Monday, December 6, 2010

Weekend review: Steelers take control of AFC North

By Jeff

If you got last night's Pittsburgh Steelers-Baltimore Ravens game confused with AMC's "The Walking Dead", you weren't alone.

There was blood (Ben Roethlisberger breaking his nose), head shots (Big Ben's nose and Health Miller nearly being decapitated), casualties (Flozell Adams, Daniel Sepulveda and Todd Heap) and a rag tag bunch of survivors pulling out an unexpected victory (Steelers and their offensive line). All we were lacking were legitimate zombies. Although, an undead creature may have played tighter defense than Bryant McFadden if given the chance.
Women across the nation found some joy
in the Steelers' 13-10 win Sunday night.

If you had told football fans that the Steelers would go into Baltimore, in December, and win a game (13-10) without both their starting tackles, their backup right tackle, their run stuffing defensive end, their punter and their stud tight end, you'd be laughed at. Hysterically laughed at. But that's what they did.

I was tempted to turn the game off once Adams went down. It was just too much to overcome. But the Steelers didn't break. Troy Polamalu sacked Joe Flacco and forced a fumble the Steelers recovered, the Steelers scored the go-ahead touchdown on a pass to... Isaac Redman? And then they top it off by forcing a turnover on downs. It's one of those conclusions that no one could have written.

The game was not pretty. Games between these teams never are. They are practically mirror images of each other. They stuff the run and brings all kinds of pressure on defense. On offense, they try running the ball down your throat to set up the big pass plays. It's like the final boss Zelda II: Link's Adventure. Link has to fight his shadow, which mimics every move you do. Ocarina of Time had a similar mini-boss in the Water Temple, but it originated in Link's Adventure.

Anyway, Pete King pointed out some interesting facts about recent Steelers-Ravens games so I didn't have to do the research. King observed in his Monday Morning Quarterback column that in the four games these teams have played against each other in the last two years, both have won two, both have scored 67 points and both have scored seven touchdowns and six field goals in that span. Mirror Boss theory confirmed! Thankfully for Steelers fans, the team's two Super Bowls compared to the Ravens' one since 2000 prove that Pittsburgh is the real Link, and Baltimore is just the shadow.

Hopefully fans will focus on the great game and how much the Steelers overcame to win it. But the refs blew several calls (Big Ben's nose and Miller's decapitation) that will lead some to continue the conversation that the league is targeting the Steelers. It's a silly concept, seeing as the Steelers are one of, if not the, most popular franchises in the league. But at the same time, recent events have given them plenty of fuel for their fires.

As exciting as the Steelers' victory was, there actually were other things going on this weekend.

  • The Pittsburgh Penguins embarrassed the Columbus Blue Jackets 7-2 Saturday for their ninth in a row. Crosby added another two goals (but still sucks)
  • I wasn't at the game, but hearing the roars after every Pens goal told me that Pens fans took over the building and embarrassed Blue Jackets fans
  • Someone put Steve Mason on suicide watch. He looked ready to give up on life after the second goal Saturday, and then they kept him in for two more
  • Suicide jokes aren't funny and I'm ashamed of the above line
  • There will be no more Thrilledge in PNC Park as the Pirates have let Lastings Milledge go. My dad and uncle made fun of me about this move, saying they should have never traded Nyjer Morgan. My dad and uncle don't watch a lot of baseball
  • Jayson Werth signed a ridiculous 7-year, $126 million contract with the Washington Nationals. RJ is taking it very well
  • Pitt finished the season strong with a big win over Cincinnati. Well, Cincy sucks this year, and Pitt didn't win the Big East despite the conference being a joke, but the win did get them an invite to the BBVA Compass Bowl. Anyone want to give an over/under for the BBVA Compass Bowl's existence?
  • Pitt basketball beat Rider. I was busy playing touch football to watch the game. Did I really miss anything?
  • Peyton Manning has 11 interceptions in the past three games. Four have been returned by touchdowns. Remember when I said he would win the MVP this year? I was wrong
  • Kudos to Sean Lee on picking off Manning twice and returning one for a touchdown. It will be a game he and Upper St. Clair will never forget
  • The Bengals blew another lead late. I. Love. It.
  • I hate it when I see people emphasize a statement by putting a period after every word
  • Let the Tavaris Jackson Era begin... again
  • I really don't like Jay Cutler. I like it even less that he is playing very well despite my best efforts to convince him that he sucks
  • "The Walking Dead" Season Finale was kind of weak. We learned about the scenario that left to Rick being abandoned at the hospital, but before we can sympathize with Shane's decision, he goes and acts like an ass again. We also learned how the brains of zombies work, kind of. Could have been better and more creative


  1. -It's kinda sad to see Blastings and his fantastic shoes go, but other that that, meh. I was pretty surprised it happened since he's still 25 or 26, but I don't think it'll do anything in the long run.

    -If you want to defend the Nyjer trade, I'd point to the brawl or to the catch at the wall he missed and threw his glove in a temper tantrum, allowing the guy to get an inside the park home run.

    -Somebody tell me how the Werth deal won't destroy that franchise in a couple years. He's already older and often injured. What happens when guys like Zimmerman and Strasburg are ready for new contracts...will they possibly have enough money for it? Especially when Werth is a shell of himself, and still has about 3 years left on his contract? Will Crawford sign somewhere for $300 million now? As you can probably tell, this contract blew my mind.

    -Rickel's Blog exclusive: According to a source who spoke to Sean Lee's father, Sean dislocated his shoulder after the touchdown on the first pick. He put it back in place himself and only missed one possession.

    -You have to be the only person since about 1989, if not ever, to create an allegory of the NFL via Zelda II. For the record, that was my least favorite Zelda game.

  2. You know how there are times that you go to a Pirates game and a team with vocal fans (Cubs, Phillies, etc.) want to make their presence known? The Pirates fans always fight back and chant "Let's Go Bucs" louder than they ever have that season. It's just instinct. No one wants their stadium to be invaded by another team's fan base.

    Columbus fans laid down and let the Pens fans own the arena this past weekend. I didn't hear one "Let's Go Jackets" chant the entire game. It was over pretty quickly, but still, why even sit there if you're going to be made a fool of? I really think the strong showing from Pens fans put a jump in the team's step. They knew that they couldn't let 10,000 fans travel across Ohio for nothing. Man, did they put on a show for us.

    Go Pens.

  3. PS were the Maaaaaaaaaason Maaaaaaason chants audible on the broadcast? How often do you hear the home team's goal tender get heckled that badly?

  4. Mike, I agree about Zelda II. It is the worst of the Zelda games. I still think it was an excellent reference.

    Totally agree on the Werth contract. Spoke to a friend at Baseball America and his only word was "terrible".

    Greg, Couldn't make out the Mason chants, but I did have it on mute at several points because of a certain play-by-play guy.

  5. Hi Guys,

    I think we can all agree that Jason's contract wasn't Werth it...perhaps. Do we really need the Pitt Hoops updates this early in the season?

    Millege People was such a cool fan club. Who would you like to see roaming PNC's vast left field? Nyjer is firey and I think he's a good player. That HBP, steal, steal, score, thrown at again, brawl sequence was AWESOME. The dude plays for an awful team, waaay out of contention and he still cares. He's got a few loose screws, but I think it's worth it.

  6. Would you even call what I said about Pitt an update?