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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.