All around us in full view is an endless vista of Redskins fans getting their sulk on following a sound reaming at the hands of the Patriots. To be sure, it brings me little joy to watch the Patriots run up the score, much less beat, anyone. Hearing the Redskins fans piss and moan and write off their season after a single, albeit devastating, loss.
Steelers fans, however, were of a much more gleeful tenor. Except for that one guy screaming about Ben and the special teams. Breathe dude, we cut Colclough. He was the one who blew the assignment on that long kick return. As far as the dumb Ben picks, you're gonna have to hang in there for a while.
If you're gonna choke two people out with both arms, it's always good form if one of those arms happens to be flashing The Shocker. Gives them something to laugh about before they black out. Yes, that is a replica of the Green Monster scoreboard in the background, because we must share the bar with Red Sox fans. I don't like it any more than you do.
Hines Ward and Ben Roethlisberger were somehow momentarily transformed into ladies, then they swapped skin complexions. Halloween, man. It's nuts.
One of these guys is doing something different. Smile all you want, buddy. Soon enough, you as well will be a bespectacled, mustachioed old guy. Happens to all of us. 'Cept me. I plan on staying young and rocking this sweet fade forever.
I would like to think that it was my inclusion of him in the Steelers LOL-Time team that cinched it, but, no matter the cause, I'll take it.
Not sure how it took them this long to figure out he served little purpose beyond dropping punts and poorly covering slot receivers. With the extra spot on the roster, they're resigning Anthony Madison. They can sign Steely McBeam to the active roster for all I care. At least he doesn't drop balls, even if he [insert double entendre here].
The Steelers handily dispatched of one AFC North team largely composed of criminals and now must focus on another, with the Ravens coming to town next Monday night with the lead of the division on the line.
The Ravens would like to invoke the specter of last year, when they swept the Steelers by a margin of 58-7. Well, when the Ravens lost at home in the playoffs to the INDIANAPOLIS Colts, last year ended. And the Ravens have already lost as many regular season games as they did last year.
The Steelers, though they will have to suffer through another game with those damn yellow helmet throwback unis, take the field as a more confident team less prone to turning the ball over, while the Ravens are trying to make due with Kyle Boller in an offense that couldn't get into the endzone if there were a "Get Out of Jail Free" card in there.
However anemic the Ravens offense if, the Steelers need to bring more pressure on the quarterback than the last two weeks and do a better job of containing the run than they did against Kenny Watson and the Bungles. Granted, those two tasks will be much easier if Aaron Smith is among the starting lineup, but Willis McGahee is a far superior opponent, both at rushing and babymaking.
McNair is shooting to come back for this game after sitting out the previous two. He is a reputed Steeler killer, notching a 10-4 career mark against Pittsburgh. However, when he and Todd Heap are returning from three weeks of inaction, we'll see how they adapt to the different looks LeBeau is bound to give them.
The CBS crew only replayed this hit, like, five times, and that was clearly seventy times too few. Seriously, why is Ryan Clark starting in place of this guy? Is it a favor to the league's receivers. Let's see Randy Moss go for a jump ball and come down to one of these. Obviously Sean Taylor wasn't up to the task. Useless Redskins.
UPDATE: Here's the vid of Chad Johnson going face first into the turf. It's a delight. HUGH!
When the Bengals managed to get more than 10 players on the field, they couldn't find a way to slow the Steelers offense. Hines had his first big game of the season, catching two TDs, the first of which he faked the Bungles DB out of his jock with a pretty simple juke to the inside. Thus is the overall crappiness of genius Marvin Lewis' stout defensive squad.
Despite a largely impressive effort, we saw the reappearance of Bad Ben for one pass in the third quarter, in which scrambling right and finding no one open forced a pass that was picked by Deltha O'Neal deep in Bengals territory with the Steelers up by two scores. It enabling the Bungles to make the game competitive, rather than dropping down 24-6.
Even more disturbing was the inability of the Steelers to get any pressure on Carson Palmer, who not only not sacked by seldom hit. The red zone defense came up big, but the Bengals had several opportunities for big plays, with Chad Johnson having a touchdown pass squeak through his fingertips while double covered by Anthony Smith and Ike Taylor.
