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Saturday, December 25, 2010

Pittsburgh Steelers Beat Carolina Panthers 27-3

An unimpressive win by the Pittsburgh Steelers over a bad Carolina Panthers team gets them closer to a much needed bye in the playoffs. If they're able to beat the Cleveland Browns next and finish the season 12-4, they will be the #2 seed in the AFC playoffs and rate a week off.

The Steelers defense played a typical shut down game allowing just 3 points.Although the offense scored 27 points, they could have scored more. Ben Roethlisberger even admitted after the game that he left a lot on the field and they had a lot to work on. Brights spots were the return of tight end Heath Miller and the maturing of Mike Wallace who got over 100 yards receiving.

By playing the Panthers on Thursday, they have 11 days until they play Cleveland. Troy Polamalu was on the sidelines and may not play against the Browns. If the can get that bye week in the playoffs, Troy should be ready and maybe Aaron Smith will be able to play as well.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Bad Play Calls, Injured Defense, Lousy Special Teams and Blind Refs = Steelers Loss

           Another agonizing Pittsburgh Steelers game to watch. The Steelers managed to snatch defeat from victory in a 22-17 loss to the New York Jets. With an opportunity to put some distance between them and the Baltimore Ravens and a shot at home field for the NFL playoffs, the Steelers managed to come up short.

         The Jets were coming off a couple of losses where quarterback, Mark Sanchez had less than stellar performances. He was plagued by interceptions and the offense had trouble scoring points. The Steelers defense had been carrying the team waiting for the offense to get on track. So, what went wrong?

         Tragedy struck before the game when super safety, Troy Polamalu could not start because of an injury. Although the Jets had never won at Heinz Field, The Steelers record without Polamalu favored the New York team. If that wasn't bad enough, the Steelers go-to tight end, Heath Miller would have to sit out another week after suffering a concussion in the Ravens game.

         Then the game! Pittsburgh's special teams fell asleep during the opening kickoff and the Steelers started 7 points in the hole. As the game progressed, the referees became blind and decided not to flag some interference and holding calls on the Jets defense. On a crucial drive, that would have put the Steelers ahead, the refs missed a defensive holding call by the Jets against, Steelers wide receiver, Emmanual Sanders.

         The Pittsburgh offense put up good numbers and the score was tied three times then the Steelers had the lead 17-10 in the 3rd quarter. Rashard Mendenhall had 100 yards rushing and Ben Roethlisberger threw for 264. So, how did they lose? Well  the the Steelers defense had trouble getting off the field on 3rd down. An unnecessary roughness penalty by Ryan Clark which put the Jets on the Steelers 17. Now the Pittsburgh defense fell asleep and let Sanchez run a naked bootleg to the left and scored untouched. Game tied 17-17.

          The Jets started the 4th quarter running on the Steelers which produced  a field goal. With less than 3 minutes left, the Steelers needed 3 points to tie the game and send it into overtime. But they were pinned at their own 3 yard line after a punt destined for the end zone was batted back by the Jets. Now they would have a long way to go to keep their hopes alive.

          Here's where the brain-dead, bone-head bad play call came from the sidelines. Mewelde Moore took the hand off from Ben in the shotgun deep in the end zone and barley made it to the goal line. The result, a safety which gave the Jets 2 points, a 5 point lead and the ball back with 2:40 left on the clock. Now the Steelers would need a touchdown instead of a field goal. The Steelers defense held and gave the ball back to Ben with 2:08 left. I couldn't believe that they still had a chance to pull it out.

          Roethlisberger wa like a surgeon slicing the Jets defense with passes and running to keep the drive going. With 29 seconds left, he threw deep to Sanders and if the Jets defender wouldn't have grabbed his jersey, he would have scored the winning touchdown. But, the refs didn't throw the flag. On 3rd and ten, with 2 seconds to go, Ben threw an incomplete pass as time ran out.

          It was an exciting game to watch, but you felt empty and drained when it was over. I hope the Steelers have a better outcome when they play the Carolina Panthers on Thursday. It's not known whether Polamalu will play or not.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Best Offense Is A Good Defense!

I know I'm late with this post, but anyone who saw the Pittsburgh Steelers offense Sunday would agree: The best offense was a Great defense. The Steelers beat the Cincinnati Bengals 23-7, but Ben Roethlisberger and company could only score 9 points on three field goals.

The Pittsburgh Steelers defense scored 14 points with two touchdowns. Troy Polamalu and Lamarr Woodley scored enough points to beat the Bengals without the offense. They both returned Carson Palmer interceptions for TDs leading the Steelers to a 10-3 record and a spot in the NFL playoffs.

