Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Glass Half Empty

Good job, Heinz Field. You thought that you could have a grass playing surface in a football stadium in the Northeast during the fall/winter months, and have not only the Steelers play there, but the Pitt Panthers and four high school games in the SAME DAY? You thought you could have these four HS games on Friday, a Pitt game on Saturday, and a Steelers game on Monday? You didn't think that there would be any consequences on the field? Instead, you embarrassed yourselves and the city of Pittsburgh by putting new sod on the field, creating a quicksand like playing surface after it rained, not to mention having the paint from the yard lines completely wash off, making it look like a soccer pitch? The result was one of the most embarrassing games in NFL history, a 3-0 Steelers win over the winless Dolphins. Normally such low scores are reserved for games during catastrophic weather events (first games that come to mind are the Jets beating the Steelers 6-0 in a blizzard in 2003, and some New England game in the early 90's that was in some kind of early fall Nor'Easter that was like 3-0 or 6-0 - can't remember who they played), but it was just a run of the mill rainy day in Pittsburgh in November. It was the horrible mismanagement of the playing surface that made this game so ugly. Hopefully this can convince the Heinz Field management to switch to an artificial playing surface, much like the Patriots did in midseason a couple years back.

I really don't think the Steelers played that terribly, and that the score would have been more like 20-3 if the conditions were normal. They dominated field position throughout the game. Parker had a decent game despite not being able to cut. Ben shook off an early pick by old friend J-Peazy to go 18/21, which is pretty remarkable given the conditions. His YPC were low however, which can be attributed to the field slowing down our receivers and not letting them get downfield fast. Our O-line allowed four sacks which is troublesome, but again that can be blamed on not really being able to plant. Hines Ward was huge with 7 catches but Heath Miller didn't catch any and had two extremely costly points that took points off the board. Defense was excellent as expected, shutting down the running game, knocking Ricky Williams out in his return to the league, and forcing QB John Beck to beat them. Beck, the rookie from BYU, didn't play terribly for being a rookie, but there was no way he was going to be able to beat us in those conditions. Jeff Reed hooked one field goal attempt in the slop, but had the most clutch 25 yarder in history to end the game. Sepulveda put just about all his punts inside the 20.

No bones about it, this was an ugly game. But it's probably best for the Steelers, and their fans, to just forget about it and not make too much of it. Just be glad we got the win, and hope that some major improvements are made in time for Sunday against Cincinnati.

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