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Monday, September 28, 2009

What's Going On? The Steelers Lose To The Bengals And Go To 1-2

Does anyone have a clue why the Steelers can't hold a lead and beat teams they should beat? The Steelers were leading when they went into the fourth quarter by a score of 20-9, but Cincinnati scored 14 unanswered points and won the game. That loss, ended a 9 game winning streak the Steelers had against the Bengals when they played them on Cincinnati's home field. The Steelers dropped to a 1-2 record on the year while Cincinnati improved to 2-1, second in the division behind the Ravens who are 3-0.

The Steelers started out looking like the Steelers of old. The defense made the Bengals punt after three and out and only 1:23 into the game. Then Ben led the Steelers offense on a 79 yard, 11 play drive to the 1 that ate up 8:05. Of that 79 yards, Parker gained 26 on the ground. Ben threw for another 53 yards in the air. Great drive! The only thing was, we couldn't punch it in for a touchdown and had to settle for 3.

On Cincinnati's next possession, the Steelers "D" stepped up again and made them punt after another three and out and only holding onto the ball a little over a minute. Now, here's where they really got my hopes up as I thought the Steelers offense was finally coming together. Roethlisberger started mixing up the plays and the offensive line blocked like they knew what they were doing. They went down the field on 8 plays as Parker ran for 25 yards and caught a 27 yard touchdown pass from Ben to give the Steelers a ten point lead. "Here we go Steelers"!

On the next series of downs the Bengals got nowhere. The Steelers defense came out smokin' and punched the the Bengals in the mouth with a ten yard sack of Palmer. The result was another three and out and a punt. This is terrific! This is football! How could you ask for anything more? The offense is clicking and scoring points and the defense, well it's the Steelers!

Early in the second quarter, Ben didn't waste any time getting the Steelers back down the field with a chance to score. He hit Wallace for a 51-yard pass at the 10-yard line and it looked like we might get another touchdown. Somehow Cincinnati kept them out of the end zone and they had to settle foe a 24-yard Reed field goal. Now the Steelers were ahead 13-0. Not bad!

The Bengals tried to mount a drive and mixed in the running of Benson and the receiving of Ochocinco to gain 47 yards before being forced to punt. The Steelers got a break because the punt went only 29 yards. It looked like they had another nice drive going as Hines caught a pass that put him over 10,000 yards for his career. They managed to get into Bengals' territory and tried to convert on fourth down, but Holmes couldn't hold onto a Roethlisberger pass and Cincinnati took over on downs.

There was only 1:06 left in the half when the Bengals' quarterback went to work. He made three completions for 38 yards and then missed two in a row, one of them was tipped at the scrimmage line by the Steelers defense. With the clock down to :03, Graham kicked a 34 yarder to make it 13-3 and time ran out. Not a bad first half. It could've been better, but we were up by two scores and the defense looked great.

It was a rough start for the Steelers in the second half . With a 2nd and 15 Ben tried to pass to Santonio and was intercepted by Johnathan Joseph. He took it 30 yards for a TD. Now the Steelers lead was 13-9. It should have been 13-10, but because of a bad snap the extra point was no good. It was a small break for the Steelers, but the momentum was already shifting.

The Steelers missed a good opportunity to extend their lead after a 56 yard kick return by Logan to the Bengals' 40. Roethlisberger had a 3rd and 4 on the 34 yard line when he threw a perfect pass to Sweed in the end zone. Limas just dropped the ball. It should have been a touchdown. Reed tried another field goal, but this time the 52-yard attempt was no good. The Steelers defense shut down the Bengals again and Pittsburgh had the ball right back.

When they got the ball, Ben completed five passes, a 6 yarder to Moore, a 16 yarder to Wallace, a 21 yarder to Ward, an 18 yarder to Holmes and a pass to Parker who then ran 10 yards to the four. Parker got it down to the one and Roethlisberger took it in for the touchdown. Now they had a 20-9 lead. I'm starting to feel a little better about this game.

The Bengals missed a chance for three, when Graham couldn't make 52-yard field goal try. But, soon the Steelers gave the ball back to Palmer and he started to moved the team pretty good. Using his receivers and a 23 yard touchdown run by Benson, they were able to get closer to the Steelers lead. After missing a 2 point conversion, it was 20-15 and a 5 point lead. The momentum was shifting.

