Who are the SteezBros?

Welcome to SteezBros! SteezBros is a Steeler Blog run by three brothers who are all huge Steeler fans. If the true definition of fan is fanatic, we fit the bill. We were born into Steeler fandom. Love of the Steelers goes back many generations in our family. It's in our blood. You can read our "Welcome to SteezBros" post in the archive if you are interested in more information about us and the blog. Thanks for reading and check back often!


Monday, October 27, 2008

Post Game: Steelers-Giants

I couldn't get to post game thoughts last night, but Peter King and Don Banks pretty much some up my short and long-term thoughts:

Did you see the Giants out-Steel Curtain the Steelers?

Something's just missing from this Steelers team, and even though Pittsburgh might wind up winning the AFC North once again, my sense is that it won't be a deep run into January for Mike Tomlin's team.

It isn't time to throw in the (terrible) towel because we lost one game, especially considering it was to one of the top teams in the league, but the injuries keep piling up and our offense is too inconsistent to win against top teams. The O-line isn't completely at fault (see this article), and missing Santonio surely hurt, but we haven't had any type of rhythm since week 1. There is still plenty of time to get this fixed (see 2007 NY Giants Super Bowl run), but until we do, the talk of the Steelers as a legitimate threat to make the Super Bowl is certainly premature.

One other quick thought. Although losing a game is rarely palatable, the "best" teams to lose to are those from the opposing conference. Tie breakers for division titles are (1) Head-to-head (2) Division Record (3) Conference Record. Tie breakers for non-division teams are (1) Head-to-head (2) Conference record. Since the Steelers haven't lost to anyone in the division or the conference, they hold the tie breakers in these categories.

That said, I would prefer we beat the NFC East's Washington Redskins next week.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Five burning questions

I set up a point-counterpoint with my two college roommates. Hank is a Steelers fan. Jon is a Giants fan. Unfortunately Jon had trouble following directions. So, here are Hank's thoughts on 5 burning questions.

1. Ben Roethlisberger v Eli Manning. Who has had the better career thus far? Who is currently the better Qb? When all is said and done, who will have the better career?

It was nice of the Steezbros to throw me a softball for the first question, though it shows their bias against my pro-Giants foe. This is a better setup than if Bob Scheiffer started off the presidential debate with "Lets discuss your running mates…."

Allow me to provide a timeline:

Draft Day 2004

Big Ben
The Rooney's get sick of trying to win without a quarterback and take a chance on a no name from "The U" (of ohio). Nice back story, having not played quarterback until high school after being over looked by his coach, his talent was only recognized by a small college and then the venerable Rooney's. The town of Pittsburgh is excited having drafted what appears to be a blue collared player with great up side.

HA! We all know the story. Footballs version of the silver spoon still firmly inserted in his mouth, Eli is drafted by the Chargers. He made it clear he wouldn't play there, which he gets to decide because of his amazing career at… Ole Miss? He appears to be pouting when he takes the podium but we learn later that is how he always looks. The Giants give away too much for what turns out to be the same quarterback as Phillip Rivers… and that's not a compliment.

Rookie Season
Big Ben
Down goes the starter and in steps The Rookie. A fans greatest fear, a rookie starting at quarterback. The Rookie manages to go 13-0 and wins a playoff game, surpassing all expectations and historical precedents

"Eli Manning or Kurt Warner, Eli Manning or Kurt Warner. Well we gave away everything for this guy so lets give him a shot."
Eli blows. He loses the locker room and talk of "Bust" begins to emerge. To make things worse he has to face Big Ben in the middle of Ben's historical season. He loses. Steelers 33 Giants 30

Super Bowl Season
Big Ben
Both teams had similar stories… wild card coming in. Sweep through some tough challengers. The difference is Big Ben was the reason we made it to the super bowl. We had no running game, and we came out throwing all playoffs. I am aware of the shitty Super Bowl Ben had, but he also had a play that rivals "The Helmet Play" ; "The Tackle".

Nice run by the Giants… but this was not on the backs of Eli. His most memorable play was memorable because the receiver made a nice catch. Have you seen an athlete look more awkward amidst a great play than Eli and "The Helmet Catch".

Big Ben
Ben will win one or two more Super Bowls and will be Hall of Fame bound. More importantly he will have hooked up with 78% or Pittsburgh's female population and have given the other 22% to Jeff Reed.

By week 10 we will be watching Merrill Hodge freeze frame and say "You see! He is throwing off his back foot. That is the old Eli, not the one we all fell in love with after 4 good games.

2. Better owners: Maras or Rooneys?

Rooney's. No family represents a franchise like the Rooney's represent the Steelers. The initial grief around the rumors that the team may be sold is more proof of the Rooney's superiority than anything else. And of course the team was never sold. The Rooney's have done a lot of good for the NFL, always having a focus on the good of the league, but I think what best typifies their great ownership is the consistency at the head coaching position. Three coaches in almost 40 years! And they made a bold, but wise, decision on the latest hire.

Mara's are solid but uninspiring and are not revered by the fans of the New Jersey Giants nearly as much as the Rooney's are in Pittsburgh.

