Big Lead Sports Bar




Buffalo's George Wilson takes down Kordell Stew...I mean Santonio Holmes

Yeah, yeah, I know it's the preseason...but boy, that was a sloppy game last night. The opening drive starts with an intercepted Ben Roethlisberger pass, then the Bills subsequently shove the ball directly down the Steelers' throats on not one, but TWO consecutive drives, one of 67 yards and the other 90 yards. Ugh. Never before would I think Trent Edwards-to-Robert Royal would be such an unstoppable combination, but on Thursday night it was just that.

Yes, the first team defense looked downright awful, with very few positives to take from the experience other than being the first visiting team to play at Toronto's Rogers Centre. I hope they enjoyed the trip, because they played like they were out all night the evening before. And while I'm on the defense, can someone please teach them HOW TO TACKLE?

Unfortunately, even more frustrating than the defense was the back-breaking 95-yard kickoff return TD from Buffalo's Leodis Mckelvin, who in the process became the first player named Leodis to ever run back a kick for a touchdown against the Steelers (I think). Yep, it was the old Steeler-killer known as special teams rearing its ugly head, and the Buffalo lead, which the Steelers had cut to three points, was immediately back up to 10.

The first-team offense had its ups and downs, fortunately ending on an "up" with a 40-yard Roethlisberger-to-San Antonio touchdown in the second quarter to cut Buffalo's lead in half. Hines Ward had a nice, 3-catches-for-48 yards evening, ending with what looked like a 10-pound ice pack on his ankle. Unfortunately, sideline reporter/meteorologist Jeff Verszyla, dressed in his finest argyle sweater (in the middle of August, no less), failed to ask Ward about the ankle during a subsequent interview. Fortunately, we do know that Hines is psyched for another season of The Hines Ward Show on KDKA!

Byron Leftwich entered the game in quarter two, with his fascinating delivery/wind-up and tendency to throw frozen ropes even if a guy is only five yards in front of him. He went 5-11 for 41 yards as he got his feet wet in game action, fumbling once but being bailed out as the Buffalo defender was out of bounds when recovering the loose ball. But he does have the unique ability to throw a pass that Nate Washington can catch, which isn't as easy as it sounds. That in itself is worth a roster spot.

Dennis Dixon had quite the intriguing game, with a 47-yard touchdown scamper in the third quarter and a total of 79 yards passing on six completions. As my brother noted during the game, if you said during last year's college football campaign that the Steelers would get Dixon, Rashard Mendenhall, AND Limas Sweed in this year's draft, I'm sure no one would've believed you. As I've learned many times, never underestimate the power of Kevin Colbert.

Speaking of Mendenhall, the Man Being Force-Fed By Fans and Media As a Power Back ran for 30 yards on 11 carries, with a long of nine and one touchdown. He did not return any kicks, as those duties were split among Willie Reid and Mewelde Moore.

So there you have it: some sloppy plays, some nice plays, and a 24-21 loss to show for it. It was a performance not worthy of victory and that's exactly how it played out. Next on the schedule is a meeting with the Favre-less Minnesota Vikings on Saturday the 23rd at 8 PM in Minnesota. Hope the defense makes the flight.

Game Notes:

--This was quite the interesting game from a ticket buying-and-selling point of view. From ESPN:

"The announced attendance of 48,434 was about 5,000 short of capacity, and considered a disappointment for series organizers, who are paying the Bills an average $9.75 million per game to show the NFL that Toronto can be home to a permanent franchise. Steep ticket prices, ranging from $75 to $575, didn't help. Hours before the game, fans were purchasing tickets with a $575 face value for as little as $90."

People aren't going to pay $575 in a poor economy to watch Dennis Dixon and JP Losman go head-to-head for a bulk of the game? Color me surprised.

--Anthony Smith tackled four Bills and zero of his teammates not expecting to be tackled. We should have no worries about Smith though, because Edmund Nelson re-assured us that Smith "is a football player."

--Nelson's best line of the night was when he described a play as a "nekkid bootleg".

--Your leading Steeler receiver, yardage-wise: Dallas Baker, with 57 yards on three grabs.

--Lawrence Timmons was one positive from a lax defensive performance, wreaking some havoc to the tune of 8 tackles and a sack. Too bad he got the 2003 Troy Polamalu Honorary Rookie Bust label placed on his head last year by impatient fans and media.

--Last night's results from the Great Pittsburgh Punt-Off: Paul Ernster 1 for 45, Mitch Berger 4-190 (47.5).

--Last night's results from the Great Pittsburgh Punt Return-Off: Mr. Drummond 7 yards, Travis Williams 7 yards, Willie Reid 6 yards, and M. Moore (I'm assuming it's Mewelde Moore and not Mandy Moore) 2 yards. That's an inspired showing.

--Speaking of Polamalu, I'm a big fan and maybe I'm crazy, he becoming a little high-maintenance at this point? Just a little?

--While watching his press conferences, I've becomed intrigued with Mike Tomlin's cadence. Has anyone else noticed this? He talks in brief pauses, each sentence sounding more important than the last. I constantly feel like I'm not watching football, I'm watching a movie about football.

--After the game, I caught myself again watching the Dallas Cowboys' 2008 training camp documentary, Hard Knocks, on HBO. Let me tell you, they're not suffering from any confidence problems in that organization.

--Now back to the PBC Blog for the Pedro Alvarez watch all day.

Please add your comments on the game or email with your two cents.


Augie Zybynski -Editor said...

RE Mike Tomlin
Raul, what took you so long to figure this out?
Perhaps if he was halfway extemporaneous it wouldn't be so obvious.
Stringing all those cliches together ...doubt it could come out sounding any other way.
I like him though.

LeeTunnel said...

Dennis Dixon reminds me of......Kordell Stewart. That naked bootleg scamper look just like the old #10.