Big Lead Sports Bar



GIANTS (6-1) 21
STEELERS (5-2) 14
MOORE 19-84, 1 TD
The Steelers put forth a noble effort on Sunday. They were playing without Willie Parker, Rashard Mendenhall, Santonio Holmes, Kendall Simmons, Marvel Smith, and Bryant McFadden; Aaron Smith was available only at the last minute; Troy Polamalu was suiting up a week after a concussion; and that was merely the set of situations that arose before Sunday's matchup with the Super Bowl Champion New York Giants.
In the 60 minutes that transpired over three hours yesterday, the list of the wounded would grow even longer. It's fitting that one of the game's defining plays would summarize the current state of the Steelers. In the fourth quarter, pushed back deep in their own territory, linebacker James Harrison (subbing for injured long-snapper Greg Warren, who tore his ACL), snapped the ball over the head of punter Mitch Berger, who was nursing an injured hamstring. As the hobbled Berger labored to get to the loose ball, I thought this was either one of the most pathetic or the most noble plays I've ever seen in Steeler history. And by pathetic, I mean sad, not awful. You had a guy in Harrison trying to fill-in for a very specialized position where he probably never practices. And I could feel Berger's pain each time he moved that bum hamstring. As it happened, the play resulted in a safety and took away the Steelers' lead for good, tying the game at 14. The Giants would score the game-winning touchdown a little more than three minutes later, sending a Heinz Field regular season record-crowd of 64,991 home disappointed.
My short analysis: you can only lose so many players. And even despite all their wounded soldiers, they still almost pulled off a win against one of the NFL's best squads. I will reiterate that it was a gutsy effort; unfortunately, gutsy efforts don't count in the standings. It's time for the Steelers to lick their wounds, get their cortisone shots, and rest up. The 6-2 Washington Redskins loom on Monday night.
Game Notes:
--Not one of the more memorable performances by Big Ben on Sunday, much to the delight of the entire "Eli is better than Ben" crowd. Even as his biggest cheerleader, it's tough to defend four interceptions, in any situation. But let's not forget that at least some of the weakened passing game's blame should be directed at a certain pot-enjoying wide receiver whose absence was noticeable on Sunday.
--Mewelde Moore turned in another solid 19-carry, 84-yard, one-touchdown performance on Sunday. I don't think there's any official rankings, but I'm guessing he's the best 3rd-string running back in the NFL.
--It's official: Nate Washington is the Steelers' 2008 big-play man. Touchdowns of 48, 50, and 65 yards in consecutive weeks will do that. And don't forget that 53-yard touchdown yesterday that was negated by a Willie Colon penalty.
--A very quiet three-catch, 30-yard day from #86, Guy Smiley. Did he expend too much energy defending himself the past few weeks?
--Heath Miller played some enjoyable football, catching a total of 52 yards worth of Roethlisberger passes and inspiring a new round of "Why don't we throw more to him" questions.
--Limas Sweed jersey owners must be thrilled with the fact that the 2008 second-round pick had his most productive outing yet as a Steeler on Sunday.
--Brett Keisel (and James Farrior) led the way with 11 tackles each, and Keisel delivered an absolutely crushing blow on RB Derrick Ward, who learned that it's not a good idea to go airborne against the Steelers' defense.
--Brandon "Every Steeler Fan Wishes We Had Him" Jacobs had 18 carries for just 47 yards (a 2.6 average) on Sunday. He will now return to his place alongside Steeler Fan Wish List Hall of Fame members TJ Duckett and Michael Bush.
--And Plaxico "Half the Steeler Fans Wish We Still Had Him, the Other Half Are Glad He's Gone" Burress managed just three catches for 15 yards while working his way out of Colonel Coughlin's doghouse.
Let me keep my foot in both camps: I miss his production and his potential; I don't miss his distractions and head-butting with coaches. Unfortunately, if you take one, you must take the other.
--Dick Stockton most definitely said the name "San Antonio Holmes" in the first quarter. By the way, did you know Stockton used to be the sports director at KDKA?

--The Giants' third-and-long conversions annoyed me, the only negatives taking away from a great effort by the Steeler defense. But how about the Steelers on third down: one-for-10. It's stats like that which make me wonder how the Steelers were even in the game at all.

--The answer to why the Steelers were in the game at all is some combination of their defense and the Giants' ineptitude in the red zone. Four times, the Giants settled for field goals of 35 yards or less, and once they were stopped from the half-yard line. If they have any hopes of a repeat, they've got some work to do on offense. Of course, just like the Steelers, their playmaking wide receiver could have been of more assistance on Sunday.

I was not impressed by Eli Manning, but you must give it up: he got it done when he had to, which is more than we can say for our two failed last-gasp efforts.

--Looks like Ryan Clark dislocated his shoulder in the role of human projectile yesterday. Regardless, he hopes to play a week from tonight against the Skins.

--Will Giants safety Kenny Phillips be hearing from Roger Goodell for his hit on a defenseless Mewelde Moore? I'd say...yes.

--The PG reported that Bob Knight (shown below throwing a chair) was in the press box for Sunday's slugfest, and that Knight is friends with Steelers defensive guru Dick LeBeau. No chairs were harmed in the process. I think.

--Not a good weekend for Pittsburgh teams playing NY/NJ area teams at Heinz Field. Can someone please begin to offer any kind of explanation for that Pitt disaster on Saturday?

--If I don't start mentioning Penn State in these weekend wrapups, I'm going to keep getting angry emails from people asking why I don't mention Penn State. So congratulations to the Nittany Lions for their big win over Ohio State on Saturday night. And congratulations to completely devastating Terrelle Pryor in the process. Hearing Joe Starkey describe Pryor post-game sounded like the typical reaction of a player who really isn't used to losing much in his young career.


RedHawks Hockey said...

The only thing I can think of for Pitt is to put 9 people on the line, jonathan baldwin out wide and shady mccoy in the backfield. shady can then run it, throw it as far as he can to baldwin, or throw it to himself. Pitt by 30 in every game.

RedHawks Hockey said...

PS is there anyone not better suited for long snapping than James Harrison?

HotDog_Zanzabar said...

If he could actually get the ball to the punter, I'd love Harrison at long snapper. He'd be one of the first ones down there on coverage to lay the wood. It will be interesting to see if there's a roster addition or if Harrison practices at it for a week.

You take long snapping for granted until it bites you in the rear like it did for us yesterday and how the one guy for the Giants cried and then retired a few years ago.

nuthinhere said...

I'm thrilled about Penn State right now. The Big Ten+1 is weak though and that will keep them from playing in the BCS title game. They will go undefeated and finish behind Alabama & Texas. Oh well. That won't be the first unbeaten PSU team that didn't finish #1.