3. The Steelers and Giants had similar Super Bowl runs. Thoughts/reflections about those playoff runs?

This question would appear to lean towards the Giants as much as the first question leaned towards the Steelers. The Giant's run is fresh in people's mind and they knocked off the despicable Foxboro Patriots. However, here is what frustrates me about the Giants run. The regular season. When the Steelers made their run, they had to squeak into the playoffs and do the whole go on the road thing. However, throughout the season there was not talk about firing Cowher or Ben is a bust. With the Giants that was not the case. Tom Coughlin was the worst coach in football (only because Fassil didn't have a job) and the team was never going to win with Eli. My fellow author, Jon Perrelle, who claims to be a diehard even though he roots for a team in New Jersey when he lives in upstate New York, even said after week 2 "The Giants are the worst team in football".

I guess what I am saying is that I am happy the Steelers fans didn't have to do a 180 when their team did, unlike New Yorkers who were scrambling for seats on the bandwagon that was headed across the East River to New Jersey.

On top of that, if you think back to 2006, we had some great story lines (The Bus retiring and winning in his hometown) and we won a seemingly unwinnable game (Colts in the RCA Dome). Most importantly, we saved all NFL fans from having the Seattle Seahawks as World Champions.

4. How many sacks will the Giants/ Steelers have on Sunday?

I hope the return of Willie keeps the Gents boys up front off balance enough to keep the sack total in double digits. Yes I said double digits.

5. Thoughts on this weekend's game. Who will win this Sunday and why?

Where should I start? I know, the Steelers will win.

This belief that the NFC East is the best thing since, well the NFC East circa 1990, has been put to bed the last few weeks and now the Steelers will tuck it in. After being manhandled by perennial powerhouses such as the Brownies, St. Louis, and the Cardinals people are realizing that the NFC East is not the NFL's greatest division but instead a good division that happens to play in the NFL's largest markets.

Well the Pittsburghers are going to welcome the Giants to the NFL's most passionate market. I am sure the Heinz Field grounds crew has the sprinklers out right now, turning what used to be a football field into a soggy mess, neutralizing the mismatches such as Justin Tuck against or JV offensive line. This will be the type of game where Hines Wards 8 yard grabs will be more critical than Holmes and Washington stretching the field. Ben will shake off enough hits and scramble for enough big first downs to put up 17 for our boys.

Meanwhile our D will eliminate Brandon Jacobs from the game plan early and beg Eli reincarnated to win the game. The line backing corps will stop focusing on the run and start teeing off on Lead Legged Eli, matching the vaunted Giants D Line sack for sack. On this day, Eli's standard 18-33 for 182 will not be enough. He will be left standing on the sidelines as Ben gets his jersey dirty one more time, taking a knee at the 40-yard line. Steelers 17 – Giants 6

Bonus Question: Plexico Burress, thoughts?

The thing with Plex is… he's an idiot. You would think Steelers fans would be irate that we let him walk. I mean, Big Ben spent the offseason begging for a big receiver and there was still no mention of the fact that we had let Plex leave. For good reason. Plexi-glass'es inadequacies stood out to much when he shared a field with Hines Ward. It becomes intolerable for a Steelers fan to watch this contrast.

Plex booked his ticket out of Pittsburgh early when, in his disappointing rookie year, he finally made a catch. Naturally he fell to the turf untouched, because after all, who really wants to get tackled. It hurts! Well, unfortunately for Plex, his mind was still in college (or high school for that matter), so he got up and spiked the ball. Now Steelers fans already hate anyone who celebrates after a 15 yard catch, but it really irks them when you celebrate before you are down. Well we happened to be playing the Jags, who turned out not to be as stupid as Plex. They pounced on the ball, and all those in Pittsburgh started counting the days until this clown was sent packing.

The author, Hank Watson, is a Pittsburgh native who currently spends his days as a Healthcare Consultant in Washington D.C.

Black and Blue? Thoughts from a Giants fan

Although I am a diehard Giants fan, I must confess an admiration for the Pittsburgh Steelers franchise. Of course it is hard not to like them somewhat when you spent your college years surrounded by Steelers fans. But, you can’t help having respect for their players (except Santonio Holmes), fans, owner, and, most importantly, the style of football they play. I’ll take hard-nose, take no prisoners football over the “Greatest Show on Turf.”

I think that’s why I enjoy watching the Giants so much this year. Not only are they the defending Super Bowl champs, but they have gone back to focusing on Steelers-type football. Gone are the days of allowing Kerry Collins to air it out for 4,000 yards a year (as he did back in the early 2000s in between drinks). Everyone knows KC wasn’t a real quarterback, and the painful display against the Ravens in Super Bowl XXXV proved it. Now, the G-Men have gone back to what they were known for in the Parcells-era: a ferocious defense with a clock-controlling running game. Sounds like Steelers football to me.

Or, should we call it Giants-football, since, after all, the Giants are playing “Steelers-football” better than the Steelers themselves. We all know what happened last year with the Giants riding their defense and running game to a Super Bowl victory. Everyone also knows they did it in a way eerily similar to the Steelers latest title run, winning 3 straight road playoff games against higher seeds before winning the Super Bowl. Only, the Giants did it better than the Steelers, taking down an undefeated, 14-point favorite in the Super Bowl, a team many were ready to crown the best ever. Yeah, those Seahawks were real tough too.

This year is no different. Sure both teams are 5-1, but the Giants are doing it more Steeler-like than the Steelers. The Giants running game has been unstoppable so far this year. Ranking 1st in the NFL in yards per game, at 169.7, the have an unprecedented 3 headed attack in which their 2nd running back, Derrick Ward, averages 7.2 yards per rush. Their best back at the end of last season, Ahmad Bradshaw is only averaging 4 carries per game. Meanwhile the Steelers running game ranks a paltry 18th, averaging only 109.3 yards per game. Of course the Steeler defense has been quite impressive this year, ranking 1st in the league. However, the Giants defense is not too far behind, ranking 4th.