Pittsburgh is atop the AFC North division with three game left on their schedule. They will try to beat the New York Jets this week, then the Carolina Panthers and division rival, Cleveland Browns.  Let's hope they can muster more offense than three field goals against the Jets. If not, I hope the defense can score some points.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Men Of Steel With An Amazing Finish

    Another agonizing game to watch. The Pittsburgh Steelers were not able to score a point the whole 1st half. The offense was just not clicking and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger got his nose broke on the Steelers first offensive series. Ben came into the game with a broken foot. The Steelers punter, Sepulvada left the game with a season ending leg injury. The Steelers defense held the Baltimore Ravens to 7 points and played tough all night.

    About 5 minutes into the 3rd quarter the Steelers were able to get a 45 yard field goal from newly acquired place kicker, Suisham. Midway through the quarter Baltimore added a 24 yard field goal to make it 10-3. As the quarter came to the end, Pittsburgh lost offensive lineman, Flozell Adams yo injury and tight end Heath Miller to a concussion  just as they started a drive to the end zone. The offensive line came into the game already depleted by several injured players. The Ravens defense was able to hold Pittsburgh to another field goal.

    Two punts for the Steelers and two for the Ravens and I'm screaming at the TV and the coaches to find a way to win this game. It was like "pulling teeth" for the Steelers to score a touchdown. I turned to my wife and said " It looks like, if the Steelers are going to win this game, the defense is going to have to score".

    Then it happened! An all out blitz with Toy Polamolu knocking quarterback, Joe Flacco's arm and causing a fumble recovered by Lamarr Woodley and taken to the Ravens nine yard line with 3:22 left in the game. Three plays later, Ben Roethlisberger, broken nose and foot throws a touchdown pass to back-up running back Redman as the Steelers take a 13-10 lead and leap to the top of the AFC North division with a 9-3 record.

    Amazingly Steelers linebacker, James Harrison didn't get fined for any vicious hits. However, the Ravens defense committed at least 4 hits to the head that weren't called penalties. The Ravens Haloti Ngata put his hand or fist through Ben Roethleisberger's helmet and broke his nose. Jameel McClain was involved in a deliberate helmet to helmet shot on Steelers defenseless wide receiver, Heath Miller. And the hit no one is talking about as Ben was trying to dodge the rush of Terell Suggs and get rid of the ball. Suggs twice slapped Ben on the side of his helmet.

    In spite of the injuries and the penalties that weren't called (I guess they were wearing the wrong uniform) , the Men Of Steel were able to defeat their arch rivals in a hostile Ravens stadium where Baltimore had won 8 straight games until the Steelers came to town.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Steelers Win Ugly In OT - Ravens Next!

     I've been trying to let the memory of the Steelers game Sunday fade into oblivion. I know they got the win, but if not for a dropped perfect pass in the end zone in overtime, it could have easily been a loss. It's amazing how the Pittsburgh Steelers can have 426 yards of offense and only score 19 points.

     With that kind of offense they should have gotten at least 30. Rashard Mendenhall rushed for 151 yards, Hines Ward had 107 receiving yards and Big Ben Roethlisberger threw for 246. Besides that, they held the ball for 45 minutes to the Buffalo Bills 27. So, how did they just barely win 19-16 in OT?

     Well, the penalty bug bit them again. The Steelers were penalized for the 2nd week in a row for over 100 yards. I'm not saying that the Refs and the League have it in for the Steelers, but they might. Besides the penalties, Ben was sacked a few times and suffered an ankle sprain, while Mendenhal's fumble almost cost them the game. There were also some dropped passes, especially the one by Emmanuel Sanders that would have resulted in a long gain.

     If they can play like the did against the Bills, but without the mistakes, they can beat the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday night. If they want to reclaim the AFC North crown, they'll have to have their heads in the game against Ray Lewis and company. Troy Polamolu's interception late saved the victory for the Steelers. Let's hope they don't need any late game heroics when they play the Ravens.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Penalize Refs Steelers 35 Raider 3

The Pittsburgh Steelers had a nice bounce back win against an Oakland Raiders team that was tied for the lead in the AFC West. Although the Steelers offense scored 35 points and the defense allowed only 3, the game was riddled with penalties. Some of the penalties were pretty ticky-tack and at least two were ridiculous. Five-time Pro Bowl defensive lineman Richard Seymour was ejected for punching Big Ben in the face.

