Hard Hat Award (Game #9, vs. Balt & #10 @ Cinci)
(Note: Due to travel last week, the Hard Hat article was not able to be published, hence the �two-fer� this week.)
Versus the Ravens in Game #9, Stillers OLB James Harrison and OT Max Starks are the co-winners of the weekly Hard Hat Award, given to the Stiller player who best embodies the iron-tough, hard-as-steel attitude of the steel workers inside the blast furnace of a still mill.
Harrison, returning in his first game since the broken orbital bone, had a rugged, ruthless, Hard Hat effort in the loss to Balt. He personally pillaged and plundered the Raven offense. He stuffed Rice, 2nd series, no gain. Harrison applied hit in BF, NG, to force FG try, mid 2Q. He then created the rarest of events -- a Steeler forced turnover -- on a strip sack at 7:48 4Q. He vaulted over the blocker (Rice), and forced a TA late 4Q. Harrison led the team with 8 solos and did everything he could to win this game. And unlike some players, who sit out with lil� pansie injuries like a sore shoulder or a ham, Harrison shook off the danger of the broken orbital bone and return to action as quickly as he could.
Starks wasn�t on the team for Ravens1, in which Balt�s Terrell Suggs spent more time in the backfield than every Steeler except Ben. In Ravens2, Starks swallowed up Suggs and spit him out, totally whipping Mister LoudMouth like a red-headed stepchild. Starks just manhandled Suggs in pass protection.
One other receiving consideration was WR Antonio Brown, who had a very, very stellar effort, and It bears repeating that there is almost always -- if not always -- a strong correlation between the number of players in consideration for the Hard Hat, and if the team won or lost. Simply put, Hard Hat kind of football leads to victory; pansy football (a term used here long before Troy Pola popularized it) leads to defeat.
Versus the Bengals in Game #10, Stillers CB William Gay is the winner of the weekly Hard Hat Award, given to the Stiller player who best embodies the iron-tough, hard-as-steel attitude of the steel workers inside the blast furnace of a still mill.
Gay had a superb game, perhaps the very best of his spotty career. He had 4 passes defensed, including a pass early in the 4Q in which he swatted at an arriving pass and Timmons grabbed the richochet for a rare INT. Then, with Cinci embarking on the inevitable late-game march that Dick enjoys allowing, Gay actually read the QB, stepped in front of the pass, and then actually snared the ball for a game-clinching INT.
Others receiving consideration were TE Heath Miller, who absorbed a huge hit but still held on to a seam pass; and WR Antonio Brown, who had several clutch grabs.
Kudos to Harrison, Starks, and Gay for winning the Hard Hat Award. Wear the Hard Hat proudly, fellas !
Previous 2011 Hard Hat Winners:
Game #8, vs. N.E.: Heath Miller and Ike Taylor
Game #7, @ Ariz: Antonio Brown
Game #6, vs. Jax: Troy Polamalu
Game #5, vs. Tenn: Ben Roethlisberger and Max Starks
Game #4, @ Houston: James Harrison and Troy Polamalu
Game #3, @ Indy: James Harrison and Troy Polamalu
Game #2, vs. Seattle: Mike Wallace and Troy Polamalu
Game #1, @ Balt: No One