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Steelers beat Packers to stay in playoff race

December 20, 2009 By: Admin Category: Post-Game Reports

Thank you, God.  Thank you, God.  Thank you, God.  Thank you, God.  Thank you, God.

Okay, now that I’ve got that out of the way, let’s talk about the Steelers’ 37-36 win over the Green Bay Packers.

In a game that unfolded totally differently than most experts predicted, the Steelers kept their playoff hopes alive.  Prior to the game, most experts assumed that a game featuring the Steelers and Packers, two of the best defenses in the NFL, would be a low-scoring defensive struggle.  Instead, it turned out to be a high-scoring offensive shootout.  Who woulda thunk it?

The two teams combined for 973 total yards of offense.  Some “defensive struggle”.

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger had the best game of his career, passing for 503 yards.  He was 29-46 with no interceptions and 3 touchdowns. 

Hmmmmmm, this looks familiar.

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers tried his best to keep pace, finishing with 383 passing yards, 3 touchdowns, and no interceptions.  Rodgers also rushed for a touchdown.

While it was exciting to watch such an offensive shootout, it was a sad day for both defenses.  The Packers surrendered 537 net yards, and the Steelers defense surrendered 436 net yards.  That’s not something that either team will be bragging about.

Despite the positive outcome of the game, a few aspects were still a bit troubling.

Firstly, the Steelers’ secondary continues to look like a high school junior varsity team.  William Gay was burned repeatedly.  Ryan Clark was beat badly on a touchdown.  Tyrone Carter took his fellow defenders out of a play, thus allowing a Packers’ touchdown.  And none of the Steelers secondary looked like they remembered how to tackle.

Secondly, the offense still lacks balance.  The team only ran the ball 19 times.  Meanwhile, they passed the ball 46 times.  Mike Tomlin says that he wants the offense to be balanced.  Well, 19 runs and 46 passes is NOT balanced.

Thirdly, the Steelers had another 4th quarter letdown.  Sure, they walked away with a win, but they allowed the Packers to score 22 points in the 4th quarter.  They had only yielded 14 total point in the first 3 quarters.  So why can’t the defense play a consistent 60 minutes?

Finally, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin made one of the most baffling calls that I’ve ever seen.  After taking a 2 point lead with 4:03 remaining in the game, the Steelers chose to go for an on-sides kick.  Unfortunately, the play failed and the Packers got the ball at the Steelers’ 39 yard line.  In less than 2 minutes, the Packers scored a touchdown and took the lead.

Fortunately for the Steelers, Ben Roethlisberger led a textbook 2-minute drill that was culminated by a touchdown pass to Mike Wallace that looked eerily reminiscent of Roethlisberger’s game-winning pass to Santonio Holmes in Super Bowl XLIII.

Mike Wallace imitates Santonio Holmes

Mike Wallace imitates Santonio Holmes

So the Steelers ended their losing streak and kept their playoff hopes alive.

They also got help from several of their AFC rivals who are also fighting for their playoff lives.  Denver, Jacksonville, Miami, and the New York Jets all lost.  Those losses mean that the Steelers are still mathematically in the playoff race.

I think Steeler Nation needs to say one more collective “Thank you, God”.


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15 Comments to “Steelers beat Packers to stay in playoff race”

  1. First, let me say let’s please put the playoff stuff to rest already. Somehow I knew that it would be brought up again.

    Second, Mike Tomlin is ignorant! He continues to prove this week after week. How about just a few recent examples:

    1. Letting Special Teams get out of hand before making any attempt to do something about it.
    2. Promising changes and delivering nothing. Like a mom saying, “If you do that one more time”. He has no credibility or control of team.
    3. Not uunderstanding the term “balance”
    4. And making NE’s Bill B.’s call look brilliant! Oh, not to mention what it says to your DEF. I’m sure they will play for ya now Mike.

    Now, to Ben and company…WOW! Give it up to these guys for making things happen in spite of an imbalanced scheme. Ben…WOW!!

    Wallace….WOW! Limas Who?

    Mendy? Well, we will always wonder what he could have done running, right?


  2. Tony,

    1) Not sure I agree. We went through several weeks (and several cuts) trying to solve ST coverage.

    2) I absolutely agree. Unfortunately, you need to have someone else to play if you bench the starter (Burnett and Mundy have played no better than Gay or Carter). Of course, you should realize that before making the threat.

    3) I don’t think anyone would argue with that.

    4) I actualy liked the call. I also agreed with BB (boy did that hurt to write) on his decision. We have all lamented the poor 4th quarter defense this year. Well, they were aptly proving that again yesterday. The end of the game had all the hallmarks of GB moving down the feed, killing the clock, and winning with a short field goal. Even though it failed, it was a sound decision. The defense proved they couldn’t stop GB during the 4th quarter. I think the vet’s on defense are far more angry at their own performance than Tomlin’s decision - they are not wimpy QB’s with easily bruised ego’s.

