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Thread: Jay's Official Super Bowl Champion Steelers thread

  1. #26
    Member tdubb03's Avatar
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    Default Re: Jay's Official Super Bowl Champion Steelers thread

    Usually when a team takes out my team, I immediately hate them.

    See; Patriots
    See; Knicks
    See; IU

    But really, I don't have much of anything but respect for the Steelers. Class organization, have had 2 coaches in the LONG history of their franchise (I'm pretty sure that's right), and as far as I know have never ever had what you'd call a horrible season. Which also means they never got that high of draft picks, making it that much harder to stay good for as long as they have.

    I just wish Nick Harper would have cut to the sideline.

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    Default Re: Jay's Official Super Bowl Champion Steelers thread

    Good article on Batch/ quarterbacking in Pittsburgh:

    Short but sweet

    By Jason Cole, Yahoo! Sports
    September 8, 2006

    PITTSBURGH – In some ways, it's really hard to quarterback the Pittsburgh Steelers.

    Time and again, you are asked to do almost nothing. Thread the needle on a 12-yard hook? Nah, throw the dump pass to the running back.

    Throw the seam route just over the linebacker and in front of the safety? Nah, throw the dump pass.

    Forget about all those fun patterns in high-tech offenses that give other quarterbacks all those chances for glory. Steelers signal callers must wait and wait. Maybe somewhere along the line they'll get a chance to throw it deep.

    The latest example came Thursday night as the defending champion Steelers opened the season with a 28-17 win over the Miami Dolphins. It was a formulaic Pittsburgh victory even though the Steelers had to start Charlie Batch over Ben Roethlisberger, who was in sweats four days after his appendectomy.

    In this case, Batch was the hero in a game where most people were expecting Miami's Daunte Culpepper to put on a show. Batch completed 15 of 25 passes for 209 yards and three touchdowns, the biggest an 87-yard throw to tight end Heath Miller in the fourth quarter that gave the Steelers the lead for good and ultimately put Culpepper in a bind.

    But more on Culpepper later.

    Batch controlled the game Thursday because he did the thing that great Pittsburgh quarterbacks do best.

    He extinguished his ego.

    "Yeah, sometimes it's really hard to be a quarterback in this offense," Batch said. "You want to throw some of those hard patterns and zip it in, but that's not what we do. It's what coach [Bill] Cowher keeps telling us, 'Be patient, be patient.'"

    This has always been the Pittsburgh way during the good times. It just hasn't always been easy to do. In the 1970s, the Steelers won four titles with quarterback Terry Bradshaw, one of the great deep throwers of all time.

    It was a struggle at times for Bradshaw to accept his role. Coach Chuck Noll had to bench him at times and Bradshaw finished his career feeling bitter toward Noll. Bradshaw, stung by people who labeled him as stupid, wanted to call his own plays. He felt he deserved the right to throw the ball more.

    Noll always had a droll response to that notion.

    "People have to understand how they fit into the team," Noll said.

    The same is true today. That's why Roethlisberger is a perfect fit for the Steelers. He doesn't have an ego that demands more throws. He seems to understand that his greatest weakness is the intermediate passes.

    Moreover, he has a unique ability to keep his focus downfield when most quarterbacks would start to feel nervous about holding the ball too long.

    On Thursday, Batch borrowed a page from that book. He kept looking downfield. Most of the time, the play wasn't there, so he threw the easier route to Hines Ward (five catches, 53 yards) or running back Willie Parker (three for 13). He also let the running game take hold. The Steelers ran 38 times for 143 yards.

    "That's what you have to do with our offense, wait, wait, wait," running back Duce Staley said. "The time is going to come when the defense makes a mistake. You keep waiting and eventually that dam is going to burst and all that water is going to flow."

    In this case, the Miller play was that moment. With 6:25 remaining in the fourth quarter, the Steelers were down 17-14 at their own 13-yard line. Everything about the moment said either run or throw a safe pass. The Steelers ran a play-action fake and Batch looked at Ward on a crossing pattern.

    Linebacker Zach Thomas and cornerback Andre Goodman went to Ward. So did safety Travares Tillman.

    "I saw what was happening and I started pointing for Charlie to throw it to Heath," Ward said in all seriousness. "For real, I was pointing 'cause I knew he was open."

    Miller was wide open over the top of the defense.

