Brett Favre and the Minnesota Vikings were undefeated when they entered the game with the Steelers. By the time they left the game, they were undefeated no more.
The Steelers beat the Minnesota Vikings 27 – 17, in a game that probably didn’t go the way that either team had scripted it.
After last week’s offensive outburst, many fans expected to see another high scoring performance by Big Ben and the Steelers offense. Instead, it was the Steelers defense that led the team to victory.
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger followed up last week’s 417 yard passing performance with only 175 passing yards this week.
Hines Ward, who entered the game as the NFL’s leading receiver had only 1 catch for 3 yards.
On the ground, the Steelers weren’t much more successful, as they were only able to gain 106 yards. Rashard Mendenhall led all Steelers rushers with 69 yards. Unfortunately, Mendenhall hurt the team when he decided to go airborne on a run from the Vikings 9 yard line. The Vikings defense hit Mendenhall while he was in the air and forced a fumble that the Vikings recovered on their own 4 yard line. What a painful way to end what had otherwise been a very nice drive by the Steelers.
I understand that Mendenhall was trying to make a play, but not even Superman can dive 9 yards. What did he think he was doing? There was no way his dive could get him to the endzone, so why make such a risky play?
Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin obviously didn’t think it was a smart play either. He benched Mendenhall for the rest of the game.
Fortunately, just as I predicted in my Steelers vs. Vikings Preview, the Steelers defense was the difference in the game. The defense only yielded one touchdown (the other was scored against the Steelers special teams). More importantly, the Steelers defense scored 2 touchdowns of their own. Yes, that’s one more touchdown than the Steelers offense was able to muster.
What was most significant about the defense’s scoring was that it occurred in the 4th quarter. For much of the season, the Steelers defense has seemed to disappear in the 4th quarter. It was good to see the defense finally step up and change the game during the 4th quarter.
With 6:47 remaining in the 4th quarter, Brett Keisel sacked Brett Favre, and causes a fumble. LaMarr Woodley scooped up the fumble and rumbled 77 yards for a touchdown.
Was it just me, or did it seem like Woodley was never going to reach the endzone? That must have been the slowest 77 yard run in history. I’m not complaining, but I’m just saying…..
Not to be outdone, the Vikings Percy Harvin returned the ensuing kickoff 88 yards for a touchdown. Harvin probably should have been stopped early in his return run, but Jeff Reed forgot that he was playing tackle football and not “two hand touch”. Reed got in front of Harvin on his return run and clearly tagged him with two hands. Reed seemed perplexed as to why the referees didn’t whistle the play dead.
We seldom hear the words “wimpy” and “Steelers” used in the same sentence. But I have to say that that may have been the wimpiest play that I have ever seen from a Steelers player. Ever! Shame on you, Jeff Reed!
Fortunately, the Steelers defense wasn’t finished yet. With 1:15 left in the game, and the Steelers leading 20-17, the Vikings were marching up the field. I don’t know about anyone else, but I started getting nervous that the Steelers might blow another game in the 4th quarter. But backup linebacker Keyaron Fox had other ideas. Fox intercepted a Brett Favre pass and returned it 82 yards for a touchdown. Suddenly, the score was 27-17 with only a minute left in the game, and Steeler Nation breathed a collective sigh of relief.
I don’t think anyone who watched the game could have felt disappointed. It was an extremely entertaining game that either team could have won. Both teams played so hard that it seemed unfair that either team had to lose.
But somebody did have to lose, and that team was the Vikings. So Minnesota is undefeated no more, and the Steelers have their first statement victory of the season. Now they go into their bye week and prepare to play the undefeated Denver Broncos.
Here we go Steelers, here we go!!!!
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