Chad also took a face plant into the turf following an incompletion, after which he did his new sensational dance that involved staggering to the sidelines and being attended to by trainers. Not sure if I like it as much as the one with the pylon being used as a golf club.
Over the next two weeks, the Steelers have an opportunity to create consider distance in their lead of the AFC North, with the Ravens and the Browns visiting Heinz for their respective beatings. Yes Baltimore, Cleveland is presently second in the division, by dint of tiebreaker. Because you lost to them. Really.
That high-powered Bengals offense looks like it's still going to be without the services of Rudi Johnson. More importantly, Ocho Cinco's ankle is keeping him out of practice, possibly leaving T.J. Douchemandzadeh as Carson Palmer's primary target.
Marvin Lewis was getting lauded for sticking with Kenny Watson and the ground game even when trailing in the second half last week against the Jets. You know what else works against the Jets? Everything.
Much as I admire and hope for the continuation of the Bengals' renewed sense of commitment to the run, especially against the Steelers' D, I'd like to see as much out of Tomlin and Arians as well.
The Steelers will be missing Aaron Smith and likely Ryan Clark as well, meaning Anthony Smith will likely get the start. I've wondered why Smith hasn't yet been given the starting job. With the hits he lays on receivers, he certainly draws the most notice. It would be interesting to know whether the coaches have some misgivings about his coverage skills.
As for another, more all-time team worthy safety, here's that old chestnut from 2004 where Troy totally owns his fellow Trojan. It really never gets old.
Update: Chad Johnson participated in full practice Friday and is listed as probable. Aw, nutbunnies.
Paul Daugherty of the Cincinnati Enquirer penned a column today that, between lame digs at Steelers fans and their "American-made sedans", absolves Bengals fans of selling their seats to their hated division rivals, so they can watch the game on their Taiwanese-made plastic chairs in their two-roomed, three-walled houses without indoor plumbing.
Why do fans feel obligated to support lousy teams? Sports is recreation, entertainment, fun. Why do fans think that has to involve suffering? You have to understand pain to appreciate pleasure. I get that. But that applies to life. Sports isn't life. Sports is ... sports.
What do you want for your loyalty, a purple heart? The "loyal" Bengals fans of the '90s helped prolong their own suffering. They enabled Mike Brown.
That's right. In Cincy, they pack it in after four losses. Hey, the Steelers started 3-4 in 1995 and went to the Super Bowl. Not that the Bengals are capable of doing that. Just wanted to get their hopes up. Kidding again. Cincinnati is without hope. They grind it up and put it in that nasty chili they eat.
The Steelers yesterday unveiled the members of its 33-member all-time team yesterday, based on fan voting. Choosing who we think has the been the best isn't usually the difficult of a prospect. It means grabbing most of the core members of the '70s dynasty and sprinkling in a few of recent vintage, along with Greg Lloyd. Finding the worst is much more difficult. Okay, it's not. It's just picking a lot of Steelers from '98-'00. But I did it anyway, because I can. Also, I'm only 25, so I'm a little foggy on the crappiness of many of the '80s teams and the horrid ones before the '70s. Feel free to include more in the comments.
Update: Blog 'N' Gold put up a similar version earlier today.
Quarterback -- Jim Miller and Kent Graham
As tempting as it is to put Kordell here, these stalwarts weren't even good enough to unseat him in some of his worst seasons. Wasn't Anthony Wright in the mix there for a while for the starting job? Guuhhh. Those are days gladly gone by.
Dishonorable mention: Tommy Maddox
Running back -- Amos Zereoue and Richard Huntley
If you think about it, Zereoue's a lot like Willie Parker, only with unexceptional speed. Which is like being Ben, but sober. Huntley teased everyone with his 6.1 yards per carry average as a reserve then totally sucked when actually used as a regular back.
Dishonorable mention: Duce Staley, for all but the eight games he wasn't on the sidelines.
Wide receivers: Courtney Hawkins and Troy Edwards
Two stopgaps while Hines Ward was still transitioning from a quarterback to a wideout. Two very, very poor stopgaps.
