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D'kian
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The long fast is over. Let the feast begin.

I missed much of last night's game (alas). Pretty much I caught up int he 4th quarter, in time to see the Redskins struggle none to well against a NY team barely hanging on. Now, while the first game does count, it usually isn't indicative of what the rest of the season will be like for either team.

Even so, the Giants ahve a track record of doing poorly after winning a Superbowl. This year doesn't bode well for them, as they've suffered two great losses on defense.

The Steelers had a huge loss, too, when Alan Faneca, an offensive linesman, left the team. The line is all-important. It's the foundation the offense is built on (and the defense, too, but to a lesser degree). You can have Dan Marino, Lynn Swan, Jerome Bettis and Frank Welker in your team, but without a good line they won't accomplish all that much. The reason linesmen are usually not well known and relatively low paid is that their skills, though crucial, are more commonly found and more easily acquired than for other positions (except, perhaps, for the center).

Still, the loss of a genius linesman hardly spells doom for the Steelers. I've seen predictions by Pro Football pundits giving Pittsburgh little more than an even season (8-8), or worse. Sure, the Browns are ascendant, and Pittsburgh will play them twice. But the rest of the team is mostly still there and reasonably healthy. And the coach has had a season's worth of experience, so he probably won't make the same mistakes he did last year.

But the real drama, at least if it doesn't fizzle, will play out in the Eastern Division of the AFC. That's where the Jets and the Dolphins are. The drama is as follows: the Jets acquired Brett Favre from Green bay, and let their starting QB, Chad Pennington, go to the Dolphins. They too face each other twice. Can Favre still play well? Can the Jets neutralize Miami through what they know of Pennington, or viceversa? Favre is one of the best in his position, but he's older, he has to learn a new system (though it's been said the Jets are adapting to him), and the Jets are talented at dashing expectations over and over again. On the other hand, the Dolphins have been pretty much adrift since Don Shula left the team, lo these many years ago.

The position of QB is also very important. It determines how well the passing game works. Good receivers help, but a good QB helps more. It does become devastating when a good quarterback has good receivers, but then the running game suffers and the team hangs by the health of the quarterback (Miami in the 80s, for example, Denver in the 80s too). Few teams have won a championship without at elast a competent running game to complement a great passing game. The best teams, in fact, tend to be better at running than passing (Steelers and Cowboys in the 70s, the Packers and Chicago at their peak in the 50s and 60s).

Pittsburgh in the 70s is a good example. The QB, Bradshaw, was good, but not great. He had two very talented receivers, Swann and Stalworth, and two great running backs, Bleier and Harris (the latter occupied the top spot in yards gained for a few years even).

Finally, there are many a team who had one star player and got absolutely nowhere. The Bills and O.J. Simpson, the Saints and Archie Manning (father of Peyton and Eli), The chiefs and Joe Montana, and many more. One player won't ever save a lousy team, even if he breaks astonishing records (Simpson's 2000+ yard season in 14 games). It takes a good head coach, good lines, and a balanced offense to win the championship.

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Sacrilege!!!!

Go Stillers! I know that they've had some issues, but some prognosticators are saying 8-8? That's total lunacy. They'll at least go to the playoffs, if not get too far into them. That said, I do think the team has some problems. I would like to see us shore up both lines, as football games are won and lost at the line of scrimmage.

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Sacrilege!!!!

Come on. All those catches Swan made by jumping really high, and those Stallworth made by reaching back were a result of Bradshaw's inability to throw long, accurate passes. He was a competent leader, and he could read a defense. So he was a good QB, just not a great one in the league of Marino, Favre, Elway or Manning.

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Come on. All those catches Swan made by jumping really high, and those Stallworth made by reaching back were a result of Bradshaw's inability to throw long, accurate passes. He was a competent leader, and he could read a defense. So he was a good QB, just not a great one in the league of Marino, Favre, Elway or Manning.
If you look closely, you can actually see Bradshaw scratch this play out in the dirt. Fuqua=>Tatum=>Harris=>Touchdown!! :)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fGQ_8wNZrHs...feature=related

Ring count:

Bradshaw 4 Marino 0

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  • 3 weeks later...

I said loosing a good lineman in Faneca probably wouldn't spell doom for the Steelers. Well, seeing as the offensive line was conspicuosly absent from the game against the Eagles in Philly, I'm not so sure anymore. Ben Roethlisberger was sacked 8 times during the game. I'll repeat that number: EIGHT TIMES! There are teams that don't allow that many sacks during half a season, allowing EIGHT sacks in one game is just shameful. Tomlin needs to get the line shored up in a hurry. The other alternative is to make Big Ben find his receivers more quickly, and that's a lot harder and riskier to do. When Roethlisberger hurries, he gets intercepted.

