A Tough Slog in a Rough Bog

Somehow, through sheer artistry of ineptitude, the Steelers offense managed to reach Dolphins territory on each of their possessions and were unable to put any points on the board until the 59:43 mark of regulation. Until then, the Steelers 3-0 win over the Dolphins looked to be a contest of who could score the first touchdown.

The opening possession presages good things up until Ben failed to see Joey Porter hanging out in the flat. Peezy had a fine game and the Steelers and the Dolphins took turns further mangling the Heinz Field slop with leg kick celebrations. Ultimately, it was Joey's replacement, James Harrison who came up with one game's biggest plays, a sack and forced fumble on quarterback John Beck on the Dolphins final offensive play on 4th down in Steelers territory.

The offensive line, missing left tackle Marvel Smith, gave up another five sacks, though Ben can be faulted for holding the ball too long on several of them. Willie Parker passed the 1,000-yard mark with his 81 yards on 24 carries, none of which went for longer than nine yards. The offense fared well on first downs but failed to convert on second and third or were hit by costly penalties when they did.

Hines Ward was one of the game's few bright spots, making a number of tough catches down the stretch to extend drives. If not for two catches negated by penalties - one of which was a ridiculous offensive pass interference call on Heath Miller - Ward would have gone over 100 for the first time this season.

In the end, the Steelers escaped what would have been a second straight crushingly embarrassing loss and retained a game and a half lead on the Browns in the division. Toss out the old chestnut that a win's a win, but the same mistakes are making them harder to come by.


Sean said...

Watching ESPN's postgame show, Steve Young mentioned that you couldn't take anything from the game because of the conditions. I think there are still offensive line concerns as you already mentioned. There were a few 3rd and 4th and shorts that the Steelers could not convert.

On the plus side, Sepulveda had a big game.

quiet strength said...

"That's why they're 5-2 and we're 2-5," Bengals receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh said. "Good teams put it in the end zone. Teams like us kick field goals."

TheStarterWife said...

Take the win and hope they look sharp next week against Cincy, because two shit games in a row going into December worries me as we head to the playoffs.

Cotter said...

I find solace in the fact that Max Starks did not cause any permanent damage last night.

We live to play another day. That's all I can say. Too much rhyming...shit.