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Archive for December, 2011

Steelers vs. Browns Preview

December 29, 2011 By: Admin Category: Uncategorized

After a long, injury-filled season, we’ve finally come to the end.  The Steelers face the Cleveland Browns in the final game of the regular season, and the AFC North title may be on the line.

The Steelers enter the game tied with the Baltimore Ravens for the lead in the AFC North.  However, because the Ravens swept the Steelers this season, the Ravens own the tie-breaker and will win the division if the two teams end up in a tie.  Fortunately, the Cincinnati Bengals are also fighting for a spot in the playoffs, and they face the Ravens on Sunday.

Baltimore is 3-4 on the road this season.  They’re undefeated at home, but have struggled on the road.  Moreover, they’ve struggled in Cincinnati.  The Bengals have beaten the Ravens in 5 of their last 6 games in Cincinnati.

Of course, none of that will matter if the Steelers don’t take care of business against the Browns.  The Steelers MUST win on Sunday.

If the Steelers win, and the Ravens lose, the Steelers would grab the #2 seed in the AFC playoffs.  And if the New England Patriots were to lose, the Steelers would actually clinch the #1 seed in the AFC.

The question on most Steelers fans’ minds is probably, “Will Ben Roethlisberger play?”  Big Ben didn’t play against the St. Louis Rams, as Charlie Batch led the Steelers to a 27-0 win.  Many fans believe the Steelers can beat the Browns with Batch at the helm, and that Roethlisberger should rest his sprained ankle before the playoffs.

Coach Tomlin hasn’t announced his plans yet.  However, Big Ben has made it clear that he wants to play.  Steelers fans know that Roethlisberger ALWAYS wants to play.  He hates sitting out, regardless of the circumstances.

Regardless of who starts at quarterback, the Steelers still have to win.  That much is clear.

Other Steelers news

The Steelers players selected second year wide receiver Antonio Brown as the Team’s MVP.  Brown set a team record for all-purpose yards and was voted to the Pro Bowl this week as a return man.

Steelers slam Rams

December 24, 2011 By: Admin Category: Uncategorized

For once, the Steelers did what they were supposed to do.

Throughout the season, the Steelers have had a frustrating habit of playing down to the level of their opponent.  But today, the Steelers did what a good team should; they got a lopsided victory over one of the worst teams in the NFL.

The Steelers improved their record to 11-4, as they defeated the St. Louis Rams 27-0.

Charlie Batch got the start in place of the injured Ben Roethlisberger, and at times, he looked like Big Ben.  Batched evaded rushers on multiple occasions to avoid sacks.  He also hit Mike Wallace for a 46 yard reception that was reminiscent of the ones we’ve seen Big Ben complete to Wallace.

Batch completed 15 of 22 passes for 208 yards.  He ran the Steelers offense effectively, and helped them to put 27 points on the board.  Not a bad day’s work.

Batch got plenty of help from the running backs.  Rashard Mendenhall rushed for 116 yards and a touchdown.  Isaac Redman and John Clay also contributed touchdowns.  Clay had just been called up from the Steelers practice squad, and scored on his first NFL carry.

Of course the defense also pitched in.  James Harrison, Ziggy Hood, and Lawrence Timmons all recorded sacks as the Steelers kept the Rams from scoring.

Overall, it was a great performance by the Steelers on Christmas Eve.  You might consider it an early Christmas present to Steeler Nation.

But what would have made it even better would have been a Browns victory over the Ravens.  Unfortunately, that was not meant to be.  The Ravens beat the Browns 20-14.  The Browns came close, but not close enough.  That means that the Steelers will have to depend on the Cincinnati Bengals to beat the Ravens next week.  That’s the only chance the Steelers have of winning the AFC North and gaining a first round playoff bye.

So this week Steeler Nation was rooting for the Cleveland Browns.  Next week we’ll be rooting for the Cincinnati Bengals.  Who’da thunk it?

Batch to start against Rams

December 23, 2011 By: Admin Category: Uncategorized

Hallelujah!  Steeler Nation has been begging the Steelers’ coaching staff to sit Ben Roethlisberger for Saturday’s game against the St. Louis Rams, and it looks like the coaches have heard their pleas.

The Steelers have announced that Charlie Batch will start at quarterback on Saturday.

Starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has been nursing a high ankle sprain, and seemed to have difficulty in the team’s last game against the San Francisco 49ers.

Despite an obvious limp, three interceptions, two fumbles, and the potential to injure himself further, the Steelers decided to leave Roethlisberger in for the entire game.  This made many fans question the coaching staff’s sanity.

By naming Batch as the starter for Saturday’s game, the Steelers coaches may have regained some credibility in the eyes of fans.

Charlie Batch is an experienced veteran who should be able to lead the team to victory, particularly against one of the worst teams in the NFL.

