Stillers-Skins Postgame Report
It was only fitting on this, the last game day 3RS shall ever accommodate, that foul weather was a considerable factor. But, as this is Y2K not the 70's, we had no repeat of, say, The Ice Bowl. We live in a kinder, gentler age now; a time for compassionate conservatism. So, no ice but a driving rainstorm which, naturally, affected Air George considerably more than The Bus.
This game did not begin well. In the first quarter, Washington controlled the ball for nearly 13 minutes. The Skins sought to establish their running game; in their first 3 possessions, Davis went 10/32. Generally, the Steeler D-line stuffed it up but Stephen did have some success when rookie TE Zeron Flemister wham blocked in support of the Skin interior 3. In this period, George threw 12 times, mainly short tosses. Receiving FB Larry Centers hauled in 4; these did move the sticks. Still, the Skins averaged only about 4.0 per play and put up just 3 points.
In the same period, the Steelers went 3 and out twice, amassing 8 yards total offense. In this quarter, we saw the worst of Kordell. On the first play, he held the ball much longer than his 3 step drop could allow. Later, he missed badly on three throws.
However, in the second period we saw some of the best Stew has to offer. Consider these plays, made in the third possession, which led to a game tying FG:
1. Kordell, showing exceptional pocket presence, buys time and hits Shaw for 33 yards.
2. Kordell eludes a heavy rush and scrambles for a first down.
There was some dreck; #10 was only 1/3 on the drive and, in the red zone, threw late and well behind Shaw. Still, a drive is a drive and the game was tied.
That changed fast; Dwayne quickly put an end to the Skins next possession with his fine INT off blanket coverage. The Steeler offense stalled but Josh's pooch punt pinned Washington inside their own 5. The D stuffed the Skin and Poteat brought the ensuing punt all the way home. After a squib KO, Scott out-toughed TE S. Alexander and the Steeler offense took over at the Wash. 38.
Again, Stew showed his stuff:
3. Rolled right, buying time for Troy to come open for 12 yards.
4. Fine run for a first down on a designed QB draw.
When Hunt scored, this game was over. 2 INT bracketing Hank's sparkling return had broken the Skin. To this point, the Steeler offense had a comparatively minor role in establishing control of the game. The Bus had not yet begun to roll; whatever offense the Steelers had generated was Kordell's creation.
Comedy took a turn in the third quarter. The teams exchanged turnovers near the Steelers 20. For much of this period, the game was a sodden scrum but, in the late going, the Steeler run game finally got untracked. The Bus got about 80 yards in the second half; much of that in possessions 10 and 11. We saw the best of Huntley running through Pro Bowl CB Champ Bailey during a really outstanding 30 Yd. TD burst.
Early in the 4th, Porter and Gildon put George out of the game. This brought Brad Johnson in for his 3RS audition. BJ looked okay in his first possession though he did stare down S. Davis on Holmes' near pick. Playing against the Steelers premature prevent, Johnson hit his TE for an apparent TD. Instead, Alexander coughed it up (again) and, on the next possession, BJ did the same.
1. This game was won in the 2nd quarter and it was a trio of Steeler CB, not the Skin Canton-bound triplets, who did the deed.
2. Kordell Stewart was the best QB on the field today. Error free on a day when others were not; Kordell was, effectively, the offense in the first half. His ballhandling needs work but there is some hope. A 20 yard toss to Bruener came off a pretty convincing play action fake. Dwayne, Hank and Chad gave the team momentum; Stew did not squander it. In fact, after beginning about 1/6, Stewart did finish, by my count 12/21 or so.
3. A team that turns it over 5 times can rarely win. Refer to Jax 2.
4. Hats off to Levon, Josh and Earl for returning to the game.
5. Coach Lewis attempted to get some pressure on the Skin QB. Early in the game, Battles and Townsend were the primary blitzers. Odd choice; these men are both small and not especially fast. Later, both MLB were used, occasionally. Brent Alexander got the 1st sack when George slipped down. This brings the DB unit total to 5, the same number rolled up by the DL. The latter unit failed to get pressure against a patched together Skin OL; that fact casts a shadow over what was, otherwise, an outstanding victory.