Steelers Today - A Pittsburgh Steelers blog


Steelers vs. Bengals recap

September 28, 2009 By: Admin Category: Post-Game Reports

September 28, 2009
By Donald Starver

Okay Ashton, you can come out now.  I know that you’re out there.  I’m no fool.  I know when I’m being Punk’d.

Did you really think that I’d fall for this little prank of yours, Mr. Kutcher?  Nope, I know better than that.  I know that there is no way that the Pittsburgh Steelers could have possibly lost to the Cincinnati Bengals yesterday.

I know that anytime the Steelers score on their first 3 possession, while forcing their opponent to punt on their first 4 possessions, the Steelers are going to win the game.

I know that anytime Ben Roethlisberger throws for almost 100 more yards than Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer, the Steelers are definitely going to win.

I know that if Willie Parker finally regained his form and rushed for almost 100 yards (93 yards on 25 carries, to be exact), that is the formula for a Steelers’ victory.

I know that if the Steelers’ passing offense is clicking so well that Big Ben completes passes to 8 different receivers, including 102 receiving yards to rookie wide receiver Mike Wallace, then the Steelers are going to win the game.

Did you really think that you could fool me into believing that the Steelers would let Hines Ward lose the game in which he surpassed 10,000 yards receiving for his career?

Did you really think that I’d believe that the Steelers’ defense could hold Carson Palmer to only 183 yards passing and still lose the game?

I’m sure you didn’t think that I would believe that the Steelers could dominate the time of possession by almost 10 minutes and still find a way to lose.

Nope, I’m not stupid enough to believe that any of that could happen anywhere but in one of your stupid pranks.  So you may as well come out from hiding, Ashton.  I know that you’re out there.


I know you're out there, Ashton

Do you know what really blew it for you?  Do you want to know how I knew for sure that I was being Punk’d?  You went too far.  You made your little joke too unbelievable.

I know that there is NO WAY that normally dependable kicker Jeff Reed could miss another field goal wide left after missing two such attempts last game.  Jeff Reed never misses 3 field goals in 2 games.  Never.  So that was a sure sign that this was one of your corny little pranks.

Then you had sophomore receiver Limas Sweed drop a sure touchdown that even the most incompetent wide receiver couldn’t possibly have dropped. That was another definite sign that this was a bad joke.  You were trying to remind me of Sweed’s similar drop in last year’s AFC championship game.  It was a funny piece of deja vu, but it was too over-the-top.  It was a dead giveaway that you were involved in this debacle.

But the final clue that I was being Punk’d was when you had the Steelers’ defense allow the Bengals to score two touchdowns in the 4th quarter after holding them to only 9 points in the first 3 quarters.  That was just too impossible to believe.  When that happened, your cover was blown.  I knew that it had to be a prank.

I did see the humor of having the Steelers finish the game with the exact same record as the Detroit Lions and the Oakland Raiders.  That was actually pretty funny.  It  was completely unbelievable, but funny nonetheless.

You really need to learn to make your little jokes a bit more subtle.  That way, they’ll be more believable for your victims.  While I did appreciate the drama of having the Bengals score their final touchdown with only 14 seconds left in the game, it was too obviously staged.  I know the Steelers’ defense.  I know that they would never lose a game that was that close to victory.

So save your little prank for someone who will actually believe it.  I’m just not gullible enough to fall for it.  Did you really think that I would believe any of those things could ACTUALLY happen?  I’m not that stupid.

So you may as well come out of hiding, Ashton.  I know you’re out there.  I’ve seen your show before.  I can smell one of your pranks a mile away.

Ashton!  Ashton!  Where are you?


(If you enjoyed this article, please consider leaving a comment below. Also, please subscribe to our blog by pressing the orange button below. You can also follow us on Facebook or Twitter by clicking the doohickies at the bottom of the right column of this page.  Thanks.)

Subscribe in a reader

Top NFL Fan Sites


Steelers vs. Bears keys to victory

September 19, 2009 By: Admin Category: Pre-Game Analyses

September 19, 2009
By Patrick Cartwright

This week the Pittsburgh Steelers travel to the windy city to face the Chicago Bears.  Here are what I believe to be the keys to a Steelers victory.

1.  Pressure Cutler – As you may have seen last Sunday, Jay Cutler isn’t quite the savior of mankind that all of Chicago thought he was when they traded for him a few months back.  Funny what a four-pick game will do to a quarterback’s sterling reputation.

