STEELERS (6-2) 38
RAVENS (4-4) 7
Thoughts from Super Bowl 41.75...
--I can say with little hesitation that last night's game was one of the most enjoyable I've ever experienced as a Steeler fan. From the opponent to the 75th Anniversary Team to the memorable individual performances, it was a fantastic evening.
--I vividly remember some local pundits saying that James Harrison should not be a starter for the Steelers, blaming pedigree and size among other reasons. I never fell into that camp, feeling that Silverback always seemed to make things happen. I think he validated my argument last night. Joey Who?
--Maybe now Harrison will be known nationally for something other than this:
--If Ben Roethlisberger is having a season like this any other year, it's big news. He is on pace for 40 touchdowns. Let me repeat that. He is on pace for 40 touchdowns.
--Roethlisberger's escapability is starting to become the stuff of legends. Is there anyone better at extending a play?
--The Steelers had at least 8-10 plays last night that legitimately made me jump out of my seat. And the blocking! I particularly enjoyed the one where Hines Ward hit Ed Reed so hard that he immediately signaled the trainer afterwards. Mike Tirico put it best when he said, "Hines Ward has been picking off DBs all night."
--Lost in the euphoria of last night was the 1st quarter play that reminded everyone that Ike Taylor still can't catch.
--I don't know what Tirico was thinking with some of his banter in the 2nd half. As the Ravens are losing 38-7, Tirico is going on and on about how the Ravens have tightened up their defense in the second half and how this could have a carry-over effect to next week. As I was wondering what planet Tirico was on, Ron Jaworski spoke up and said that there was nothing good about a 38-7 blowout.
--John Clayton was especially irritating on Mike and Mike this morning. I believe it was the quote, "Well, the next time they play [in the AFC Championship], Indianapolis will have to travel to Foxboro" that put me over the edge.
Gee, why even bother with the second half of the season or the playoffs? I mean, I know the Steelers don't play in Indianapolis or New England, but aren't they at least in the conversation as a contender at this point? They just got done allowing 104 total yards (33 coming on one play) and 5 first downs. They are a whole one game behind Indianapolis. They've outscored their opponents, 222-98. And they are one of just a handful of teams that have won their first four home games by at least 20 or more. That's OK, though. Keep giving all the attention to the other two teams, and we'll cruise right under the radar.
Apparently, no one learned a lesson from the 2005 season when definitively declaring who will play in Championship and Super Bowl games. My favorite soundbite from the XL run was Dan Patrick asking Michael Irvin about the Steelers' chances of winning in Indianapolis: "Not a chance, Dan!", the Playmaker said emphatically.
--Clayton's next topic tossed to him was comparing football in the 70s to football today. He noted that there are several great QBs today..."you know, the big two, and then guys like Carson Palmer". Regular readers know how I feel on that topic.
--The only negative from last night, other than Roethlisberger's brief injury exit, was the lack of a running game. The Steelers ran 39 times for just 90 yards (2.3/carry).
--Steve McNair was so bad, Baltimore should just cut him today. He was historically bad. He can't move, his long pass was that 9-yarder to the backup tight end, and he leads the league in fumbles. He completed 13 passes for 63 yards; how that is even possible to have that few yards with that many completions, I don't know.
Unlike most QBs, Steve McNair chooses to throw the ball when it's not in his hands
--Baltimore continued to amaze me all night. As the deficit kept growing and growing, the Ravens kept inexplicably whooping and hollering louder and louder. Of course, Mike Tirico chalked it up to the Ravens not quitting, when clearly it was a bunch of thugs hitting after the whistle and trying to start trouble. Luckily, Ed Hochuli was on the case, so any funny business was dealt with quickly and severely.
--Jaws said last night that McNair is banged up and can't properly plant, therefore he can't produce adequate velocity. Fortunately, the Ravens have a backup plan: Kyle Boller will line up on one knee and throw the 50-yard bombs that they drafted him for.
--Anyone else catch the interview with Mel Blount? You know, the one when Michelle Tafoya asked him about the Ravens' performance, and he said, "it's pretty pathetic".
--By the way, was Blount born with that cowboy hat on his head? I believe that's the same affliction that affects Jim Brown.
--The Steelers played Cincinnati last week, and we concluded that they are in complete disarray. They played Baltimore last night, and they're obviously in complete disarray. Of course, both of these teams were picked to finish ahead of the Steelers pretty much across the board, which goes to show you what analysts' opinions are worth.
--Was I seeing things, or was that Lawrence Timmons recovering a fumble?
--Nice little game out of #43 last night, no?
--Skippy Reed, Steelers Enforcer?
--The PG had a fantastic photo gallery today, with memorable shots like this:
Ben hits Nate; Stan is unimpressed--When did Mean Joe morph into Grady from Sanford and Son?
--For those of you wondering, Joey Porter and Jack Lambert were the only two no-shows for the 75th anniversary festivities.
--I'll close with this: we want you, New England. Preferably undefeated.