Stillers 21, Seahawks 10� ���. Feb 5th, 2006 ����The Super Bowl�
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Stillers-Seahawks Super Bowl Postgame Analysis and Grades
The Stillers stunk and sputtered in the 1st half, and then upped their thin lead thanks to a Sup bowl record jaunt by Willie Parker early in the 3Q.� But Seattle scored to make it a 4-point game midway thru the 3Q, and it remained that way, until a trick play from El to Ward produced a 43-yard score with 6 minutes remaining to seal the deal.� (Please note:� Not only was I one of the very few entirely sober people in the country watching this game, but I am one of about 10 people in the entire country that actually went back and re-watched the entire game.)�
QB:� Benji had a lousy game.�� In fact, pound for pound, he played, oh, about 3 times worse than Neil O'Dummel did in Super Bowl 30.� He was victimized by several drops, but he threw an inordinate number of pitiful passes during the game.� On the 1st drive of the game, he threw a piss-poor, low pass to an open Ward on 3rd & 5 that was a weakassed short-arm of a pass.� On the final play of the 1Q, Ben, after a slight flush, chucked a deep ball to Washington that was a wounded quail, fluttering and quacking the entire journey and falling way off target.� This quail wasn't an aberration, as, in the 2Q, he chucked a wounded quail on a deep ball to El that was woefully underthrown and was picked off by Boulware.� To his credit, he shook off the INT and regrouped on the next drive, throwing a good strike on a flag in the EZ that Ward dropped.� He shook that off, too, and had superb presence, under some pressure, to flick a shovel pass to Ward on 3d & 6, gaining 12 yards.� Ben also showed brilliant presence on the 3d & 28 in the 2Q, having incredible sense to go up to, but not across, the LOS, and then chucking the long lob that Hines corralled for the 37-yard gain.� In the 3Q, with the Stillers poised to pound a large nail into the coffin, facing a 3rd & 6 at the Sea 7, Roth had Wilson open on a little out pattern, but inexplicably did this asinine little "jump hop" instead of simply stepping into the pass.� The pass had no loft, no arc, and no zip whatsoever; instead, it was a weakassed lollipop that backup CB Kelly Herndon gladly accepted and picked off, and then returned it to the Stiller 20.� This was as shit-laden a pass as I've ever seen Roth throw.� Late in the 3Q, on a 3d & 2, Roth was skittish under some light pressure and badly overthrew Ward on a little out.� Overall, Ben went 9 for 21 for 123 yards, no TDs, and 2 INTs, which is a passer rating of just under 23.� Very rarely does a team in the modern NFL win the Super Bowl game with such subpar quarterbacking; the Stillers won this game in spite of BenRoth, not because of him.� D+.��
RB:� Leading the way was Fast Willie Parker, who ran a basic dive play early in the 2H and took it to the house for a 75-yard TD run.� Some RBs would have been content with a 5-yard gain on this exact play, and then gotten up dancing and woofing and high-stepping, but not Parker.� As he saw daylight past the first level, Parker had one thing in mind -- paydirt, in the end zone.�� TOUCHDOWN.�
���� Big Jerome Bettis was his usual playoff self, averaging a whopping 3.1 yards/carry on 14 carries.� Twice, he was given the ball within an arm's reach of the Seattle goal line, and twice he was rebuffed as easy as pie.� He helped Ben's TD by plowing ahead, which may have been his most meaningful contribution in the game.� After all the fawning and blather about Big Jerome -- did you know he hailed from Detroit, by the way? -- the man had no more of an impact on this game than, say, Seattle FB Mack Strong.� At least he didn't cough up the football, which he's done on a regular basis in the past 2 years of playoff football.������ Parker:� A.� Bettis:� B-.�
FB: Kreider played ok, although he was hardly dominating.� He didn't play all that much, because the Stillers went with a lot of 2 TE and 3 WR sets.� He was somewhat repelled on a Bettis goal-line plunge that came up short of the goal line.�� B.�
