|Written by Cotter|
|November 10, 2010 14:28|
How many days can you look back on in your life and go, "man, today was perfect; nothing went wrong"...?
Several? A relative handful?
After Monday night's game, Big Ben and Hines Ward nailed it - it wasn't perfect, but they found a way to win.
Every team - I don't care who it is - faces adversity, week in and week out. The difference between the winners and losers is that the winners find a way to hang on or pull one out. They're the ones who aren't content to accept a loss. It might be the most common sense statement ever made, but winners always find a way to win.
It's funny how expectations impact perception.
If you ask Steeler fans, I bet a lot of them would say they're just happy to win, regardless of how.
But then you ask some others, and they might paint a different picture.
And while we have high expectations for winning, at the same time, we also have certain expectations for certain situations.
Case in point - one year ago, the Steelers lose that game.
And so when you have the Bengals all of a sudden in a position to pull an upset in the 4th quarter, your spider sense goes off and you start worrying about every single play. Jeff Reed misses a field goal that would've put the Steelers up 30-21, uh oh. Carson Palmer works it all the way to the Steelers 12 yard line with :30 seconds left, "oh no, game over."
But when it really really counted, the Steelers were there to make sure THEY were the ones who found the win this time, and not the Bengals.
So now we're 6-2, keeping pace with the Ravens to maintain the tie atop the AFC North, and we head home to play the 6-2 New England Patriots this Sunday night.
I would like to take this time to point out that while both the Pats and Jets own similar records to the Steelers, the Pats just got embarrassed by Cleveland, 34-10 (we'll get to this in a moment), and the Jets almost got handed 5-3 by the LIONS (not the terrible team they once were, but not a winning team just yet either).
The Pats have beat Cincinnati (2-6), Buffalo (0-8), Miami (4-4), Baltimore (6-2), San Diego (4-5), and Minnesota (3-5). Those teams are a combined 19-30.
The Jets have beat New England (6-2), Buffalo (0-8), Miami (4-4), Minnesota (3-5), Denver (2-6), and Detroit (2-6). Those teams are a combined 17-31.
Conversely, the Steelers have beat Tennessee (5-3), Tampa Bay (5-3), Atlanta (6-2), Cleveland (3-5), Miami (4-4), and Cincinnati (2-6). Those teams are a combined 25-23.
Those numbers mean nothing to the Steelers chances of winning, but they do tell you a story.
Once upon a time, the Jets and Patriots were fraudulent.
And the Steelers will in turn expose that fraudulence, starting with the Cheatriots on Sunday.
So, with that, this thing is already a day late and a buck short, so let's just get right to the "Things That Were Awesome," "Things That Were NOT Awesome," and "Things That Made Me Want To Throw My TV Out The Window."
Things That Were Awesome:
1. SPECIAL TEAMS!
If you had told me that the Steelers special teams would make two HUGE plays in the first five minutes of Monday night's game, I'd have called for a straight jacket.
For the last several years, special teams have been the red-headed stepchild.
And then, all of a sudden, they pull some trickery a few weeks back and return a kick for a touchdown.
Then, they put Manny Sanders on return detail and he averages 30+ yards per return (22 on Monday Night).
Of course, later in Monday's game they let up a long-ish return.
But I'll take not having to worry about this unit every day of the week.
2. Rashard Mendenhall
22 carries, 99 yards, 1 TD.
The drive when we handed the ball to Mendy seven straight times was truly something to watch, and moved us 43 yards (just over six per carry).
Unfortunately, someone couldn't come through for three points to capitalize on all that hard work, but there's nothing more encouraging than watching your team's RB work a defense over with a 4th quarter lead.
I love the glitz and glammer of the pass as much as anyone else, but if there's one thing that's clear in the NFL this season, it's that running the ball well and playing good defense are still the blueprint for success.
6 tackles (3 for a loss), a sack, and the major force behind that final Bengals incompletion.