    P.S. I think I’ll wait until after next week before thinking about the playoffs.

  3. An EXCITING game for the nation to watch. Except for the miraculous drive and final play, it has been seen too many times this year. We need some serious help! I hope that it comes in three packages that can only be delivered if we do NOT make the play-offs:
    1) Better draft slots so we can re-build our O-Line and D-Backs
    2) New O-coordinator and Special Teams coach
    3) The hunger that follows a season that fell substantially short of expectations.
    I am counting on Tomlin learning on the job and becoming a better head coach. Maybe if he is surrounded by better assistants that education will happen sooner rather than later. Merry Christmas to Steeler Nation!

  4. One more quick note…I now live in Chicago. So don’t be too discouraged, it CAN be a whole lot worse. (BTW, this town is putting Cowher on everyone’s Christmas/New Year’s list!)

  5. It was nice to get a win. I have to be honest, I kept waiting for them to blow it and they almost did. The defense choked up 22 points again, and I believe the secondary is a big reason for that. William Gay needs to be relieved of his duties.

  6. john,

    5% chance onsides work. Are you saying that we had worse odds on Def? Hard to swallow but I admire your honesty on saying you liked the failed call. Although, would you have admitted it if Ben and Wallace didn’t pull on out of their butts? :)

  7. Tony,
    Don’t tell me you’ve given up on the playoffs already. Sure the odds are slim. But as long as they aren’t mathematically eliminated, there is still hope. Frankly, I couldn’t believe all of those AFC teams lost.

    As far as your other points, it is hard to disagree. However, Coach Tomlin proved to be right on the on-sides kick call, so you may not want to criticize him so quickly on that one.

  8. Mark,
    You’ll get no argument from me. Everyone knows how I feel about William Gay. :-)

  9. Tony,

    The chance of recovering an onside kick is probably more than 5% when the team expects it. It would be higher when they do not - and, in fact, they did recover it (although a yard too soon).

    And, yes, I would have admitted it had they lost as I admitted that I agreed with BB’s decision (which failed and led to a loss).

  10. Leonard Riddle Jr says:

    Odds of making the playoffs slim? I’m not sure about that. Check this out. At 1:00 Sunday, the Jaguars are at the Patriots, the Texans are at the Dolphins, and the Ravens are at the Steelers. Then at 4:00, the Jets are at the Colts and and the Broncos are at the Eagles. If the home teams win each of those games (is that SO unlikely?) then next Sunday’s matchup between Miami and Pittsburgh becomes “win-and-you’re-in.” Looking at those matchups and knowing what we now know about the 2009 NFL season, I’d say the toughest parts of that equation are the Steelers’ wins. But if Ben is in the mood to pick this team up and put them on his shoulders, I like their chances.

  11. Leonard,

    Not so fast. Baltimore needs to lose two or Denver needs to lose 2 if I am reading the tiebreakers correctly.

    We can’t tie with Baltimore because we would lose division record tiebreaker (head to head would be split).

    If I’m wrong someone please point it out.

    And let’s not forget, one win in the last second doesn’t wipe away the fact that these are still the 2009 steelers. We still must play two very tough games!

  12. Leonard,

    Not so fast. Baltimore needs to lose two or Denver needs to lose 2 if I am reading the tiebreakers correctly.

    We can’t tie with Baltimore because we would lose division record tiebreaker (head to head would be split).

    If I’m wrong someone please point it out.

    And let’s not forget, one win in the last second doesn’t wipe away the fact that these are still the 2009 steelers. We still must play two very tough games!

  13. Leonard,

    Sorry, I spoke too soon. We can be okay tied with Baltimore if Denver loses this week. My bad. I had Denver’s record wrong in my head.

    However, we do need Jags and Jets to lose 1 each which could easily happen as you said.

    But Denver must lose this week because they play K.C. last week. Don’t count on that win.

    But again, Baltimore game for us will be crazy difficult! I refuse to get hopeful for the playoffs this year. They have let us down so many times.

    But I will say this. If we WERE to beat Baltimore and all the other stars aligned correctly, I like our chances against Miami on a win-and-your-in. At some point you think the vets would kick it in gear for a run of passion.

  14. Leonard Riddle Jr says:


    In my first post, I mentioned that Denver is at Philadelphia this week. As a Baptist, I never bet. But that sounds to me almost as good as money in the bank if you need a Denver loss.

    As for what might happen if the Steelers get in, I can already hear sound-bites in my head of Roethlisberger saying the phrase “road warriors.” Ironically, like in Super Bowl XL, this is the year the AFC team gets to wear home jerseys for the big game. I know February 7 is a pipe-dream right now, but do I sense the possibilty that they’d choose to wear white again?!?!

  15. Tomlin not that creative, Leonard.


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