Dishonorable mention: Plaxico Burress, because he's a dick.
Tight end: Jay Riemersma
In the later Mark Bruener years, the Steelers were most desirous of re-establishing an offense where the tight end was a big factor in the passing game, so they went out and got Riemersma, who was a good pass catching tight end with the Bills. In the two seasons he played in the 'Burgh, his best season he had 10 catches. Now the tight ends catch every damn touchdown the Steelers throw and Matt Spaeth has four catches and three scores.
Offensive linemen: Jamain Stephens and Wayne Gandy
Stephens was by far the worst first-round pick of the Cowher era and Gandy was probably one of the worse free agent acquisitions. At least Stephens had the excuse of being riddled with injuries. Gandy was just riddled with suck.
Defensive linemen: Jeremy Staat and Orpheus Roye
I probably shouldn't criticize Staat because he ended up joining the Marine Corps after his former roommate Pat Tillman died. For his football career, however, he is deserving. Staat was a somewhat highly touted second round pick who never really materialized into anything. Roye was okay but then became a member of the Browns, trading decency for Cleveland.
Inside linebackers: Earl Holmes and Kendrell Bell
Perhaps the inclusion of these two is a bit unfair, as they were both solid contributors when they were members of the Steelers. But as was the case with many other big-ticket defensive free agents, they never quite shined as bright with Detroit or Kansas City.
Outside linebackers: Carlos Emmons and Alonzo Jackson
Emmons was the worst starting outside linebacker that I can remember . A stiff breeze got better pressure from the end. Jackson, like Staat, was a horrible second-round bust who never managed to impress anyone enough to get significant PT.
Cornerbacks: Chad Scott and Dewayne Washington
Being an alum of the University of Maryland, it always pains me that Terps make terrible Steelers (Chad Scott, Neil O'Donnell) while graduates from UVA (Heath Miller, James Farrior) excel. What makes this tandem so painful was the fact they were the pair of starting corners for the Steelers for what seemed like goddamn forever. Having those two assholes meant being plagued with constant fear that unless the Steelers got to the opposing quarterback within a second, that those two clowns would get burnt worse than suburban San Diego.
Safety: Scott Shields and Brent Alexander
More late '90s, early aughts mediocrity in the secondary. Granted these two weren't as embarassing as Scott and Washington, but they weren't making things better. Thank God the Steelers signed Troy long-term in the offseason.
Special teams: Ricardo Colclough, Todd Peterson
Why is that asshole Colclough still on the team? And don't try to tell me he helps out in nickel or dime coverage, because I don't see him helping there, either. Also, I think he just dropped another punt. In Peterson's 10 games as a kicker for the Steelers in 2003, he was a whooping 12-21 on field goal attempts, and was approximiately .01 percent as fun as Jeff Reed.
I know, I know. You'd like to cast aspersions on this lady, for an outrageous display of slapping her digits erratically on a keyboard that clearly isn't plugged in and muttering something not-quite coherent about pierogies and Bill Cowher. The visor isn't helping matters either.
But I've been there, and it was as recently as about 11:30 p.m. Sunday night. Granted, I had a bit less "flair" on, and I probably weight less than she does. But I was no less of an angry drunk.
But doubting that Tomlin will lead us to the promise land is inexcusable. I hope that harsh hangover taught you an important lesson.
Tip o' the visor to First and 10 Inches
Since opening in 2000, the Steelers have lost all of once in the kitschy jungle-printed hovel that is Paul Brown Stadium, with the only loss coming back in 2001. Including the playoffs, during that 7-1 stretch the Steelers have outscored Cincy by an average of nearly 28-17.
That being said, the Bengals are coming off a possible game-saving win over the Jets, while the Steelers dropped a Najeh-sized turd on the field of Mile High Stadium. Haven been given so many favors by our mediocre AFC North rivals, this is not a game the Steelers can afford to lose. A win in this game could not only ensure that that the Ravens don't catch the Steelers, but it may but the Bengals down for good.