Ok, so maybe this isn’t the most lead-proof argument, but the Giants run-dominating attack and its tenacious defense clearly qualify it as a January football team. And as the defending Super Bowl champs, they have the track record to back it up and show that this isn’t an early-season fluke. Sure the Steelers have had a dominating defense thus far, but can it last the whole season? And what about that weak running game? Will they be able to rely on Big Ben and the passing game when the snow begins to fall? Clearly there are some question-marks that need answering before they punch their ticket to Tampa. The Giants? Well, if I had the funds, I would by buying my ticket right now…

But, right now all we are concerned about is October; January is not the issue. Recently the Giants lost to the Browns, in embarrassing fashion, snapping their NFL Record 12-game road winning streak. Look for them to start a new one today. With all the focus in Eli v. Ben this week, it will be the Giants running game that steals the show. Although the Steelers have handled the run this season, they have never seen the likes of “Earth, Wind, and Fire” in action. Get ready Steelers fans, its going to be a bumpy ride… G-Men 23 Steelers 20.

And regardless of what happens today, hope you can make it to Tampa. We’ll be waiting…

The author, Jon Perrelle, is a die-hard Giants fan that currently spends his days as a law student in Brooklyn.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Big Ben and Eli

There quite a few articles in the blogosphere about the Giants – Steelers game, especially comparisons of Big Ben and Eli. It’s inevitable that these two will be compared throughout their careers. The have a number of similarities - they were first round draft picks from the same class, they both won super bowls, they both like to party.

But outside of these few facts, there seems to be a lot of disagreement about who is a better QB. Before we get to the comparisons, let’s all agree on one thing. Both are better than Philip Rivers.

It’s interesting to compare Eli and Ben, because defenders of both players will tell you vehemently that their respective quarterbacks cannot be judged on stats alone. Big Ben is consistently underrated because he doesn’t put up monster yardage. Ditto for Eli. They both play for teams that commit to running the football, controlling the clock, and throwing in some play action pass. Eli often gets more attention. He is a Manning. He plays in the biggest media market in the country. But despite this attention, he still had lots of doubters before the season He didn’t even get the normal pre-season, post-championship love because of the drama queen Brett Favre came into town.

Even though statistics don’t tell the whole story, we couldn’t have a respectable comparison without diving into the statistics. (From Joshua’s random thoughts courtesy of postgameheroes.com)

According to all of these statistics, Big Ben compares favorably to Eli. But what about the most important statistic of all, wins? Ben has 44 in the regular season (plus 5 postseason wins). Eli has 35 wins in the regular season (plus 4 postseason wins). Advantage: Big Ben.

However, ignoring statistics and focusing solely on wins doesn’t necessarily translate into one QB being better than the other. If I were an Eli supporter, I would argue that the Steelers teams were much better, so Ben had a much easier transition to the NFL. But the year before Big Ben was drafted, Pittsburgh went 6- 10 (allowing the Steelers to gain the #11 draft spot where we took Big Ben). With the team essentially unchanged from the year before, we went 15-1 and made it to the AFC Championship. Now I’m willing to admit that Ben’s role was simplified, but he was a big reason the Steelers were winning games. The following year, the Steelers made an unprecedented run to the Super Bowl, and despite a terrible Super Bowl performance, Ben was the MVP of the Steelers playoff run. He played incredibly well against Cincinnati, Indianapolis, and Denver to get the team to the Super Bowl. Did I mention it was only his second year in the league? Even though he was still young, Ben was not a Trent Dilfer-like game manager. (Check out the Super Bowl run comparison below).

The NY Giants during this time seemed to have a great formula going for them. Start the year out hot, cool down in midseason, collapse at the end of the season. The Steelers definitely had a stronger defense than the Giants across the years, but Eli has always had weapons on offense. Tiki Barber had his best seasons with Eli at the helm. Plaxico defected to the Giants in Eli’s sophomore year. Shockey talked a big game. And Amani Toomer was more than the best dressed receiver in the league. Those Giants teams lost in large part because of poor decisions by one Eli Manning.

At the end of the regular season last year, I doubt there were many people that would have taken Eli Manning over Ben Roethlisberger. But, then Eli went on a magical run. All of a sudden he was making good decisions and the Giants were making a Steeleresque run through the playoffs. I’ll even admit that the Giants road was tougher than Pittsburgh’s. Dallas appeared to be unstoppable, beating Green Bay at Lambeau is not supposed to happen, and then we all know what happened against the unbeatable, undefeated NE Patriots.

Eli is given significant credit (and rightfully so) for taking his team to the NFL championship. And several articles have cited the fact that he outplayed Jeff Garcia, Tony Romo, Brett Favre, and Tom Brady to win the Super Bowl. This is true, but the last time I checked, Eli didn’t play defense against those teams. The reason he outplayed them was because Strahan, Umenyiora, and the rest of the Giants defense were harassing the opposition.

Throughout the 2007 playoffs, NYG averaged 21.25 points per game. That’s respectable, but not exactly blowing it up on the offensive side.

In comparison, the Steelers average 26.75 points per game during their Super Bowl run. .

