It was a crisp afternoon in late October. The grass stood at attention in anticipation of what was billed as a potential Super Bowl preview. The Steelers came out of the corner swinging, shutting the Giants first drive down in just three plays. Then, they followed it up with a 4 play, 60 yard, TD scoring drive, sending what most of us fans thought was a message that this team was the real deal. That even with all of the injuries and other miscellaneous setbacks, they could thoroughly dominate the defending Super Bowl champs, a team that was on everyone's short list for Tampa in early February...
Going into the half, the Steelers trailed by just two points, despite the fact that they had turned the ball over in their own territory and allowed a semi-long punt return...both of which put the Giants well within striking range of the end zone. En route to the half way mark, they had made a courageous goal line stand on a 4th down run by 265 pounds of Brandon Jacobs torque. The defense looked strong, allowing just those three field goals despite the Giants having held the ball for just about 75% of the first half. It felt ok. It felt winnable. It felt like we were on the verge of an Offensive explosion.
They came out in the 2nd half and on the 2nd drive, Big Ben hit Nate Washington with a 65 yard bomb. One play, one score. And just like that, we were in control of the game, 14-9. From there, we struggled on Offense but were able to hold our lead going into the 4th quarter, having only allowed the Giants to gain 8 yards in the whole 3rd Quarter. And even though we didn't have much going in the way of Offense, we still felt confident.
But it proved to be all downhill from there. In the 4th Quarter, the Giants scored 12 unanswered points. The Steelers? Well, they snapped the ball out of the back of the end zone for a costly safety, and let the Giants walk 53 yards in 7 plays, culminating in the go-ahead TD with just three minutes left in the game. Then, with a chance to tie it up, Ben threw a pick on a deep pass intended for Limas Sweed, planting the final dagger in our hearts.
Yeah. That sucked. For the first time, I think I'm wishing I was writing the words - "Well, it wasn't pretty. But a win is a win." I am, however, NOT saying those words.
The story of this one, in a nutshell?
#1 - Turnovers. We committed four, they committed none.
#2 - Sacks. We got none, they got FIVE.
#3 - Offense FAIL!
For some reason, I'm just not feeling that funny this morning. Let's just go straight to the recap...
Things That Were Awesome...
1. Big Ben, 65 yds to the pride of Tiffin University, Mr. Nate Washington
2. Mewelde Moore's 35 yd TD run that put the first 7 on the board
3. Watching Plaxico Burress sit on the sidelines for the entire 1st quarter
4. GOAL LINE STAND!
5. Holding Brand Jacobs to just 47 yards
Things That Were NOT Awesome...
1. Mewelde Moore getting bent in half by Giants Corner, Aaron Ross (Kenny Phillips?)
2. This doesn't look like much fun either...
3. Chris Kemoeatu - Unnecessary Roughness, 15 yards
4. Willie Colon - Holding, nullifying a potential 53 yd TD
5. The New Jersey Turnpike
Things The Browns Would've Done...
2. Big Ben - 45% comp. pct., 189 yards, 4 INTs
3. Mitch Berger's old ass leg getting injured
4. This guy...
5. Ryan Clark on the sidelines, sporting a sling
Oh, and another thing the Browns would've done...BEAT THE GIANTS! Because they eff'ing DID! We, on the other hand, did not. And whilst we were watching an awful 4th quarter Giants comeback, Cleveland had just beaten the Jaguars to move to 3-4. Earlier in the day, the Ravens had beaten the hapless Raiders, 29-10, to move to 4-3.
So as of this morning, with nine games left, the division looks like this...
1. Steelers (5-2)
2. Ravens (4-3)
Browns Gowns (3-4)
4. Bengals (0-10000)
One week from today we've got the 6-2 Redskins.
Boy, it was fun beating up on Cincinnati, wasn't it?