Big Lead Sports Bar

12/09/2007

Guaranteed

PATRIOTS (13-0) 34

STEELERS (9-4) 13

Surprise! Anthony Smith is not Nostradamus. I know, I'm surprised too. Maybe next week Smith and his secondary cronies will talk about how they held Tom Brady under 400 yards passing, because that's pretty much the only thing they accomplished in a demoralizing, embarrassing 34-13 defeat at the hands of the New England Patriots.

Yes, the Steelers defense stunk on Sunday. How bad was the stench? I believe it was in the film Anchorman that the phrase "like a turd wrapped in burned hair" was coined. If you can possibly imagine it, the defense stunk worse than that.

I like to throw stats around about how high the Steelers' defense is ranked, but unfortunately this is not a game played on paper. It's played by highly-paid professionals. Some shoot their mouths off; some embarrass their team with shenanigans after the whistle. The Steelers had players doing both yesterday.

I/we are constantly on the war path against players and teams that are classless in defeat. I certainly called out the Mountaineers and their maniacal fans more than a time or two last week. But the Steelers were no better. I realize what a frustrating loss this must have been. We're fans and we're taking it hard. But these guys were completely out of control. Late hits. Trash talk. Pushing and shoving. I think I even saw a punch thrown. By the end of the contest, they were bringing back memories of Baltimore's end-of-the-game meltdown against New England a week earlier. Is that what "Steeler Football" has devolved to? I mean, we have no problem calling out thuggery when Cincinnati or the Ravens pull similar acts. It's time to call out our own guys. That's not the way to lose. Frankly, I expected more from a Mike Tomlin team.

Unfortunately, unruly behavior was the least of this team's problems on Sunday. On offense, they were "OK", but not great, and OK doesn't beat New England, at least not when your defense is letting Randy Moss have free reign in your secondary. It's a team loss, and the Steelers did not get it done on either side of the ball on Sunday. They couldn't score enough points to win, and they couldn't stop the bleeding from the Patriots' numerous body blows. The coaches never had an answer for Brady, Moss, or Welker, if one even exists. And the special teams, as usual, was of little help. But hey, we only gave up 22 yards rushing.

I thought Ben played a "B to B-" game - not his best, not his worst. Fast Willie had a productive afternoon, racking up 124 yards on 21 carries. And Hines Ward contributed on a minor level (would've been nice if he could have cashed in that TD). On the other hand, it was clear that Santonio Holmes was not himself. Further down the depth chart, Nate Washington showed why he's Nate Washington, with some exquisite non-catches in the second half. At least he's consistent in his awful play. Maybe he'll guarantee a victory against Jacksonville next week.

I'll spare you a paragraph lauding the Patriots, because frankly I'm sick of hearing about them, no matter how fantastic they are. Phil Simms was taunting me the entire game to turn down the sound, as he rambled on and on about Patriot stories that had neither a point nor any comedic value. The Pats are a tough team, they've earned their record, and they definitely have a shot at going undefeated. They are hated because they are successful, because fans of opposing teams are jealous, and because the media has gone above and beyond the necessary means of saturation (newest examples: 1. ESPN's Bottom Line scroll on Friday reading...NFL...NBA...PATRIOTS... and 2. ESPN officially titling all Patriot stories "Pursuing Perfection").

They're also hated because they too are a group of classless and smug individuals. Tom Brady enjoys sitting on his high horse with his cute "Well done is better than well said" quote; but where was he when teammate Rodney Harrison was fined 5 G's for taunting the Ravens last week? Is that the same Rodney Harrison that was suspended for using HGH? Yeah, I thought so.

The Patriots are no band of choir boys. From their cheating coach on down, they're an organization that's liked only within the geographical territory known as New England. And even there, they're not top banana. Most residents of that area are more concerned about which Cy Young Award winner they're going to buy before they call the Yankees the Evil Empire in the next breath. But that's a different soapbox for a different season. I acknowledge the Patriots' greatness and their accomplishments, but my dislike for them has never been greater.

Now, on to some bullet points on the game and Sunday's action around the league:

--CBS walked a real tightrope. While watching the dramatic end of regulation in San Diego-Tennessee, we got the "contractual agreements..." message from the network, warning us that they would be leaving that game for the Steelers game very soon. Luckily, we got to see San Diego score the TD that would ultimately send the game into overtime, although we were already into Commercial Land when the PAT went up.