A lost Bengals season may very well mean a lost Chad Johnson. ESPN was floating rumors that the Bungles are considering trading Ocho Cinco in the offseason. Naturally, Marvin Lewis made an attempt to quash that, but this quote from Chad didn't help anything.
"You know what's funny, every player -- you've got 31 teams in the NFL beside us – every player, every coach loves eighty-five," he said in reference to his jersey number. "I guarantee that. Every coach and every player would love to have eighty-five on their team because they know what I bring to the table."
I would imagine the offensive gameplan shouldn't be much different than what the Steelers would have been better off employing against the Broncos: large doses of running the ball. The Bengals linebacking corps is still woefully depleted, and even when healthy, isn't particularly imposing. Like Denver, they should crowd the line, and even though Leon Hall has looked impressive early on, neither he nor Deltha O'Neal is as good as Dre Bly.
Two salient improvements that the Steelers will need to make will be with the pass rush and the offensive line. Jay Cutler was given incredible amounts of time to throw and burned the Steelers with his mobility when he was pressured. Though Cutler isn't the best scrambler in the league, Palmer isn't even that nimble. But given the kind of time Cutler got, he'll do a lot more damage. Hopefully, a positive prognosis on Aaron Smith is forthcoming.
UPDATE: Smith is listed as doubtful for Sunday. Hot damn.
Even though they used the pass effectively to take the opening drive for a score. I have to question why the running game was limited to four carries in the first quarter against the league's worst run D. I understand that they were stacking the line, but it didn't really stop Pittsburgh from running the ball soundly the rest of the game.
For the most part, the O-line really didn't show up for this one. Kendall Simmons whiffed on blocks and Sean Mahan had problems getting snaps into Roethlisberger's hands. The team almost seems like they bank of Roethlisberger being able to shake off oncoming rushers, as if they don't need to block for the guy because he can roll his shoulders and scramble until someone gets open. That it works a decent percentage of the time doesn't make it seem any less shaky.
Credit is certainly due for the team erasing a 28-14 4th quarter deficit. Having tied the game, the defense however allowed Denver to move down the field with a minute and change to set up the winning field goal. As much as I was impressed by the Tampa Two/Zone Blitz hybrid last week against the West Coast Offense, there needs to be more emphasis on sending rushers after the quarterback.
Luckily, Baltimore remains an inept bunch of dicksmacks, so the Steelers remain a half game up in the AFC North, but now Pittsburgh has lost two out of three and is 1-2 on the season on the road. Next week, the Steelers travel to Paul Brown, one road venue where they have had considerable success the last few years.
Javon Walker, who spent the week talking about putting the fear of God into the Steelers, is now going under the knife to fix his bum knee and will miss a significant stretch of time. But I bet the surgeon is just terrified about facing that knee.
The money quote from Shanny: "Javon's not feeling very good."
Also: "Travis isn't following the league substance abuse policy very good."
"Our defense isn't so hot on playing defense."
"Jay Cutler plays defense for the other team."
"We lose a lot."
Hobbled as well is vaunted shutdown corner Champ Bailey. He's still likely to play at this point, but with the way Santonio has emerged coupled with Hines playing for the first time since Week 3, it should be interesting to see who draws Dre Bly and who gets Bailey.
As if the tide of injuries couldn't be going in any more diametrical directions for these two teams, P-G reports Casey Hampton expects to play Sunday night. With Walker out, the Broncos will have to rely further on their chiefing, breeding running back, Travis Henry.
All in all, it's hard not to be optimistic about the Steelers chances, being powered by the blood flow machine and all. I hope Tomlin's already got the patent on that thing. Those NFL coaches could really use the money.
The deadline is Sunday for the $20 deposit for the D.C. Steeler Nation road trip to the Nov. 11 game at home against the Browns.
The details as provided by President Sterling Stone are as follows:
Scheduled itinerary for the weekend:
5 a.m.: Meet at Pour House to leave for the 'Burgh
10 a.m.: ETA for hotel
11 a.m.: Arrive at Heinz and hunt for scalpers
1 -4 p.m.: Steelers murder Browns
5:30 p.m.: Meet at some bar for post-game revelry
9 a.m.: Wake, breakfast.