    After that, Culpepper was the one who regressed. With the Dolphins running game going nowhere, Culpepper was called upon to do more than Miami really wanted. Down four points, Culpepper needed to drive the Dolphins for a score.

    Instead, he threw the first of back-to-back interceptions. Culpepper, who has never been known to read zone coverages particularly well, lobbed one to the sideline that safety Troy Polamalu snagged.

    The Dolphins got the ball back with 3:09 remaining, but the Steelers again dropped seven defenders looking for a Culpepper throw. Culpepper tried to zip a pass to slot receiver Wes Welker – the very type of pass that the Steelers hate to throw. As the results showed, there's a good reason for that disdain.

    Pittsburgh linebacker Joey Porter snagged the ball and returned it 42 yards for the clinching touchdown.

    Proving that most of the time, it's also really hard to be the quarterback going against the Steelers.

    Jason Cole is a national NFL writer for Yahoo! Sports.
    Why do the things that we treasure most, slip away in time
    Till to the music we grow deaf, to God's beauty blind
    Why do the things that connect us slowly pull us apart?
    Till we fall away in our own darkness, a stranger to our own hearts
    And life itself, rushing over me
    Life itself, the wind in black elms,
    Life itself in your heart and in your eyes, I can't make it without you


  3. #28
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    Default Re: Jay's Official Super Bowl Champion Steelers thread

    Jay,

    Given your concerns about the void in the bruiser RB department, what is your take on the Najeh Davenport acquisition? First thing that comes to my mind is before he can contribute he has to stay healthy.

    I tend to agree with your retort to Kravitz's column about the Colts choking in recent playoff defeats as opposed to the point of view that they just ran into superior opponents.

    Actually, I can see a couple different perspectives that I think hold some water with regard to the Steelers matchup last postseason. I'd say that the Colts and Steelers were both superbowl caliber contenders and thus approximately on the same level.

    I think what gave the Steelers the edge was a better D and the simple fact that the trajectory of their season dovetailed with them building excellent momentum and rhythm at a perfect juncture in the year.

    So I would say that the Steelers were the better team at that very important time of the year, although all three teams you mentioned record-wise in the last five years were legit contenders of approximately equal potential.

    A final thought on the Colts D compared to the Steelers. This continues to be my main concern about Indy. They have not been able to consistently stop the run game even despite the unit's overall improvement last year. Call me old fashioned but the D wins championships addage is one I still take hook, line, and sinker, especially in football.

    This is the edge that put the Steeler's over the top last year no question IMO and would make them still the slight favorite in a rematch this season.

  4. #29
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    Default Re: Jay's Official Super Bowl Champion Steelers thread

    I might add that IF the Colt's D continues to look like it did against the Giants, feel free to change my previous claim by removing the slight modifier from the edge I'd give the Steelers. Too early yet to judge that, but certainly not a confidence inspiring opener.

  5. #30
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    Default Re: Jay's Official Super Bowl Champion Steelers thread

    Wow. I certainly didn't expect the Steelers to be shutout by the Jags.

    Colts better be ready this Sunday.

    Granted I didn't watch much of this game, but man did it look boring.....

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    Default Re: Jay's Official Super Bowl Champion Steelers thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Helmet View Post
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    Wow. I certainly didn't expect the Steelers to be shutout by the Jags.

    Colts better be ready this Sunday.

    Granted I didn't watch much of this game, but man did it look boring.....
    Alot of hard hitting. A number of dropped passes. Jags imposed thier will on both sides of the line.

    Jags have always played the Colts very tough, especially upfront.
    I had thought from the beginning this will be the big test before the Bye week

    Although I expect a different game plan for the Colts. 9 points probably will not get it done.

    Why Not Us ?


  7. #32
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    Default Re: Jay's Official Super Bowl Champion Steelers thread

    I thought we'd at least score. Our defense was generally up to the task but our offense just could not get going. Running, passing, no huddle. It didn't matter.

    We lost the field position battle (thanks in part to some bad decisions by Holmes on special teams). We lost the turnover battle (did Holmes even turn his head on that one pass?). (Have I mentioned yet that I do not agree with that draft decision.)

    Most importantly, we lost the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball.

    That really was a great game, too bad the wrong team (IMO) won the line of scrimmage.

    I think last night is Exhibit A in my concern about our running game.

    Our offense is not designed for a cutback runner. Willie Parker is easy to tackle in our offense if he's running upright. In fact, we tried the same thing in 2002 with Bettis and that's when the "He's washed up" rumors started.