Can you imagine if we would've missed the beginning of the Steelers-Patriots, though? Yinzers would've probably burned down KDKA. Pomps would have surely feared for his life.
--The game opened with that Kill Bill instrumental. Is it me or is that song a bit played out by now?

--I'm convinced that wasn't really Troy Polamalu on the sidelines. It was either a body double or Tom Hanks reprising his Castaway role.

--Speaking of Tom Hanks, I see in today's commercials that he has a new movie coming out, featuring Philip Seymour Hoffman, also known as the long-lost brother of ESPN Radio 1250's Eddy Crow.


--Unintentional Comedy Highlight of the Day: Jim Nantz proclaiming that "Santonio was grimacing in pain", later brought up in the game when I asked where Santonio was and my brother reminded me that he was probably still grimacing. When he said that, who else out there thought of this guy?

--My Phil Simms disgust hit its pinnacle when Brady's sure TD pass went right through the hands of The Best Receiver in Football. Simms literally said that Brady through it too perfectly. Of course, minutes later, in a trademark Simms gay innuendo line, he said that Moss "couldn't handle the high, hard one". Apparently, neither can Nate Washington.

--From the fashion file: no sunglasses for Coach Cool, and no hoody for Coach Homeless Man.

--The Steeler D clearly had no answer for the Patriots passing attack. Was I the only one who thought Lawrence Timmons should be inserted into the game to step on Tom Brady?

--It's around this time of the NFL season that the commercials really start to get to me. In the past, it's been "Viva, Viagra!" or "This is ouuuuuur countrrrry". This year, I'm being gradually worn down by those way-too-intense people driving their Cadillacs (Does your car turn YOU on?). And a new favorite is the Citi commercial with the kid who looks like Adam Morrison. His big Christmas gift to his mom? Buying himself a suit. Real thoughtful, jerk. Go back to Gonzaga and take your outside shot with you.

And while I'm at it, can the PA Lottery please spring for a new commercial? That "Best Wishes From the Lottery" spot featuring the carolers is ancient. I'm sure the old, bearded newsstand owner wearing a Belichickian hoody is long dead. Don't know what I'm talking about? Watch any Pittsburgh TV station and you'll probably see it in the next 30 seconds.

--My condolences to all the angry 60 Minutes fans who had to endure the final 6:46 of the Steeler game. I like how the Steelers were literally playing ball-control down 21 points, clearly to avoid any further embarrassment that the Patriots surely would have attempted.

--From Don Banks' SI Snap Judgments:

"Towing a banner in its wake, a small plane circled Gillette Stadium in the pre-game hours before the Steelers-Patriots. The banner read:

Bonds: 756*Belichick: 3 Super Bowl Wins*

Best I could tell, Don Shula wasn't piloting the plane. But who knows, the Hall of Famer might have paid for it."
--Two quick "seperated at births" for you:

1. The Jacksonville Jaguars are the Pitt Panthers basketball team. They're both really good year-in and year-out, but they never seem to get to the next level. For Pitt, they can't break through the Sweet 16. For the Jags, they're a perennial 2nd place team in the AFC South. And as long as things stay the same, we can continue to make that analogy.

2. Donte Stallworth = Alfonso Soriano. Both of these young men are individuals with loads of talent. So why do they move from team to team to team? If you're a great, young player, teams usually find a way to hold on to you, especially in Soriano's case, when he was on the Yankees. There has to be more to the story in both cases.

--Detroit lost again, and you know what that means: they can only win nine games at the most, crushing Jon Kitna's prediction of at least 10. So that's two guarantees that went by the wayside on Sunday.

--Is there an NFL by-law that says Green Bay's defensive backs must always wear dreadlocks?

-Other than Pats-Steelers, there were some real blowouts on Sunday:

Indianapolis 44, Baltimore 20

Denver 41, KC 7

Minny 27, San Fran 7

Seattle 42, Arizona 21

Buffalo 38, Dolphins 17

Jacksonville 37, Carolina 6

Packers 38, Oakland 7

Yep, it looks like some teams have already closed the books on 2007.

--So the Steelers take on the aforementioned NFL version of the Pitt Panthers hoops team next week. Anyone care to offer a guarantee on the outcome?

19 comments:

HotDog_Zanzabar said...

Eddie Crow sucks. He is dragging down Junker with him into radio purgatory.

I wonder how Phil Simms knows Randy Moss can't handle a high hard one? Not that there's anything wrong with that.

AJ said...