It wasn't long until the Bengals got their first sack on Roethlisberger and forced the Steelers to punt again. Cincinnati started on their own 29 with 5:14 left in the 4th quarter. They quickly passed and ran to the Pittsburgh 29. With 2 minutes remaining and the Bengals needing a touchdown, all the Steelers had to do was keep them out of the end zone. That was easier said than done. Overcoming 2 fourth down situations, Palmer hit Caldwell for a 4 yard touchdown with only 14 seconds left on the clock. They made the 2 point conversion and defeated the Steelers 23-20.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Steelers Lose To Bears. What Happened?

If you watched the pre-game shows, the Steelers were a unanimous pick to beat the Bears and start the season 2-0. So, what happened? Could it be the defense or the offense, the running game, the kicking game? Well, let's see where do we start?

The Steelers offense has struggled off and on in the "red zone" many times in the past. Usually they can't score touch downs when they're inside the opposing teams 20 yard line, but now they can't even score a field goal. Jeff Reed had two chances in the final 11:37 to seal a Steelers victory and missed both times. Chicago's Robbie Gould did what Reed couldn't do, he kicked the ball through the uprights for a 44-yard field goal with 15 seconds remaining to give the Bears a 17-14 win over the defending Super Bowl champions.

Getting back to the offense; wide receiver, Santonio Holmes dropped two big catches on the sideline. He also drop a perfectly thrown pass by Roethlisberger in the end zone on a third down play. "You had to fight the elements. The rain did play a big part. You have to be professional about it." Holmes said. Both teams had to fight the rain which left the field soggy and the ball wet. There were many drops on both sides. Despite the rain, the Steelers ran for 105 yards on the ground against the Bears compared to only 36 against the Titans.

Roethlisberger really didn't do too bad though. He through for one TD and ran for another. If some of his passes hadn't been dropped, he would have had a great day and the Steelers probably would have won the game. But the Bear's Jay Cutler who threw four inteceptions a week ago, was not picked off once by the Steelers defense. He was able to stand in the face of the Steelers rush and keep the Bears in the game. Ben was 23 of 35 for 221 yards and one illadvised interception and Cutler was 27 of 38 for 236 yards. Very similar performances, but different outcomes.

Both teams were missing their best defensive players do to injury and it was apparent which one was missed the most. The Steelers Troy Polamalu is out for three to six weeks with a sprained knee and the Bears Brian Urlacher has a dislocated wrist. Although the Steelers defense kept the Bears under 300 yards of offense, there was a certain excitement gone from their midst. They pressured Cutler, but didn't wreak havoc like when Polamalu is flying around and making plays. I'm not sure he could have made a difference in this game, but there was different without him.

I had this game in the win column for the Steelers before the season started. Now as we look at their schedule and other NFC north opponents there's cause for concern. Because of mistakes made and the negative outcome of the game, the Steelers will have a lot to work on to get back to championship form. Hopefully they will bounce back against Cincinnati next week. And Let's hope Jeff Reed puts his best foot forward from here on out.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Steelers Almost Give Fans A Heart Attack!

You can throw out all the pre-season speculations and predictions, when the games mean something. The Steelers and the Titans opened the 2009 NFL season at Heinz Field with fire works and two tough teams. The Titans were 13-3 last year and the Steelers were 12-4. Steelers head coach , Mike Tomlin said before the game "The most violent team will win the game".

These teams had the number 1 and number 2 defenses in the league a year ago. The Steelers defense asserted itself early in the game keeping the Titans off the scoreboard until under a minute left in the first half. Steelers defensive end, Aaron Smith blocked a 31 yard Bironas field goal and he missed another 27 yard try. It was on this blocked kick that Steelers fans had to catch their collective breath first.

After Smith blocked the kick, Steelers strong safety, Troy Polamolu tried to pick the ball up and was injured in the pile-up. He injured his left knee in the second quarter and didn't return. There is speculation he may be out 3 to 6 weeks or more. Linebacker Lamarr Woodley was also sidelined with leg cramps in the game.

The Titans defense only allowed the Steelers offense only 1 yard of offense in the first quarter. They managed to sack Ben Roethlisberger 4 times on the night, mostly in the first half. The Titans stuffed the Steelers running game, marginalizing both Willie Parker and Rashard Mendenhall and forcing Ben to pass.

The Steelers offense didn't get going until Roethlisberger began repeatedly find Santonio Holmes and Hines Ward open. With about two minutes to go in the half, Roethlisberger mounted a 5 play, 79 yard drive that culminated with a 34 yard touchdown pass to Super Bowl XLIII MVP, Santonio Holmes. That gave the Steelers a 7-0 lead with 1:22 to go.

