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The "almost" Gimme Game of the Year

November 29, 2001 by Guest

A Tale of Two Teams

I�ve been reading the chat room at the site daily because I�ve realized that many of you don�t realize I�m writing pre/post game analysis. For those of you who don�t know, I�m not Still Mill. I�m JB in the Big Steel Apple. I live in NYC but grew up in the �Burgh. I�ve never met the famed Still Mill and wouldn�t be able to pick him out of a crowd. He and I, however, have had some heated e-mail debates over these Steelers this year. Plus, I like Jason Gildon. A lot. Not enough to go giving him undeserved Pro Bowls, but enough to hope he sticks around for a few more seasons. So there. That�s my view. I APPROVE OF JASON GILDON.

Now onto the pre-game.

The "almost" Gimme Game of the Year

This Sunday�s game pits two teams spiraling in opposite directions. The Pittsburgh Steelers (8 � 2) enter this week masters of their own destiny, while the Minnesota Vikings limply pray for the Gods of Mathematical Playoff Life to intervene.

What once was a proud franchise, this Viking team has suddenly turned into a team that looks remarkably like the Steelers of 1998. That year followed a playoff season, and the team entered with high expectations. It suffered losses in free agency with John Jackson and Yancey Thigpen. Team depth was a thing of the past. Kordell Stewart suffered a breakdown at Raymond James Stadium where he actually wept for being benched. The team had in-fighting, grumbling and lack of emotion. Even Bill Cowher looked as if his days were numbered.

Fast-forward to this season and you see the Minnesota Vikings resembling that group hauntingly. Free agent losses of John Randle, Ed McDaniel to name of few; the lack of depth and the tragic death of Korey Stringer have resulted in the combined lackluster performances, in-fighting and grumbling. Dennis Green even looks like he doesn�t push the right buttons anymore.

On paper this looks like a gimme. Hell, I�m ready to call it one. But there�s this nagging voice in my ear that keeps telling me random facts. It tells me Bill Cowher has yet to beat the Vikings. I then say we�ve ended many streaks this year already. It then tells me, the Vikings still have the offensive firepower, and I say but they�re playing on grass this week and we�ve got the best Defense in all the land. It then breathes the words "Randy Moss." I shudder and say, "That name has haunted many great defenses." I then ask the voice, "What day is the game being played?" It replies "Sunday." I relax, Randy Moss doesn�t show up on Sundays this year.

Regardless Randy Moss and Chris Carter alone can�t defeat us and in the end they won�t. They shouldn�t even be a key match-up, but�

Now on to the Key Matchups:

  1. Pittsburgh Offense vs. The Let Down: They are gaining steam. Now is not the time to take steps backward. We must continue to run the ball well, pass effectively and control the clock. We need to remain protective of the ball and not get sloppy. Let downs continually are hampered by turnovers. We haven�t been prone to giving the ball up too much, but we will have one of those games before this season is through. It could be this week.
  2. Joey Porter and Jason Gildon vs. Recent Slumps: These boys have got to get back on track. After mammoth games versus Baltimore and Cleveland, Porter has been contained. Gildon? Well, he�s having his typical season. Although he�s had some flashes of brilliance, he continues to aggravate Still Mill on a weekly basis. These two should have a big day, but then we expect that every week.
  3. Pittsburgh Defense vs. the 30-yard-line: This one is simple Gary "I talk like Elmer Fudd" Anderson is old. So old in fact I remember when he was Mr. Automatic from everywhere. He�s now Mr. Automatic from inside the 30. He doesn�t have the leg to successfully kick from 45+ yds. That�s why the 30 is important (30 yard line + the 17 extra yds = 47)
  4. Pittsburgh Secondary vs. Mr. Moss and Mr. Carter: Alright. Fine. I�ll mention this match-up, although it is way too overhyped. So, it�s going to be important for our secondary to not allow (a) the deep ball and (b) lengthy yards after the catch�yada, yada. Are you happy now? Because regardless, they can�t win this game for the Vikings.
  5. Pittsburgh vs. Themselves: We will only lose this game by our own faulty turnovers and sloppy play. No other factors will cause us to give away a probable win.

