Steelers Today - A Pittsburgh Steelers blog


Archive for November, 2011

Steelers (barely) beat Chiefs

November 28, 2011 By: Admin Category: Uncategorized

Is it my imagination, or do the Steelers have an annoying tendency to play down to the level of their competition?  That’s certainly what it seemed like as the Steelers struggled to beat the Kansas City Chiefs 13-9.

Going into the game, I thought the Steelers would dominate the lowly Kansas City Chiefs.  But instead, they treated us to a game in which they had a hard time moving the ball, and barely beat an opponent who didn’t belong in the same stadium as the Steelers.

Frankly, if Chiefs’ quarterback Tyler Palko had played a little better, the Chiefs might have actually won the game.

Palko grew up cheering for the Steelers, before he went on to play his college ball at Pitt.  So perhaps he still had some latent allegiance to Pittsburgh.

Whatever the reason for his poor play, Palko’s 3 interceptions helped seal a win by the Steelers.  The interception that Palko threw to Ike Taylor resulted in a Steelers field goal, and his interception pass to Ryan Mundy resulted in a Steelers touchdown.  So 10 of the Steelers’ 13 points came off of Palko turnovers.

On the Steelers side of the ball, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger had a good game despite the offense’s struggles to move the ball.  Big Ben could have had an even better game if Mike Wallace had held onto several noticeable drops; one in the end zone.

Roethlisberger threw well despite playing with a splint on his broken thumb.  Big Ben completed passes to 9 different receivers, including a touchdown pass to backup tight end Weslye Saunders.

While it’s not an excuse for the team’s struggles, the Steelers weren’t at full strength during the game.  LaMarr Woodley is still nursing his hamstring injury, and didn’t play in the game.  Troy Polamalu was injured early in the game, and missed most of the game with concussion-like symptons.  And Maurkice Pouncey was fighting a virus and had to leave the game in the first half (he never returned to the game).

The win helped the Steelers stay tied with the Baltimore Ravens atop the AFC North.  The Ravens have an advantage in the tie-breaker since they swept the Steelers this season.  So if the two teams remain tied, the Ravens would actually win the division.

Today’s featured item:

The weather is turning cold, and Steelers fans need to keep their heads warm as they cheer for the Black & Gold.  Why not wear the same hat that the Steelers’ coaches will be wearing on the sidelines during the cold winter months?

Steelers vs. Chiefs preview

November 26, 2011 By: Admin Category: Uncategorized

The Steelers travel to Kansas City to take on the Chiefs on Sunday night.  The game will be played at 8:20 p.m. ET at Arrowhead Stadium.

Arrowhead Stadium has not been a friendly venue for the hometown Chiefs this season.  The Chiefs are 1-3 at home, and their 4-6 overall record leaves them in last place in the AFC West.

The Chiefs are coming off of a 34-3 loss to the New England Patriots on Monday Night Football.  The Chiefs have suffered several other lopsided losses this season, including a 41-7 loss to the Buffalo Bills, a 48-3 loss to the Detroit Lions, and a 31-3 loss to the Miami Dolphins.

However, Steeler Nation may not want to get too excited about the Chiefs’ record, or their losses.  After all, the last time the two teams faced one another (in 2009), the Chiefs were one of the worst teams in the NFL.  Yet they managed to pull off a 27-24 win over the Steelers.

The Chiefs will start Pittsburgh native, and former Pitt Panther, Tyler Palko at quarterback.  Palko became the starter when Matt Cassell was injured against the Denver Broncos two weeks ago.

Cassell isn’t the only quarterback battling injuries.  The Steelers’ own QB, Ben Roethlisberger, will also be playing with an injury.  Big Ben broke his thumb against the Cincinnati Bengals, and will be wearing a glove and a splint to protect the thumb.

Because of Roethlisberger’s condition, the Steelers may call on Rashard Mendenhall early and often.  The Chiefs have allowed an average of over 150 rushing yards per game over their past five games.  Mendenhall must be salivating when he thinks about that statistic.

Winning this game is crucial for the Steelers.  The Baltimore Ravens won on Thanksgiving Day, and moved to 8-3.  The Steelers need to win this game to remain tied with the Ravens at 8-3.

Despite being tied with the Ravens, the Ravens have the advantage in the tie-breakers.  Therefore, the Steelers need to win more games down the stretch than the Ravens do.  If they end the season with a better record than the Ravens, then their 2 losses to the Ravens will become a moot point.

I predict that the Steelers will leave Kansas City with a victory.  However, I was wrong the last time I predicted a Steelers’ win over a bad Chiefs team.  Hopefully, history won’t repeat itself.

Go Steelers!