But not so fast! With the Steelers defense missing two key players, Titans quarterback, Kerry Collins needed only 3 plays to tie it up. After finding Kenny Britt alone for a 57 yard pass to the Steelers 14, Collins threw to an equally wide open Justin Gage in the end zone, leaving only 48 seconds on the clock. Once again the Steelers fans held their breath when Ben threw an 80 yard Hail Mary pass that was and returned 80 yards to end the half.

Tied at 7-7 , the game got sloppy as both offenses bogged down in the second half. The Titans didn't lead until Rob Bironas kicked a 45 yard field goal with 11:03 left in the game. With the score 10-7 , Big Ben would have to take the game on his shoulders. Roethlisberger was able to put together a late drive. He went 7 for 7 and 57 yards as Jeff Reed tied the game on a 37 yard field goal with 2.57 left in regulation.

When the Steelers got the ball back, Ben was able to hit rookie receiver Mike Wallace in the middle of the field to keep the drive going. Once more Steelers fans held their breath as Roethlisberger completed a 30 yard pass to Hines Ward at the 4 yard line which would have allowed them to kick the winning field goal. But Hines tried to get to the goal line and lost the ball and the game went into overtime.

The Steelers won the toss to start the overtime period. Roethlisberger was able to hit Ward for 11 yards, then Santonio for 11 and rookie Wallace for 22 yards. Being in field goal range and unwilling to risk a turnover, the Steelers kicked a field goal on first down to win it. Reed's 33-yard field goal with 4:32 gone in overtime gave the Super Bowl champion Steelers a 13-10 win over the Titans in the NFL season opener. Check out the Steelers schedule and get discount Steelers merchandise at www.steelers-fan.com

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Reasons Why The Steelers Can Be Super Again

To repeat a Super Bowl championship is a tough assignment. Not many teams have been able to repeat as Super Bowl champs in back to back years. We acknowledge there are heaps of explanations why a team is not able to achieve it, but let me bring to mind specifically a few that relate to the Pittsburgh Steelers likelihood of accomplishing it. They are presented in reverse order of worth.

10. The Pittsburgh possess a winning tradition. Out of the 43 Super Bowls played, the Pittsburgh Steelers have won the most Super Bowls with six. That's one more than the Dallas Cowboys and the San Francisco 49ers who both have 5 Super Bowl championships a piece. Out of the 7 National Football League franchises that have won Super Bowls consecutively, the Pittsburgh Steelers are the sole team to accomplish it two times with victories in Super Bowls nine and ten and then after that in Super Bowls thirteen and fourteen. The other NFL teams to win back to back only on one occasion were the Green Bay Packers, Miami Dolphins, San Francisco 49ers, Denver Broncos and the New England Patriots. The Pittsburgh Steelers have also won two Super Bowls in the prior four seasons, Super Bowl XL and XLIII. The Pittsburgh Steelers only lost one Super Bowl out of the seven they participated in. Don't that sound like an team that understands how to win?

9. The Pittsburgh Steelers should possess just about the same team they had in 2008. The same team that won Super Bowl XLIII. They retain 20 of the 22 initial team coming back from the previous season. Bryant McFadden and Larry Foote are departed from the defense and the deprature of 3rd receiver Nate Washington gives the Steelers a loss of depth on the offense, but these losses won't have any bearing on the Steelers performance.

8. The return game may perhaps leap into gear this season. It was just about finished once Randel El left. Even though the Steelers won the Super Bowl, the Steelers were next to the bottom in the NFL in punt returns with 6 yards per return. This was far below the Buffalo Bill's league-leading 15.5 yard average and they were 4th from the bottom in kickoff returns with a 20.3 yard average. This season Mike Tomlin knows that the Steelers may well at long last have come upon a couple of kick returners that possess the ability to bust out for long yardage. One of the fleetest runners on the Steelers, wide receiver, Mike Wallace has been receiving a good number of the kickoff returns in the pre-season, but Stefan Logan can also return kickoffs. Logan, in migrating from the Canadian Football League to the National Football League, seems to have improved the team in one of their weakest areas (returning punts). It seems like Logan will begin the year as the Pittsburgh Steelers' kick returner.

7. The ground game of the Pittsburgh Steelers may well be gearing up for a revival this season. Rashard Mendenhall's banged up shoulder and Willie Parker's injured leg has derailed the team's running game lately. The two backs appear to be comparatively in good shape this season. Mewelde Moore has filled in nicely as a third down back, but the future may well rest in the hands of the rookie from UNLV, Frank "The Tank" Summers. A good many of the Steeler faithful are hoping Summers will be another Jerome "The Bus" Bettis. He's bulky and has nimble feet like " The Bus", but only time can tell if "The Tank" is able to run like "The Bus".