    In our offense, you've got to attack the hole and then make a second move downfield. Right now, we're trying to be something we're not.

    We obviously can't turn Willie into a power back, but he can run north-south and try to make the defender "miss" four yards upfield, instead of in our backfield.

    Congrats to Jacksonville, they out-hit us. And that doesn't happen often.
    Why do the things that we treasure most, slip away in time
    Till to the music we grow deaf, to God's beauty blind
    Why do the things that connect us slowly pull us apart?
    Till we fall away in our own darkness, a stranger to our own hearts
    And life itself, rushing over me
    Life itself, the wind in black elms,
    Life itself in your heart and in your eyes, I can't make it without you


  8. #33
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    Default Re: Jay's Official Super Bowl Champion Steelers thread

    Here's a gem from the PPG:

    Smizik: Steelers, Parker run into trouble
    Tuesday, September 19, 2006

    By Bob Smizik, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

    JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Anyone expecting an angry Bill Cowher after the Steelers' 9-0 loss last night to the Jacksonville Jaguars was in for a surprise.

    Cowher was calm and cool despite an awful offensive performance that ended a nine-game winning streak.

    He just didn't have much to say, which was as it should be because there wasn't really anything to say.

    Asked if he could remember when his team was so thoroughly dominated on offense, Cowher simply said, "No."

    Asked if there was any explanation for the team's normally superb running game picking up only 26 yards on 14 carries, he said, "I don't have any right now."

    Offensive tackle Max Starks might have put it best. "We just didn't execute."

    At least no one was worrying any longer about whether the Steelers could find someone to successfully handle the job as the team's No. 2 running back.

    For the moment, the Steelers have to be concerned about the No. 1 running back.

    No one expected them to move easily against the massive Jaguars' defensive line, which last season held the Steelers to their second-lowest rushing total, 70 yards on 30 carries, in an overtime loss. But nor did anyone expect the total lack of success of the running game.

    With defensive tackles Marcus Stroud, 6 feet 6, 312 pounds, and John Henderson, 6-7, 325 pounds, leading the way, the Jaguars gave starting running back Willie Parker absolutely no running room.

    Parker gained 20 on 11 carries.

    He carried eight times for 9 yards in the first 30 minutes, when his longest run was 4 yards. He barely was used in the second half, where his longest run was 8 yards.

    The futility of the running game was never more obvious than on the team's third possession of the game when Parker carried four consecutive times and gained only 6 yards.

    It was a far cry from the often dominating running game that led the Steelers to a Super Bowl championship last season.

    At one point in the second quarter, with the Steelers operating near their goal line, Cowher inserted Verron Haynes into the game. It made no difference. Haynes carried twice for 6 yards.

    Cowher continued to show his dissatisfaction with veteran running back Duce Staley, who was deactivated before the game. Najeh Davenport, who was signed after the team's season opener against Miami, dressed instead of Staley. Davenport did not play.

    One of the concerns about the need for a solid backup to Parker was the fear he would get worn down. That was particularly true after he carried 29 times in the opener against the Miami Dolphins, a figure considered too high for someone of his size. Cowher had let it be known he did not want Parker carrying the ball that often.

    There were no concerns along those lines last night. The Jaguars dominated time of possession and Parker never had the chance to get worn down. That was particularly true in third quarter when Jacksonville took a 3-0 lead. The Steelers had only two possessions in the third quarter and Parker didn't get a carry.

    The Steelers tried to go back to the run in the fourth quarter but with no more success. Parker got the ball on the team's first possession and gained 3 yards on two carries. After an 11-yard pass to Hines Ward gave the Steelers a first down, Parker had his best run of the game, 8 yards. But on third-and-2, Roethlisberger threw incomplete and the Steelers had to punt.

    Parker never carried the ball again.

    "We had nothing in the running game," Cowher said.

    Offensive guard Alan Faneca said, "We never got in a situation where we could pound the ball. We never got in a rhythm. They were doing a good job of disguising things."

    When the Steelers fell behind, 6-0, with 6:15 remaining, Cowher, understandably, gave up on his running game and put in his third-down offense with Haynes at running back. The strategy resulted in an interception by Roethlisberger, which led to a third Jacksonville field goal.