But the offensive line's failure goes beyond the air game. Willie Parker, who led the NFL in rushing last year until his broken leg, was held to a handful of yards. If you can't pass and you can't run, you might as well forefit.

The defense did a bang up job in true Steeler tradition. The Steel Curtain didn't disappear with the retirement of the Jacks (Lambert and Ham) and all the others. It simply became less well-known, but it has always been there like a stubborn Vorlon (and about as immovable as far the other team is concerned). They let Philly rack up yards, but prevented them from scoring for an awful long time. But defenses don't win games. Oh, they do dometimes, but you can't count on the defense scoring 2 points, much less seven or eight. All they can be asked to do is not give up points, which they did (the offensive line gave two points, which is also bad).

The Steelers are a team that has upheld many traditions in its game. It has good runningbacks, a competent but not spectacular passing game, a very strong defense, and it keeps a head coach for many years. The first two looked endangered against Philly. The last now seems positively on the verge of extinction. Tomlin isn't a bad coach, but he made rookie mistakes last season, and he made some more Sunday. When he had only a handful of seconds on the game clock and it was 4th down, he should have kicked a field goal. He needed two scores to win anyway. Instead he went for a first down and lost. I'm not one to delight in second-guessing the head coah, but this time it was so obvious it hurt.

Oh, well. Baltimore next Monday Night will be a crucial game. All division games are important, but this one will tell how the Steelers will do for the rest of the season. Baltimore, unlike Houston and Cleveland, has a decent defense. If the offensive line falls apart again, I'll know the Steelers have an uphill season and a head coach in danger of being fired.

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I forgot to ask: What's up with the Dolphins?

I missed the game, but the result is nothing short of amazing. They trounced the Patriots. Ok, so Brady's still out, and Cassel is still unproven even if he won 1.3 games already. But the defense is there and Welker and the others are atill there as well. On the other hand Miami has a new Head coach and at last a reasonably comeptent QB in Chad Pennington.

Still it was surprising.

Pleasantly so, mind. I like the Dolphins well enough and I never much cared for the Pats. And it would be nice to see the mantle passed for leadership of the division to someone other than New England. Right now Buffalo also looks uncommonly good, but having a stronger Miami team, even if not like the Dolphins of old, can only help.

And the Jets have Favre now. He's not doing them that much good so far, but the season is young. The Jets, though, are the perennial medicore team that's always on the verge of making it big, and always winds up a disappointment. They're the Minnesota Vikings of the AFC (at least now that the Seahawks moved to the NFC).

So it's shaping up to be an interesting season. I'll een make my first prediction and say the NFC will be a toss up between the Cowboys and Eagles (and maybe the Giants), while the AFC will feature the Bills in some form (the rest is still too cloudy to tell, especially the Broncos and Chargers given that horrendous call last week).

Edited by D'kian
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Broncos, 3-0, baby! And with KC next week, I predict 4-0!!! Oh what a difference a little insulin can make! :lol:

With KC that's as easy as predicting a sunrise, this year at least. And I must take issue with that fumble ruled an incomplete pass (I can overlook the malfunctioning instant replay machine. That's a league and rules problem).

We'll see, won't we? But I seriously doubt the Broncos are as good as they seem right now.

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Well, bad calls go both ways eventually. All teams suffer and gain from them at some time or another. And Shanahan gave them an opportunity to win the game by going for the two point conversion.

I agree that the Broncos are not as great as they seem right now; however, I do think they're far better than they have been the past few seasons and are moving in the right direction. Jay Cutler, since being properly diagnosed with diabetes, looks much more relaxed and seems to have much more energy. Just that's a big improvement.

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Well, bad calls go both ways eventually. All teams suffer and gain from them at some time or another.

It's small comfort when the other team keeps the ball through a bad call, to gain five yards for an erroneous offside call.

Bad calls are a fact and can't be eliminated entirely, too much chance for error. But some teams benefit in a particular game a lot more than others. Like Denver did, or like Pittsburgh did against the Oilers in their last AFC Championship game. San Diego may recover, Houston never had the oportunity again.

I agree that the Broncos are not as great as they seem right now; however,

good! Then we are agreed!

I do think they're far better than they have been the past few seasons and are moving in the right direction.

Well, yes. But they're still the Denver Broncos without John Elway. Seriously, when an iconic player retires the whole team usually suffers for a great many years. Sometimes for an entire generation, until the old foggies die and stop harping about the old days...

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I forgot to ask: What's up with the Dolphins? They trounced the Patriots.

yeah, isn't it great.

They're the Minnesota Vikings of the AFC (at least now that the Seahawks moved to the NFC).

Sad but true. Don't count them out them out yet their receiver core comes back for the next game after their bye. They had six receivers injured. Six! You can't run a west coast offense with third string receivers.

Edited by Rearden_Steel
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Sad but true. Don't count them out them out yet their receiver core comes back for the next game after their bye. They had six receivers injured. Six! You can't run a west coast offense with third string receivers.