WR:� Hines Ward led the way with 5 grabs for 123 yards and 1 TD, and the MVP to boot, but he was far from flawless.� He dropped a sure TD on a flag in the EZ in the 2Q, allowing the ball to simply clang off his hands.� He also dropped a pass on the first play of the 3Q on a stop pass that was low, but entirely catchable.� He redeemed himself a short while later, making a nice fingertip grab on a low out pass, good for 15 yards.� Ward also dashed 18 yards on an end around.� El chipped in with 3 grabs for 22 yards, plus the clutch, superb pass -- the very best pass of the evening by a Pittsburgh passer -- for the 4Q TD that sealed the win.� El also hustled his ass off, from the other side of the field, and chased down Herndon on the long INT return.� This was as impressive a hustle-play as you'll see all season long.� Wilson had just 1 grab, and dropped a simple curl on the first play of the 3rd series of the 1Q, looking terrified at the prospect of being drilled by Lofa Tatupu.�� Nate Wash played sparingly and was thrown a deep ball that was far off target.�� The drops hamper what was otherwise a decent evening.� B.�
TE:� Miller helped bog down the offense on the first series, committing a false start on the very first offensive play from scrimmage.� Later, in the 2Q, Miller was flagged for offensive PI on a screen pass.� Because of Cowher's and Whisenhunt's brilliant offensive gameplanning, Miller was never thrown a pass -- not even one -- the entire game.� Jerame Tuman, of course, was thrown a pass, a short curl that clanged off his hands for an incomplete pass late in the 3Q.�� The blocking was ok.� B-.
OL: The line played okay.� Faneca and Starks threw the key blocks on the Parker TD jaunt; Starks being the huge surprise by getting to the 2nd level and having the wherewithal to seal off Tatupu.� Otherwise, the run blocking was marginal; with the Stillers gaining about 3.3 yards per crack (factoring out the TD jaunt), which includes some productive scrambles by Roth.� The pass pro was decent; Benji generally had sufficient time to look for a receiver, or, when he was harried, he at least had plenty of room to slide or scoot and then re-set for a pass.� Marvel Smith got thoroughly whipped by Wistrom on a 2Q sack.� Al Faneca had a very rocky day.� Yes, he had the big lead block on the Parker jaunt.� But he struggled badly on the goal-line plunges in the 2Q.� He was totally collapsed on the Bettis 2d & goal plunge, and then was knocked on his ass on Ben Roth's TD keeper.� In the 1Q, it was Faneca that poorly allowed pressure on Ben, which forced Ben to be flushed and throw a hurried deep lob to Washington that fell incomplete.� Simmons had a good pull and seal on Ward's en around, which gained 18 yards.� This was particularly impressive, as Simmons sold the play as going to the right by stepping off to his right, and then doing a nice 180-dgree pirouette and heading back towards the left end, where he sealed that end for Hines to freely race around end for the big gainer.� Starks had his ups and down.� He was flagged on the first series for a false start.� Then, in the 2Q, it was Starks that allowed the leakage on Ben's flush and shovel to Ward, as Fisher tooled Starks and got the harassment of the QB.� Starks allowed Bernard to slash right by him and create pressure on Ben on a boot to the right in the 3Q, which resulted in an incomplete pass.� Starks impressed the hell out of me on the Herndon INT return, however.� Starks set off and ran full steam after Herndon, and was right there when Randle El made the stop.� For a huge OT to lumber 70 yards downfield after a cornerback and nearly make the stop is an incredible, stupendous effort and well worthy of recognition.� Overall, the line play was hardly dominant by any stretch, but just good enough to help carry the day.� B.�
DL:� The D-line was a bit quiet for much of the game.� Kimo had a good stop of Strong on a toss sweep in the 1Q, holding him to no gain.� He also had good penetration on an Alexander run wide to the right late in the 1Q, which forced a 4-yard loss.� Hampton simply mauled center Slobbie Tobeck in the 3Q, knocking him on his ass and nailing Hasseljack for the sack.� Hampton also did a nice job of sliding down the line and getting an ankle-nab of Alex on an off-tackle run to the right in the 2Q.� Conversely, Hampton got totally stood up on an Alexander 5-yard plunge on the first play of the 2Q.� Chris Hoke made a fine play, similar to the aforementioned one by Hampton, sliding down the line and hauling down Alex on a sweep, which stopped the play for a meager 2-yard gain.� Aaron Smith toiled quietly but chipped in some.�� Keisel saw a fair amount of work, and Kirschke got in some work as well.�� B.