10 a.m.: Hotel check out
10:30 a.m.: Shop for Steelers gear.
11:30 a.m. : Departure for D.C.
4:30 p.m.: ETA in D.C.
Car pool -- based on how many people are going we may rent a van, but we must have 8 people for this option and 3 drivers. Everyone will spit gas and rental fees.
Either Holiday Inn in Monroeville or South Side, but this is based off of number again. Sterling gets a discount.
Sponsored by Town Tavern and McFadden's Pittsburgh.
Every one is responsible for their own. Sterling will assist those that don't know how to scalp.
"This is something new, my connections at a few bars up there are gonna pay off. I am working to see if anyone can get a few players to stop by after the game for a few. This will have DCSN all over it, and a good chance to make connections back home.
Those interested in going should e-mail Sterling at firstname.lastname@example.org.
WTAE news in Pittsburgh is reporting that next month, Pittsburgh police will start issuing arrest warrants for 37,000 people who have unpaid tickets for offenses ranging from running red lights to parking in handicapped zones to speeding.
One of the charges against Burress, the former Steeler who now plays for the Giants, reads, "Illegal to park on sidewalk" and the other reads, "Failure to stop at red signal."
Apparently Plaxico already paid off his "I disappear in big games" and "I bitch about my role in the offense after dropping passes" tickets. He must've had a few of those. As for El, that bloated Dan Snyder money finally comes in handy.
And, yes, yes, Max Starks is on the list, too. But a Steelers spokesman said Starks would take care of it. Therefore I'm not holding anything against him because he's still on the team. See, that's the real determinant of your worth as a human being to me.
The Broncos have always had the climatic advantage of forcing opponents to quickly adjust to the recovery problems associated with playing in the high altitude. Can't really hold it against Mike Tomlin for not being familiar with the concept, what with being a coach on two NFC teams, one in warm weather and another in a dome.
But naturally, I discounted St. Tomlin's scientific acumen, with which he would construct wholesale a "blood flow" machine, which would, like, uh, flow blood and shit. Don't ask me. Science has never been my bag. Just picked up on the whole germs things last year. Up until now, I just assumed it was bad vibes and bye weeks that got you sick.
Naturally, all the other cynical, defeatist eggheads out there questioned Prof. Tomlin's methods.
"...Jack Daniels, who heads the U.S. distance running program at the Center for High Altitude Training at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Ariz., had some other advice for the Steelers and was baffled at the "blood flow" machine that Tomlin said will be used on the sideline Sunday night.
'We're going to have a piece of machinery that we think generates blood flow throughout the body on the sideline,' Tomlin said.
Daniels is unaware of any such machinery or how it would work.
'I don't know what he's talking about," Daniels said. ' ... It generates blood flow? To do that, your heart has to beat harder or faster -- that's the only way you can transport more blood because the heart does all the work. I don't know of any machine that will stimulate your heart faster or stronger."
Listen, asshole. Stick to making tasty, tasty whiskey and leave the science to sciencetographers like Coach Tomlin. Did you shut out the Seahawks with your two best defensive starters out? No. That takes genius. Coach Tomlin genius! In fact, I think he got the Noble Prize for Physics for it. You just didn't hear about it, thanks to that glory hog, Al Gore.
With the blood flow machine fired up, the Steelers will go into Sunday night's game with a lot more talent, as Hines, Santonio and Troy are expected to return. Casey Hampton, of course figuratively, is still up in the air. I suppose if there's any player that needs more air, it would be him.
Steelers open the week as three and a half point faves at Denver, a team that despite its disappointing 2-3 start is only a half game off the lead in the AFC West. How is it that the western division in each conference is so dreadfully bad? Perhaps another coast war is in order.
On paper, it's looking favorable, with the Steelers' 2nd ranked rushing attack going against Denver's league worst run defense. A more even match-up would be the Broncos' 5th ranked offense against the Steelers' top-ranked defensive unit. Yesterday, P-G already pulled out a little premature comparison to the Steel Curtain. Let's take it easy, boyos. For the exception of Seattle, the Steelers have head in check a slate of fairly unimpressive offenses.
