Big Lead Sports Bar

11/10/2009

A TALE OF TWO HALVES

STEELERS (6-2) 28
BRONCOS (6-2) 10
ROETHLISBERGER 21-29, 233 YARDS, 3 TD, 1 INT
MENDENHALL 22-155
HOLMES 6-93


Thoughts on the game that will surely vault the Steelers up Peter King's Fine Fifteen...

1. This game was 7-3 Steelers at halftime, and that was with a Steeler offense that scored zero points and generated 54 yards of offense. Watching them flip the script in the second half to the tune of 321 yards and 21 points was a real treat, as Big Ben reminded the world that he just might be the best quarterback in the game (except for the time when he threw that rare red zone pick).

It was funny to listen to the ESPN crew after the game talk about Roethlisberger as if they just watched him play for the first time (a common theme among broadcasters this season). Stuart Scott, who I never held in especially high regard, seemed to feel that Roethlisberger may only now be on the verge of being an elite QB, joining the much more-heralded Eli Manning and Philip Rivers from the 2004 draft class. We can only hope, Stu. Boo-ya!

2. I don't know where Rashard Mendenhall had been hiding earlier in the season, but he continues to impress. With Mendenhall reviving the running game and Roethlisberger anchoring the passing attack, this looks like an incredibly dangerous and more importantly, balanced offense. Who needs Larry Johnson?

3. Speaking of the running game, is Willie Parker still on the team?

4. I know Jon Gruden was fired up about the Steelers last night and how they finish games like Mariano Rivera. Unfortunately, Coach Gruden has a short memory, because the Steelers were more like Brad Lidge when they played Cincinnati and Chicago earlier this season. But other than that, yes, they're lights out.

5. On the topic of the 2009 Offensive Rookie of the Year, I've been banging the drum for Mike Wallace for a few weeks now, and luckily, a kind soul named Joe from Big Football Blog went to the trouble of looking up the current stats for me and supporting the cause:

Percy Harvin, Minnesota Rookie WR, 1st round pick: 28 receptions, 369 yards, 3 touchdowns, 1 fumble, 39 yards rushing, 6 plays of 20 yards or more

Mike Wallace, Pittsburgh Steelers WR, 3rd round pick: 25 receptions, 437 yards, 3 touchdowns, 0 fumbles, 43 yards rushing, NINE plays of 20 yards or more.
Wallace isn't totally running away with the award, but he's never even mentioned in the conversation, probably because he's not the target of Brett Favre. But Wallace has been an incredible find by the Steelers and is absolutely one of the top candidates to take home this hardware.

6. Hines Ward has had many a highlight in his career, but his leapfrog move on Champ Bailey has to be somewhere in the top 10. And how about those guys that caught the ball Hines threw to them? I don't think they could've been more excited if Hines dropped a million-dollar check in their lap.

7. Great game by Ty Carter last night in relief of Ryan Clark, and it was really cool to see Clark lend his support to the man taking his place. It's said often, but the Steelers are about as close-knit of a team as you will find in pro sports today.

8. There were lots of great shots last night of Steeler Nation running wild on yet another opponent's stadium (much to Woody Paige's chagrin), but here's one of the best, from reader Terry N.:

9. That was the game everyone outside of Denver was waiting for from Kyle Orton. And by that I mean the self-destruction game. Leave it to a Dick LeBeau defense to get a game manager out of his comfort zone. And how about that run defense? 27 yards rushing doesn't exactly back up my theory that they would miss Aaron Smith.

10. What are the odds that James Harrison's hit on Correll Buckhalter at the end of the game makes it into a future "Renegade" compliation?

11. The offensive line has taken many a sling and arrow from all angles the past two years, but they sure looked good last night against a highly-respected Bronco defense. I particularly enjoyed the Max Starks-Elvis Dumervil matchup/size mismatch.

12. Can someone tell me why exactly the Broncos signed the Mitchberger? Seven attempts and he couldn't even average 40 yards a kick. Really makes you appreciate Dan Sepulveda, if you didn't already.