Giants Playoff Run
NYG 24 TB 14

Eli Manning – 20/27 185 yards 2 TD 0 Int

TB averaged 21 points per game in the regular season. Had every opponent of TB scored 24 points, the team would have been 6-10. Therefore, NYG’s offense was potent enough to beat Tampa Bay the majority of the time.

NYG 21 DAL 17

Eli Manning – 12/18 163 yards 2 TD 0 Int

Dal averaged 28 points per game in the regular season. Had every opponent of Dallas scored 21 points, the team would have been 13 -3. Eli and the offense were solid, but the reason they won this game was because of defense.

NYG 23 GB 20

Eli Manning – 21/40 254 yards 0 TD 0 Int

GB averaged 27 points per game in the regular season. Had every opponent of GB scored 23 points, the team would have been 11 -5. Eli and the offense were solid again (especially considering the weather), but the defense kept them in this game (and made the interception in overtime to put the team in position to score).

NYG 17 NE 14

Eli Manning – 19/34 255 yards 2 TD 1 Int

NE averaged 37 points per game. Had every opponent of NE scored 17 points, the team would have been 16 -0. Eli won this game for the Giants with his two incredible drives, but had NE scored even half as many points as the team averaged in the regular season, this game would have been won by the Patriots.

Steelers Run

PIT 31 Cin 17

Ben 14/19 218 3 TD 0 Int

CIN averaged 26 points per game. Had every opponent of CIN scored 31 points, the team would have been 6 - 10. Big Ben and the offense won this game for the Steelers. The defense struggled early, but bounced back in the second half. Nonetheless, if you score 31 points in the playoffs, you expect to win.

PIT 21 IND 18

Ben 14/24 197 2 TD 1 Int

IND averaged 27 points per game. Had every opponent of IND scored 21 points, the team would have been 11 - 5. Big Ben and the offense threw the ball early and often in the game to take a nice lead. The defense was incredible and the reason we won this game.

PIT 34 DEN 21

Ben 21/29 275 2 TD 0 Int

DEN averaged 24 points per game. Had every opponent of DEN scored 34 points, the team would have been 1 - 15. The defense was solid in this game, but Big Ben and the offense dominated.

PIT 21 SEA 10

Ben 9/21 123 0 TD 2 Int

SEA averaged 28 points per game. Had every opponent of SEA scored 21points, the team would have been 12 - 4. Ben was awful in this game. The defense stepped up in an utterly boring Super Bowl. A little credit to Ben, but much more to the defense.

Eli 72/119 857 yards 61% 6 TD 1 int
Ben 58/83 813 yards 70% 7 TD 3 int

Take away what you want from this analysis. Eli threw it a bit more and didn’t make as many mistakes. Ben had fewer attempts, but was more accurate, had nearly as many yards, and had more touchdowns. Both players had significant help from their defenses. Eli got much more credit, due in large part to the two great drives that won them the Super Bowl.

There is no right answer to who is (and who will be) the better quarterback of the two. After watching the two, I would take Big Ben without thinking. He has performed better throughout his career, routinely carries his team to victory behind a shaky offensive line, and has become the unquestioned leader of the Pittsburgh Steelers. The argument espoused in several articles that Eli has more potential is also trash. Those that watch the Steelers know that Ben continues to improve. He has much better control of the offense. He has more freedom to call audibles. And gone are the days when he forced plays and turned the ball over constantly.. New York, be happy you have your man. Pittsburgh is certainly pleased with ours.
Oh yeah, let’s not forget crybaby Eli refused to be drafted by the Chargers. Classy.

Friday, October 24, 2008


Santonio Holms has been deactivated for the game against the Giants this week, according to KDKA and Mike Tomlin.

SH will either be replaced by Dallas Baker if he has recovered from his shoulder injury or 2nd round draft choice Limas Sweed. Either way we should see some action for Sweed in the 4 or 5 receiver sets.

Parker out vs. Giants

Gerry Dulac at the Post Gazette. is reporting that Willie Parker will not play this week against the Giants.

Pro Bowl running back Willie Parker, who is concerned about the health of his sprained knee, did not practice today and is not expected to play against the New York Giants.

The Links: Big Ben vs. Eli

I'm working on a post comparing our beloved hero, Ben Roethlisberger, to the pride of New York City, Eli Manning. Here are links to other articles comparing the two.

Despite presenting facts to the contrary, Ian O’Connor at Fox likes Eli better.

Adam Gretz at Fanhouse tears apart the Ian O’Connor article.

The Post Gazette looks at Ben and Eli’s career. Interesting fact that these two are the first pair of QBs drafted in the first round in the same year to win the Super Bowl. I had my money on Akili Smith and Cade McNown.

Post Game Heroes shows all the statistics. For the first time ever, Steelers fans point to statistics to prove that Big Ben is the better QB.

John Clayton at ESPN (lots of good Steelers-Giants material on ESPN) writes that the two QBs will always be linked

Behind the Steel Curtain trades columns with Giants blogger Big Blue View. The case for Eli. The case for Ben. Good point in here that each team got the QB that fits its respective team/market.

