Onward to Tampa and Tomlin's Validation

Heady times come with clinching a Bowl berth at home in these parts. In a season where they succeeded in winning on the road in Baltimore and New England, it makes sense that they can end the home AFC Title Game slide as well. In keeping with the tenor of this season, this win wasn't going to be pretty. The Steelers jumped to a 13-0 win despite being unable to get any run game going. With Hines Ward injured midway through the first quarter, the offense struggled to get anything going. It didn't help that Bruce Arians was a little too determined to have Willie Parker fall forward for one-yard gains.

Now, as then, as always, the defense was suffocating. Flacco was made to look every bit like a rookie. When the Ravens were granted a short field after a FWP fumble, the Steelers forced a turnover on downs when the Baltimore couldn't convert on consecutive short yardage plays. With Baltimore's focus on James Harrison, LaMarr Woodley went wild with two sacks and continued pressure.

It looked to almost come unglued in the second half when the Ravens closed the lead to 16-14. The offense missed its opportunity to get points late in the first half with drops and poor clock management, and that seemed like it would come back to bite them. At least until the rookie showed why he doesn't belong on the grandest stage.

The team gets to take the trip to Tampa to reunite with Whisenhunt on the big stage. Larry Fitzgerald looks pretty much unstoppable when he gets man-to-man coverage. Can the 'Zona defense continue to come up big? Can the Steelers make Kurt Warner finally show his fumbling ways? All of this is sure to be speculated over the next two weeks.

Before we get to those questions, a few requests. Please die Limas Sweed. Die Mitch Berger. Okay, Mitch booted a few decent punts for a change in this game and even prevented a Jim Leonhard touchdown with a fumble forcing tackle, but then he had to go and shank one in the clutch. The thought of the two of these clowns possibly getting a Super Bowl ring rivals Tommy Maddox getting one in 2005.

Finally, Troy -- I came into this game more worried about how he would play more than anyone else considering his injury. And he was his usual whirlwind self - throwing Flacco down seven yards in the backfield and making the game-sealing pick-six. Is there any doubt he's the best safety in the game?

Here's your bonus Sunday Ed Reed fail. Caw, caw, Santonio.


RandyG said...

Steeler Sunday 2009

mp3 http://www.soulpittsburgh.com/Steeler_Sunday_2009.mp3




Spatula said...

I still have a headache and sore throat from yelling at the TV. With everybody predicting the Ravens would win ("you can't beat a team three times in a year") this was like a revenge game -- and Revenge is a dish best served cold. The Steelers played hard, but with class. On Troy's run back for touchdown, Flacco was a potential tackler. Aaron Smith was in position to anihilate him, legally. But he didn't. Class act. I wonder if we'll be treated to the anonymous Baltimore whiny, bitching fans? Chicken shits.

Christmas Ape said...

Oh, some of them are sticking with the "Ape isn't from Pittsburgh so he's a bandwagon fan" shit at KSK, because they have nothing else to go with.

Dixie Normess said...

I have NEVER been to sporting event that was as gratifying as that. When Troy ran it in...eruption. Mike Tomlin's post game speech from the podium certainly removed any of his detractors and was something I'll never forget, "This one is for the Steeler Fans EVERYWHERE. I love you."

Notice he didn't qualify location or place of birth)

Anonymous said...

Not to be a sore winner, but seriously what the hell? The Ravens might have been shut out had they not gotten pass interference calls to the 3 and 1 yard line leading to their two touchdowns. Also Simms and Nantz are douchbags...

Christmas Ape said...

The overturned Santonio catch on the goal line was also maddening. How is that not a catch? He took two steps with the ball and the ground caused it to come loose at the end. Whatevs. No matter now.

Cornbread said...

Lovin' the Ed Reed pic.


Couldn't stand Phil Simms during the game - what a jackass. He's a hater.

Otherwise, the game was absolutely wonderful.

Anonymous said...

"With everybody predicting the Ravens would win ("you can't beat a team three times in a year")"

Spatula, you're an idiot. The DISRESPECT card gets no play here.

EVERYONE picked the stillers:



The "cant beat them 3 times thing" was just a talking point to get ratbird fans to actually watch.

And Ape, the Santonio catch was just the correct interpretation of a terribly stupid rule. Like you say, no matter.

Buck said...

I finally had enough of Simms and Vance. Those 2 are idiots and should never call a steelers game again. That can't be CBS's A team.

I broke out the Sat Radio, put the boombox under the TV, muted the TV volume and synced the DVR (10-11 seconds) to go with the Sat Radio.

I love listening to Tunch and Bill, makes the game that much better.

Christmas Ape said...

Dick Enberg is still my favorite announcer, but they only give the D-list games now.