Regardless, the reason the Chicago faithful are pining for the days of Kyle Orton is simple; Green Bay put constant pressure on Cutler.  He was hurried and frantic all day long.  When he had the time, and the coverage allowed, he was able to throw the deep ball, but that wasn’t nearly as often as the Bears would like.

More than this, however, the pressure and defensive scheme limited Cutler’s ability to put the ball in the hands of two of his biggest playmakers; running back Matt Forte and tight end Greg Olsen, who was bracketed for practically the entire game.

The bottom line is, against the Packers’ much improved defense, there wasn’t much to look at in the passing game.  I’ve read at least two or three articles attributing a lot of the Bears’ ineptitude to Green Bay’s new 3-4 defense.  That the Steelers play the same style of defense, and are the best in the league at it, does not bode well for Cutler.  He should be running for his life all afternoon.

2.  Run the Ball…and then Pass like Hell – Steelers football is dead.  Before you pass out or send a bunch of hate mail, let me explain; Steelers Football, as defined in the Myron Cope’s Official Terrible Dictionary, is “Run the ball, run the ball, run the ball, and play good defense.”  Which is what I suppose they still do, because if the Steelers ran the ball on three consecutive tries, they would most likely end up punting.

I’ll say it right now; the run game is going nowhere.  It hasn’t been any good for over a year now; yet Ben Roethlisberger has been better than he’s ever been in his career.  Throw the damn ball.

Throw the @#$&#% ball!!!

Throw the @#$&#% ball!!!

I know the arguments.  You have to run the ball the set up the pass.  Ben already takes too many sacks.  The offensive line is terrible.  Wallace is a rookie, Sweed is undependable, Ward is too old, and Santonio might be high.  I get it.  To which I reply: The offense has looked fantastic in the 2-minute drill. They did last year. They did against Tennessee last Thursday.

The best running back we have right now, as far as I can tell, is Mewelde Moore, who seems to be valuable because he’s the only one who can catch a pass out of the backfield.  Slow Willie isn’t getting it done anymore, and I have yet to see something from Mendenhall to make me think he’s the Next Big Thing at Steelers running back.  Oh, and he still fumbles a lot.

Joe Flacco put up 300+ yards and 3 TDs last week.  Joe Freakin’ Flacco.  And you’re not going to want to hear this, but the Ravens have a much better running game than the Steelers do.  Hell, I’d trade all three of our current running backs for Ray Rice.  So please, please, sacrifice the notion of “Steelers Football”, or for the second time this decade, “Steelers Football” is going to be synonymous with following a Super Bowl win with a mediocre season.

3.  The middle of the field is your friend – If you haven’t heard, Bears middle linebacker/Old Spice pitchman Brian Urlacher is out for the season with a dislocated wrist.  Yes, he’s old-ish.  And yes, he had back problems.  But if you think Urlacher isn’t a difference maker, you’ve just come back from a Jamacian vacation with Ricky Williams.

With Urlacher gone, that leaves a hole in the middle of the field to be exploited.  So how about throwing about, oh I don’ t know, a thousand passes to Heath Miller?  Dear Baby Jesus, why do they not throw to Heath Miller more often?

But I’m getting away from myself.  Heath, or perhaps Hines Ward, should be able to take advantage of Urlacher’s absence.  Then, when they cheat players toward the middle, its long bomb time to Santonio or Mike Wallace.

Oh, and it would also be a good time to bring back the fullback.

4. Chicks Dig the Long Ball – While the short middle of the field will probably open up, that shouldn’t discourage Ben from throwing deep.  The Bears defense has a significant weakness: their secondary is awful.  And where the secondary isn’t deficient, its injured.  Please, please, throw the long ball early and often, Bruce Arians.  Do it.  Don’t even think about it.  Do it.

5.  Don’t Screw Up – Honestly, the Steelers are the better team here.  I don’t think player-for-player, the Bears should be able to keep up with the Steelers.  But the Steelers have to be aware of the big play capability of this Bears team.

Jay Cutler has a cannon, and throwing the deep ball to a wide open receiver is something he excels at.  With Troy Polamalu out, there is a weakness to be exploited in the Steelers’ secondary.  If the safeties stay back  and don’t get beat by the long ball, the Bears will be unable to capitalize.

The same goes for the Bears’ run game.  Matt Forte may not have looked all that impressive last week, but he’s a strong runner that can not only wear a team down, but can break for a big play.  Thankfully, the Steelers have one of the best run defenses in the NFL.

Lastly, the O-line needs to be able to protect Roethlisberger.  The Bears showed improved play in their line and blitzing game last week against the Packers.  If Ben has time to throw, this game could be a blowout.  If not, it could be a long day for the Steelers offense.