Blog ‘N’ Gold has a number of links as well. It also has a picture of the smoking Elisha Cuthbert. So hot. Want to touch the hiney.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Santonio Busted with Pot

It has just been reported on WPXI Channel 11 news in Pittsburgh that Santonio Holmes was busted with 3 marijuana cigars aka blunts in his vehicle. He was pulled over outside Mellon Arena because the vehicle he was driving matched the description the cops had for another vehicle involved in a crime. Santonio was cited for misdemeanor marijuana possession. The police said he was very cooperative. This is not the first time Mr. Holmes has had run ins with law enforcement. After he was drafted, but before he ever set foot on the field, he was arrested for disorderly conduct in Florida for refusing to leave the street when asked by police. He was arrested a second time for domestic violence and assault in Columbus, Ohio, later that year.

I am not sure whether first time offenses under the NFL substance abuse policy calls for a suspension. Let's hope not. Chalk this up to the column of mounting evidence for the stupidity of one Santonio Holmes. Can't you just stay home and smoke up? You have a sweet crib I am sure. More on this story as it develops.

NFL Gives Steez a Stern Talking To...

And sent Hines Ward and Troy to bed without supper. According to this ESPN article, the league sent a representative to speak with the Steelers about recent comments made regarding fines levied.Troy also mentioned the fines were leading the NFL to become a "pansy league." When a player who is rarely outspoken speaks out like Troy has recently, the league feels the need to respond boldly. The NFL could have issued a statement or a levied a fine, like they normally do, but instead chose to send Ray Anderson, the executive VP of football operations to deal with the situation personally. Check out the article to see what went down.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Big Ben for MVP

A little recognition for our star QB. Michael Silver at Yahoo writes this about the MVP race:

So far this season, I’ve heard a ton of talk about Saints quarterback Drew Brees and Redskins halfback Clinton Portis as the early MVP frontrunners, whatever that actually means. Both men are hard workers who have put up some impressive statistics – Brees is on pace to finish one yard shy of Dan Marino’s single-season record for passing yardage (5,084 in 1984), and Portis had 175 rushing yards on 27 carries in Sunday’s 14-11 victory over the Browns to increase his league-leading total to 818. But if you’re asking me which player has had the biggest impact so far on the ‘08 season, I’m going with Big Ben in a big way. Ben Roethlisberger had another strong game for the Steelers on Sunday, completing 17 of 28 passes for 216 yards and two TDs in a 38-10 victory over the Bengals, as the fifth-year quarterback continues to shake off severe shoulder pain and show how insanely macho he is. Despite the recent absence of star halfback Willie Parker and an offensive line that has been shaky on occasion, Pittsburgh is 5-1 – and I shudder to think where the Steelers would be without their deceptively mobile and exceptionally tough quarterback. I don’t really care what his numbers are, but I will give you one stat that illustrates Roethlisberger’s value: Sunday’s victory over Cincinnati pushed his career record in games against AFC North opponents to 20-4 (including the playoffs).

McFadden out for Giants game; Polamalu uncertain

The Pittsburgh Post Gazette is reporting that Bryant McFadden showed up to the Steelers facility in a sling and is definitely out for Sunday's game against the Super Bowl Champion NY Giants. No information was released on Polamalu.

Let's hope Troy is able to suit up. This game will be Pittsburgh's toughest test this season.

UPDATE: It is being reported by PFT (Citing the Post-Gazette) that Bryant McFadden will be out 5 weeks
Also mentioned is that Troy has suffered a concussion, which is at least his sixth of his football career.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Steelers line let up NO sacks

Today's game felt a little like playing a Madden football game with your 10 year old brother. Early in the game you put up points on your first two possessions and hold your brother to five straight three and outs. Then you start goofing around, and fail to score despite having terrific field position. When you quit paying attention, you repeatedly let up 7 yard passes that end up in a couple scores and with ten minutes left in the fourth quarter you realize that one big play could result in losing the game. Your little brother starts talking some smack, so you decide to put the game away. Ten minutes later, after scoring three touchdowns, including a late touchdown pass with a back up Qb, little brother is crying to mom.

Playing a greatly overmatched Cincy team, the Steelers managed to keep it interesting into the 4th quarter, but exploded for three touchdowns in the final eight minutes to ensure the experts will give them a good spot in the power rankings. The game started out promising with the Steelers scoring an opening drive touchdown, going almost exclusively with the pass. We then held Ivy League player of the year, Ryan Fitzpatrick, to five straight three and outs. We had great field position the whole first half, but couldn't put the game away early. Fitzpatrick then led a 14 play, 92 yard touchdown drive to get the game to 10-7 before halftime. I was scared that this would be a repeat of the NY Jets game from last year, but we got our stuff together down the stretch to win big 38-10.

Here are some quick hit thoughts about the game:

- Major kudos to the offensive line. NO SACKS ALLOWED. Joe Biden style, I repeat NO SACKS ALLOWED. And this was done with Marvel Smith out and Darnell Stapleton as our starting guard. On top of that, Mewelde Moore had 120 yards rushing.

- Our first touchdown of the game came on a great play action roll out with a short pass to Moore. Loved that we threw it to the RB. Second drive of the game, we have first and goal from the three. Now I love the play action in the first drive, but on first and goal from inside the five I'd like to see our O-line dominate and pound the ball with a couple runs. We go pass, pass, pass, FG. Now, either we have no confidence in our line to gain three yards or our O-coordinator is an idiot. Or maybe both. We did get stuffed on multiple 3rd and 1's. This is not good.

- Great job by Ben on Mewelde Moore's 12 yard rushing TD. He changed the play at the line of scrimmage and Moore went untouched to the left for a TD. Ben gets better and better as he gets more freedom.

-This is the second game in a row that we dominated the game in the first half, but the score didn't reflect it. With a tough schedule coming up, we need to take advantage of our opportunies.

