The Steelers have won three straight to put themselves right back in the thick of things not only in the AFC North but for a seed in the AFC as well. Lot of ball to be played with half the season remaining but at 5-3, they still have all their goals well in their grasp.
They should be 6-3 after playing the pitiful Kansas City Chiefs at home next Monday. Then comes Baltimore for two out of three. With the Ravens holding a one-game lead, the Steelers might have to win both of those meetings, as did Baltimore last season, in order to win the division outright.
Now, onto some stuff:
--- That was an impressive victory by the Steelers in so many ways. Not only was their travel disrupted, but the officiating crew headed by Bill Leavy seemed as though they were the ones put out.
Leavy’s crew made a handful of questionable calls from poorly spotting a Giants punt that went out of bounds to the ridiculous penalty calls against Keenan Lewis for pass interference and Ryan Clark for a hit to the head that wasn’t close to the head. Ruling Ben Roetlisberger’s incomplete pass a fumble was the topper.
--- They also had to overcome a stunningly poor decision by their head coach to try to get a first down with a fake field goal. It’s okay to fake a field goal once in a while but certainly not in the fourth quarter when you have a chance to tie the game against the Super Bowl champs in their place after trailing by 10 in the fourth quarter.
Mike Tomlin was saved by his team when they came back and won it or he would have been verbally abused all week long locally and nationally for that call. He admitted afterward that it was “bad coaching.’’
--- Max Starks told me that the offensive line in the final two quarters played the best half of football he has experienced in the past three seasons.
--- Ben Roethlisberger pulled off his xx winning drive in the fourth quarter/overtime of his career, second this season.
--- After going through the early part of the season nestled near the bottom of the league in rushing, the Steelers have averaged 155 yards a game over the past three.
“A lot of that credit has to go to the linemen,’’ Roethlisberger said. “They don’t care who’s back there running the blal, they’re going to open up holes. [Isaac Redman] had a bunch of second opportunities, spinning off of things, bouncing plays.’’
--- Ike Taylor’s interception was the first by a Steelers cornerback and only the fourth for the team. The linebackers have two and safety Ryan Clark has the other.
--- LaMarr Woodley picked up his third sack to tie Larry Foote and Jason Worilds for the team lead with three sacks apiece. Lawrence Timmons got his first sack. Roethlisberger, sacked just 13 times through seven games, was sacked four times by the Giants.
--- Eli Manning wasn’t about to take the blame, even though he had one of his worst games in years with only 125 yards passing on 10 of 24 with an interception, no touchdowns and a miserable 41.1 passer rating.
“I feel like I’m throwing the ball accurately when I have opportunities to,’’ Manning said. “It’s just trying to find guysopen and trying to just get in good situations.”
--- Tony Dungy on the Steelers last night: They are “Back. Back. Back; with old-time football: run the ball, play defense and good special teams.”
--- And Dungy on whether the Ravens remain the team to beat in the AFC North: “Not yet. They still are having problems on defense. They gave up another 100-yard rusher today and they play the Steelers twice in the next few weeks. Then we’ll see.”
--- Your questions
--- YOU: Manning had a QB rating of 41.1 for the game. A lot had to do with Woodley, Timmons, and McClendon. But most had to do with Lewis, who only had one genuine PI, and 3 PD's in the first two Giants' series. What is the method behind his madness of improving? Carnell Lake?
ME: Lewis has steadily improved; he once ranked 91st of 100 cornerbacks for his play earlier in the season by Profootballfocus.com. As a coach, Carnell Lake should have some effect on his players but Mike Wallace also pointed out to me that by playing every down, Lewis has become more comfortable playing the position.
Here’s what Wallace told me about Lewis the other day:
“He’s been that good the whole time. It’s just a matter of him believing in himself and buying into what coaches were doing. I don’t really see too much change in his game from our rookie year. It’s just a matter of opportunity and him taking advantage of it. Times he was out there he wasn’t really taking advantage of it.
I just knew whenever he got out there and got comfortable – he’s been out there a couple games and is comfortable – every game he feels more and more comfortable. He’s been able to do that kind of stuff, he’s been playing like that it’s just matter of him really getting out there and just getting comfortable on every play.
“Last year he was the third guy so he’d come in on third downs, whatever, and it’s hard to get comfortable like that – in and out, in and out, in and out. Now by him being out there every down, he’s ready.”
--- Here’s a look at the game through the New York Tiimes.
--- YOU: I thought the real story of the game was the defense's ability to stop the opponent when it mattered most. Seems like it has been an awfully long time since we've seen that. Is the D that it seems every pundit wants to call old turning the corner?
ME: I thought the secondary stepped it up last night a whole lot.
---YOU: what do the refs do? Warm up? Have coffee? Discuss the bad calls? Get phoned from the Director of Officiating?
ME: They are graded and they CAN be fined for some poor calls.
--- YOU: Am I correct in thinking there were zero holding calls against the
Steelers this game? If so, is that a first this year? Doubling
intriguing after Tuck's interview on ESPN.
ME: No holding calls against the Steelers offensive line. Maybe Justin Tuck’s words had the opposite effect.
--- YOU: How can an illegal blow to the head result in bruised ribs? Oh, well, good news for Ryan Clark, at least, I suppose: it seems unlikely he'll be fined for that one.
ME: Clark said after the game that he believes the officials have meetings before the game to discuss just him. He has had many penalties that later did not draw fines.
|< Prev||Next >|
You must be a registered user to post. Commenting system instructions