13. Great game out of Santonio Holmes last night, who was 6-for-6 in balls thrown his way. Heath Miller was rather quiet, with a pedestrian three catches for 18 yards, considering the way his 2009 season has gone, but there's only one ball.

14. Another game, another incomplete pass intended for Limas Sweed. The only consistent out of Sweed is that he never makes anything happen when he's in the game.

15. Peter King ranked the top 15 unrestricted free agents-to-be, and I almost fell out of my chair when I saw that Brian St. Pierre, who's been cut so many times it's a wonder he hasn't bled to death (to use that wonderful cliche), came in at #12. The comment? "Someone might see him as 2010's Matt Cassel and go buy him for a fifth of the cost." Is that supposed to be a compliment to compare him to the QB of a 1-7 team?

The only current Steeler on the list was Ryan Clark, who was ranked 7th. As much as I'd like to see Clark around beyond 2009, I just don't know if it's going to happen.

16. The Steelers' leading tackler last night was none other than Keyaron Fox, who had another great game in relief of the oft-injured Lawrence Timmons. But the defensive star of the night had to be Troy Polamalu, who continues to wow America with his speed, athleticism, instinct, and Head and Shoulders-using hair. That tackle for a loss/interception on back-to-back plays was vintage Troy.

17. It's only Tuesday and I'm already counting down the days until an extremely exciting weekend at Heinz Field: Pitt-Notre Dame on Saturday night, followed by Steelers-Bengals on Sunday. You might want to get your weekend chores done early, because not much is going to be happening outside of football watching in Pittsburgh during those games. I can practically hear the Pitt-based arguing in the comments section already.

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23 comments:

thebizzareone said...

not only does sepulveda kicking the ball help, but he has no problems running down to cover his kicks. not a spectacular tackle, but a nice job of hustling down and forcing royal out of bounds. a true team player.

NickDawg said...

I love hearing the horror stories and frustration from opposing teams fans when the steeler nation takes over their stadiums. If you read the comments left from Woody Paiges article, you will just die laughing. Its like they dont know what just hit them.

Koz said...

The Percy Harvin stats you quote are leaving out his 2 return touchdowns. You simply can't ignore that.

Mike Wallace is great though. Don't want to take anything away from him either.

BurressWithButterflyWings said...

Last night was one of those games that reminds me how this team has won 2 SBs in 4 years.

Everybody did their part to contribute to the win.

Polamalu is one of the most tremendous athletes I have ever seen. I was amazed when he blew up that draw inside that Broncos 10 in the 4th but the play in which he ran down Marshall across the field and almost stripped the ball from him was absolutely unbelievable in my book.

One complaint I have to lodge and maybe it's just me, but William Gay really gets picked on and with a fair amount of success. Although Ike Taylor is an absolute beast so I guess there is only way QBs can go and its at the new guy.

Corey said...

this game would've been like new england and tennessee except:

1) troy stripped the ball from gay

and

2) arians didn't insist on throwing the ball leading to the fumble

the broncos were out to defend the pass all night and arians didn't care and just kept throwin it (especially in the first half)

Corey said...

oh and troy should be on the nfl mvp list at this point...

Corey said...

i like how woody paige mispells "Stealers"

Dan said...

i agree that sweed is terrible, but that ball was a really bad throw. tough to beat him up too much on that one. i almost (ALMOST) felt bad for him when they showed Hines, Santonio and Wallace talking on the sideline, no Limas in sight.

bgsexyraib said...

It's a shame this is the only monday night game because I want to do a drinking game for everytime Gruden says "the Pittsburgh Steelers." I think it was about 20 times in the final 5 minutes of the game.

HomeRunFromBehindTheMeatballs said...

I don't know about everybody else, but i sure enjoyed watching Mitch Berger punt a lot more this season than i did last season... not sure why?

Amen on Point #4 - I guess the MNF crew only watches one game per week? Aren't they allowed/encouraged to watch sportcenter?
Point #6 - I didn't see Hines smiling until about the peak of his jump when champ whiffed! Gotta love how much fun he's always having out there & how does he not wear a mouthpiece?

A great game by every single member of the stillers except for maybe IWP (Invisible Willie Parker) & Limas (one target was a poorly thrown ball, but he did manage to get a holding penalty on a punt return!)

