4th Down and 10 Facts: Pittsburgh/Ravens Post game Report
It will end as it should. The AFC Central Divison Championship once again is back in the right hands. In this final year of the gloried Central, the Pittsburgh Steelers wear the crown. And that is as it should be. One of two original cities in a division that has seen only two Super Bowl champions (Pittsburgh and Baltimore), it is a fitting end that Pittsburgh, the best team overall in all the years the Central has been in existence, should claim victory in the curtain call.
The game was classic Steelers football: over 40 minutes of ball control, heaving hitting on the lines and solid execution.
Yet, this same Steelers team will be the first to tell you that they haven�t accomplished anything. And they would be right. But, looking back to the beginning of the season, I don�t think anyone in their right mind would have believed the Pittsburgh Steelers would be considered the most complete team in the NFL. In our wildest dreams, this season is of all things: as it should be.
Now, onto the facts:
Fact 1#: Chad Pennington who?: Does anyone remember the brutal lashing Cowher and Co. took from the hands of Mel Kiper and John Clayton and God knows every other media pundent for passing over Chad Pennington in the draft? I do, and boy does Cowher look like a genius for bringing in Plaxico. It shows the maturation process of Plax, that he can carry the passing game on his back while team defenses key to stop Hines Ward.
Fact #2: Zereoue�s moves were something else: This took me back to watching Amos in his WVU days. Spin-o-ramas, double moves, stutter steps and then a fierce stiff arm. Mr. Zerorue, you put on one hell of show.
Fact #3: Can we please give Cowher some credit?: I vehemently disagree with Mill on this one. "Billy Ball" is not a deep post route by both Ward and Shaw while, Kordell stands on his own 10 looking at 3rd and 7. "Billy Ball" is not the deep passes to Plaxico. "Billy Ball" is not Dan Kreider up the gut (which might be the best play call of the game). The head coaching right now is not the problem. We are 11-2 not in spite of Cowher but in communion with Cowher. His overall coaching job this season has been brilliant. Give the man some credit. Lay of his back. If he were as awful as many at this site make him out to be, we would not be 11-2. We definatley would not have won on Sunday. If you want to point fingers, look Jay Hayes' way and read the next "fact."
Fact #4: Can someone please give the Special Teamers a clue. If the game is to have Kris Brown kick shorter kickoffs, then he�s got to get more hang time. If the game is to stay in your lanes, then the coverage unit has to stay in their lanes. The OLSH Powderpuff team would have covered better. It's like we took 20 steps backward this Sunday in the Special Teams department. You would think, they could feed off of the energy produced by the Offense and Defense.
Fact #5: Alan Faneca deserves to be in the Pro Bowl. His work on Tony Siragusa is quickly turning into urban legend in the NFL. I think every team has noticed Faneca�s play these past couple of weeks. He repeatedly sealed off the "Goose" forcing Ray Lewis to make many of his 16 tackles.
Fact #6: Chad Scott played a great game. He really was reading Grbac all day. He had the one INT and should have had a second. But, what was great to see was his quickness to the ball seemed to be back.
Fact #7: Kris Brown�s mind is screwed up: This thing has gotten into his head. He�s got to sit down and pretend that the season has started today. He needs to use these last three weeks kicking and working on mechanics. It�s a sad situation, because I really like the guy. I like his style and his guts, but his name needs to get out of the headlines or he�ll dwell on this subject all post-season. The only way that will happen is if he kicks field goals consistently.
Fact #8: This is the way we can beat the Rams: Repeat from last week. 41 minutes of ball control. Enough said.
Fact #9: Kordell should get consideration for NFL MVP: He won�t win it, but his play this season has been a thing of beauty. Did you see him running away from Rob Burnett repeatedly?
Fact #10: Execution: The Steelers and the Rams both have brilliant execution. They seem to make plays look effortless. Execution is the reason the Steelers and Rams are above and beyond any other team in the NFL. What other teams could lose a Marshall Faulk or Jerome Bettis and continue to play at a high and sometimes higher level?
Thoughts around the League and on the Game.
1. I watched the Saints and the Rams and let me tell you: this Ram defense didn't look so good.
2. Last week I said the Packers were a better team than the Bears. Although I still believe they are, what I didn�t say is that I wasn�t including consistency.
3. So Cleveland fans embarrass themselves�again. Now the rest of the country understands what we�ve known all along: Browns fans truly suck.
4. Don�t look now, but Miami could join Pittsburgh and Oakland as division champions. What is this, 1972?
5. And few more teams knocked themselves out of contention: Redskins, Cardinals, Browns and Broncos.
6. Don�t be surprised if Mike Mularkey grabs a head coaching job next year.
7. I don�t know about you, but I�m sure glad Detroit won last week. If not for anything else but it slows down Matt Millen�s impending stroke.
8. It was sort of like watching "Steeler Memories" when Rod Woodson was beaten deep and badly by Bobby Shaw.
9. Pittsburgh wins the conference if they win against both Cincinnati and Cleveland.
10. Speaking about kickers with problems, Bill Gramatica pulled a dumbass move only rivaled by anyone born in Cleveland. Not only did his ridiculous celebrations cost him an ACL, but it happened in the first quarter. Hey Bill, try celebrating when you kick a game winning field goal. Hey Bill, go ahead and celebrate when your team wins something meaningful. Hey Bill, word to the wise: You're a kicker, moron. Big, mean linebackers don't like pip-squeak idiot kickers.
11. Game of the Week: Patriots vs. Miami. Look for Miami to pull out the win. I feel the Patriots magic carpet ride about to end.
Check out my pre-game for next week coming to Stillers.com in a few days. I will have the MPO count and more things to think about while going to the fridge for a beer.
I dream of a white Christmas and a Steelers/Rams Super Bowl.
JB in the Big Steel Apple