(If you enjoyed this article, please consider leaving a comment below. Also, please subscribe to our blog by pressing the orange button below. You can also follow us on Facebook or Twitter by clicking the doohickies at the bottom of the right column of this page.  Thanks.)

Subscribe in a reader

Top NFL Fan Sites



Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Chicago Bears Preview

September 17, 2009 By: Admin Category: Pre-Game Analyses

September 16, 2009
By Donald Starver

This Sunday, the Steelers travel to Chicago to take on the Chicago Bears. Kickoff is at 4:15 PM ET.

Soldier Field has not been a friendly venue for the Steelers.  The Steelers have lost 11 of their last 12 games in Chicago.

Despite their losing record in Chicago, the Steelers have won their last 3 games against the Bears, including their November 5, 1995 37-34 win over the Bears in Chicago.

As evidenced by the fact that the Steelers haven’t played in Chicago in over a decade, these two teams don’t face one another very often.  That being the case, there won’t be a great deal of familiarity between them. 

The last time they played was in 2005 here in Pittsburgh, when the Steelers won 21-9.  Some fans may remember that game as the “Bus runs over Urlacher” game.  That’s certainly what I remember about it.


But 4 years is a long time, and these are both completely different teams.

The Bears are coming off a difficult loss to their NFC North rivals the Green Bay Packers.  In that game, the Bears’ new franchise quarterback Jay Cutler struggled.  Cutler completed only 17 of his 36 pass attempts, and ended the game with pathetic 43.2 passer rating.  More importantly, the Packers’ new 3-4 defense had Cutler completely frazzled.  Cutler was sacked twice, and threw 4 interceptions.

This is the Packers’ first year playing a 3-4 defense, and they executed it very well against the Bears.  Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau has certainly been watching the film of that game, and will have far more exotic blitzes planned for Cutler than what he saw from the Packers. 

Not only did the Packers successfully shut down Cutler, they also managed to keep Bears running back Matt Forte in check.  Forte was held to 55 yards rushing on 25 attempts.  That’s only 2.2 yards per carry.

Last season, Forte had a breakout season in which he amassed 1,238 yards and finished seventh in the NFL in rushing.

Bears' RB Matt Forte

Bears' RB Matt Forte

We all know that the Steelers defense relishes the opportunity to face premiere running backs.  They take great pride in holding the NFL’s top running backs to under 100 yards rushing.  Matt Forte should be in for a long day.

When most fans think of the Bears, they think of the stout Bears defense that carried the team to Super Bowl XLI back in 2007.  However, that team has changed greatly.  The defense is no longer the strength of the team.  The Bears’ defense finished 2008 as the 21st ranked defense in the NFL.  That’s a far cry from the 2006/2007 team. 

To make things even worse for the Bears’ defense, star linebacker Brian Urlacher was lost for the season last week.  Losing Urlacher hurts the Bears the same way that losing Troy Polamalu hurts the Steelers.  Maybe more.

So the Steelers will face a Bears team with a depleted defense and a high flying offense.  Yeah, these are not your father’s Chicago Bears.

In order to win the game, the Steelers are going to need a much better performance from their running backs than they got in the season opener against the Tennessee Titans.  Willie Parker in particular is going to have to improve on the 19 yards that he accumulated against the Titans. 

The Steelers’ defense will be missing two key starters, as Troy Polamalu will be sidelined following last week’s knee injury.  The Steelers also announced that linebacker Lawrence Timmons re-injured his ankle in practice and is questionable for the game.

Despite missing Polamalu and Timmons, the Steelers should still be more than up to the challenge of facing the Bears.  Tyrone Carter is a seasoned veteran, and has played in place of Polamalu before.  Keyaron Fox is also a quality backup.  In fact, he looked more impressive than Lawrence Timmons in preseason.

My prediction is that the Steelers are going to leave Chicago with their 4th straight win against the Bears.  The final score will be Steelers 21 - Bears 10.  You heard it here first.

Fun fact:
The Steelers have won six straight games and eight of the past 9 (dating back to 1998) against teams currently in the NFC North.


(If you enjoyed this article, please consider leaving a comment below. Also, please subscribe to our blog by pressing the orange button below. You can also follow us on Facebook or Twitter by clicking the doohickies at the bottom of the right column of this page.  Thanks.)

