Big Lead Sports Bar


Jaguars Upend Steelers, Presumably Will Jump in Knee-Jerk Power Rankings

The Jacksonville Jaguars upended the Super Bowl Champions last night by a score of 9-0 in the lowest scoring Monday Night Game in NFL history. Thankfully, the combination of Mike Tirico, Tony Kornheiser, and Joe Theismann was able to divert my attention from the action on the field.
The trio, Theismann especially, seemed to be infatuated with the Jaguars, as if they just discovered their existence. Personally, I never knew Jacksonville had a team. I always thought they were the Johnsonville Jaguars. But I was then told that Johnsonville is actually the company that makes bratwurst. I never said I was perfect.
So all we hear about is how the national media ignores Jacksonville all the time. I find this ironic, since the sports media is about 90% represented by the very network airing this game. Theismann kept hitting us over the head with Jack Del Rio's greatness, predicting other coaches will soon emulate the Jaguars' leader. That's right, a guy with 28 career wins, including zero in the playoffs, will be copied by all the other egomaniacal coaches in the league trying to win with their own systems. Tell us more, Carnac.
"Joey T" also failed to mention that Jacksonville plays in the same division as a team that hard-headed pundits continue to pencil in for the Super Bowl every year, regardless of their annual playoff failures. So if you can build hype around a preseason prediction of being a wild card team every year, go nuts with it.
As one of the wonderful Mondesi readers has already pointed out, Dwyane Wade made an unnecessary appearance in the booth in the 2nd quarter. When the crew asked Wade if he ever met Big Ben, and he said yes, I swear on a stack of bibles that I predicted the answer: at the ESPYs. I have two witnesses to this, if anyone need question my foresight of corporate synergy just seconds in advance. Predictably, Wade gave a series of safe, uninteresting non-answers. Good thing you didn't guarantee a victory in the Olympics two years from now, Dwyane. You'll never be confused with Charles Barkley in the personality department. But what did ESPN expect? Is this going to be a regular bit? Last week, we got Steamin' Willie Beamon a.k.a. Jamie Foxx (and surprisingly, not TomKat). And with next week's pregame concert of Green Day and U2, anyone want to put odds on a Bono appearance in the booth?
As we merge from the booth into the game, we cross into Big Ben territory. Before kickoff, ESPN reported Large Benjamin had a 104-degree temperature. Honestly, I had some doubts about that, although his play did little to change my mind. Thankfully, we got a crash course in appendectomies from Dr. Michelle Tafoya (video link here).
Roethlisberger just missed Hines Ward on a deep pass in the 1st quarter, which Theismann proclaimed as "Ben being rusty". Then, later in the game (I think around the 3rd quarter), Theismann made this comment after a gutsy Ben play: "Ben is back. He's all the way back. He's ready to go."
Other thoughts from the Mind of Mondesi:
-Ben did not look 100%, especially in the 4th quarter. He has made his name through his late-game heroics, and those two interceptions were very uncharacteristic. A healthy Big Ben would have willed his way down the field and the Steelers would have won, 7-6. But in losing just his 5th career game, I could not have been more impressed with his accountability afterwards. Kordell and Tommy Maddox he is not.
-Disappointing showing by the running game. I know Jacksonville has a vaunted defense, but the lack of a consistent rushing attack is usually the kiss of death for a Cowher team.
-I thought they were going to Santonio Holmes too much, especially in crucial 3rd down spots. Rookie receivers simply cannot be counted on to contribute, with the exception of a handful of players in the history of the NFL. In most cases, they have not absorbed the playbook and they don't run the crispest of routes.
-That was not the Troy Polamalu we've come to know last night. His pain was obvious.
-Big game coming up on Sunday. Check back for plenty of Bengals/Steelers info throughout the week. And remember, the season is not lost. It was one game, and frankly, a loss that should not be a surprise, all things considered.


Anonymous said...

I can't stand MNF. I hate Joe Thiesman. I can't stand listening to him. He talks way too much. He must really enjoy what he says because the play no sooner ends and boom, Joe has a comment spewing out of his mouth. I had to turn down the set. I can't stomach that guy.

It is only one loss and we all knew they wouldn't finish 16-0. My hope every year is go undefeated at home and split the road games.

The big concern has to be with that running attack. If it doesn't come around the Steeler are in trouble.

Vee said...

Jack Del Rio looks like "Mr. Wonderful" Paul Orndorff.

Just wanted to beat Bill Simmons to the punch on that one.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps if these two teams meet again in the playoffs, it would behoove the Steelers to leave a block of wood and an axe in the Jags locker room... at least then the punter won't pin them inside the 5 yard line all night.

I loved the "Hi, I'm Ben's liver" graphic that ESPN showed. Truly the most overly sensational illustration shown by any network in this young NFL season.

Anonymous said...

Aw god, horrible night. They need to drop that whole MNF crew and let Dick Vermeil and Jaws do the whole game.
Ben was really bad, everything was high or behind the receiver, he was laying them out to get hit bad.
Runing game was even worse, nothing at all.
Seemed like the D got tired in the 3rd qrt. cause they couldn't tackle anyone, but thats to be expected when the O can't get a 1st down.
Santonio needs to be taken out of the kickoff return job and not get the ball thrown to him, why did we drop Quincy?
On a positive note we held them to only 9 points.

Well at least there are 14 games left, next week hopefully there fired up to kick some ass on the bungels and get back in the divison race.

Anonymous said...

Definitely have to blitz Leftwich more if we meet the Jags again. Ike Taylor needs to play more bump and run and stop giving 10 yard cushions!!

Anonymous said...

Some reflections on game 2...
The Steelers defense did an incredible job, especially considering that the offense could do nothing.

By allowing only nine points, that's usually enough to this league.

It all begins with the offensive line. Sure, Ben was not his usual self last night, but the line did absolutely holes for Parker, no time for Ben.

I know that J'ville has a great defensive line, but aren't the Steelers supposed to have one of the top offensive lines? 26 yards rushing and no rushing first downs? Total conquest doesn't get more complete than this.

Don't be surprised if the Steelers fall badly to the Bengals. They've got some big problems to work out, because it seems that they decided to do too little during the exhibition season with their starters. They'll get it together during their bye week then watch out.

One thing is for certain: If Jacksonville stays healthy, particularly Fred Taylor, the AFC Title Game will have them in it. That team played tough football last night, they certainly got the Steelers' attention.

Cate Morrison said...

listen, i know it is not exactly astounding that a steelers fan would find the broadcast a bit slanted...but the joe theisman "ben looks rusty" <10 minutes later> "ben is back" <10 minutes later> "ben looks rusty" told me that there was no longer a tie to reality. tony should have pulled a tom jackson and suggested that joe might be mentally handicapped (perhaps due to a clot resulting from his foul broken leg).

ooh, that hating felt soooo good.

p.s.: here's why we were forced to watch such awefulness--minutes before kickoff, i made the mistake of saying i thought that jack del rio was the least talked about great coach in the league. damn the bad luck.

Cate Morrison said...


i have a quick question for the mondesi's house readers...and perhaps this lends itself best to an informal poll--unless there is a medical professional in the house:

in michelle tafoya's discussion of ben's (now absent) appendix, do you think that a hit resulting in "blocked bowels" means

a) the worst constipation in the history of the world


b) exploding bowels [which is something you would NEVER live down as a victim and never stop talking about as the one who made the hit]