Maybe. But they're still the Jets. If they can screw thigns up, they'll find a way to do it. As I said, they're the Vikings of the AFC. Though at least Jets' fans with a historic bend can take solace in Superbowl III. I know the leagues were going to merge anyway, but the decisive victory by the AFL upstarts agains the NFL stalwarts removed all doubt that the leagues were each other's equal. And Broadway Joe's claim before the game that he could guarantee a victory, is an example of a confident man facing long odds.

I know there's a tendency to put a lot of stock in Favre. He's inarguably one of the greatest QBs ever, and a big reason the Packers went from perennial post-Lombardi loosers to Superbowl winners. But it's not the Jets' first time trying to adopt an aging superstar as its saviour. Remember Bill Parcels?

I actually like the Jets (with that nickname I have to). And if the Steelers can't make it this year, as looks increasingly likely, then I'd like nothing better than to see the Jets carry the AFL banner into the Superbowl. But I just won't count on it. After all, it's rare for a star player or head coach to repeat as champion in another team.

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With KC that's as easy as predicting a sunrise, this year at least.

Well, it seems the Sun didn't rise for Denver Sunday at all (quite the irony given the day).

The Jets maybe burst Arizona's bubble, but maybe not. The Cardinals did score a lot, but they allowed 56 points.

The Redskins did burst the Cowboys (the team, not their bubble). It's rare for a minor infraction like 12 men on the field to kill you in a game, but it does happen. Fortunately for Dallas, Philly took a loss with the Bears. The Eagles' defense showed fine form, but the offense is lacking. BTW if you can't penetrate the defensive line then you should try to go around or over it.

And now we wait to see if the Steelers' offensive line will play Baltimore later today. I'm not so concerned about not having Willie Parker. With the line such as it is right now, it's best for him not to play.

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Well, it seems the Sun didn't rise for Denver Sunday at all (quite the irony given the day).

The Jets maybe burst Arizona's bubble, but maybe not. The Cardinals did score a lot, but they allowed 56 points.

The Redskins did burst the Cowboys (the team, not their bubble). It's rare for a minor infraction like 12 men on the field to kill you in a game, but it does happen. Fortunately for Dallas, Philly took a loss with the Bears. The Eagles' defense showed fine form, but the offense is lacking. BTW if you can't penetrate the defensive line then you should try to go around or over it.

And now we wait to see if the Steelers' offensive line will play Baltimore later today. I'm not so concerned about not having Willie Parker. With the line such as it is right now, it's best for him not to play.

I wouldn't write the Steelers off just yet. I, as well as the Pittsburgh media (best source at www.post-gazette.com/steelers) largely blame poor coaching, especially Tomlin and Arians, rather than the players. The offense looked confused. They're the two that need to shape up. I think they can, in time for Baltimore tonight.

Here we go Stillers, here we go!

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I wouldn't write the Steelers off just yet. I, as well as the Pittsburgh media (best source at www.post-gazette.com/steelers) largely blame poor coaching, especially Tomlin and Arians, rather than the players.

That's often the case. There is only so much the players can do in the face of poor coaching and management decisions. The problem here is that Pittsburgh has a long history of holding on to its head coach. There have only been three head coaches in over 30 years now (Noll, Cowher and Tomlin). For a rookie coach Tomlin did ok all things considered last year. But he's not doing that well this year. The cracks in the offensive line not only will cost him games, they can cost him players (particularly Roethlisberger and Parker).

So if he needs to go, or if he needs a better offnesive coordinator or offensive line coach, the Rooneys should get him moving one way of the other.

The offense looked confused. They're the two that need to shape up. I think they can, in time for Baltimore tonight.

I hope so. I don't need to stress divisional games are the most important.

Here we go Stillers, here we go!

Stillers? Whatever they distill in Pittsburgh, I wonder? :)

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The Steelers got lucky.

That's a hell of thing to say about one's favorite team, but no less true.

The offensive line's improved, but it still has a way to go. Anyway, first Pitsburgh received a gift from a Ravens' defender who delivered a late hit and cost his team 15 yards. Then they were given an even greater gift when Flacco fumbled near his goal line and the Steeler defense scored. That's 14 points in 15 seconds, adn it's all that kept the Steelers in the game.

My brother likes to argue that we don't know how the game would ahve turned up absent blunders from the other team. he's right. Pittsburgh mightahve scored 14 points int he 3rd quarter anyway, then again it might ahve not. that's just the thing: we don't know what would ahve happened. We do know what happened, though, and that is Pittsburgh scored on two blunders by the Ravens. And you just can't count on such things in order to win.

Jeff Reed, now, kicked a 46 yard field goal easy as you please to win in overtime. before that, the defense did a good job stopping Baltimore's attack. Those things, a good defense and a sound kicker, are things you can count on.