Papa Eo said...

Nobody mentioned this, but the tackle that Ike Taylor made on Brandon Marshall in the open field was a HUUUUGGGGEEE play. If Ike doesn't slow him down there, Marshall could have gone an extra 60 yards for the score and changed the complexion and momentum of the game. This team has been full of sure tacklers all season, and that was another great example.

Corey said...

papa - absolutely, great open field tackle

the whole defense looked awesome last night

Steve said...

Corey - Nice to see someone else finally noticing Gay's less than adequate pass coverage skills. I honestly don't understand why any opponent wouldn't throw there all game long. If your giving up 20, take the automatic 10. I agree with the Arians comment too. He gets greedy at the wrong times and when the running game is clicking and you're in FG range, passing on 1st down is just asking for it especially with the Denver defense blitzing they way they were.

Other than that, the team seems to finally be hitting on all cylinders and getting more and more confident. I am still waiting for the inevitable fine on Harrison's hit though. Wouldn't be a great Steelers game without one.

Paul Rupp said...

I'm just glad Big Ben is finally starting to come around. We can only hope he wins a Super Bowl at some point, which should would really solidify his resume.

BURGH08 said...

Pocket Schmocket

Louis Lipps Sinks Ships said...

Paul Rupp -- Hilarious. I love how every primetime game leads to the analysts saying "Ben might someday become an elite QB". Then they (Steve Young) will say that he has a chance to do that tonight (as if one game will make a difference).

Look, he's not a pretty pocket passer, but you can't deny his ability. He's in the top five current QBs hands down.

Louis Lipps Sinks Ships said...

To all of the William Gay haters:

That is Dick LeBeau's defensive scheme (feel free to question Dick LeBeau...I dare ya!). Long story short, Gay's role is to keep the WR in front of him. Yes, it allows for some short completions, but it denies the big play, provided he makes the tackle (which he does, so long as it's not against Adrian Peterson). More often than not, offenses can't string together 10 short completions in order to get into the end zone. The Steelers are willing to bet a sack/penalty/turnover/incompletions will stop a drive at some point, so that's the plan.

Here's a more detailed explanation of why we shouldn't be hard on William Gay:

http://www.cbssports.com/mcc/messages/thread/18223436

Jeff_King_Fan said...

did anyone else see the similarities to last years Redskins game?

-Around the same time (early nov.)
-on the road against a surprising team
-monday night
-a qb who had basically no turnovers
-dominant defense
-daniel sepulveda best punter

the nigerian nightmare said...

I really can't take watching James Harrison get blatantly held every time he blitzes and not get a flag. Its seriously getting out of hand.

Cornelius said...

A few thoughts:

- Stuart Scott is an absolute ass clown and always has been.

- We don't need no stinkin' LJ

- Completely agree that Wallace should be in consideration for ROTY. He has been more than a pleasant surprise for the offense. Having a legit 3rd option is great because he either takes coverage off of Holmes and Ward, or uses his speed to get open himself (and he can catch which is always a good quality for a receiver to have).

- Fox and Carter are just two more examples of how the defense under LeBeau just always seems to be able to plug in players that contribute and help us win. Unbelievable.

- Mitch Berger is my hero.

susiejoy2009 said...

When Sweed had that holding call, I had the brilliant insight that that was the only thing he COULD do with his hands.

Tall, Dutch and Bored said...

Second the Harvin comment as kick returner but Wallace has been great and is making up for the Sweed pick big time. I was surprised to see No. 14 in the game at all.

Loved the Harrison hit - teams still throwing the ball around down by 18 with under a minute to go deserve a spine rattler. McDaniels may have learned a lesson about sending a RB over the middle in garbage time.

Brian said...

Here is a link to the NFL rookie stats for scoring.

http://www.nfl.com/stats/categorystats?archive=false&conference=null&statisticCategory=SCORING&season=2009&seasonType=REG&experience=0&tabSeq=0&qualified=true&Submit=Go

Austin Collie actually has better stats then both, but still, Wallace should be in the conversation.