- Hines Ward is lighting people up this year. He knocked Keith Rivers out for the season with a huge block early in the game. Despite the fact the play didn't draw a flag, Ward should be expecting another fine this week for unnecessary roughness.

- Troy might back him up by making another "this is a pansy league" comment. But he has no clue where he is after being steamrolled by Cedric Benson. Karma's a bitch.
- Woodley and Harrison are just amazing. They had 2 sacks a piece this week. Woodley caused and recovered a fumble. Timmons also added 2 sacks in the Steelers 7 sack day. Suffice it to say Fitzpatrick didn't face a pass rush like this from my Penn Quakers.

- Let's hope the injuries to McFadden and Polamalu aren't serious. We need them.

- Did we forget that Santonio Holmes is our big play threat? All of the deep balls are going to Nate Washington and he even got a handoff on a reverse. I love to see Nate producing, but let's take a couple shots a game with Holmes (Full disclosure: I own Holmes in multiple fantasy leagues.)

- It wasn't the prettiest win, but we dominated late and Ben kept his perfect record in Ohio. The Bengals are still winless and we have a 2.5 game cushion over Baltimore for first place in the AFC North. The line didn't let up a sack and we won without Willie Parker, Marvel Smith, and Casey Hampton. I'll take it.

- Next week: The battle to be named the best quarterback from the 2004 draft class. Manning vs. Roethlisberger. Giants vs. Steelers. I'm pumped and ready.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Steelers must win coming off the Bye

No doubt Bengal fans are still blaming Kimo's legal hit on Carson Palmer for all the woes that have befallen the pathetic Bungles from that point forward. However, the Bengals have been playing better as of late, giving Dallas a run for their money. Luckily, we have James Harrison supplexing Chad Ocho Johnson to give us comfort. And one Carsson Palmer is out. Welcome to Blitzburgh Ryan Fitzpatrick!

This game is very important for the Steelers. Here is why I am calling it a must win: after this week we have the Giants, the 'Skins, Indy and then San Diego. All games we could lose. Currently, we have a two game lead in the division and have not lost a division or conference game. A win Sunday puts us at 5-1 and firmly in the driver's seat in the AFC North. It is crucial to get this win and give us some breathing room. With our schedule there is little margin for error. We need to win the games we are supposed to win. This is clearly one of those games.

Interesting bye week with all the injury story lines. First Willie was coming back. Then somehow a mysterious hole in our practice field appears swallows up his leg and now he is doubtful. Mewelde Moore, show us what you can do once again. Keisel returns which should help with keeping the D-line fresh later into the game but the backups played great in his abscence. Marvel Smith could be out with back spasms. Who will be taking his place? Trai E... nope, the most expensive backup in the league-Max Starks everybody. Last game, when Marvel went down Trai Essex came in to replace him, much to my surprise, especially with the way Max performed last year in relief at left tackle. Now Max will play. I didn't think Essex did that poorly. Clearly, something is going on behind the scenes between Max and the organization. No other logical explanation comes to mind why he hasn't been given a chance to play.

This week should reveal to us alot about our O-Line. Cincinnati is dead last in the league against the rush giving up 156.8 yards per game. Running is generally our strenghth. If we can't push around the Bungs (not to be confused with Bungy), things are not looking good for the rest of the season. The Bengals aren't much better at creating sacks. They are next to last in the league with only 5 sacks so far this year. Let's hope our line can hold them to their average of less than 1 sack per game. If we let up 2 or more sacks, curtains for the rest of the season because Ben won't have any more limbs.

When we are on Defense, the Bungs should be in trouble. Their O-line has given up the same amount of sacks we have, with 19. Our D has generated 18 sacks thus far which is 3 per game. They give up an average of about 3 per game. Advantage Steez. Another major advantage is that Ryan Fitzpatrick has never witnessed anything close to what he is about to see from the Steel Curtain. Nor has he faced a D with our speed at linebacker yet this year. I predict more than a couple turnovers from the team formerly known as the Bengals which will result for points for the Steez.
Cin offense is 28th overall in the league and I do not expect that many points out of them.
Cin pass defense is their strength. I hope to see alot of balls thrown to RB's out of the backfield and with screens and to TE's over the middle. If we do this, hopefully it will loosen coverage on Santonia and HInes and we can hit some stuff downfield.

I am excited that we have our first sighting of 2nd round draft pick Limas Sweed on Sunday. His development to this point has been less than promising.

My prediction: Steelers 34-Cin 10

Thursday, October 16, 2008


I meant to post this on Sunday, but I got a little sidetracked and had some other business to attend to and school is crazy and I finally had some time today so here is the bye week State of the Team Adress.

Quarterback: Bungy has played really well this year but I’m really starting to worry about him. First of all, he has been taking injections in his shoulder during the week. This makes me wonder how hurt the shoulder actually is and for the long-term heath of our franchise quarterback. I think he will undoubtedly need surgery at the end of the year if not before. At the same time he is still playing out his ass and without him we would definitely not be 4-1 and in the driver seat of the AFC North. Imagine if he was completely healthy and had an offensive line. This is the second area of concern with Bungy. He is holding onto the ball too long and getting sacked at an outrageous rate. Him holding on to the ball does allow him to make some of the plays that are the reason we love him (e.g. 3rd and 18 in 4th quarter at Jax). If he continues to take the beating he has been, and if the bye week didn’t allow enough healing of his shoulder, he’s going to be hurt before the end of the year. If he is healthy and playing great we are legit contenders.