Roethlisberger will dress for Saturday’s game, but the coaches have said that he will only be used in an emergency.

Steelers vs. Rams Preview

December 22, 2011 By: Admin Category: Uncategorized

The Steelers are fighting for playoff position, and they get to face one of the worst teams in the NFL this weekend.

The 2-12 St. Louis Rams visit Heinz Field on Saturday (that’s right, Saturday).  Only the 1-13 Indianapolis Colts have a worse record than the Rams.

If you have any questions about why the Rams are so bad, here’s something that may help you understand.  Pop quiz:  Name 4 players on the Rams.

Or try this one; name 2 players on the Rams’ defense.

See what I mean?  It’s pretty easy to understand why they’re 2-12.

To make matters worse, Rams quarterback Sam Bradford has been suffering from a high ankle sprain (sound familiar?) for the past 3 weeks.  He’s not likely to play on Saturday.

With Bradford out, the Rams will likely call on Kellen Clemens to start at quarterback.  The Rams signed Clemens off waivers on December 7, and he’s already surpassed A.J. Feeley on the Rams’ depth chart.  Feeley did a horrendous job in his 3 starts replacing the injured Bradford.

Regardless of whether they start Clemens or Feeley, neither of them is likely to do very well against the Steelers’ defense.  That may provide ample justification for Steelers’ Head Coach Mike Tomlin to sit Ben Roethlisberger, and play Charlie Batch or Dennis Dixon.

Ben showed during the last game that his ankle is still bothering him.  Most fans probably believe that it’s more important for Ben to be healthy during the playoffs than it is for him to play against the Rams.  If Batch or Dixon can’t beat the Rams, then they don’t belong in the NFL.

Personally, I believe that the Steelers should take this opportunity to rest Big Ben, Maurkice Pouncey, and LaMarr Woodley.  And if the Steelers get a big lead, I’d also remove Troy Polamalu from the game.  Troy looked good against the 49ers, but he’s been battling hamstring problems, so why take an unnecessary risk?

The Steelers defense is going to be bolstered by the return of James Harrison.  Harrison had to sit out the last game due to a suspension (that Harrison believed was unjust), so I’m sure that he’s going to be playing this game with a bit of a chip on his shoulder.  An angry James Harrison is not a good thing for any opponent.

Regardless of who starts for the Rams, the Steelers should win this one pretty easily.  I’m predicting a final score of 24-6 Steelers.

Go Steelers!

Steelers miss opportunity

December 20, 2011 By: Admin Category: Uncategorized

The Steelers couldn’t have asked for more.  The Baltimore Ravens and Houston Texan both lost this week, giving the Steelers an opportunity to take possession of the #1 seed in the AFC playoffs.  All the Steelers had to do was win on Monday night.


The lights in San Francisco went out right before the game was supposed to start, and they never seemed to come back on for the Steelers.

The 49ers Marched up and down the field, and the Steelers’ defense seemed incapable of stopping them.  If Alex Smith weren’t their quarterback, the 49ers probably would have scored even more than the 20 points that they put on the board against the Steelers.

But the Steelers defense wasn’t the biggest problem.  The offense looked completely inept.  And that’s being kind.

The biggest problem was that Ben Roethlisberger was still nursing a high ankle sprain.  With first place on the line, I understand the coaches’ decision to start Big Ben.  After all, the Steelers have several players who are nursing injuries, and securing a 1st round playoff bye would have been a nice luxury to have.  So while some may question the decision to start Roethlisberger, it’s easy to understand why the coaches did it.

What I DON’T understand is why they kept him in the game after he threw his 3rd interception.  Or why they kept him in the game after he made his second fumble.  Or why they kept him in the game when the 49ers had an insurmountable lead, and there was not enough time left for the Steelers to win the game.  Why did the coaches keep Ben in the game until the bitter end?

I know that Ben doesn’t like to come out of games.  Ever.  But it’s the coaches job to make decisions for Ben that he’s unwilling to make for himself.  That’s why they’re coaches, and he’s a player.  Besides, why does the team pay Charlie Batch and Dennis Dixon if they don’t have confidence in their ability to come in and win a game?  Is Ben on one leg better than Charlie or Dennis on two healthy legs?  If so, then we need better backup quarterbacks.

What if Ben had broken his arm with 2 minutes left in the game and no chance for the Steelers to win anyway?  Wouldn’t we all be screaming about what a poor decision the coaches made?  Well it was still a poor decision, even though Ben didn’t sustain any serious injuries.

So now the Steelers have two games remaining, and the coaches have another difficult decision to make.  Do they rest their players who are nursing injuries, or do they play them and try to win their final two games?

What do you say, Steeler Nation?  Should The Steelers try to win the next two games, or should they rest players like Ben, LaMarr Woodley, Maurkice Pouncey, and Troy Polamalu, who have all been nursing injuries?  Let us know your opinion.

Go Steelers!