Tuesday, December 11, 2007


I've tried to remain as quiet as I could for as long as possible about this. I tried to be as calm as I could after the beating the Steelers endured on Sunday from Team X, simply comparing it to the Colts game from the Super Bowl year. But I can't take it anymore. I have to get one thing off my chest.


I'm serious. If I hear one more person mention it I'm going to punch them. Of course newspapers cut out critical components, but the second year safety from Syracuse was clearly baited into providing his guarantee last week. In the now infamous interview, he was talking about how the Steelers were confident about their preparations for the game against Team X, and he said something along the lines of "I think we can beat them, I think we can win." The reporter, and this is what is never printed, then asked him something along the lines of "So are you guaranteeing a win over [Team X]?" At that point, what the hell do you expect him to say? "No, I think we're gonna play our asses off and lose?" That would have been far worse for the Steelers. Any football player with self-esteem is gonna say they guarantee a victory.

And you know what? I respected him for saying that before the game, and I still respect him for saying that now after the loss. The only way anyone is going to beat that team this season is by being 100% confident that they are going to win. Upsets don't happen by accident. Do you think the Appalachian State football team went into the Big House thinking they were going to lose? Do you think Joe Namath and the Jets went into Super Bowl III against the heavily favored Colts thinking they were going to lose? Speaking of the Colts, do you think the Steelers of two seasons ago thought they were going to lose in that playoff game? Of course not. Those big upsets all occurred because the underdogs went in with the mentality that they would be able to win at all costs. And that is exactly the mentality Anthony Smith and the rest of the team went into Foxboro with on Sunday. Did it work out? Not exactly, because Team X played with the same mentality. Did they use the guarantee as "motivation"? Maybe, but they shouldn't have needed to. They were four wins away from history, playing against another good team in front of a charged up crowd, with the chance to clinch a first round bye in the playoffs. That should have been enough motivation.

The Steelers were clearly a step slow on the artificial Gillette Stadium surface after playing their previous two games in the swamp at Heinz Field. Satan played an amazing game, 81X played an amazing game, and they outplayed us and won. But you know what? The Steelers were not nearly as overmatched as the score 34-13 suggests.

We ran for 181 yards against their defense, as Fast Willie had his best game in weeks. Ben wasn't awful, taking what the defense gave him and not making any mistakes. Our defense shut down the run so much that they abandoned it completely in the second half. We dominated time of possession as well.

So what made this game a blowout instead of a close loss? Three factors:

1) The bombs that Satan threw to WR81X in the first half and WR10X in the second half, using the same trick play that the Steelers used against the Bengals in the playoffs two years ago (Hey Coach X: I thought you had the best offense in NFL history? If this is true, is it really necessary to even use trick plays at all, much less steal another team's trick plays? If you MUST use trick plays, can't you create your own? You are an offensive "genius" after all.) Everyone points out that the safeties, particularly Anthony Smith, got burned on both those plays. Everyone fails to point out that neither of those safeties were named TROY POLAMALU. Smith is in his first season starting and Tyrone Carter, well he sucks. So let's not give Team X and Satan too much credit on those plays. They may not happen with a healthy Troy.

2) Red zone. The offense consistently was able to drive inside the Team X 20 the entire game, but sputtered each time. Two field goals in the first half, and a stop on a stupid 4th and goal play call at the 1. On the season, the Steelers have one of the better red zone offenses, so you would think that would improve in case of a rematch.

3) Injuries. The secondary had previously played well without Troy, but not against any offenses of Team X's caliber. They clearly missed him greatly, as there were no sacks and Satan picked apart our secondary. Santonio Holmes was back after missing a couple games, but was clearly a step slow and had only one catch. We were without our biggest defensive playmaker, and our biggest offensive playmaker was slowed greatly. Yet we still hung with them for a half.

No defense is going to completely shut down that offense this year. If they are held in the 20's, you did a heck of a good job on defense. Without their big TD passes, they're in the 20's. If we have better red zone production, we're in the 20's as well. If there's a rematch in the playoffs, there's no reason to believe we cant give them a more competitive game. To get to that point, the Steelers have to put Sunday behind them and prepare for another big game against Jacksonville on Sunday. We have to beat the Jaguars to regain our confidence, which has been diminished a bit over the past month or so. After that are two road games at St. Louis and Baltimore, both of which we had better win convincingly if we are to have any chance in the playoffs.

As for Team X, I'll go with a quote from Breaking Benjamin:

You had to have it all
Well have you had enough?
You greedy little bastard
You will get what you deserve

When all is said and done
I will be the one
To leave you in your misery
And hate what you've become

Team X won this round, fair and square. But this isn't over yet. The Jets, Dolphins, and Giants will all be playing with nothing to lose. In the playoffs, if the Steelers don't get another crack, the Colts, Cowboys, or Packers will, and they will all have something to say about this team's so called dominance this season.

This is not over yet.

1 comment:

E said...

karma, my friend.

watch it destroy the pats sunday.