Go ahead, fine him.
It only makes him stronger.
4. Mike Wallace
5 catches, 110 yards, and a score (almost 2, if Ben hadn't underthrown him).
Don't worry, Leon Hall.
You ain't the 1st, and you ain't gonna be the last.
5. Points Off Turnovers
All 17 of them.
Obviously we've entered the animated GIF portion of the recap.
5a. Ike Taylor
Yo, Jeff Reed, are you taking notes?
Ike's giving you a free lesson on how to secure a new contract.
5b. Jonathan Scott and Doug Legursky
"Thankfully we didn't have to go to the Matt Spaeth tackle plan"
This has nothing to do with their actual performance, but how many of you could get tossed in the middle of a division rivalry game on Monday Night and keep Ben Roethlisberger upright?
If any of you thinks you can, you're wrong.
Depth is key in the NFL. You don't have it, you lose.
One sack on Ben Monday night, despite being an injury away from the Matt Spaeth experiment.
Sure, a lot of that is Big Ben, but I still take it as a victory, all things considered.
Unfortunately, now with Max Starks out for the rest of the year, Jonathan Scott better start eating his Wheaties.
So, basically, next week's starting line may be - LT Jonathan Scott, LG Doug Legursky, C Maurkice Pouncey, RG Trai Essex, RT Flozell Adams.
Honestly, WTF, man.
Things That Were NOT Awesome:
1. TO and His Dumb Ass Celebration
How awesome would it be if TO really was a mime?
That's a world I'd live in.
2. Mike Nugent
Or maybe that was Shayne Graham in disguise.
I'm not saying 51 and 45 yarders are chip shots, but that's your home stadium, man.
Maybe the Bengals should've signed TED Nugent instead.
That was really just an excuse to post a picture of Ted Nugent.
Three linemen down (although Pouncey will be able to go on Sunday, thank God).
Two concussed running backs.
One defensive end with a torn tricep, the other, a sore hamstring.
Eff it dude, let's go bowling.
4. Cedric Benson's Juggling Act
LaMarr Woodley forces the ball out (of Carson Palmer's hand), and then it miraculously lands in Cedric Benson's grasp, he bobbles it, and then hauls it in for 16 yards on 3rd and 14.
3rd and 14!
We always knew he was a clown, we just didn't know he had the skills to back it up.
See, the jokes really don't get any better.
5. Wild Card
Choose your own adventure.
Things That Made Me Almost Throw My TV Out The Window:
1. Jeff Reed
My guess is this picture was taken during pregame and Jeff just found out his gonorrhea cleared up.
Did I seriously see that Jeff Reed has the lowest field goal percentage in the league right now?
The Franchise, ladies and gentlemen.
Granted, he finally hits his 2nd field goal of the season from beyond 40 yards, and it's from beyond 50 yards.
But then he misses from 46 with the Bengals right on the Steelers' asses?
Dependability is what you want in a kicker.
Right now, the only part of that word I'm comfortable associating with Jeff Reed is...
I'm not sure there's a whole lot of critical analysis to be done, here.
7 for 73 yards.
Two on one drive, handing the Bengals 35 yards of field to work with, on an already short field, in the midst of their epic comeback that was not.
There were some garbage calls (Casey Hampton roughing the passer comes to mind), but you have to overcome that, and thankfully, the Steelers did.
Really, I'm just nitpicking.
Can you tell?
4. Chad Johnson
Aw, only one catch for 15 yards out of seven chances.
But, at least he didn't have to "fight James Harrison MMA style."
5. This Idiot
Obviously he has found a winning YouTube formula in baiting Steelers fans.
No one cares.
1. The Steelers are the first team in NFL history to hold opponents' rushers to less than 75 yards in each of their first eight games
2. The Patriots are a joke
And, of course...
3. Yinz Luv Da Stillers...
It's ok if you wasted your comments on this game elsewhere.
I don't mind.
Your continued support is still appreciated.
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