    The Cincinnati Bengals present a less formidable rushing defense next week and perhaps Parker, who most certainly shouldn't be tired, and the rushing offense can return to form. One thing is for sure: It can't get any worse.


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    (Bob Smizik can be reached at bsmizik@post-gazette.com. )
    Why do the things that we treasure most, slip away in time
    Till to the music we grow deaf, to God's beauty blind
    Why do the things that connect us slowly pull us apart?
    Till we fall away in our own darkness, a stranger to our own hearts
    And life itself, rushing over me
    Life itself, the wind in black elms,
    Life itself in your heart and in your eyes, I can't make it without you


  9. #34
    Member McClintic Sphere's Avatar
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    Default Re: Jay's Official Super Bowl Champion Steelers thread

    When teams have big effective defensive tackles and can get by without crowding the box with extra db's, Burghermeister Rothliesberger just isn't very good.

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    Default Re: Jay's Official Super Bowl Champion Steelers thread

    That may be true, but Ben struggling doesn't translate to Steelers wins and losses.

    We had running lanes, and didn't take advantage of them. That had nothing to do with Ben.

    In the first half, we had receivers dropping balls - especially on third down - that's not really Ben's fault.

    One of the interceptions was when Holmes never even looked at the ball (nor made a break toward it). That's not Ben's fault.

    The other interception, very late in the game, the ball sailed about and Ben was about to get hit in the appendix. I wouldn't say that's because of the defensive tackles.

    We got smacked around all night, and Ben was not sharp, but QB was not really one of our problem areas. And, as usual when the Steelers lose, improved play from the quarterback is not going to make the difference. We lost because our running game only picked up 26 yards and no first downs, something that's unheard-of in the Chuck Noll/ Bill Cowher eras.
    Why do the things that we treasure most, slip away in time
    Till to the music we grow deaf, to God's beauty blind
    Why do the things that connect us slowly pull us apart?
    Till we fall away in our own darkness, a stranger to our own hearts
    And life itself, rushing over me
    Life itself, the wind in black elms,
    Life itself in your heart and in your eyes, I can't make it without you


  11. #36
    Member McClintic Sphere's Avatar
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    Default Re: Jay's Official Super Bowl Champion Steelers thread

    In the playoffs last year the rush didn't really hurt the Colt's at all as Parker went for 59 yds and Bettis for 46, but Roethlisberger went for 197 yds and 2 tds because we kept bringing Doss and Sanders up.

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    Default Re: Jay's Official Super Bowl Champion Steelers thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay@Section19 View Post
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    The other interception, very late in the game, the ball sailed about and Ben was about to get hit in the appendix.
    How could he get hit in the appendix, when he doesn't have an appendix?

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    Default Re: Jay's Official Super Bowl Champion Steelers thread

    Not sure I understand your point. We used the vertical passing game to open up our running game last January.
    Why do the things that we treasure most, slip away in time
    Till to the music we grow deaf, to God's beauty blind
    Why do the things that connect us slowly pull us apart?
    Till we fall away in our own darkness, a stranger to our own hearts
    And life itself, rushing over me
    Life itself, the wind in black elms,
    Life itself in your heart and in your eyes, I can't make it without you


  14. #39
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    Default Re: Jay's Official Super Bowl Champion Steelers thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Since86 View Post
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    How could he get hit in the appendix, when he doesn't have an appendix?
    I was trying to type "spot where he used to have an appendix" but it sounded silly.
    Why do the things that we treasure most, slip away in time
    Till to the music we grow deaf, to God's beauty blind
    Why do the things that connect us slowly pull us apart?
    Till we fall away in our own darkness, a stranger to our own hearts
    And life itself, rushing over me
    Life itself, the wind in black elms,
    Life itself in your heart and in your eyes, I can't make it without you


  15. #40
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    Default Re: Jay's Official Super Bowl Champion Steelers thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay@Section19 View Post
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    I was trying to type "spot where he used to have an appendix" but it sounded silly.
    I don't know why stomach sounded silly to you, but nonetheless.

  16. #41
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    Default Re: Jay's Official Super Bowl Champion Steelers thread

    Maybe it was because I spelly it "tummy".
    Why do the things that we treasure most, slip away in time
    Till to the music we grow deaf, to God's beauty blind
    Why do the things that connect us slowly pull us apart?
    Till we fall away in our own darkness, a stranger to our own hearts
    And life itself, rushing over me
    Life itself, the wind in black elms,
    Life itself in your heart and in your eyes, I can't make it without you


  17. #42
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    Default Re: Jay's Official Super Bowl Champion Steelers thread

    I've wondered if the shoulder injury kept Troy from picking off that pass. He certainly did not look like himself Monday night. But injuries are a big part of football, and he'll be healthy again soon.