Runningbacks: If Fast Willie Parker ever is 100% again this season and Bruce Arians actually uses our RBs like he should we will be in great shape. But I’m not sure that’s a reality. Arians is a giant ass and is by far the worst coordinator in the league. Maybe after the Jacksonville game he will realize that screens and quick passes will really open up our offense, but that is the epitome of wishful thinking. I hope he gets fired ASAP. Willie had a setback with his MCL sprain yesterday in practice. Apparently he stepped in a hole and re-aggravated it. Don’t ask me how there is a hole in the Steelers’ practice field. Last time I checked they didn’t practice in the astrodirt behind the upper parking lot at DAHS. Mewelde Moore showed last week that he can step up and play at a high level and has earned a spot to play an actual role in our offense. We now have Dump Davenport back as well. In some pitiful, awful, insert any negative word here, way that helps our kick return game as well.

Wide Receiver: Hines and Santonio are one of the best WR tandems in the league right now. Either one of them can kill you at any moment of any game. Hines will usually kill you (by kill I mean get a fine) by throwing a crushing block, catching one of Ben’s crazy improv plays, or that sure handed first down grab on third and long. Santonio is a big play threat every time he touches the ball and is also becoming a possession receiver. Nate is coming into his own as well. He has made some pretty big plays for us and is becoming a nice #3 guy. Sweed will finally get a chance to hit the field this week because of an injury to Dallas Baker the Touchdown Maker. Sweed has not received a chance yet but needs to capitalize now that he is getting one. We have some serious weapons on our offense, if only Arians could utilize them.

Tight Ends
: Not much to say here because we don’t use our tight ends. Heazy is a beast but Arians refuses to use him like he should. Heath could be everything Witten is to Dallas but Arians sucks. Spaeth could be used more too but he has been kind of shaky as well. McHugh is filling in for Carey Davis.

O Line
: They’re not playing very well. They are letting up entirely too many sacks and are getting embarrassed. They have created a little bit of running room but the pass protection is pitiful. I know sometimes Ben holds on too long but there are plenty of times when we have two guys blocking one and another guy or two are coming in untouched. We need to get our heads out of ass, stop thinking, and just start playing football. We played well against Jacksonville but the Jags pass rush was awful and they really didn’t blitz. This unit needs to become one and really start to play well. We go as far as they take us. Losing Simmons might be a blessing in disguise.

D Line: Playing outstanding right now. Depth was the biggest concern and our backups are playing great. Two-thirds of the line went down and we didn’t miss a beat. They are crushing people right now. Getting Snack and Keisel back is just going to make our D better than it is right now.

: We have the best set of LB’s in the league no doubt. Lawrence Timmons would be a stud starter on any other team in the league. But he’s in our nickel package. Woody and Silverback are killing fools on the field right now and compliment each other perfectly. Once we start using our exotic blitz packages, how can you possibly stop these two on the outside along with Farrior, Foote, Timmons, and/or Polamalu stunting through the middle? Dicky must be having a ball right now thinking up these schemes. Farrior and Foote are solid in the middle. They do over pursue sometimes though.

Defensive Backs: They are playing pretty well right now. McFadden looks great and might finally have unseated Deshea as the starter. The old Polamalu is back and is a force. He is wrecking people much like he does the table in the sick new Nike ad. Clark is playing good ball now that he has healed from losing his spleen. Ike is playing okay. We don’t see much of him which is usually pretty good.

Special Teams
: Skip is a solid kicker. He is a real asset to this team. Mitch Berger was on the 15-1 Viking team, enough said. Greg Warren does his job, too.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Add another to the bandwagon...

Ross Tucker of CNNSI.com names the best fans in the NFL. I'll give you one guess...

Monday, October 6, 2008

Big Win! And I am $10 richer...

One thing I love about living in Pittsburgh is that no matter where you go during the season, someone is talking about the Steelers. Professors ask their classes how many people are going to the game and then with a goofy smile admit they too are going too, so class will end a little early. I over heard two girls in a park today talking about how the game clock should have been managed at the end of the game last night. It's awesome to be surrounded by that atmosphere.

Now, here are my observations I wrote down as I was watching the game. A live blog of sorts.

-Interesting move having Najeh "Dump" Davenport returning the opening kick. The guy has been sitting on the couch all year and hasn't been hit for 9 months. Why not just toss him out there and let him return kicks. We have the worst returners ever. On one particular punt Santonio Holmes caught the ball and basically stood there trying to figure out which way to run. Can't we just find someone who will catch the ball and run straight ahead as quickly as possible?
-------------------On one return, Najeh got tackled by Jax's kicker.

-Mewelde Moore looked great running and catching the ball. Hopefully he stays a part of the offense once Fast Willie returns.

-1st sack of Big Ben, Jax only rushed 3 or 4. (Our line looked confused early with Stapleton in there but I thought they improved throughout the game and generally had a decent game.)
-early in the game I wrote down that this might be one of the worst teams I have ever seen in handling the blitz-I changed my mind on that as the game went along
-It seemed Ben gets hit on every single play
-I think we ran the fake screen, then handoff play at least three times in the first quarter. It would be nice if we actually threw a screen. (this changed as the game went along too)
-These fakes made a lot more sense when a few plays later we faked the handoff and then threw to Moore coming out of the backfield. Moore is very quick. Did I mention I like him alot?