I know the NFL is trying to crack down on malicious hits, but now they're calling routine defensive stop as blatant, vicious and intentional. When does it begin to breakdown the integrity and intensity of the game? I'm beginning to agree with former Steelers linebacker, Jack Lambert who said "You might as well put skirts on the quarterbacks".

The Steelers set a franchise record of 163 yards in penalties, while the Raiders had only 183 yards of offense. Give credit to the Pittsburgh Steelers toughness as they overcame the penalties and continued to play aggressively. This game was played the way Steeler fans expect their team to play, minus the refferees' total lack of discretion. Maybe the league should penalize the NFL refs after they review this game!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Pittsburgh Steelers "Too Little - Too Late"

     Have you ever noticed how some teams come out of the locker room ready to play and other teams seem less prepared and unenthusiastic? Well, that was the scene in Pittsburgh on Monday Night Football. A week ago the New England Patriots got blind-sided by the Cleveland Browns. That high powered Tom Brady offense stumbled as the Browns poked holes in their defense. Well, Monday night the Patriots figured out what was wrong and put a 'W' on the sleep-walking Steelers.

     I know Pittsburgh has some key injuries to their offensive line and Hines Ward was hurt early in the game. But, they still managed to get 26 points on New England's ''D'. We know Ben's going to try and do too much and give up a couple of sacks and an interception or two. He still has a good core of receivers, even without Ward. And let's not forget how Cleveland exploited New Englands' young secondary.

     Even with the injuries to the Steelers defensive linemen, the soft coverage and lack of aggression was noticeable in the first half, especially. You give Brady the kind of time the Steelers did and you have no chance to make a play. He went virtually untouched for most of the game and Belicheck had his team ready. Mike Tomlin didn't.

     The Steelers defense had given up an average of 15.7 points a game. The Patriots almost tripled that in the 39-26 beating of the Steelers. I just hope the Pittsburgh coaches can do what the Patriots did when the Steelers play the Raiders next week. Pittsburgh remains tied atop the AFC North with the Baltimore Ravens at 6-3. New England is tied with the New York Jets form the best record in the NFL at 7-3.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Steelers Hang On To Win 27-21 Over Bengals

       With an opening kickoff fumble recovery and a blocked punt deep in Bengals territory, it looked like the Pittsburgh Steelers were going to role over the Cincinnati Bengals. They had a 10-0 lead in the 1st quarter and hardly broke a sweat. For three straight quarters, the Pittsburgh Steelers looked like one of the most dominating teams in the NFL. Their defense smothered the defending AFC North champs and they built a 27-7 lead. 

 Then came the 4th quarter. This season the Steelers have only allowed 102 points in seven games. Over half those points came in the 4th quarter. As Pittsburgh's defense collapsed and their offense made some bad plays, the Bengals were able to mount a comeback. They got to within a touchdown of winning the game, despite  a couple of missed field goals. 

Finally, the Steelers defense got a stop in the fourth quarter that they didn't get last season when the Bengals beat them twice. They were able to stop the Bengals on a fourth and 5 play from the Pittsburgh 12. A game that looked like it was over in the first half turned into a real nail biter for Steelers fans.

Next Sunday night they play the New England Patriots. Let's don't give Tom Brady a chance to comeback in the 4th quarter.

Monday, November 08, 2010

The Steelers Need To Take The Tigers By The Tail

Search Amazon.com for Steelers The (5-2) Pittsburgh Steelers need a win over the (2-5) Cincinnati Bengals to keep pace with the (6-2) division leading Baltimore Ravens. The Steelers are 2-1 since the return of quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger and Monday night will be a test of two AFC North rivals.

Ben's return has accelerated the Steelers' passing game and with the emergence of WR Mike Wallace and the acquisition of former Steeler wideout, Antwaan Randel El, Pittsburgh is set to make some big plays. Key players to watch are Hines Ward, Heath Miller and Troy Polamalu.

Beside a potent offense, the Steelers have one of the top defenses in the League. Lawrence Timmons has emerged as as star at linebacker. With James Harrison and James Farrior they may best the most formidable linebacking group in the NFL.

The Bengals are hungry for a win, especially in their division. They'll have to solve the Steelers 'D" and slow down Pittsburgh's Rashard Mendenhall to get a 'W'. The Bengals are coming off a 22-14 loss to the Miami Dolphins and with Chad Ochcinco and T O, the Bengals are looking for an upset. Steelers if you take these cats for pets, they just might bite you.