Today’s featured item:

Leading up to the holidays, we’ll be suggesting gift ideas that we believe Steelers fans will enjoy.

Today, we are featuring these Steelers salt and pepper shakers.

These ceramic salt & pepper shakers include the Steelers logo on the front, and the words “salt” and “pepper” on the back.  They’re sure to look great on any Steelers fans’ table.

Click the link above to purchase this great Steelers item.

Black Friday is here

November 25, 2011 By: Admin Category: Uncategorized

Well, it’s Black Friday.  You know, that annual day where compulsive shoppers go out at midnight and spend the rest of the night (and day) buying stuff that they don’t need, simply because it’s on sale.

But you won’t be buying a 93 inch plasma screen TV for $19 at Walmart (while supplies last).  Nor will you be buying Christmas toys for the kids, or jewelry for your wife or girlfriend.  Nope, Steeler Nation is smarter than that.  Steeler Nation knows that the only thing that they REALLY want is more Steelers gear.

If you’re not a member of Steeler Nation, but you have to buy a gift for somebody who is, don’t make the mistake of buying them underwear, or a tie, or cheap cologne.  Instead, let us help you find stuff that Steelers fans will love.

Leading up to the holidays, we will be suggesting items that we think will appeal to the Steelers fans in your lives.

Suggested Item #1

Steelers fans love Troy Polamalu.  Just look at that hair.  How could you not love him?  Troy is the man!  So every Steelers fan needs a Polamalu jersey in their collection.

 Suggested Item #2

Guys aren’t the only ones who love the Steelers.  Steeler Nation has plenty of female members.  In fact, the Steelers probably have more female fans than any other team.  And Steeler ladies like to look cute while they support their team.  So we suggest this ladies’ fleece hoodie.

Suggested  Item #3

The new year will be here before you know it, and Steelers fans are going to need a new wall calendar.  Why not order a 2012 Steelers wall calendar and have it delivered in time for the holidays?

What have we learned so far?

November 17, 2011 By: Admin Category: Uncategorized

It’s a bye week, so it’s a good time to discuss what’s happened so far in the Steelers’ season.

After 10 weeks, the Steelers are in 1st place in the AFC North.  They’re also tied with the Houston Texans for the best record in the entire AFC.

After the crushing loss to the Baltimore Ravens in the first game of the season, many fans probably wondered if the Steelers were just too old to get it done.  But now that the season is more than half over, we see that the Steelers can still contend in (and maybe win) the AFC.

So what have we learned so far?

  1. The Steelers are set at wide receiver.  Antonio Brown is having a breakout season, and if it weren’t for an injury, Emmanuel Sanders would probably be having one as well.  Jericho Cotchery has also finally started to be used in the offense.  As much as we all love Hines Ward, these young guys are the Steelers’ future at wide receiver.  And the future looks very bright.
  2. Jonathan Scott is a backup.  Coming into the season, the Steelers thought that they could successfully start Jonathan Scott at left tackle.  They couldn’t have been more wrong.  After Scott almost got Ben Roethlisberger killed, the Steelers were forced to bring Max Starks back to start at left tackle.  Then rookie Marcus Gilbert beat him out for the starting spot at right tackle.  Now, Scott is back to being a backup offensive lineman, which is what he SHOULD have been all along.
  3. The running game is unreliable.  We’ve all shared the same frustration watching the Steelers trying to run the ball.  To say that their running game is ineffective would be an understatement.  Much of the blame probably belongs to the team’s patchwork offensive line.  However, I am growing increasingly concerned about Rashard Mendenhall.  Mendenhall often looks impotent when hitting the hole.  His offensive line hasn’t been opening huge holes for him, but I’ve noticed that Isaac Redman and Mewelde Moore seem to have greater success running behind that offensive line.  Whazzupwitdat Rashard?
  4. Watching Chris Kemoeatu is frustrating.  Kemo used to be a penalty waiting to happen.  Then he got better.  But now he looks even worse.  His pass blocking is terrible, and Steelers fans know that they can depend on him for at least one stupid penalty per game.  I’m no longer surprised when Kemoeatu lands a late (and blatantly illegal) block on someone 5 seconds after the whistle has been blown.
  5. Ziggy Hood is good.  I’ve said many times that I love Aaron Smith, and that I appreciate the contribution that he’s made to the Steelers over the years.  But I’m sure that everyone noticed that the Steelers’ defense got much better as soon as Ziggy Hood was inserted into the starting lineup.  LaMarr Woodley certainly noticed.  He went on an absolute sack-fest once Hood became the starter.
  6. The Steelers are a passing team.  I’m getting tired of hearing fans say that the Steelers need to use a “smashmouth” running offense.  In case you hadn’t noticed, Jerome Bettis retired years ago.  Moreover, the Steelers’ offensive line hasn’t been dominant enough to impose their will on the opposition in years.  I know that we’re all nostalgic for the good old days, but the current team is a passing team.  Big Ben is 3rd in the NFL in passing yards, behind only Drew Brees and Tom Brady.  And he’s ahead of Aaron Rodgers and Philip Rivers.  Think about that for a minute.  And with the weapons that Ben has at wide receiver and tight end, I think he could throw the ball even more.
  7. The young defensive backs are making an impact.  Has anyone else noticed that Keenan Lewis and Cortez Allen have been making their presence known when they’re given a chance to play?  I’m especially impressed by Cortez Allen.  He is aggressive on special teams (which is important if he wants to play for Mike Tomlin), and he makes plays when he’s called upon at cornerback.  Curtis Brown started the season with an injury, so he’s fallen behind.  I doubt that he’ll make an impact this year.  But I can’t wait to see him once he gets a full training camp under his belt.
  8. The no huddle offense is potent.  As mentioned earlier, Big Ben is having a career year, and his weapons at receiver are unbelievable.  When the Steelers are in their no huddle offense, it’s like watching a video game.  They’re practically unstoppable.  In fact, the only thing that I can think of that can slow them down is that guy on the sidelines called the “offensive coordinator”.  Let’s have more no huddle, and less Bruce.