-Multiple throws to the TE's, one for a touch in the same quarter. It is a miracle!

-Great play call on 2nd and goal for that touch. Play action to Miller. He was wide open. Awesome response to the pick 6.

-Our 3rd and long D has me scared everytime. They gave up a 3rd and 9 and then a 3rd and 10 on the next series. That drive ended in a TD.

-O- line had two false starts in the first quarter. I was shocked that our line after Simmons got hurt wasn't Colon at guard and bring in Starks at Right tackle. I was even more surprised when Essex came in at left tackle later in the game to replace Smith. Starks is 7 million that will never play apparently barring an emergency.

-I was impressed with the early no huddle and Ben's play calling. Wish they would have stayed with it longer. Went a little conservative in the 2nd half.

-Reed is money in the bank. Then he made the tackle on the ensuing kickoff. THe only decent return we let up. Coverage units have been good so far this year.

-I thought the D did a great job closing the cutback lanes for the Jags running backs. Normally, this is where we get gashed. Not last night. Also, Troy is back to form. He has been awesome this year and seemingly everywhere.

-Mitch Berger is awful

-McFadden has been great

-Anthony Smith I mean Ryan Clark had a stupid penalty and if you didn't notice, Tomlin knew the ball was tipped

-On the Jags 4th Q touchdown Chris Hoke had dropped into coverage. He's a D lineman

-Ben refuses to throw it away or run for first downs.

-Actually saw 5 WR sets for the first time this year.

-Roughing the passer on James Harrison was a terrible call.

-we had 124 penalty yards. That's the most I can remember in a while on the Steelers.

-Ben had an amazing game. Throwing a perfect strike to Hines Ward 20 yards downfield while being pulled down was unbelievable.

-Huge win going into the bye week with Baltimore losing and all the injuries. We need to beat Cin after the bye because then it gets really tough.



Sunday, October 5, 2008

Must win against Jax?

Breathe easy. I know you were worried that we got in a bath tub, turned on the water, and plugged in the toaster after watching the Steelers offense in the first half of the Baltimore game. But, we’re still here. I just needed a whole week to cool off after watching three of the most boring games in Steelers history the last three weeks. If I posted a blog after the game this week, it probably would have been a profanity-laced diatribe declaring my hatred of Bruce Arians. But, I’ve had time to relax and accepted that our offensive coordinator is an idiot. I had many other thoughts about this week’s game, but these two posts (here and here) pretty much covered most of my thoughts. Although, my biggest concern about the team that doesn’t seem to be getting much coverage is that the defense allowed Joe Flacco to drive 80 yards for a game tying drive in the 4th quarter. I’m not sure that bodes well for the rest of the season.

Anyway, back to the title of this post. I particularly hate when announcers state that this is a must-win game for a team, but it’s only the second week of the season. Truly, there aren’t many must win games until the last couple games of the season. For the Steelers, they have an incredibly tough schedule from here on out. Here is the schedule for the next thirteen weeks.

Courtesy of PittsburghSteelers.com
Sunday, Oct. 5 @ Jaguars
Sunday, Oct. 12 Bye Week
Sunday, Oct. 19 @ Bengals
Sunday, Oct. 26 vs. Giants
Monday, Nov. 3 @ Redskins
Sunday, Nov. 9 vs. Colts
Sunday, Nov. 16 vs. Chargers
Thursday, Nov. 20 vs. Bengals
Sunday, Nov. 30 @ Patriots
Sunday, Dec. 7 vs. Cowboys
Sunday, Dec. 14 @ Ravens
Sunday, Dec. 21 @ Titans
Sunday, Dec. 28 vs. Browns

Other than the two Bengals games, the Browns game, and the Ravens game, the easiest games left on the schedule are the Patriots, Colts, and Chargers. I never thought I would write that sentence. Unfortunately, the Patriots seem to have our number. The Chargers can still bring some heat on D. And Peyton Manning is still Peyton Manning. So let’s forecast the rest of the season.

Jacksonville: Despite our inability to block or stop the run, we sneak out of Jax with a win on Big Ben’s shoulders. 4-1

Cinc: The Bengals suck. Let’s hope they give Marvin Lewis a contract extension. 5-1

NYG: Can’t stop the pass rush. Loss. 5-2

Was: Steelers get caught up in Washington hype on Monday night, the day before election day. Campbell throws a late touchdown. Loss. 5-3

Ind; We get back on track at home. Harrison and Woodley put pressure on Manning. Win 6-3.

SD: Rivers, LDT, Gates too much power. Sproles returns a kickoff for a TD. Loss. 6-4

Cin: Bengals suck. Win. 7-4

NE: Belichick vs. Tomlin. Who would you take? Loss. 7-5

Dallas: TO is a distraction after we get pressure on Romo. Steelers rise to occasion at home. Win. 8-5

Balt: We always seem to split with Balt. Loss. 8-6

Titans: Haynesworth kills the interior of our line. Ben gets sacked 18 times. Loss. 8-7

Browns: Brady Quinn has never faced the Steelers. Too bad for him. We need this one to make the playoffs. Big win at home. 9-7

The Steelers will win the division at 9-7 and be well tested going into the playoffs. If Ben is still alive after a 60 sack season, I say we are a tough out in the playoffs. But, we have too many glaring weaknesses (O-line, Arians) to make it deep into the playoffs. I hope I’m wrong.