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FootballOutsiders.com had the Steelers ranked 9th before this MNF football game, while the Ravens were ranked #1. This was an excellent win for the Steelers.

Their main problem, however, is their offensive line. They rank 25th in run blocking and 32nd(!) in pass blocking. [source: http://www.footballoutsiders.com/stats/ol] It would seem that the Steelers really do miss Alan Faneca. Their skill positions are solid; However, each offensive line spot [especially center and left tackle] are some of the most important positions on an offense, and the Steelers are really lacking here. Without an offensive line, an all pro QB such as Roethlisberger or Peyton Manning will struggle, as has been the case this season.

Edited by dannyjpl
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I wish Andy Reid knew how to throw a red flag. Buckhalter was clearly over the goal line in the overhead shot. Oh well, it'll probably be another 9-7 or 8-8 year for the Eagles. They can't do anything consistently. At least the Phils are doing well at the moment...

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This was an excellent win for the Steelers.

Divisional games are the most important. So it was a big win, but there was nothing excellent about it. Excellent would ahve been taking the lead and not letting it go.

Without an offensive line, an all pro QB such as Roethlisberger or Peyton Manning will struggle, as has been the case this season.

Without an offensive line, an all pro QB should do what it takes to get traded anywhere, or demand a huge raise. Because his career is likely to be short and painful. Likewise the running backs. I mean, Pittsburgh is all out.

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The Steelers looked like they were getting man handled through most of the game. I think the Ravens lost due to mental error. I have to say the Steelers didn't win this game the Ravens lost it.

I just glad my Seachickens got its receiving core back for the first time this season along with or key positions. Its like Christmas in Seattle.

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I want to clarify my earlier point about the coaching. I don't necessarily think Tomlin should go just yet. I want Arians gone. Stability at the head coaching position is important and I think Tomlin can learn and grow. My better half confirms that Arians was awful when he was at Bama and they dumped him. I don't have a good opinion of Arians at all. I want a coordinator who can run a simple, balanced offense based off of the run, that's not afraid to go play action or roll out the QB.

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I want to clarify my earlier point about the coaching. I don't necessarily think Tomlin should go just yet. I want Arians gone.

Who's responsible for keeping Arians? I know the head coah doesn't always ahve a say in personnel decisions, but if Tomlin's keeping him then maybe both should go.

Stability at the head coaching position is important and I think Tomlin can learn and grow.

Stability is important when you ahve a good head coach or one that can become good enough. If you have a bad head coach, you'd best be rid of him and stability be damned.

So the question is whether Tomlin can learn and grow. I hope he can, but he's kept on making rookie mistakes this season. Take the game against the Eagles. Pittsburgh needed a touchdown and a field goal at least late int he 4th. With 4 and some yards and some time on the clock, Tomlin elected to try for a first down. I can't conceive why he didn't try for the field goal right there.

The other question is how much time he should be allowed. That's naturally the team owners' decision. I agree on letting Tomlin proove himself, but not for years. If this goes on too long Pittsburgh may ruin talented players like Big Ben and Willie Parker. The latter in particular could be one of the top running backs of all time, but he has to stay healthy for many years in roder to do so. He won't with the offensive line as it is now.

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Ok, I admit it: the offensive line is performing much better. They mannaged to hold off Jacksonville effectively. In fact, it was one of the best games for the Pittsburgh offense in some time. Aside from the 1st quarter interception, it was as close to a perfect offensive game as you can get.

In terms of yards gained and turnovers, that is. In terms of scoring, which ultimately is what really counts, it wasn't bad at all, but not commesurate to the yardage passed and rushed.

The defense perfomred well again. It helps if they are not on the field the better part of the game, of course. But there was one major blunder in the 4th, when Townsend delivered a late hit on a Jaguars receiver on an incomplete pass, on third and long. Giving first downs to the other team after you've stopped them is plain stupid. This one cost Pittsburgh 7 points and the lead, but fortunately not the game.

Big news elsewhere the Dolphins won again. Given their last season, it will be news every time they win for the next few games at least. If they make it to the playoffs, it will be the year's big story (unless something better happens). The Titans eked out a win over Baltimore and remain undefeated. The Bills lost to Arizona. Now, that's an interesting result. Both teams are doing a lot better than expected, but no one's sure right now just how good they are. We'll know by mid season. And Washington drove a nail into the Eagles' coffin.

Yes, it's way too early to write teams off (except for the perennial bad teams), but Philly doesn't look good just now. They've lost two divisional games already, and overall are beginning to look an awful lot like the Eagles; that is, they're good but not quite good enough. They do best when they're good and the rest of their division ins't. But you can't count on the rest of the division being rotten (ask the Steelers, or Chicago for that matter).

Finally new England remains largely an enigma. And the Texans remain an expansion team.

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