Notes to keep in mind while you�re going to the Fridge for another Beer.

  1. Game of the Week? How about Jets vs. Pats. With Indy DOA and Miami inconsistent, who would�ve thought these two teams would be playing a game with huge playoff implications. That Pats are on a roll and I just don�t see them losing this game.
  2. Amazingly, Baltimore will have a tougher time with Indy than people think. Peyton Manning�s arm has a lot to prove to Jim Mora and with the inconsistent play of the offense, Indy will make it close
  3. Speaking of Gildon, while he�s had an off year in my opinion, he has attracted more attention from opposing teams than in previous years. This is only a help and not a hinderance. I still believe his best year was 1997.
  4. A couple of do or die games this week. The biggest is Seattle vs. San Diego. The loser sits. That may not matter much to the future of Mike Riley in San Diego. The Charges head probably will be searching the want ads come Spring. 
  5. I think Detroit will get their first win this week against the Bears. Why? Ask the Packers.
  6. So Terrell Davis returns and Orlandis Gary goes on the IR. It doesn�t matter though. If Rod Smith doesn�t play, Denver doesn�t have a prayer in Miami.
  7. Interesting matchup in the NFC West. Falcons vs. Rams. Raise your hand if you thought the Falcons would role over once Jamal Anderson went down. (JB raises his hand) 
  8. You know that NFC EAST is one awful Division. I say make �em all stay home in January and let the Bucs and Saints slug it out for the final spot.
  9. Speaking of the Lions, the reason the apparent touchdown pass that was ruled out-of-bounds at the end of the game wasn�t reviewed was that the Lion receiver had kicked the pylon before he caught the ball. Touching the plyon without the ball equals being out-of-bounds. Once you step out-of-bounds you can�t be the first to touch the ball. Because of that, whether the ball was caught in-bounds or not was irrelevant.
  10. Kendrell Bell was named AFC Rookie of Month. Props to him.
  11. That Ram game on Monday night showed me a lot of the Ram weaknesses. They play like gangbusters and don�t attempt to control the clock. I think this is because they feel the need to pound on a few extra points to boost their egos. However, this also causes them to take unneeded risks with questionable coaching philosophies. Such as, you have Marshall Faulk, why in God�s name wouldn�t you allow him to control the game every week. When they put the game in Kurt Warner�s hands, they�re vunerable. If they allow Marshall Faulk to control the game, they�re invincible.
  12. Stat of the week: The Rams of have given up 20 turnovers in their last 4 games, and 32 overall this season.

* Last Week�s "Missed Prime Opportunity" score: Pittsburgh 1  Tennessee 4

Note: Team gains a point with each "prime opportunity" they miss.

*-- A "Missed Prime Opportunity" is one in when a team fails to score while in scoring range or doesn�t take advantage of major swings in momentum (i.e. major penalties/turnovers/settling for field goals in successive series/inability to seal a game with first downs). These are killer because a team only gets so many. A great example is the Giants vs Eagles on Monday night this year. Although thoroughly ass whipping the Eagles in every category, the Giants inability to capitalize on Prime Opportunities causes the Eagles to take the lead with less than 2 minutes left. This gave the Giants at least 4 MPO�s in the first half. Those MPO�s came back to haunt the Giants. The Eagles cause Kerry Collins (The most overrated QB in the NFL) to fumble leading to an improbable Eagles victory in New York.


I just don�t see us losing this game. Now right now, not with way we�re playing. We�ll lose again before the playoffs, just not this week.

Pittsburgh 24 Minnesota 13

Kordell 200 yds passing 1 TD

Bettis 140 yds rushing and 2 TD

Culpepper 150 yds passing 2 TD�s 3 INT

Moss & Carter combined 120 yds receiving and 2 TD receptions.


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