LB:� A so-so day for the LB crew.� Leading the way was Clark Haggans, who had an unspectacular but very steady game.� Hagg beat Locklear to the inside on the first series and then dropped Hasseljack.� Hagg had a good string-out of an Alex sweep late in the 2Q, and then hustled to polish off Alex after the skimpy 1-yard gain.� On the 1st Seattle play of the 3Q, Hagg had a good hit and jar on Alex after a short dumpoff.� Hagg drew the big penalty flag on Locklear in the 4Q with a fast, aggressive pass rush.� A short while later, he forced a hasty deep pass to Jurevicius by beating FB Mack Strong.� Hagg hurt his groin the 3Q, but fought it off and returned.� Farrior played ok, helping to limit Alexander here and there.� Alex averaged 4.5 yards a crack, of course, so there wasn't a whole lot of limiting going on.� The Winged God of Coverage was cleanly beaten by Stevens down the seam at 12:44 of the 3Q, but the brittle-fingered Stevens simply dropped the ball.� This would have given Seattle a 1st &� goal at the Stiller 7.�� Larry Foote did little.� On the first series of the game, Foote was timid, slow, and took a poor angle on Alex's 8-yard run.� Big Joey Porter woofed and talked all week, and then went out and did nothing the entire game.� Yes, he was back in coverage for a preponderance of the time; in fact, he dropped into coverage on 39 plays and rushed on 17, which counts passes, sacks, scrambles, plays with penalties, and so on.� For being such a big he-man, he was a big zero.� On the nullified TD pass to Jackson in the 1Q, Porter was easily bullied wide by Jones, which allowed Hasselbeck to flush and scoot into that open acreage by the LT spot and set up and hit Jackson for the TD.� On Alex's sweep that was stuffed for a 4-yard loss, Big Joey was getting bullied and buffeted; fortunately Kimo and� Foote stopped the play.� On a 3rd & 5 early in the 2Q, Porter dropped into middle coverage, and was slowfooted in reacting, allowing the easy curl to Jurevicius for 15 yards.� On a 3rd & 4 in the 3Q, Porter was literally mauled off the LOS by -- who else -- Jerramy Stevens, which allowed FB Mack Strong to easily cruise up LT for the easy 7 yards.� On the very next play, Porter took a huge over-run and was ridden waaaay upfield by Jones, which allowed a mammoth hole for Alex to run wide left and gain 21 yards.� In the 4Q, Porter, after a relentless mauling by Jones, had a weak, 1-armed flail at Alex, who gained 4 yards.�� On the play prior� to the Taylor INT, Alex easily turned the corner against the flat-footed Porter and gained 7 yards before Big Joey horsecollared him from behind on what should have, unquestionably, been flagged under the new horsecollar rule.� Overall, a lousy game by Joey the Mouth and a marginal one by the crew.� Porter:� C-.�� All others:� B.