Subscribe in a reader

Top NFL Fan Sites


Challengers to the throne

July 12, 2009 By: Admin Category: Uncategorized

July 12, 2009
By Donald Starver

I was asked by Most Valuable Network (MVN) to write a 2009 season preview on the Steelers.  In this article, I made a statement that upset some Steelers fans.  I stated that I didn’t think that the Steelers were the best team in the NFL last season.

If you think back to the 2008 season, you’ll remember that the Steelers were soundly defeated by the Philadelphia Eagles.  Frankly, I wasn’t looking forward to facing them again.  Similarly, the Tennessee Titans manhandled the Steelers during the regular season.  Perhaps it is blasphemous for me to say this, but I breathed a sigh of relief when the Baltimore Ravens knocked the Titans out of the playoffs.  The New York Giants had also beaten the Steelers during the regular season.  Though that game was much more competitive than the Eagles or Titans games, I still think the Steelers and Giants were pretty evenly matched, and a rematch could have gone either way.  Lastly, who predicted that the Arizona Cardinals, the lowest seed in the NFC playoffs, would take out the top-seeded Carolina Panthers?  The Panthers were probably the hottest team in the NFL going into the playoffs.  One could have made an argument that any of these teams was actually better than the Steelers.

So were the Steelers the best team in the NFL in 2008?  There’s no way of knowing.  But the Steelers got it done when it counted, and that is all that anyone will ever remember.  Moreover, that’s all that counts.

Going into 2009, the Steelers appear to be just as good as they were in 2008, if not better.  The team returns almost all of the starters from their Super Bowl championship team. They are likely to  get a greater contribution from their 2008 rookie class (which made almost no impact last year).   They also had an excellent 2009 draft.  Combine that with a much easier schedule than they had in 2008, and the Steelers appear to be guaranteed to make another deep playoff run.

Unfortunately, the rest of the NFL isn’t just going to hand the Steelers the title.  If the Steelers want to repeat as champions, they are going to have to hold off several worthy challengers to the throne.

Below is my list of the teams that may pose the greatest challenge to the Steelers’ continued dominance.  Please note that these teams are not listed in any particular order:

New England Patriots - Let’s face it.  The Patriots just aren’t the same team without Tom Brady.  As much as I hate to admit it, Brady may be the best quarterback in the NFL.

In 2007, the Patriots almost went undefeated.  Brady and Randy Moss rewrote the record books.  Matt Cassell’s Patriots of 2008 were a mere shadow of the 2007 team.  But the 2009 Patriots should be very reminiscent of the 2007 team.  Only they’ve added Fred Taylor and Joey Galloway.  Gulp!

The Patriots are the most important hurdle for the Steelers to overcome.  Not only must the Steelers prove that they are more than just interim champs who were merely keeping the throne warm until Tom Brady’s return.  They must also establish their dominance over the Patriots in order to prove that they, and not the Patriots, are the team of the decade.

New York Giants - The Giants won the Super Bowl the year before the Steelers did.  Moreover, they beat the Steelers in 2008.

The Giants are a very well-balanced team, finishing 2008 in the top 10 in both total offense and total defense.

Perhaps their only question mark is their receivers.  Amani Toomer is done, and Plaxico Burress will never play for the Giants again.  However, the Giants have several receiver waiting in the wings to fill the void.  Sinorice Moss may finally be ready to be the field-stretching receiver that he was drafted to be.  Super Bowl hero David Tyree is still in the mix.  Former Michigan star Mario Manningham is highly regarded by the team, and 1st round draft pick Hakeem Nicks may be the best of the bunch.  Suffice it to say that wide receiver should emerge as a strength for the Giants.

Oh yeah, did I mention that Osi Umenyiora will be returning to the line-up?

Philadelphia Eagles - I don’t understand Philadelphia fans.  Donovan McNabb has been one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL for a long time.  He consistently takes the Eagles to the playoffs, yet at the end of each season it seems like Eagles fans are trying to run Donovan out of town.

Personally, I think the Eagles will once again be a playoff contender.  Besides McNabb, the Eagles still have Brian Westbrook, arguably one of the best running backs in the NFL.  Wider receiver DeSean Jackson will be an experienced veteran, and should be even better than last year.  Rookies Jeremy Maclin and LeSean McCoy should contribute during their freshman year.

If you look at the offensive weapons that the Eagles have provided Donovan McNabb, one could easily argue that this year’s Eagles could be even better than the Terrell Owens team that went to the Super Bowl a few years back.

Chicago Bears - The Chicago Bears haven’t had a good quarterback since…..well, ever.  Now they have a young Pro Bowl caliber quarterback in Jay Cutler.