Those are a few of my observations.  What about you, Steeler Nation?  What have you learned about the team in the first 10 weeks of the season?  Which players have stood out to you, and which ones haven’t played up to their potential?  What have the coaches done that has made you happy, and what would you like to see them change?

We’ve got plenty of time until the Steelers’ next game, so share your thoughts.  We’d love to hear from you.

Steelers beat Bengals

November 14, 2011 By: Admin Category: Uncategorized

Having been swept by the Baltimore Ravens, it’s important that the Steelers win all of their remaining AFC North games to even have a chance at the playoffs.  A loss to the Cincinnati Bengals may have brought the Steelers 2011 season to a crashing halt.  Fortunately, that didn’t happen.

The Steelers beat the Bengals 24-17 in a game that wasn’t really as close as the scoreboard made it seem.

The Steelers set the tone for the game early by scoring touchdowns on their first two possessions.  Simultaneously, they forced the Bengals into two consecutive 3 and outs on their first two possessions.  It looked like it was going to be a long day for the Bengals, and an easy day for the Steelers.  But that’s when the mistakes started happening.

On the Steelers’ next possession, Heath Miller bobbled a pass that ended up being intercepted by the Bengals.  Cincinnati went on to score on that possession, and suddenly they were back in the game.

But the Steelers’ offense was simply too much for the Bengals’ defense.   Ben Roethlisberger continued his recent trend of spreading the ball among all of his receivers.  Big Ben completed passes to 9 different receivers.

While Roethlisberger hasn’t completed any 40+ yard touchdown passes to Mike Wallace lately, I really like the way Ben is distributing the ball around.  It makes the offense much less predictable, and keeps everybody involved.  In particular, it’s been nice to see Jericho Cotchery making a contribution over the last few weeks.

Roethlisberger wasn’t the only player on offense who had a good game.  Running back Rashard Mendenhall ran for two touchdowns during the game.  Mendenhall was held to only 44 total rushing yards for the game, but he got into the end zone when he needed to.

But the player who was probably the hero of the game was William Gay.  That’s right, William Gay.

Steelers fans probably aren’t used to hearing William Gay’s name in such a positive light.  Gay has had some struggles during his time with the Steelers.  Most recently, he let a Baltimore receiver get behind him for the game winning touchdown last week.  But that was then, and this is now.

Gay swatted a pass away from the intended receiver on one play, and Lawrence Timmons ended up intercepting the ball.  Most people probably credited Timmons with the interception, but if you go back and watch the tape, you’ll see that it was actually Gay who deflected the pass that resulted in the interception.

More importantly, with the Bengals driving late in the game, Gay stepped in front of a Bengals receiver and intercepted a pass that ultimately put the game out of reach for the Bengals.

Because he played an integral part in two key interceptions, I give the game ball to William Gay for his performance on Sunday.

Way to go, William.  Keep up the good work!

Other AFC News

The Baltimore Ravens lost to the Seattle Seahawks 22-17.  Seattle was a pathetic 2-6 coming into the game.  Most experts thought there was no way that the Ravens could lose to to the lowly Seahawks.  But lose they did.  Bwahahahaha!!!!!!!

Losses by the Ravens and the Bengals leave the Steelers in first place in the AFC North with a record of 7-3.  The Ravens and Bengals are both tied at 6-3, and the two teams have yet to face one another this season.