You could make an argument for the Browns, who have put quite a few points on the board after their Week 1 bed shitting, being another. However, at least in that game, Cleveland was hamstrung by Romeo Crennel's ingenious decision to start Charlie Frye based on a coin flip. Decisive leadership skills, that.
Last year's game against the Broncos at home was, save for possibly the Raiders game, perhaps the most mistake-riddled suckfest and even more frustrating because the Steelers were moving the ball at will against Denver's D. Ben threw three picks, Ward fumbled at the goal line and Santonio Holmes continued the fine 2006 tradition of Steelers fumbling every conceivable kickoff or punt.
2007 brought thankful change, or, rather a return to form, as Ben has only three picks all year and Allen Rossum, for the most part, has managed to hang onto the ball. And who knows? Now that every player on the roster who's ever been to a Pro Bowl is back from injury, you would assume that would bring some added benefit, right?
Not much to report on the weekend's action, other than the Bungles are even nore finished. Seriously, bye weeks totally blow. Especially when the Ravens, Patriots and Browns win during them.
Swinging by WithLeather, I decided to purloin the latest video by BradyFan83 about Travis Henry, who will be facing the Steelers Sunday if he's still ruled eligible, or not just totally fucking high.
Isn't this how the Bengals spend their bye weeks? And in the wake of one of his better performances on the team. Ggguuuhhhh. Nice work, asswipe.
Hat tip to the gracious Seahawks fan Matt Ufford at With Leather.
With that in mind, I have a few small favors to ask of teams in action in Week 6.
St. Louis Rams: Listen, assholes. Time to get off the schnide, if only for a week. You Rams have to much talent to go winless. You did put up 31 points, albeit in a losing effort, to a solid 'Zona defense. If you can put up double digits again this week, that's probably enough to top the Ravens' shitastic offense. Failing that, Gus Frerotte should just head butt Ed Reed.
Kansas City Chiefs: Like your opponents, the Bengals, you have an impossibly overrated, and predictably underperforming head coach. So, really, this one could be a toss-up. I don't know. What you did to beat the Chargers, kindly do so once again. It's in Arrowhead, what more do you need? Okay, besides a quarterback, a running game, and a defense?
Dallas Cowboys: I don't like you and you don't like me. You were underwhelming against Buffalo, but I like your chances to rebound with a better performance at home against New England. Why? Because I need you to, that's why. Every time the Patriots win, it's like having my dick slammed in a phone book.
Miami Dolphins: Okay, I don't reeeaaalllyyy need you guys to beat Cleveland. Though the Browns helpfully picked off a few AFC North opponents, they will will rack up the losses on their own as the season wares on. It does, however, make easy fodder for mocking Cincy and Baltimore when the Browns are in second place in the division.
Having said that, I still have a soft spot for J-Peezy, though an appreciation that I need no longer apologize for his inane remarks and guarantees, and an abiding, burning contempt for "fucking soldier" Kellen Winslow. Also, Ronnie Brown is on my fantasy team and I'd like for you to run his ass many times as is humanly possible, like you really have a choice with that passing game.
Willie Parker gets a little shine on the latest issue of ESPN The Magazine (which I'm pretty sure I've never read), much deserved as he regained the mantle of NFL's leading rusher following his fourth 100-yard game of the season against Seattle. The league's second leading rusher, Travis Henry, is battling for his season following a positive test for marijuana. Whether of not that suspension comes down before the Steelers game next Sunday night against the Broncos in Denver remains to be seen. Either way, the Broncos Running Back Industrial Complex should be fine with Selvin Young. Your fantasy team, however, is fucked.
Even with the impressive start, the Steelers have still managed to remain somewhat under the radar of top-tier contenders, which suits me just fine. The conversation seems to be between Indy and New England, with Dallas thrown in to give the NFC a bone. Depending on how the Cowboys fare next week with the Patriots, one of those teams could be ousted from that group.
UPDATE: Here's the link to the cover story.
Somehow, not sure exactly, the Pour House regulars soldiered on without me, those brave souls.
D.C. Steeler Nation president Sterling Stone goes to town on the cowbell, which actually powers the TVs in the Pour House. If no one hits the cowbell during the day, the whole place goes dark. It's science.
