Big Lead Sports Bar

9/21/2007

How Good Are They?

STEELERS (3-0) 37

49ERS (2-1) 16

It's been a rough couple of days for old Mondesi. As you may have noticed, postings have been scarce around these parts. I think I just saw a tumbleweed roll by. Oh yeah, there it is again...

Yes, I was quite ill. And since I'm a one-man band, that meant no Mondesi's House for the past few days. In fact, I'm still not 100%, but at least I've been upgraded from "OUT" to "PROBABLE". Adjust your fantasy blogger rosters accordingly.

What does this have to do with the Steeler game you ask? Well, nothing. But judging by all the people who visited and found nothing but week-old links sections, I thought you were way overdue for some fresh content. So tough it out I will.

As for football, I watched a lot of it while I was under the weather. I watched Thursday night football, Friday night football, Saturday night football, and Sunday night football. I watched high school, college, and pro. I watched more SportsCenter than legal limits allow. And I made plenty of observations.

The strangest thing I saw? That would have to be this, which was best summarized by USA Today:

ESPN's Mike Patrick, moments before what would be the winning play in Georgia's 26-23 overtime win against Alabama, told boothmate Todd Blackledge, "I've got an important question. What's Britney Spears doing with her life?"

Blackledge, understandably, seemed mystified. After Patrick pressed him on the subject, Blackledge spoke for viewers everywhere: "Why do we care?"

Patrick said Sunday, in a quote relayed through ESPN spokesman Mike Humes: "I have a weird sense of humor and thought this was funny."



Yeah, it was that kind of weekend. Bizarre moments aplenty. Penn State losing to Michigan, a team they were mocking just a few weeks earlier. UConn blowing out Pitt at home, in a game that reinvigorated the owner of Firedavewannstedt.com, if nothing else. Louisville, once thought of as a national title contender, upended by lowly Syracuse. Texas Tech's quarterback throwing for 646 yards...in a losing effort. It was a crazy start to my football oversaturation weekend. And that was just the college circuit.
Sunday featured even more off-the-wall hijinks. Donovan McNabb, left for dead by nearly everyone, probably even Mama McNabb, throws for 381 yards, 4 TDs, and leads his team to 56 points and a victory in the ugliest uniforms known to mankind. Ladainian Tomlinson and the Chargers continued to struggle, falling to the ageless (and undefeated) Brett Favre. Rex Grossman threw a bunch of interceptions...well, I didn't say everything was unexpected this weekend.
That brings us to the Steeler game, which, by this year's standards, was exactly as expected. The black and gold played suffocating defense, the offense was efficient, they ran the ball well, and we even got a kick return touchdown to boot. They bottled up Frank Gore for just 39 yards, giving him a 3-game total of 175 and relegating him to the "early season disappointment" category, alongside Steven Jackson, Larry Johnson, and Tomlinson, who've combined for just one 100-yard game thus far.
On the other hand, Willie Parker owners must be happy, because he's had nothing but 100-yard games...three of them, in fact, but who's counting? And in this week's "Let's throw out Parker's top two carries" game, they were 23 and 17 yards, if you were interested.
Another pleasing aspect of the game is the continued commitment (so far) to the tight end. Heath Miller led the team with 82 yards receiving, which was a nice option to have when Nate Clements is covering your receivers. We also saw a rare touchdown from Jerame Tuman, who was filling the quota of tight end touchdowns in the absence of Matt Spaeth.
Yes, it was another feel-good game for the Steelers. There's joy in Tomlinville. They're moving up the buzz list of the NFL. But don't get me wrong, they're not yet in the hallowed grounds of Indianapolis and New England. You know, the "so much better than you're team, you're just wasting your breath if you disagree with us" category. Yeah, that is the same category that San Diego and their Most Talented 53 Man Roster on Planet Earth called home just two weeks ago, as a matter of fact.
But seriously, the whole respect card means nothing beyond stirring up debate among fans. The last time I checked, Peter King and John Clayton's opinions had no effect on a team's postseason destiny (although it would if they were involved in college football, scary as that sounds). What matters is how the Steelers perform against the teams on their schedule. And so far, that has been nothing short of breathtaking.
The most common complaint about the Steelers is that "they haven't played anyone". Very true. But here's how I come to the conclusion that they're a good team: if they lost to their opponents thus far, they would be a bad team. Probably 2-4 wins. If they were struggling with their opponents so far, they would be a mediocre team. I'm guessing 6-8 wins. But they are dominating these teams, as the 27, 23, and 21-point defecits would illustrate. That would put them in the class of 10-12 wins, which I feel should be very attainable for this team. And that would make them a good team.
This week will be an emotional one, as they face the "Pittsburgh West" Cardinals. There's some question as to who will man the ship for the Birds, but the Pittsburgh connections will be many and they will be passionate. Ken Whisenhunt, Russ Grimm, Chukky Okobi, Sean Morey, Mike Barr, and Rodney Bailey are all former Rooney family employees. And don't forget Pittsburgh's own Steve Breaston, as well as former Pitt Panthers Larry Fitzgerald and Gerald Hayes. Yes, it will be a good one on Sunday. Not the great measuring stick we all want, but a good one nonetheless. If it goes to script, then the Steelers will be 4-0. But then again, that's a lot to ask for in a year that's been as topsy-turvy as this one.

1 comment:

John said...

Couldn't you also say if you took out Willie's worst two runs it upped his average per carry to like 6? Does the whole scheme work both ways? If you take out the Steelers 2-6 start from last year they have been 18-2 including the winning streak during super bowl run. That logic works right?