DB:� A so-so game in which the secondary survived, in large part, due to the miscues and blundering of the Seattle offense.� Ike started the game as soft as cream pie, giving Jackson loads of softee cushion.� He also dropped an INT on the 2d series, although the Hawks punted and the Stillers got the ball at about the same FP.� Taylor was beaten on a slant to Jackson late in the 1Q, and then whiffed, which resulted in a 20-yard gainer.� Ike had a clumsy, stumbling flail on the deep sideline pass to Jackson late in the 2Q, which should have been reviewed for a TD.�� In the 4Q, he graciously accepted Hasseljacks' charity and made the Larry Brown-style interception.� Like Brown, this wasn't any kind of a good defensive play; rather, simply a gawdawful pass.� Hope, hopelessly on a island against Jackson in the EZ, was flatfooted and simply beaten for the TD, but lucked out when the tickytack PI flag was thrown.� Hope was trucked in hilarious fashion in the 4Q by Jurevicius, who just bulldozed Hopeless after a reception.� Hope looked like a complete asshump on this play.� Hope did jar the ball loose from Stevens on a deep flag, which negated a long gainer in the 2Q, although, of course, one should wonder why Hope allowed Stevens to be so wide open in the first place.� McFadden was beaten by Hackett in the EZ, in which McFadd clumsily stumbled as the pass arrived.� This should have been an easy, routine TD catch, but luckily Hackett couldn't hack it and he allowed the ball to clang off his hands.� Troy Pola showed the effects of his injured ankle, as he was a complete non-factor for much of the game.� He was slow and meek on the Stevens TD reception (no, there was NOT any sort of a pick whatsoever on this play, contrary to the imbecilic blabbering by Fat John Madden), and you'd have to think that a 100% Pola would have jumped on this obvious route with much more alacrity than he showed there.� DeShea Townsend made perhaps the best play of the game for the secondary, crisply stopping Mack Strong 6 inches shy of the sticks after a 3d & 3 dumpoff in the 2Q, which forced a Seattle punt.� Carter chipped in some late in the 4Q.��� B-.�
Spec teams:� A decent bright spot.�� Kriewaldt made a good stick on the opening KO.� Harrison had 2 good stops on punt coverage.� Keisel had a good stop in KO coverage after Parker's TD.� El had a good 20-yard PR late in the 3Q.� Gardocki hit some decent punts, although he had a couple shallow ones, including a 37-yarder in the 1Q.� Fortunately, the Stillers were the kind recipient of a spec teams fiasco by Seattle.�� Tom Rouen helped ruin the Seahawks evening by booming 4 punts into the EZ for touchbacks, and Josh Brown missed 2 FGs inside the dry, wind-free dome of Ford Field.� Seattle was also called for a phantom hold during a PR on the first play of the 2Q, which Warrick had returned 34 yards to the Stiller 46.� Fat Madden tried to claim the flag was on Pruitt while he was "blocking" the gunner before the punt, but on the replay, you can clearly see the sidejudge throw the flag as Warrick is 15 yards into his punt return.���� A-.�
OC:� A sketchy, mediocre job by WiseHunt. The 1st half game plan was as vanilla as the inside of the original Klondike Bar.� WiseHunt had 2 full weeks, and the best plan he could come up with was this plodding, mindless, feeble-assed gameplan ??� How sorry was it?� The 1st 3 series were THREE 3-and-outs.� It wasn't until Ward ran an end around for 18 yards in the 2Q that the offense showed the slightest bit of creativity, imagination, and cleverness.� My problem with the ground game in the 1H, was that EVERYTHING was a slow-as-whaleshit play that took about 9 seconds to develop, and the quick Seattle defense continually blew up these whaleshit plays before they ever remotely developed.� Fortunately, WiseHunt managed to extract his head from his ass while the Rolling Stones were performing, and on the very 1st run of the 3Q, Parker took a QUICK dive play and bolted to daylight for the 75-yard TD run.� Where the sam hell was that kind of quick-hitting dive play in the 1H?� Answer: nowhere to be found, except perhaps at the desk of Al Davis' secretary.� The other problem with the 1H, was that WiseHunt totally got away from what had made this offense churn at full turbo power in this playoff stretch.