving them the 8-10 yard cushion we gave the Denver receivers and for at least the beginning of the game, they took it. We just can't continue to allow this. What more can I say? Good receivers will take that cushion and exploit it. We need to move up to the line and knock them off their routes. Get on their case a bit. Don't make it easy on them. Sort it out.

  • More facetime for Woodley: Fail! I hardly saw Woodley at all. I guess when you're winning it's the ol' "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" mantra. And I can respect that. Nonetheless, I'm not sure Woodley saw the field at all today, and he certainly didn't make any tackles. So just another thing to think about in the future. One man we did see a lot of today though, was Anthony Smith. And thank god for that. I don't think I have to say much more about him than his hit on Houshmanzadeh said for itself. The team's leading tackler this week - Smith made 10 tackles, 9 solo - Fear the wrath of Anthony Smith. Maybe Ryan Clark should get injured more often? (kidding...sort of)

  • No stupid penalties: Check! 3 penalties for 30 yards but none at crucial moments in the game. Though just about anything (and everything) Kendall Simmons does right now is stupid. Thanks for the false start asshole. Way to make a positive contribution to the game.

  • Put some breathing room between us and the Ravens: See above...Check!
Some other moments to cherish, not mentioned above:
  • Silverback stripping the ball from Kenny Watson in dramatic fashion. Looked like Harrison brought the friggin' hammer down on that ball. I don't blame Watson for coughing it up. Bravo Silverback!

  • Marvin Lewis' post-game quotables - "We are not overmatched. We were outplayed, outexecuted, and I was outcoached." Sounds like a personal problem to me...

  • Big Ben hooking up with Santonio for 42 yards on the Steelers 2nd drive. Funny how much easier it is to throw the home run ball when your offense is rolling...

  • Remember Hines Ward? He's not dead yet. Ok, he's not that old. But considering how much of a non-factor he has been this season, today was a pleasant surprise. Obviously we should be looking his way more often in the coming weeks. Bonus.

  • Hope you didn't adjust your TV set. The Bengals did only have 10 players on the field for that last Pittsburgh TD. Sucks for them. I don't know what else to tell you.
One way or another, I'd say I'm very please with the way things went on the field today. We played our game, plain, simple and disciplined (for the most part). But again, coming in, we regarded this as a winnable game. The kind you need to have to gain momentum. This coming week we've got another big division game against the dirty birds of Baltimore, the Ravens. Another big MONDAY NIGHT game at that, in which I hear we'll be celebrating the Steelers 75th anniversary. Yellow helmets, great. Consider me psyched...

With that, it's 11:00PM and I'm beat. So that'll be all for today. Feel free to comment and tell me your thoughts on the game. Good, bad, outlandish. Any and all are encouraged. Let's have 'em!

Post-game coverage:
[DC Steeler Nation]
[Joey Porter's Pitbulls]
[Behind The Steel Curtain]
[Non-Stop Steelers]
[Pittsburgh Sports and Mini Ponies]
[Blitzburgh Report]
[The Steel Tradition]
[Die Hard Steel]
[Fanhouse]

[KDKA]
[Associated Press]
[Post-Gazette]
[SteelCityInsider]
[CBS Sportsline]
[Tribune-Review]
[Steelers.com]

2 comments:

Tobiathan said...

To start i'd like to say that i believe Justin Smith from Cinci is one of the best DEs in the League today, and Pittsburgh should acquire him after this season. I'm pretty sure he's in the last year of his contract now. And he plays like Kimo- wild, hard and tough. I like him a lot. It would also serve to seriously weaken an already inept Bungle defense.

Also, i have to give TJ Housmanzadeh credit for man-ning up about yesterday. It would have been easy for him to talk smack and lay blame on others. Instead he took it in stride and accepted his part in their collective failure to date. He's another player i'd like to see in Black-nGold, but it'll never happen. He'd deserve too much money i'd guess. However, Hines won't be here forever, and TJ is still pretty young, as recievers go.

Enough of my Bungle love-fest.

Our Stillers done good yesterday. Sure, Ben threw a pick in a bad place near the goal-line, but otherwise was the dominant player i know he is. I was proud of him and happy for him.

Hines looked like the great WR he is. Funny how it seems we all have come to take him for granted- he's worked hard to get where he is. And still dooes(work hard). True Steeler.

So, what's up with Troy? Is it just me, or does he seem off-kilter somehow? Is Tricky Dick LeBeau running a different scheme? Troy just didn't seem as effective as i expected. Maybe he's still hurting a little?

FWP is a true stud. Who said that man can't run in the middle?? Huh? Not me....

James "Silverback" Harrison is a beast. Old Coach (Cowher) said several times that he would have started as a rookie and held the job anywhere else. Good to see him healthy and playing well.

The Ravens game next week will take a lot of effort. Of course, every game will the rest of the season. With those two high-profile teams and the Browns on our tail Pittsburgh will need yto put together a streak of wins to hold it's place in the standings. However, i suspect that one of those two "/Golden Teams" everybody sucks up to is up to no good, and will get busted for it sooner than later. Won't say who, but it ain't the (respectable) Colts.

Good job on the break-down Cotter. A real strong football brain you go on ya, kid!

Rawk on, Stillers!

T

Tobiathan said...

BTW-

Imagine what a monster Big Ben could be if he hit the weight room like Donovan McNabb did back in the day?

Eeek.

T