    In other news, while it is apparently true that a foot injury may be hampering Santonio Holmes' ability to cut and push off, there is no connection between that injury and Santonio's inability to use his brain in punt/kickoff return situation nor his ability to turn his head and see that a pass is being thrown right to him so he should try to catch it.

    Steelers Notebook: Polamalu plays what-if game
    Friday, September 22, 2006

    By Gerry Dulac, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

    If Troy Polamalu had a healthy right shoulder, perhaps the Steelers would be unbeaten and not 1-1 heading into the playoff rematch Sunday with the Cincinnati Bengals.

    If nothing else, if Polamalu had more range of motion in his arm, perhaps the Steelers would not have endured their first shutout in almost three years in Jacksonville.

    Polamalu nearly intercepted a quick Byron Leftwich pass in the left flat Monday night when the Jaguars, leading, 3-0, had the ball at their 13. But Polamalu, a two-time Pro Bowl safety, dropped the ball, and the Jaguars went down the field and added another field goal.

    "I reached out there with my right arm," Polamalu said. "If I would have had three or four more inches, which I probably could have if [I were] healthy ... who knows if I would have even caught the ball anyway. It's time to move on."

    Polamalu's right shoulder was injured in the season opener against the Miami Dolphins and is listed as questionable on the injury report. He has practiced each of the past two days, however, and will play against the Bengals.

    Coach Bill Cowher said Polamalu is not at risk of doing further damage to his shoulder by playing in games and should benefit from the open date after the game against the Bengals.

    "The biggest thing is, I've always tried to differentiate between a guy playing hurt and a guy playing injured," Cowher said. "Someone who's injured, if [there is] risk of further damage, then we certainly weigh that. We would not subject a player to doing something that could have long-term effects.

    "What Troy is dealing with right now is something that's going to get better with time. But he's having to play with some pain."

    Polamalu tried to downplay the significance of the injury, but acknowledged it made it difficult to tackle Jaguars running back Fred Taylor, who had 92 yards on 22 carries against the Steelers.

    "When you're injured, with any injury, definitely you're restricted in some way. There's a lot of people playing with pain and injuries on this team that I'm sure you guys don't even know about. And, if it were up to me, you guys wouldn't even know about this injury. But, unfortunately, it's that obvious.

    "It's tough to let my arm hang, in general. If walking is tough, tackling Fred Taylor or any running back for that matter is always going to be tough. I'm just one of 11 guys on this defense. It doesn't matter. It's one arm of 22."

    Foot injury hampers Holmes

    Rookie wide receiver Santonio Holmes did not practice for the second day in a row because of inflammation on the arch of his foot and will not play against the Bengals if he doesn't practice today.

    Cowher said Holmes does not have a stress fracture, but he is unable to cut and push off when he runs. If Holmes doesn't play, Cowher said No. 3 draft pick Willie Reid will be active for the first time this season and likely will return kickoffs and punts along with Ricardo Colclough.

    "I can run straight ahead, but to cut side to side, that's the biggest thing," Holmes said.

    Holmes, the team's No. 1 pick from Ohio State, said he doesn't know when he was injured against the Jaguars, though he remembers his foot getting stepped on in the game. He said his foot didn't start bothering him until Wednesday when he reported back to practice.

    "I didn't come to the training room on Tuesday," Holmes said. "I didn't have any problems."

    Mutual admiration society

    Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer doesn't have a vote, but, if he did, he said Polamalu would be the NFL's defensive player of the year.

    "In my eyes, he's the best defensive player in the game," said Palmer.

    "He's more than just the best safety. He's the best defensive football player. He consistently makes plays. He leads that defense by example. He's a lot of fun to watch and not a lot of fun to play against."

    Told what Palmer said, Polamalu replied, "He's probably the best offensive player in the league."

    Polamalu and Palmer were housemates when they played together at Southern California, and they periodically talk by phone, even in the offseason. When a Pittsburgh reporter visited Palmer last month, he jokingly said, "Tell Troy to return my call."