� We'd had enormous success passing off play-action on supposed-running downs, so Whisenhunt (and his boss) got ultra conservative and ran vanilla, whaleshit counters instead.� The solid drive in 3Q, which ended in the hideous INT, was a nice drive that started with a PASS, to Ward, for 15 yards.� Passing on 1st downs isn't a panacea, but this Stiller team had show ALL season and all post-season that they'd struggled to run the ball in the 1H, and conversely they'd had good success throwing the ball on early downs.� The Gay Drive o' the Game award was an easy selection.� In the 3Q, at 6:45, the Stillers took over at their own 20.� Two Parker runs netted 6 yards.� On 3d & 4, they ran the illustrious ShitGun Draw to Haynes, which the entire stadium was waiting on.� The draw netted 2 yards and the Stillers punted.� Very, very gay.� I thought it was clever how Cheezenhunt used Heath Miller -- the incredibly dangerous, big, reliable pass catcher that he is -- as a decoy the entire game and didn't throw a single pass in the direction of Miller.� Bravo, Ken !!�� The trick play that scored the big TD -- the same play they burned Cleveland with earlier this season -- probably saved WiseHunt from some tough, scorching post-game questions.� Good luck with Oakland Al, Kenny !!��� C+.�
DC:� Dick's defense did ok, although they were aided enormously by the plethora of bizarro blunders, time management gaffes, phantom penalties, and unforced drops by the Hawks.� My nightmares of Stevens running scott free and wide open were well founded, as the man wasn't covered the entire evening.� Fortunately, Stevens is now getting endorsement offers from Johnson's Baby Oil, which he presumably smeared all over his hands before each series.�� Townsend had the big sack off the corner blitz at 6:36 of the 4Q.� Nice, but what the hell took so long to attack Hasseljack with a corner blitz prior to that?�� The grade could, in theory, be higher, but there was very, very little that the Stillers did to slow down Seattle; this was a case of Seattle,a nd the officiating crew, taking a shotgun and masochistically shooting themselves in the foot time and time and time again.� C+.
HC:� I'd stated over and over about my concerns about Cowhard's conservatism being the main factor that could cause defeat.� Sure enough, Cowhard's ass was so tight as the game began, that you couldn't have inserted a drill bit from the very best Dewalt drill on the market.� The bit would have snapped off without penetrating even a sixteenth of an inch.�� The team got to the SB by throwing on "obvious" running downs; keeping defenses off-balance, and playing a tenacious defense.� So, of course, they played nearly all of the 1st three quarters by running on most 1st & 2nd downs, keeping no one off balance, and doing nothing remotely approaching tenacity on defense.� This was your typical Cowher egg-lay; the team came out and laid an egg, and only the lowly play by Seattle, combined with a plethora of horrendous officiating calls, allowed this team to overcome and win.� Mind you, they still may very well have won the game without all of the hideous mis-calls.� To come out on the very first play -- a play that is rehearsed at least 37 times prior to the game -- and commit a false start gives you a pretty good idea about the quality of preparation.� (Nearly the same thing happened in the Jan. 1997 "fog Bowl" playoff loss in Boston, when the Stillers committed an illegal formation penalty to open the game.)� Cowher, ever the bonehead, actually called a TO on 3d & 10, late in the 2Q, as the playclock was running down and as Seattle was looking at a DOG penalty.� Then, at halftime, Cowhard was interviewed, and all he could say -- he said it TWICE -- was that "Ben's gotta settle down."� Settle down, my ass!�� The 1H wasn't Ben; it was an ultra-conservative gameplan that was predictable, stale, lethargic, and Neanderthal.� The game plan was a wretched piece of shit that could have just as well been slapped together by a couple of drunkards sitting around a South Side tavern.� The overt conservatism forced Roethlisberger to play in predictable (for the DEFENSE) circumstances -- passing on obvious 3rd downs -- as opposed to the prior 3 playoff games where defenses were constantly off-guard and off-balance as to what the Stillers would be doing, which greatly aided Ben's effectiveness.� As always, I don't, nor will I ever, fawn over abject mediocrity.� C-.
