Steeler/Lion Post Game
The Steelers trounced the defenseless and worthless Detroit Lions with such ease, teams around the league must be realizing that the Steelers are the absolute favorite to win the Super Bowl. How can this be? The Lions are now 1-13 and are several years away from being a legitimate football team. Maybe not � some key points about Sunday:
The Lions, through a nine game stretch this year, were very competitive � they lost those nine games by a combined 38 points. Indeed, they could have won many of these games. The Steelers, in one afternoon, subdued the Lions by 33 points. The Lions have clearly not faced a team remotely like the Steelers all year.
Wait a minute, yes they have � the St Louis Rams beat the Lions 35-0 early in the year. It would be interesting to find out who the Lions regard as the better team.
Kris Brown missed another extra point and more FGs Sunday. So what. The Brown mid-season swoon has helped the Steelers realize that they must score TDs and not settle for field goal attempts. There has been a correlating, significant change in attitude from the offense over the last 6 weeks or so. They are trying to score � they throw deep and do not settle for simply controlling the ball. I have not seen such a confident offensive unit since Bradshaw ruled the confines of Three Rivers. This change is due to the fact that Brown cannot be relied upon to give the Steeler coaching staff the "benefits" of Billy Ball. Cowher was forced to change philosophies � no more last minute field goals and no more settling for being in a position to win.
At first glance, it would be hard to consider that the Steeler offense this year is better than the �95 crew with all their receivers, Slash Stewart and a dominant offensive line anchored by Dawson at center. But�. The receivers on this team just might be better � there are two first round draft picks on this year�s squad and Hines Ward is better and far more tougher than the China Doll Yancey Thigpen was back in �95. Stewart of 2001 is a huge upgrade from the boot-footed wonder Odonnel. The only thing that the �95 team may have an edge in is the offensive line. Then again, the O-line this year was supposed to be a question mark coming in, but � so far � the Steeler offensive line has been the best in football, blocking well enough to allow the Steelers an average of 177 yrds/game on the ground.
The Steelers will likely face the Ravens in the second round of the playoffs � no AFC East team can beat the Ravens except for the Patriots perhaps. Having said that, why does this worry anyone? The Ravens have been an average team all year � the Steelers have twice put up 400+ yards of offense against them and Elvis Grbac � if you look very closely � looks a lot like Kent Graham. Both could be described as being Fat-assed, dim-witted and prone to mistakes. Furthermore, the Ravens defense is down. The D-line is injured and banged up and the secondary is full of Steeler castaways all too ready for retirement. To clearly demonstrate how far this defense has fallen, they gave up well over 100 yards rushing to Corey Dillon on a day when the only other offensive threat was John Kitna. Yes, the Ravens shut out the Bengals, but they hardly look like the same defense from last year. Their "mystique" should scare no one.
If there is a team in the AFC that can beat the Steelers, then it�s the Steelers themselves. Still, as the they demonstrated yesterday, the Steelers are not too eager to do that anytime soon.