Don - not to be knit picky... but that was actually a crappy Chris Hanson punt that bounced off of William Gay's groin. (apparently he kicks for the Pats when he's not busting child predators on Dateline NBC)

While many of Sepulveda's punts this season have made me yearn for the days of Gardocki, he actually had a fairly solid day yesterday.

okel dokel said...

Well, that game really sucked. I have read in some corners of Blogfrica that people are satisfied with the offense's performance. Well, do not count me in that mix. You need to score touchdowns to beat New England.

The defense does what it usually does against the spread formation, suck. At least the Eagels and Ravens sacked Brady a couple of times. All we did was hurry him.

The late hits, trash talk and pushing and shoving are unacceptable. I look forward to seeing how Coach Tomlin handles this situation.

To quote Denny Green with regard to the Steelers, "they are who we thought they were."

The Duke said...

0 turnovers created and 0 sacks = a blowout at the hands of the Pats.

--

Anyone wonder why Brady wasn't flagged for taunting when he ran into the endzone after a touchdown, found Anthony Smith, and then started screaming at him? Kudos to James Harrison for showing up and introducing himself to Brady.

Chris said...

I agree with okel dokel, our offense did not show up. Really, that call to have Ward run it? Man, that was some bad stuff.

and as far as next weeks game: i guarantee that the game will be played on heinz field and that the steelers will play during the game.

put that on your bulletin board!

Jonny V said...

I thought there was "Red Sox Nation" and everyone in the country was rooting for the Sox (as America's team!) to defeat the Yankees and the Evil Empire! No? Maybe I read too much Bill Simmons. 'Cause that's what he says. And the Patriots aren't cheaters, they just like to get fined and have pesky first round draft picks taken for no reason at all.

And if that were a player on a team other than the Patriots, it would have been a taunting penalty. Lord knows the players can't do anything that steps out of bounds of good taste in the No Fun League. But Tom Brady can do whatever he wants. His girlfriends are purty.

Steeler N8on said...

Phil Simms ( not surprsiningly) was loving that game. You could have made a drinking game out of every time he referred to Smith's guarantee.... it is pretty bold for a guy who claimed we would need " An out of body experience" to beat the Colts in the 2005-06 playoffs to make criticisms.

I wonder if Belicheat was stealing signals for him in Super Bowl XXI and XXV?

Louis Lipps is my homeboy said...

Didn't Hostettler play in Super Bowl XXV for the Giants? Ok I'm just nitpicking.

Honestly, I learned something that many of you will call me delusional for pointing out.

The Patriots aren't a very physical team. Their defense was repeatedly blown off the ball by our mediocre line. Our offense just got a measly 6 points off of what seemed like 12,000 trips into the red zone. Honestly, our offense seemed to stop itself, and NE's defense is really old and slow.

On offense they're not very physical either. But boy are they smart! They knew it would be pointless to run on us, so they just threw it instead. A lot. See, Bellicheat doesn't bang his head against the wall when he knows his running game won't work. He just passes a lot.

When we blitzed, Brady dumped it off faster and faster.

I'm not down on our secondary too much. They've been good for the most part this year (hell we were #1 in pass defense going into last night... I don't wanna know what we are now though). That was possibly the best offense of all time we played last night though.

But, take away the two huge ass passes (not last night, we can't change that, but gameplan against them for next time), and cash in a couple of times in the red zone (once again next time), and it's not a blowout at all.

Also, anyone surprised the Pats kicked that field goal at the end, and ran out the clock before the 2 minute warning?

They didn't try their usual "Go for it on 4th down to score more with a comfortable lead and try like hell to score one last TD" routine on us.

Methinks Bellicheat, unlike say Tony Smith, is smart and doesn't want to give a team he might have to see again anymore reason to be fired up.

Mike said...

Thanks for saying it, Mondesi. Somebody had to.

I'm not a Steeler fan, and I'm not a Patriots fan. In fact, I hate the Pats. But enough already with the whining I'm hearing about the Patriots being classless last night. Anthony Smith started the ball rolling in un-Steelerlike fashion early in the week, and I don't blame any of the Patriots for shoving it in his face all afternoon. He ran his mouth, and they shoved it straight down his throat. If it had been the other way around, it would have been "Steeler attitude" and no one would've complained. See J. Porter, 1999-2006.