Officiating:�� 7 huge calls were botched, and I cannot, in good conscience, ignore them:�
���������� 1.�� Offensive PI on Jackson on the TD reception in the 1Q.� 999 times out of 1,000 in the NFL, this is NEVER called.� It was a ticky-tack, 1-finger nudge.� Fact is, Hopeless was, as usual, flatfooted and slow-to-react on this play.� Fact is, BOTH players were hand-checking one another before Jackson cut back toward the middle of the field.� This wasn't remotely close to a Michael Irvin SHOVE, at all.� A totally absurd flag; one of the worst calls I've seen in all of this year's playoffs.�
���������� 2.� On the first play of the 2Q, Warrick returned a punt 34 yards to the Stiller 46.� Pruitt was flagged for a phantom hold on Ty Carter.� Fat Madden tried to claim the flag was on Pruitt while he was "blocking" the gunner before the punt, but on the replay, you can clearly see the sidejudge throw the flag as Warrick is some 15 yards into his punt return.� Regrettably, the replay angle was poor and late, and we don't have conclusive evidence of exactly what happened prior to Carter/Pruitt coming into the picture, but for the 3-4 seconds of action that visibly occurred prior to the ref throwing the flag, there was ZERO holding, clipping, or illegal blocking.�� Instead of having the ball at the Pit 46, the Hawks started that drive at their own 25.�
���������� 3.� On Ben's keeper that was ruled a TD, go back and re-watch the LINE JUDGE, who was the man that signaled the TD.�� When Ben was hit and stopped, this official very forcefully raised his right hand and came running in to the scrum to MARK THE SPOT OF THE BALL.� With his right arm extended high, and even waving his right hand, he takes SIX FULL STEPS as he runs toward the pile, and then, after his sixth step of running toward the pile, suddenly, he signals touchdown.�� That's my problem on this play.� If the ref was so ultra-confident that the ballcarrier was DOWN, he should have stuck with his spot, and the play could have been reviewed by the booth.� There's a severe problem when a referee marks the play as DOWN, and then, after Benji picks up the ball and places it over the GL, the same ref rules it a TD.� I suspect this ref will be reprimanded by Tuesday afternoon.� Had the play been ruled down short of the GL, it's likely the Stillers may have pounded it in on 4th & inches, although, give the propensity of Billy Cowher, he might just as well kicked the FG as he did in last year's AFCC.�
���������� 4.� Late in the 2Q, Hasslejack threw a deep lob down the sideline to Jackson, who clearly caught the ball with 1 foot (his left foot) in bounds.� The other foot landed on the turf just outside the orange pylon and was ruled incomplete.�� However, the right foot very clearly hits the orange pylon before it comes down.� What's particularly bizarre, and disturbing, is that even though this play occurred within the finally 2:00 of the half, there was no official "booth review", which is inexplicable.� This was a huge play -- potentially a TD, or at the very least, a long gainer to the 1-foot line, and why no one in the booth upstairs did the mandatory review of such a close play is absolutely bizarre.���
���������� 5.� Holding on Clark Hagg by the RT, Sean Locklear, on a reception by Stevens that would have given Seattle 1st & goal at the Stiller 1 in the 4Q.� An absolutely horrendous ghost of a call.� There was absolutely no holding on this play whatsoever.� This exact type of block is performed at least 29 times in every NFL game and is never flagged, as the arm of Locklear was not impeding Haggans in any way.� 3 plays later, Hasslejack tried to make something happen on a 3rd & 18, and Ike got the pick of a horrendous pass.�
���������� 6.� On the play just before the Taylor INT, Alex ran wide left and turned the corner.� Joey Porter, caught flatfooted, pursued from behind and clearly HORSECOLLARED Alexander to make the stop after a 7-yard gain.� This rule was placed into the rulebook for the 2005 season, and it's bizarre how a ref crew can call a tickytack finger-nudge for PI but doesn't call a blatant horsecollar that was as obvious as a cockroach on a billiard table.� Instead of being the recipient of a 15-yard penalty and automatic first down, Seattle faced a 3d & 18, and on that play Hasslejack forced the errant pass that Taylor intercepted.�
