September 11, 2008

A Little Perspective [Part III]...


Picking up where we left off - When we last heard from the Steelers, they were 7-4, a game back from the Bungles in the division and heading into crunch time. The remaining games were Cincy, Chi-town, the Arctic Circle Vikings, the Brownies, and Jerome Bettis' hometown Lions (quarterbacked at the time by Joey Harrington, field general).

So Ben hadn't exactly impressed in his triumphant Monday Night return against the Colts. But he fully made up for it against the Bengals the following Sunday, throwing for a disgusting 386 yards and 3 TDs. Problem was, he also threw 3 INTs. And the Special Teams allowed a 94 yard Tab Perry run back. And, despite Hines Ward's 9 catches for 135 yards (and one imitation of the Icky shuffle), he also fumbled. Just too many mistakes. So to the AFC North leader went the spoils, and Cincy edged us 38-31, taking a firm hold on the division at 9-3, while we fell to 7-4. Notably, Cincy's resident psychopath eccentric, Chad Johnson said after this game, "It used to be Pittsburgh's time. Now, it's Cincinnati time." He would, of course, eat those words approximately six weeks later.

And we pressed on, facing the Chicago Bears the following week in the snow at Heinz Field. After starting the season 1-3, the Bears were riding an unprecedented eight game win streak coming into the game. Kyle Orton was their leader, and Thomas Jones was their workhorse. But on this day, they weren't enough to overcome our Steelers and their thirst for a playoff berth. We carried the day 21-9, Jerome Bettis leading the way with 17 carries for 101 yards (his first 100 yard game of the season), 2 TDs and one spectacular moment in which he bulldozed the formidable, Brian Urlacher. It was indicative of what was to come for the Steelers. On the rise, but yet still trailing the Bengals by two games, with only three games left in the season, it would take all the team had to rally and finish the season well enough to advance to the post season.

The following week we traveled North to dance with the Vikings, who were also riding a winning streak similar to the Bears - six games. Unfortunately for them, they were also recently distracted by the now infamous boat/sex party extravanganza that resuled in the suspension of four Vikings, including starting QB, Daunte Culpepper. Not to mention, the Steelers were hungry, and frankly, the Vikings were an inferior team from the ancient Brad Johnson down to Michael Bennett and Marcus Robinson. The Defense robbed Johnson twice, and scored the final points of the game on a safety when Larry Foote tackled Michael Bennett in the end zone. Final score, 18-3. They only got 3 points. Yep. But the best game of the season was just on the horizon...

Moving on, the team jetted down to that Landfill next to Lake Erie for the ever-entertaining rivalry game against the Cleve Brownies. I don't really know what to say about this game that hasn't already been said about Afghanistan. The Browns looked bombed out and depleted. We asserted our will readily on both them, AND their fans. In fact, the highlight of the game came when Silverback bodyslammed a Browns who had so intelligently wandered his ass onto the field. The Offense lit the Browns up for 457 total yards and the Defense sacked Charlie Frye 8 times (he fumbled 4 times), contributing to the Steelers 41-0 victory. I, for one, fully expected the team to be brought up on charges following this one. Because we murdered them!

Miraculously, the Bengals lost to the Bills that weekend, dropping them to 11-4. The Steelers were at 10-5 and well in line for a wild card spot. So a win the following week was the only thing on their minds as they came home to battle the Lions and their anemic offense. But the story of the day wasn't the Lions Offense sucking so much as it was Willie Parker and the Bus steamrolling the Lions Defense. Bussy and FWP combined for 178 yards, with Willie netting 131 and Bus contributing 47, not to mention 3 TDs. And luckily so. Because Ben threw two picks and only managed to complete nine passes for 135 yards, and the Defense allowed Joey Harrington(!) to throw for 212 yards and 3 TDs. 34-20, Steelers. A win, and they were in (well, a win and a Bengals loss). Sure, they were the 6 seed and had a tall order on their hands. But they were in the playoffs, which was more than they could say even a week or two before.

And thus concludes our look back at the 2005-2006 regular season. As you may have noticed, we had a lot of ups, and at least an equal amount of downs. Big Ben had knee surgery, Willie Parker was hit or miss, the Defense looked great at times and not so great at other times, and of course, we lost both our final game against, and the division to, the friggin' Bengals! So you get the idea. A lot can happen in 17 weeks. The Steelers were Super Bowl favorites coming out of the gate, but became rather large underdogs, going into the playoffs as a six seed needing to win three games on the road just to make it to Detroit. Of course, they did. But media darlings or not, shit happens. Bottom line.

So here we are, three days wiser, with perspective from a Super Bowl season.

Now, who gives a shit? We play the Browns in three days! I, for one, am ready to play right now. Can't someone speed up the rotation of the earth's axis? Come on Tomlin, put in a call to Al Gore. I'm sure he's got that shit under control.

Thoughts? Reflections? Hate mail? My ears (and the comments) are now open...

6 comments:

Joey Porter’s Pit Bulls said...

Not that complicated. It comes down to blocking and tackling.

matt said...

After the 38-31 loss to the bengals, I was prepared to not be in the playoffs - the feeling was sickening.

However, Bus' game the next week and the plowing of Urlacher brought me back around...I'm gonna have a heart attack b/c of this football team one day.

This sunday is too far away.

Heath said...

Haha, I've been thinking that too, Matt. Remember, one guy actually did have a heart attack that year, when Bus fumbled that ball at the goal line in the Indy game. There's a guy in our group who I keep saying is going to have one... Something tells me we take this sh*t a little too seriously... On second thought, NAWWWWW!!!!

tobiathan-hates-schedulemakers said...

It frankly kind of worries me that so many pundits are crowning the Steelers already, just because Brady's out and Peyton's sucking in Week 1.

Still a LOT of football left...i'm *glad* we have a "tough schedule". At least the team knows it has to play hard.

And how, by the effing way, did the effing Patriots get the effing softest schedule in the effing league? Shouldn't they have the 2d hardest?

Geez, i hate obvious slants to one team...

Noah said...

tobiathan-hates-sched makers:

The only reason the Pats seem to have an easy schedule is just how the system works. Every year a division has another division within its own conference and a division in the NFC. It just so happens that everyone they're playing sux. I mean they have the AFC West, which isn't that bad, just Oakland and KC. And the NFC West, and they're all bad. Plus they're division, although they're progressing, haven't put a dent in the Pats armor these past couple of years. It's all about timing here, and they have good timing. But Brady's gone, so it's all good.
CAN'T WAIT FOR SUNDAY!

-Noah

Cotter said...

jppb ~ And cheerleaders. Oh wait, not in Pittsburgh. We should try and change that...

matt ~ You're tellin' me, man. About 30 minutes before last week's kick off I couldn't even stand still I was so excited. Plus, I think I might have peed myself...just a little.

heath ~ Thanks for reminding us! I totally remember that! Hey man, Steelers football is not to be taken lightly. Nor is drinking. I recommend many many 'Ahrns on Sunday. (yes, that was completely unrelated...my blog, my rules)

tobiathan ~ I don't know if anyone is crowning us, but I certainly don't think we need any of the media's attention. Either way, we just need to remember that every game counts and not to worry about next week until this week is finished. Wow, that was so not deep at all...

noah ~ Nice work on that clarification! I agree, let's make the best of this situation and win some friggin' games. Here we go Steelers!!