    "I called him to check on him a couple times this summer," Polamalu said. "I'm a hermit. The only person I talk to is my wife."
    Why do the things that we treasure most, slip away in time
    Till to the music we grow deaf, to God's beauty blind
    Why do the things that connect us slowly pull us apart?
    Till we fall away in our own darkness, a stranger to our own hearts
    And life itself, rushing over me
    Life itself, the wind in black elms,
    Life itself in your heart and in your eyes, I can't make it without you


  18. #43
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    Default Re: Jay's Official Super Bowl Champion Steelers thread

    That article title is horrible, when the guy says this: "who knows if I would have even caught the ball anyway. It's time to move on."

    Doesn't sound like a "what-if game," to me at all. Sounds like he was asked a what if question from a reporter wanting to play the game, and he gave a hell of an answer saying he doesn't even know if he would have gotten it anyways. Usually you see players throw in the injury excuse without prompting from a reporter.

    Kudos to Troy.

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    Default Re: Jay's Official Super Bowl Champion Steelers thread

    Yeah, the article is horrible. The quotes from Troy, Cowher, and Palmer made it worthwhile, however. Especially Cowher's comments that seemed quite appropriate for many of the "is he hurt or injured?" discussions we've had about the Pacers in recent seasons.
    Why do the things that we treasure most, slip away in time
    Till to the music we grow deaf, to God's beauty blind
    Why do the things that connect us slowly pull us apart?
    Till we fall away in our own darkness, a stranger to our own hearts
    And life itself, rushing over me
    Life itself, the wind in black elms,
    Life itself in your heart and in your eyes, I can't make it without you


  20. #45
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    Default Re: Jay's Official Super Bowl Champion Steelers thread

    You, Never? Did the Kenosha Kid?

  21. #46
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    Default Re: Jay's Official Super Bowl Champion Steelers thread

    Well, it doesn't matter how well you play when you throw two interceptions in the red zone (or, even worse, in the endzone.)
    Why do the things that we treasure most, slip away in time
    Till to the music we grow deaf, to God's beauty blind
    Why do the things that connect us slowly pull us apart?
    Till we fall away in our own darkness, a stranger to our own hearts
    And life itself, rushing over me
    Life itself, the wind in black elms,
    Life itself in your heart and in your eyes, I can't make it without you


  22. #47
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    Default Re: Jay's Official Super Bowl Champion Steelers thread

    Roon Cook is hardly "Sally Sunshine" for the Steelers, yet this seems to be true:

    Calm down; Bengals loss was hardly 'devastating'
    Tuesday, September 26, 2006

    Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

    Heard more than one person use the word "devastating" in the ridiculously overdone hysteria after the Steelers' loss to the Cincinnati Bengals Sunday.

    It seemed like an especially silly choice of words on the weekend the NFL returned to New Orleans.

    If the Steelers' loss was devastating, what does that make Hurricane Katrina?

    I know, I know, the foolish panic-button pushers were talking strictly in a football sense. Still, it's beyond absurd to bring out the "d" word after a loss in the third game of a 16-game season. The only truly devastating loss in sports is the one that eliminates a team from playoff competition. This 28-20 home loss to the Bengals hardly qualified even if it did leave the Steelers in a sizable two-game crater beneath the Bengals and the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC North Division.

    That doesn't mean the emotional overreaction wasn't predictable, though.

    You just knew the nonsense you would hear the second after Ben Roethlisberger threw his third interception of the game in the Bengals' end zone with 10 seconds left.

    Cut Colclough!

    Bench Big Ben!

    Fire Cowher!

    Easy, people. Easy.

    "Crazy as it might sound, I thought we did some good things," Steelers coach Bill Cowher said after the game.

    It's not crazy at all, actually.

    It's hard to remember them because of the Steelers' blunders. Five turnovers trump all, not to mention Nate Washington's dropped touchdown pass and the thoughtless penalties for excessive celebrating and taunting. But they were there nonetheless.

    Start with the running game. A week after the Steelers rushed for 26 yards in a loss at Jacksonville -- a franchise low under Cowher -- they ran for 170 yards against the Bengals, 133 by Willie Parker. Parker deserves a lot of credit, but his offensive linemen deserve more. They were terrible in Jacksonville, terrific against Cincinnati, especially on Parker's first-quarter, 3-yard touchdown run when they practically knocked the Bengals into the end zone bleachers.