What might these mysterious glyphs be on your arm? They appear to be numerals of some sort. But what do they represent? I'm stumped. I'll just stare vacantly at the Steelers five Lombardi trophies.
That Brett Keisel, man, how does he do it? He somehow managed to play through Sunday's shutout of the Seahawks, record a tackle, and make it down to D.C. between plays to booze with the ladies while wearing a Polamalu jersey. Must be those special Mormon powers he acquired at BYU.
Yes, and apparently Turtle took off one of his 300 Yankees hats and donned a Ben jersey to join the fun. In all seriousness, though, Entourage has gone way the fuck downhill. Enough so that I'll understand entirely if this guy kicks my ass for pointing out the likeness.
After Deion Branch left Sunday's 21-0 depantsing of the Seahawks early on with a sprained foot, FOX showed a brief glimpse of him pointing out someone in the crowd to security.
At first, I figured it to be Branch giving into the frustration of a day when Seattle couldn't produce anything offensively. Well, according to the Seattle Times, someone at Heinz spit on Branch as he was being carted to the locker room.
Someone from the Heinz Field crowd spit on Branch as he was exiting the field on the cart, and Branch pointed out the fan who did it to stadium security.
"You wouldn't think anybody would spit and stuff," Branch said. "Especially on the players. That's the last thing you want to do to somebody."
Can't say I endorse that for a non-division game. But then, what if Steelers fans saliva is a powerful healing agent? I mean, Branch did walk out to point out the offender. We need to get to the bottom of this, stat. The Steelers could be squandering a powerful gift.
The bright side: making it to the bar in time for kickoff, for what was easily the most satisfying victory, since, oh, the last time the Steelers beat the Seahawks.
To be without the team's three best players and to dominate the second half as they did is owed in large part to masterful gameplanning by Mike Tomlin and Dick LeBeau. Early on in the game, I was frustrated that LeBeau was only sending three rushers on most passing downs against Hasselbeck, yet the secondary was giving him zero opportunities to fit anything in.
Credit as well is deserved to Cedrick Wilson and Ryan Clark, who stepped up admirably to fill what seemed to be huge gaps that had opened thanks to the injuries to Santonio, Hines and Troy. Ike Taylor, though he dropped what could have been second and third picks on the day, has nearly returned to his '05 playoff run form.
If anyone was endeavoring to capsize the team's towering effort, it was the heretofore solid Allen Rossum, who nearly gave the C-Hox a chance to get back into the game by mindlessly attempting to dive on a punt about to be downed at the Steelers' one, then putting the next return on the ground. Seriously, Allen, there's only room for one Colclough on this squad.
Rossum aside, this was a powerful statement by a team missing large parts of its core in what I considered a must-win game going into the bye. Given a week to get healthy, the Steelers are ready to cleave the meat of their schedule.
That's some rally you got there, Seattle. What, like, 500 people show up? I'm pretty sure the average day at Steelers training camp draws a bigger crowd.
Over at 12 Seahawks Street, one of their bloggers has done some hard YouTube scouring in order to unearth some clips of Steelers fans acting rather ridiculously. Well, when you have the third largest fan base in the league, as opposed to being tied for 19th as the Seahawks are, by sheer numbers alone you're probably gonna have a few more simps among the bunch.
Mike Holmgren, meanwhile, is playing Sunday's rematch of Super Bowl XL very diplomatically, saying he's put it all in the past and he's done pissing and moaning about the officiating after two long fudge-filled years. And I believe him. It's not like the guy hadn't lost a Super Bowl before. He can deal.
The Post-Gazette reports this afternoon that Casey Hampton and Troy Polamalu will play Sunday against the C-Hox. The prospect of the Steelers being without their two most important defenders against a fairly potent offense was a bit more than worrisome with this critical game going into the bye week. Without Hampton, and possibly also Chris Hoke, Shaun Alexander would have likely become the first back to go over a hundred against the Steelers in 30 games.
