Monday, December 13, 2010

Weekend Review: Who needs offense?

By Jeff

With yesterday's 23-7 win against the Cincinnati Bengals, The Pittsburgh Steelers improved to 3-0 this season when their offense doesn't score a touchdown in regulation. It's not exactly a stat you want to brag about as it shows it's not uncommon this team doesn't score offensive touchdowns. But it does show how dominant this defense is.
He caught this and then delivered a baby in the stands.
The whole scenario took 20 seconds.

The highlights were Troy Polamalu and LaMarr Woodley showing not only how good they are on interception returns for touchdowns, but how much of a joke Carson Palmer has become. Both throws were mistakes where he just didn't see the defenders. I hear that he punches a poster of Kimo von Oelhoffen every night before he gets into his USC pajamas.

Carson Palmer aside, this defense is something special again. This is practically the same defense that lost multiple fourth-quarter leads last season. Well, except for that No. 43 is healthy again this season. Other than that shellacking the New England Patriots gave the Steelers a few weeks ago, no team's offense has found any kind of rhythm against the Steelers.

This is the same unit many fans thought was too old before the start of the season. I don't know about you, but James Farrior and others don't look that old this season as they are putting the offense on their backs.

It all starts with a healthy (Kind of) Polamalu. He disappeared for a few weeks, but now he is a candidate for Defensive Player of the Year. Of course, he would have to beat out teammate James Harrison, who is having a great year despite being fined $125,000 and targeted by the NFL.

Now it remains to be seen if this defense can carry a decimated offense to the Super Bowl. The Patriots are looking better every week and Brady owns the Steelers. It doesn't matter how much you love the Steelers, you can't look at that matchup and feel confident after what the Pats did at Heinz Field. The offense needs to be more consistent if this team wants to go anywhere in the playoffs.

As for the rest of the week?

  • The Pittsburgh Penguins extended their winning streak to 12 games Saturday with a 5-2 win against the Buffalo Sabres. Sidney Crosby also had an assist, extending his point streak to 18 games. Both the Pens and Crosby suck.
  • The Pensblog had two great posts reminding Pens fans to this streak in perspective. One was a mockery of Washington Capitals owner Ted Leonsis declaring the Capitals had arrived last year when they went on their own streak. The other was a nice piece pointing out that most of the teams the Pens have played in this stretch kind of suck. 
  • I get that the season is early and Pens fans can't get too excited about the current streak, especially with Philadelphia only one point behind in the standings. But these wins count just as much as ones in March. The Washington Capitals are on a 6-game losing streak, but they're still No. 2 in the East. Why? Because they were great early on in the season. They built a buffer. These wins count right now. It's fun watching every Pens game and thinking the only possible result is a win. 
  • While there is no doubt that the Pens would not be on a 12-game winning streak without Crosby, you have to give credit to the rest of the team for stepping up and scoring big goals. Look no further than Saturday. Dustin Jeffrey, Aaron Asham, Mike Rupp, Alex Goligoski and Matt Cooke (Empty net) all tallied goals. That's a defensemen, three fourth liners and a third liner playing with the second line.
And here is the reason the Devils played several
games with only 17 guys this season.
  • Speaking of Cooke, he now has five goals this season. It is the same amount that Ilya Kovalchuk has for the New Jersey Devils. Only Kovalchuk makes about $95 million more than Cooke. Nice work, New Jersey. You destroyed your cap to pay a man who will earn about $500,000 per goal this season if he keeps his current pace. Oh, he's also a -18 for the season. On behalf of the city of Pittsburgh, thank you.
  • I really hope that last item doesn't come back to bite me in the ass.
  • Alexander Ovechkin popped his cherry this weekend. He dropped the gloves against Brandon Dubinsky. Nothing special about the fight, not even worth a YouTube search, but it's always good to see superstars taking a stand for their teams. Yes, I just gave Ovechkin props.
  • Pitt hoops lost to Tennessee. I didn't see any of the game. Sorry.
  • The search for a new Pitt football coach is on, and Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen is at the top of the Panthers' wish list. He runs a completely different offense than what the team has been running in recent years. Could mean good things. Could mean Michigan. I don't know enough about him to guess which way the team would go under his command.
  • As if Brett Favre pissing all over the Minnesota Vikings franchise this year wasn't enough, Mother Nature decided to take a dump on the Metrodome for good measure. YouTube it if you haven't seen the video.
  • I really don't care if Tashard Choice asked Michael Vick for an autograph after the game. It was for his nephew. The game was over. I get it looks bad on camera, but it's just not a big deal to me. I think it angers people because they expect athletes on rival teams to hate each other. Sorry to say this, but that's rare in today's sports. 
  • Did you catch the New York Jets strength and conditioning coach tripping the Miami Dolphins player on a punt? Please YouTube it. It's awesome. It was a despicable act that could have caused serious injury, but try and tell me you haven't wished someone on the sidelines do that during a game.
  • How good did Tom Brady look yesterday against the Chicago Bears? He put up more than 350 yards in a blizzard. It made me sad and amazed at the same time. 
  • San Francisco is back in the hunt for the NFC West!
  • Season finale of Dexter was decent. Not the way I would have gone with it, but not terrible. I just wish there was more to Jordan Chase than they told us. At times it seems like the writers were a little lazy this season. They had plenty of time to develop the new characters, but instead they wasted valuable time on the Angel and LaGuerta storyline.
  • My fantasy football seasons are basically over. F-you, Swan.

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