    Sure, the running game still has its issues. Parker had 31 carries, which are about 8-10 too many. The Steelers are going to get him hurt using him that much. Somebody has to step up to give Parker a blow. It can't be Verron Haynes if he can't hang on to the ball, which he didn't do when he lost a killer fourth-quarter fumble. Maybe it can be Najeh Davenport. Or even Duce Staley.

    Still, it was nice to see Parker run so effectively behind his line.

    The defense also was a plus. It held its own against the best offense it will face all season. It had the game won in the fourth quarter before Ricardo Colclough fumbled on a punt return at the Steelers' 9 and Haynes lost his fumble at the Steelers' 30.

    The defense did a nice job regrouping after Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer led two long second-quarter touchdown drives by completing 12 of 12 passes -- excluding two spikes to stop the clock -- for 111 yards and two touchdowns. The Bengals' first five possessions of the second half produced one first down. One ended after safety Ryan Clark laid out wide receiver Chris Henry with a wicked hit on a play that ended with an interception by cornerback Ike Taylor. Another ended after cornerback Deshea Townsend forced a Palmer fumble. A third ended after sacks by defensive end Aaron Smith and linebacker Clark Haggans.

    "We were playing Pittsburgh Steelers football," Clark said.

    It's a shame Roethlisberger's interceptions and the fumbles by Colclough and Haynes sabotaged an effort that included six sacks, a paltry 47 yards on 19 carries by running back Rudi Johnson and three fumbles and two interceptions by Palmer. The performance would have been good enough to beat the Bengals on most days. It would have been good enough to beat just about everyone else on any day.

    Maybe the most encouraging aspect of the defense's play was that the players didn't exactly sound satisfied with themselves. They took the blame for the loss instead of hanging it on Roethlisberger, Colclough, Haynes and Washington.

    "We got after Carson really well," defensive end Brett Keisel said. "I think we had him flustered, but it wasn't enough. We've got to do more."

    Said linebacker James Farrior, "Our red-zone defense was terrible. We gave up four scores."

    Maybe the next time those touchdowns are just field goals. Cowher has promised to take care of the stupid penalties that were taken by Parker and Haynes and by safety Mike Logan. It's nice to think Colclough won't return punts anymore. Certainly, Roethlisberger won't throw three picks again. And the receivers can't keep dropping the ball, can they?

    Do you really see a reason to cancel the rest of the season?

    Is the devastation really that bad?
    Why do the things that we treasure most, slip away in time
    Till to the music we grow deaf, to God's beauty blind
    Why do the things that connect us slowly pull us apart?
    Till we fall away in our own darkness, a stranger to our own hearts
    And life itself, rushing over me
    Life itself, the wind in black elms,
    Life itself in your heart and in your eyes, I can't make it without you


  23. #48
    Administrator/ The Real Jay ChicagoJ's Avatar
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    Default Re: Jay's Official Super Bowl Champion Steelers thread

    From a James Brown/ Terry Bradshaw blog, Terry's thoughts on the Bill Cowher contract situation...

    Contract talks in the Steel City

    I want to think that Bill Cowher is a very, very smart man and realizes what a hero he is to the hundreds of thousands of Steelers fans. How many coaches with as many victories as he has, coming off a Super Bowl, have a quarterback of superstar status who is only in his third year and a young running back? They do a phenomenal job of scouting and drafting there. It's the perfect place for the perfect coach for the Pittsburgh Steelers. And if this is all about money and he would want to leave because of money, I would be absolutely shocked because it would then be true that money -- or the want of money -- is the root of all evil. Why go somewhere else? It does not make sense to me.
    Why do the things that we treasure most, slip away in time
    Till to the music we grow deaf, to God's beauty blind
    Why do the things that connect us slowly pull us apart?
    Till we fall away in our own darkness, a stranger to our own hearts
    And life itself, rushing over me
    Life itself, the wind in black elms,
    Life itself in your heart and in your eyes, I can't make it without you


  24. #49
    Administrator/ The Real Jay ChicagoJ's Avatar
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    Default Re: Jay's Official Super Bowl Champion Steelers thread

    Our offense is awful, and Willie Parker is still not the answer.
    Why do the things that we treasure most, slip away in time
    Till to the music we grow deaf, to God's beauty blind
    Why do the things that connect us slowly pull us apart?
    Till we fall away in our own darkness, a stranger to our own hearts
    And life itself, rushing over me
    Life itself, the wind in black elms,
    Life itself in your heart and in your eyes, I can't make it without you


  25. #50
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    Default Re: Jay's Official Super Bowl Champion Steelers thread

    The Steelers didn't have a normal training camp, but they've had four relatively normal weeks now to get their act together.