The news isn't all rosy for the defense: Bryant McFadden, who I've thought should've been starting for the last year or so, will miss extended time with a high ankle sprain. Rookie William Gay or the worst punt returner ever Ricardo Colclough may take his place as the third corner.
Hines Ward remains questionable, while touchdown machine Matt Spaeth returns after missing the last two games with a bruised thigh. There were also minor injuries reported to Roethlisberger (bruised foot), Silverback (bruised knee) and Deshea Townsend (stinger).
Nati is 1-3 and fortunate to have the one win they do have. They're two games back in the division. Their defense couldn't stop a CFL team. The Browns dropped 51 on them. Last night, they never had a chance against New England. Save a nice pick by Leon Hall, the Bengals' D was fortunate if they could limit the Patriots to field goals. They gave up more than 400 total yards and didn't sack Brady once.
Marvin Lewis: defensive mastermind.
Now, in what may be a big to save his job, he's trying to get his team's shit together with, uh, a meeting!
Marvin Lewis’ anger and harsh words pierced the steel locker room doors at Paul Brown Stadium.Yes, tirades are always best when profanity-laden. Those pleasantry-laced tirades just don't achieve the desired effect. That many felons gathering in one place might be of interest to the authorities, I'd imagine. That's like the Legion of Doom, almost.
“If you don’t want to be on the team, don’t show up at 4 o’clock,” Lewis yelled in a profanity-laced tirade directed at his players following the Bengals' 34-13 loss Monday night to England.
Of course, it's all for naught. Cincy is going into their bye week, which gives them two whole weeks to go out and do stupid shit to jeopardize their faltering season. I can't wait.
Some of the members have been getting on me about not including enough content about the group on the blog, so I'm pledging to get better. There'll be info forthcoming about the field trip to the Steelers/Browns game in Pittsburgh on Nov. 11. Also, I'm going to do a weekly post of picktchas from the bar. Yes, photos of people drinking and posing drunkily on the Internet, what can possibly go wrong?
D.C. Steeler Nation president Sterling Stone, who is actually 12-feet tall, poses for a rare calm shot before we all devolved into a marathon session of cursing and shouting at the TVs. In fact, I'm still cussing. Hell fuck ass lemon party cock.
Apparently, Extacy was making a first-ever appearance at the Pour House, and this guy here looks like he was partaking big time. He was later heard yelling, "I can taste the score!"
Today's 21-14 loss to the Buzzsaw was a fine reminder of all the ways the Steelers blew games last year: Roethlisberger throwing a mind-blowingly stupid pick into triple coverage in the endzone, Willie fumbling, Willie being unable to run on the road, the Steelers not having a viable goal line back, penalties, poor tackling on special teams and a host of other miscues.
That being said, the Steelers kept it close in a game in which they were missing arguably their two best players while on the road playing a scrappy team. They were unequivocably screwed on a call on 4th and 1 on Arizona's final touchdown drive, where Leinart was at least a half yard shy of the marker and the officials gave the Cards perhaps the most generous spot of the year. Tomlin really should have challenged the spot, but after losing the first challenge (again, how, I don't know - exactly what "football move" Urban made in the endzone before getting stripped?) he probably wasn't inclined to lose another time out.
That being said, the Steelers deserved to lose this game. They played completely flat. Most of the receivers couldn't get open. The Cardinals are to be credited with a great job of stuffing the run and giving Leinart and Warner time to throw. If they can get consistent play from the quarterback position, they'll be a force in the NFC.
If there's a good thing to take away from today, and there's not much, it's that Santonio Holmes appears to be coming into his own and will be a fine tandem with Ward when he returns. We can also be thankful that the Ravens and the Bengals are godawful and can't beat the Cleveland Browns. That being said, the Steelers must rebound and beat Seattle at home next week going into the bye.
Pour House regulars: Thanks for coming out. There'll be "Property of D.C. Steeler Nation" shirts next week for club members. The rest of you: I know it was a nice day. I know the game was televised on CBS in D.C., but turnout at the Pour House was pretty damn terrible. Last week, against the 49ers, nearly all three floors were mobbed and today the main floor was the only one occupied and that was even only half full. Losing feels shitty enough, but it's nice to have someone to commiserate with.