Monday, November 16, 2009

Steelers Recap - Week 10

I will not make any more bold predictions before a game.
I will not make any more bold predictions before a game.
I will not make any more bold predictions before a game.
Repeat 97 more times.

There’s no hiding this one… the Steelers got their butts kicked. It was only 18-12, but the Steelers seemed completely unable or uninterested in scoring touchdowns. It’s too bad that the defense did not allow the Bengals to score any either, but yet another kickoff return for a touchdown was the difference maker.

* It’s nice to see the logo at midfield again, now that Pitt is done playing at Heinz Field. Now I want to see those end zones done up in yellow. And while we’re talking aesthetics, I just love the blimp shots over Pittsburgh. Is there any NFL city that looks better from overhead than Pittsburgh? I also always notice how little traffic there is on the surrounding highways. Not quite “Green Bay”-deserted, but close.
* We were able to keep them from running for most of the game, and we seemed to have some running room, but for some reason we chose not to run. Mendenhall was doing OK… not spectacular. Moore had a couple of solid runs. Willie Parker ran hard for 7 on the one carry he was allowed.

* Ben was off… way off. I kept waiting for that “OK, I got this” vibe to kick in, but all game long he was throwing too high and hard, or behind the receivers on the short routes and under-throwing the long routes. He looked like Kyle freakin’ Boller, for Pete’s sake. It’s a sad state when the biggest play of the day is a 50-yard pass interference penalty.

* Perhaps one of the reasons he was off was that the defensive pressure was relentless. Dudes were hanging off him all game long, including hanging on long enough to generate 4 sacks. What happened to the O-Line?

* One of the reasons there was so much pressure is that the receivers did not seem to be getting open. There were a number of times when Ben dropped back and seemed to have plenty of time to plant and throw, but there was no clear target. And then the pocket would collapse and that would be that.

* One prediction that did come true is that Chad EightFive was a non-factor… 2 catches for what, 30 yards? The defense did well in general, especially considering that Polamalu left the game in the 1st quarter and did not return. The Steelers defense bent (considerably) but did not break. If only they had some defensive backs that could catch the ball (besides Troy and Tyrone Carter) they could have saved a couple of those FGs. Ryan Clark dropped a ball that hit him right in the gut. Willie Gay had both of his hands on 2 other passes and didn’t catch either.

* Renegade worked again… the next series went 3 and out, ending with a Lamar Woodley sack and a 50-yard punt.

* So we’re behind the 8-ball here… we have to finish ahead of the Bengals in order to win the division. Fortunately, they’re still the Bengals. There is plenty of time for them to collapse. I read that they just signed Larry Johnson today. I can feel the locker-room cancer spreading already.

Mojo Analysis
The Harrison throwback worked for a home game against Minnesota, but not this week. Perhaps it was wearing my Heath throwback to work on Friday. Hmmm. Another possibility is that I wasn’t drinking during the game. (And boy, do I regret that…) Normally I have a few beers during the game, but coming off the party I was at the night before, I was trying to dry out a bit. Turns out, a few brewskis might have dulled the pain. Instead I turned to the Pens/Bruins game I DVR’d Saturday night. (Billy Guerin ties up the game with .4 seconds left in regulation; Pascal Dupuis wins it in OT. Whooooo!) That helped keep me away from the kitchen knives.

Next week’s game won’t be on here, as it conflicts with the Ratbirds game, so off to Jilly’s I’ll go. Will make the call on what to wear there as the date draws near.

Now, would it be too much to ask for the Brownies to throw the Rats a little surprise party?

(Note, the ghost town picture isn’t actually Green Bay during a game, but it’s close. The shot was of Whitehouse Ohio, which is a little town near where I grew up. It was high noon as I came into “the downtown” area last year to visit my buddies.)

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