It's hard to find a weekend in recent Pittsburgh sports memory that sucked as much as this past one.
The Steelers lost 31-25 in the Super Bowl, Evgeni Malkin was lost for the season with a serious knee injury, the Pens were shut out by the rival Washington Capitals and Pitt could be without Ashton Gibbs for a few games.
Let's start with the Super Bowl. The Steelers just didn't bring their best game. Ben Roethlisberger was off all night, not just on the two interceptions. He was missing a lot of throws he should make. I lost count of how many balls sailed high on receivers.
|Ben's play had all of Pittsburgh feeling like this.|
The interceptions were bad. The first was a play that Roethlisberger usually avoids. He had a defensive lineman coming at him and his arm was jarred, resulting in a duck that was ripe for Packers to pick off. Roethlisberger had room to move to his right and avoid the pressure, but he didn't. The second interception was just a bad decision on Roethlisberger's part. I don't think he saw the defensive back in the middle of the field.
While the Steelers didn't play their best game, you can't take anything away from the Packers. They are a great team and deserved to win last night. Aaron Rodgers was excellent in targeting the Steelers' weakest links and didn't show any signs of being nervous. Just imagine his numbers if his receivers didn't have around seven drops in the game.
What might have been most impressive about the Packers' win was that they did it without Charles Woodson for a half. Woodson broke his collarbone late in the first half, but their secondary play didn't seem to falter. I thought for sure that the Steelers would capitalize on that injury, and they kind of did, but not to the extent they should have.
As painful as the loss was, and as poorly as Roethlisberger played, I'm not backing on my statements that he's an elite quarterback in this league. He had bad game, but he will have a chance at redemption in the near future.
The Pens had a terrible weekend as well. It started Friday night when Malkin went down in the corner clutching his knee after he and Tyler Myers got tangled. I don't know what replay the NBC guys saw, but Sunday they said it didn't look like a serious collision. Malkin's leg was straight and planted when Myers came crashing into it. If you saw it, you knew it was bad.
Well, it was worse than bad. Malkin has a torn ACL and MCL. The Pens haven't ruled him out for the season yet, but the chances of him returning are similar to those of Keira Knightly showing up at my door and proposing to me. Yeah, it would be a little weird if a woman were to do the proposing, but who am I to question Keira?
To pile on the Pens' injuries woes, Rob Rossi from the Trib is reporting that Crosby will probably be out until at least March. February could be a long month.
The Pens then put forth a lousy effort against the Capitals Sunday afternoon. A 3-0 loss to anyone hurts, but losing to the Capitals like that is really annoying. Their goalies are mediocre and their defense sucks. Even a roster full of AHL players should get at least one goal. What made it even worse was the NBC guys praising Mike Green's defensive skills.
Finally, Pitt will be without Gibbs, their leading scorer, for at least two games. I don't know much about college basketball, but losing your best scorer sucks no matter what sport you're talking about.
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