I've heard plenty of "Who dey?" chants when the Steelers beat the Bengals, plenty of pretty low things yelled at Ray Lewis and the Ravens (deserved or not). So for Bill Hillgrove to be whining and moaning on the radio for the fans to stop chanting "Guarantee" at Smith was kinda pathetic. Any fans anywhere would have done the same thing, and it would be well-deserved. Just because it happened to be a bunch of douches doing it this time makes no difference. The Steelers were dominated yesterday in every phase of the game, own it. They're not the team every around this city wanted to believe they were. Good? Yes. A real contender? I doubt it.

Sean said...

I didn't realize how much the Steelers missed Ryan Clark until yesterday. He wouldn't have gone for the fakes like Smith did.

Louis Lipps is my homeboy said...

I don't blame the Patriots for trying to humiliate Smith by throwing TD passes his way.

That's within the game.

What's shitty is Brady running into the endzone to find him and nearly head butt him after he threw the first TD pass.

See, I thought Brady and the Patriots were above all of that stuff.... or so they'd have you believe.

So save it Mike. Anything the Pats get this year, they deserve for numerous reasons.

I used to think Smith was a pretty good prospect (BTW, they're still calling him a 3rd stringer and a replacement who didn't see the field until Clark got hurt, which isn't exactly accurate) and that he would be our starting safety for years to come, but last night's game just seems like a career destroyer!

worstavid said...

Did you happen to see James Harrison come running to Anthony Smith's aid when he was being taunted by that tough-guy Tom Brady?

Harrison's response was that he shoved Brady. Admirable, right?

In another era, Jack Lambert body-slammed one of the Cowboys (Hollywood Henderson possibly?) for taunting field-goal kicker Roy Gerela after he had misfired on a field goal attempt in Superbowl XIII. I can remember the Cowboy player patting Gerela on the head giving him an "atta boy". Lambert didn't like it one bit, and his body-slam stoked-up the Steelers big time.

In recalling this piece of "ancient history", the thought occured to me that Harrison missed out on what would turn out to be the best opportunity the Steelers had to slam Brady all day. And this from a man who is already notorious for body-slamming a Cleveland Browns fan! Harrison blew his opportunity for real infamy! Can you imagine what would have broken out if Harrison had body-slammed Brady?

*** *** ***

If you use the only constant between the Steelers' defense and the Ravens' defense (the Patriots' offense) I think it's pretty obvious that the Ravens "Dee" is much better than the Steelers.

*** *** ***

I realize that Najeh Davenport is a pretty big back, but he's not a punishishing-type big back. Did anybody else out there miss the Bus down at the goal line?

Apparently the Steelers did when they had to resort to a Hines Ward gimmick play to try to dupe the Patriots instead of running it down their throat as they would have, a la Bettis.

*** *** ***

While the offense seemed to have a plan that was working (except for red zone performance), the defense was completely without a clue in this game. I hope that James Harrison and a few others will let Smith know about "the facts of life" and about not giving one of the best teams ever something to get fired-up about.

Don't be surprised if they go down the drain against Jacksonville this week.

kmitch218 said...

Offense left too many points on the field in the first half and then had nothing in the 2nd.

Outside of Simms rim jobbing Tom Brady, the most sickening CBS love for New England was the piece on the new CBS restaurant going into Razor Blade stadium. Hmmm, any bias there?

Steelers on the road have been horrible (except in Ohio) and will have their hands full this weekend with Jacksonville.

Staff said...

"Frankly, I expected more from a Mike Tomlin team."

This is why you suck.

One loss and you are all flipped out. If anything it was nice to see the Steelers trying to job people at the end.

Why so much hate for Anthony Smith? Stand by your players, now they won't sign all your autographs :)

Zane said...

Or what about the grocer....

A five dollar lottery ticket: "What a great gift!".

Nothing says Christmas like scratching a piece of paper for no reason.

The Steelers are fine, folks and if they continue to work hard and do the right things, they'll get another crack at the Pats.

Zane said...

Oh, and I thought the same thing about Lambert/Harrison, worstavid.

The Duke said...

Staff:

When Mondesi wrote:
"Frankly, I expected more from a Mike Tomlin team."

He was referring to their thuggish play, not the fact that the Steelers lost. The Steelers are not a thug team, or organization, I agree with Mondesi, I expected more.

We all stand by Smith, but we also wish he hadn't made such moronic comments.

Dirty Sanchez said...

I can't believe there hasn't been any mention of the PSU douchebags that dressed up as Virginia Tech shooting victims.

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