6. The Steelers offensive line has gotten a complete season of experience. Even though they allowed 46 quarterback sacks a year ago which was the 2nd most in the National Football League. At any rate, the Pittsburgh Steelers notwithstandiing won the Super Bowl. Since they have a complete season of playing collectively and are working to make progress at protecting the quarterback and opening up the running game that was ranked 23rd in the National Football League last season, we ought to witness decent results. "Were one of the youngest position groups on the team, but having that year under our belts speaks volumes," offensive lineman Max Starks told The Tribune Democrat. "The offensive line is a unique position. You need chemistry. You need experience. This offensive line is a very close-knit unit. We have set a lot of goals for ourselves. There are some things we have to clean up from last year, so we're just taking it one day at a time and hoping to get better and better."

5. The Steelers possess a cagey quarterback in Ben Roethlisberger who understands what it takes to win. Ben has won 2 Super Bowls since he's been a part of the Pittsburgh Steelers in the last 4 seasons. Ben Roethlisberger has proven to be a high achiever. Big Ben piloted his college team, Miami of Ohio to an unbeaten season, a #10 national ranking and a win against the University of Louisville in the 2003 GMAC Bowl prior to getting to the National Football League. Ben Roethlisberger carries his victorious prospective into the 2009 season raring to go to duplicate last season's exploits. Ben is a real competitor and he will compete for an additional championship this season.

4. The Pittsburgh Steelers head coach has acquired good amount of worthwhile experience in his 1st 2 complete seasons. Mike Tomlin is in his 3rd year and already has 2 Division titles, 1 Conference Championship and a Super Bowl Championship under his belt. Mike Tomlin's confidence level has got to be through the roof. Following two years and a 22-10 record, Mike Tomlin is the winningest coach when it comes to percentages (68.8%) in the team's history. Mike Tomlin ought to be able to channel that experience and self-assurance into an additional Super Bowl ring.

3. The Pittsburgh Steelers schedule might be a lot better this season than last. Most everyone acknowledged that the Pittsburgh Steelers played the most challenging schedule in the National Football League in 2008. With that tough schedule all they did was go 12-4 and win the Super Bowl. This season's Pittsburgh Steelers schedule appears to be a whole lot more controllable. See who is missing from the 2009 schedule, the New England Patriots, New York Giants, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Philadelphia Eagles and the Dallas cowboys. Those teams will be replaced by the Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Oakland Raiders, Denver Broncos and the Miami Dolphins. Who would you choose to play?

2. The Pittsburgh Steelers 12th man, the Pittsburgh Steeler fans. The Pittsburgh Steelers possess a fan base that is remarkable. They offer support to their team like no other group of fans. The Pittsburgh Steelers fans were ranked the best fans in the National Football League by ESPN in 2008. The Pittsburgh Steelers have sold out 299 home games in a row. That is all the home games since 1972, 37 years so far! They are exited, active and load fans who display Pittsburgh Steelers stuff and waving their "Terrible Towels". These Steelers fans travel with their team better than any other fans in the National Football League. These Steelers fans are used to winning and witnessing first-rate smash-mouth football. These are the sort of fans that have the ability to just about will the Pittsburgh Steelers to a championship!

And my #1 reason behind the rationale that the Pittsburgh Steelers may well repeat as Super Bowl champions is the Steelers defense. Last season the Pittsburgh Steelers had the number one defense in the National Football League and under the leadership of Dick Le Beau. I am optimistic the team will be absolutely as good if not better this season. Even though the Steelers lost two men on defense, the Steelers have not missed a beat specifically at the linebacker position where they plugged in Lawrence Timmon's. Many Pittsburgh Steelers fans might argue it is the defense which kept them in the largest part of the games the Steelers were able to win last season. I really don't anticipate that to be any different this year. This defense prides itself on being able to lock down the competition. This defense will do anything to achieve it. These defensive players absolutely put it on the line and as we all know "Defense wins championships".

I am sure are likely some more reasons that the Pittsburgh Steelers should have the best likelihood to go back to the Super Bowl and win it, but I believe we gave enough to begin with. You can bet contrary to the Pittsburgh Steelers repeating in 2009 if you want to, but my money is on " The Black and Gold"! Obtain quality Pittsburgh Steelers apparel at Steelers-Fan.Com