The Bears almost made the playoffs with Kyle Orton at the helm.  What will they do with a star QB running their offense?

Cincinnati Bengals - Just joking folks.  I just wanted to see if you were paying attention.

Indianapolis Colts - Sure, Tony Dungy is gone.  But the Colts shouldn’t lose a beat under the leadership of Dungy’s hand-picked successor.  Besides, Peyton Manning runs this team.  As long as he’s under center, the Colts will be a force to be reckoned with.

Baltimore Ravens - The Ravens were the 2008 AFC runner-up.  Thus, they have to be considered to be a contender.  However, with Rex Ryan leaving as defensive coordinator, Ray Lewis getting yet another year older, and Bart Scott no longer on the team, I don’t think the Ravens will be in the Steelers’ class.

Tennessee Titans - The Titans had a great season last year.  But I don’t expect to see a repeat performance from them this year.  Albert Haynesworth was the heart and soul of that team.  I’m not sure if there is another defensive player in the league who is as important to his team as Haynesworth was to the Titans.  The Titans’ defense should see a significant decline without him.

On offense, I think “smash & dash” will prove to be one-hit wonders.  I just don’t believe that LenDale White can be a consistent threat in the NFL.

Carolina Panthers - Is there a better running back tandem in the NFL than DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart?  Julius Peppers will be back with the team next year.  So will Steve Smith.  The only thing holding this team back is Jake Delhomme.  It’s too bad the Panthers signed him to a 5-year, $42.5 million extension.

San Diego Chargers and Dallas Cowboys - Both teams are better on paper than their on-field performance indicated in 2008.  I expect the return of Shawn Merriman to help the Chargers.  Similarly, the Cowboys should benefit from the removal of distractions like T.O., Tank Johnson, and Pac-Man Jones.

Notice I didn’t include the Arizona Cardinals.  Despite making it to the Super Bowl last year, the Cardinals are still……..the Cardinals.  They were the lowest seed in the NFC playoffs last year, and I believe that the Bears and Cowboys will be greater threats in the NFC in 2009.

I feel much better about the Steelers’ chances this year than I did last year.  With a better team and a much easier schedule than they had last year, a 14-2 regular season record is very feasible this season.

Will they bring home another Lombardi Trophy?  Only time will tell.  After all, anything can happen in the playoffs.  But one thing seems certain, if the Steelers can stay healthy they will be a playoff team.

(If you enjoyed this article, please consider leaving a comment below. Also, please subscribe to our blog by pressing the orange button below. Thanks.)

Subscribe in a reader

Top NFL Fan Sites

2009 Bloggers’ mock draft: Pick #2

March 08, 2009 By: Admin Category: Draft/Free Agency

Steelers Today has hooked up with 31 other NFL bloggers from around the country to do a bloggers’ mock draft.  All 32 NFL teams are represented in the mock draft.

For more details on the bloggers’ mock draft, click here.

With the second pick of the 2009 NFL Draft Among Blogs, the St. Louis Rams select:

Eugene Monroe, OT, Virginia


According to

It’s common knowledge that the Rams have been aching to address their offensive line for a while now and unlike last year, when Jake Long was selected one pick ahead of them, they should have no trouble landing a top blocker in the 2009 NFL Draft.

Orlando Pace has been one of the best in the business for more than a decade but he is now in his mid-30′s and injuries have really begun to take their toll. On the other side, former first round pick Alex Barron continues to disappoint and the Rams  would like nothing more than to bring in a capable replacement.

Eugene Monroe might not be as flashy as some of the other top offensive tackles in this draft but he has a very good chance to be the first blocker off the board. Not only is Monroe a terrific all-around player who can be effective as both a pass and run blocker but he is also a much safer choice than a guy like Andre Smith because there are no concerns about his size, position or character. Monroe may not have as much upside as Andre Smith or Jason Smith but his floor is a lot higher and that’s a good thing when you’re talking about giving a guy $30 million in guaranteed money.

Don’t discount the value of program pedigree either and Monroe is following in the footsteps of former Cavaliers D’Brickashaw Ferguson and Branden Albert, who have both handled the transition to the next level well.

So far, the draft has gone as follows:

1. Detroit Lions:  Mathew Stafford, QB (Georgia)

2. St. Louis Rams: Eugene Monroe, OT (Virginia)

The Kansas City Chiefs are on the clock.

(If you enjoyed this article, please consider leaving a comment below. Also, please subscribe to our blog by pressing the orange button below. Thanks.)

Subscribe in a reader

Add to Technorati Favorites

Top NFL Fan Sites