���������� 7.� Three plays after the phantom holding call and one play after the non-call on the Porter horsecollar, Hasselbeck threw the INT and actually MADE the tackle of Ike Taylor on the INT return, yet was flagged 15 yards for the bullshit "low block".� This was the same horseshit flag that Hartings was flagged on 3 weeks ago versus Indy after an INT by Doss.� Hasselbeck never had any contact with ANY Steeler except for the ballcarrier, Ike Taylor.� He completely missed Townsend, who was nearby Taylor.� This was as horrendous a phantom call as I've every seen.�� Only in this kind of horrendously officiated game could a man be credited for the solo tackle, yet also flagged for a "low block".�
Some will point out 2 possible fumbles by Seattle, both of which are entirely non-applicable, as follows:
���������� a.� Stevens had the ball jarred by Hope on the 3d & 2 play in the 2Q.� The hit happened at the Pit 27, and the ball squirted out and briskly rolled OOB at the Stiller 8-yard line.� Farrior was the closest Stiller to this football, and he peeled off after giving a brief chase.� In reviewing this play, it's highly unlikely Farrior, far away from the initial hit by Hope, would have been able to cleanly scoop up the ball before it went OOB.� Because the Seattle player (Stevens) didn't do anything to move the "fumbled" ball forward, this "incomplete pass" call by the ref actually BENEFITED the Stillers, because the Hawks would have had the ball, 1st & goal at the 8, rather than punting on the next play.� Even if Farrior had dove on the ball just before it went OOB, because Rouen boomed the punt into the EZ for a touchback, the Stillers actually got better FP from the punt than they would have from the fumble.� Ergo, this "fumble" was as meaningless as the kneeldown that Roth executed on the game's final play.�
���������� b.� Hasslejack scrambled in the 4Q, and after Foote got a hand on him, he fell forward and coughed up the ball after he hit the ground.� The play was reviewed and ruled "down by contact".� This was the exact same ruling as Parker's "fumble" in the Denver game 2 weeks ago, which was also reviewed and over-turned.� Ergo, no fumble, and the refs did, for once in this game, make the correct call.�
���������� There was also the mention by Fat Madden about a "helmet to helmet" hit by Manuel at the end of the Ward end around, which was preposterous.� Helmet to helmet applies on pass RECEPTIONS, not on ballcarriers who are simply getting tackled.� If that were the case, Lofa Tatupu would have been flagged 15 yards when he and Nick Goings met head on head in the NFCC and Goings suffered the concussion.�
���������� There was also ridiculous mention from Fat Madden about a "pick play" on the Stevens TD.� Absolutely nothing was illegal on that play.� There was ZERO contact by a Seattle WR on Pola, and as such, no pick occurred and no penalty was warranted.��
Officiating Grade:� F-���� An outright shame that the biggest game of the season -- and the biggest sporting event in the entire world -- was botched so badly by the officiating crew.�� Their gross incompetence stains what could have been an epic football game.�
Synopsis:� We'll take the "W" and gloat as best we can about being World Champs.� Fact is, it was a sloppy, slovenly win.� This win was a bit of a shallow victory.� I was hoping to ransack and plunder our way to the title, not slop and slather our way into it, with the aid of a plethora of horrible officiating calls.� It was a travesty of justice, plain and simple, and to me and many others, it sours what would have otherwise been sheer joy. We might very well have won the game had the refs NOT screwed up so many calls; and at the very least, I would, as an ardent fan of the game, have liked to have seen THAT play out rather than the unbelievable one-sided rash of botched calls on immensely critical plays. To me, it's a matter of perspective, and I've never been one to have freebie handouts or "favors" done for me. What happened last night by that officiating crew was a sheer travesty of justice and a disgrace to the game, the league, the players, and the fans.� We can only hope that this entire ref crew is publicly reprimanded for a job poorly done. I won my 2 bets and I'll be able to talk plenty of smack with co-workers, neighbors, and fans of other teams, so I'm as happy as hell about that.� But it's a far less boisterous smack talk, given the circumstances of the win.�� Soon enough, we'll start to compile our player grades, as well as work on the offseason analysis and then the pre-draft analysis.� Offseason analysis doesn't get any better than here at Stillers.com.�
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