    Their "training camp" is over, and they spotted the rest of the division a 2.5 game lead after five weeks. Did they dig too big a hole?

    Soul-searching begins after team's flaws exposed again
    Tuesday, October 10, 2006

    By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

    SAN DIEGO -- The Steelers made a long trip to sunny California and departed without ever finding daylight. Things instead grew darker for them after they lost their third consecutive game to slip to 1-3.

    They have gone from Super Bowl champs to ones looking very much like one-hit wonders and there is only a single solution.

    "Victories," proclaimed linebacker Clark Haggans. "And us playing Steelers football. That'll get us out."

    This new version of Steelers football doesn't cut it. It features turnovers, an inconsistent running game and a defense that looks dominant most of the time, susceptible at the wrong times.

    Willie Parker and the ground game looked fine in the first half against the Chargers when the Steelers ran 14 times for 55 yards and one touchdown, but they ran only four times in the second half. That's not the kind of Steelers football that Haggans referred to.

    "We got things going and then, all of a sudden, things weren't going for us," guard Alan Faneca said. "We came out and it didn't feel like we had too many plays in the second half. We had a couple of turnovers and they had some good drives and we couldn't get back in rhythm."

    Interceptions have a way of killing that, and Ben Roethlisberger threw two more. He has thrown seven interceptions and no touchdowns in his three games. The quarterback who set the rookie passer rating record at 98.1 and who has the top two passer ratings in Steelers history has a 41.67 rating after three games. After going 13-0 in his first season and winning a Super Bowl in his second, he's looking more like a rookie in his third.

    Roethlisberger described the obstacle that confronts the team as a hump, while most of his teammates called it a hole. Whether they have to climb over it or out of it, they need to start Sunday against Kansas City or they will become the first Steelers team in a long time to be counted out with half a season left.

    No Bill Cowher-coached team ever started as poorly as 1-4. The previous time the Steelers did so was in 1988, when they opened 1-6 and finished 5-11. Most famously, their 1976 team lost four of its first five as two-time defending Super Bowl champs and rebounded to go 9-4 and make it to the AFC championship game. But that team had nine Hall of Fame players on it.

    "There's going to be a lot of soul searching," said Hines Ward, who hasn't gone this long without a 100-yard receiving game since 2001. "We don't have time to sit there. We don't have any more bye weeks.

    "It's not a good feeling, being in the spot we're in. It's been three or four years since I've been in this spot. It is what it is. We're not playing good football."

    The Steelers started 1-3 in 2002 and turned it around to finish 10-5-1 and make the playoffs. It can be done -- it just leaves little room for losses the rest of the way. To match what they did four years ago, the Steelers must go 9-2-1 the rest of the way.

    "It's not desperate," Faneca said. "But it's definitely [time to] check yourself in the mirror. It's gut-check time. It's time to see what you're doing, what you're doing wrong and fix it, no matter what that takes -- if it takes coming in early, if it takes staying late. You know, 1-3, you got to do something to change that. You can't keep doing what you've been doing.

    "You have to reflect on yourself, on your game and what you can do better. You can't keep doing the same thing you've been doing, each of us individually. We're 1-3. We all need to either stay longer or work better the time we are working. It's not time to press but it is time to change what we're doing and work harder."

    Ward, who dropped the first pass thrown to him to contribute to a failed second series Sunday, cited all phases of the game for their predicament.

    "We're just playing too inconsistent, for whatever reason," Ward said. "We're all in it together. We have to find a way to turn this around -- someway, somehow -- or continue to go like that if we don't find a way to get all of our guys on the same page, because everybody has to play better."

    Ward would not guess whether that would take some drastic measures.

    "I don't know. I'm not the coach. I can't worry about other guys. I have to look at the way I played, learn from mistakes and see how I can get better."
    Why do the things that we treasure most, slip away in time
    Till to the music we grow deaf, to God's beauty blind
    Why do the things that connect us slowly pull us apart?
    Till we fall away in our own darkness, a stranger to our own hearts
    And life itself, rushing over me
    Life itself, the wind in black elms,
    Life itself in your heart and in your eyes, I can't make it without you


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