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Steelers get dramatic win over Chargers

October 05, 2009 By: Admin Category: Post-Game Reports

October 5, 2009
By Donald Starver

“Awesome, Awesome,Awesome, WHAT?!?, phew!!”
-Pam Prinz (via Facebook)

I don’t think that I could have summarized Sunday night’s game any better than Pam Prinz, one of my friends on Facebook, did in the above quote.

The Steelers played 3 awesome quarters, then tried to blow the game in the 4th quarter before finally pulling out a victory in the end.  “Phew!!” is right.

For the third consecutive week, the Steelers have suffered a 4th quarter meltdown which leaves fans asking “what is wrong with the 4th quarter defense?”

With 2 minutes remaining in the third quarter, the Steelers led the Chargers 28-0, and most Steelers fans thought the game was in the bag.  After all, if the Chargers hadn’t been able to score in the first 43 minutes of the game, what could they possibly do with only 17 minutes left in the game?

But these are the 2009 Steelers, and they don’t seem to be satisfied unless they’ve left their fans on the verge of cardiac arrest.  So they found a way to let the Chargers back into the game.

After leading 28-0 with 2 minutes left in the 3rd quarter, the Steelers found themselves up by only 7 points with 2 minutes left in the 4th quarter.  Huh?

It took a field goal by Jeff Reed with 48 seconds remaining in the game to finally put the game safely out of reach and allow Steelers fans to breathe a sigh of relief.

Despite the close score, the Steelers were once again dominant.  They held the Chargers and their star running back LaDainian Tomlinson to a total of 16 rushing yards.  That’s right, 16.

The Steelers outgained the Chargers with 516 total yards versus only 270 for San Diego.  They also dominated the time clock, holding the ball for a full 40:20 while only allowing the Chargers 19:40 total time of possession.

But the real story of the game was Rashard Mendenhall.  After being benched last week because he didn’t know his playbook, Mendenhall got the start due to an injury to Willie Parker.  Mendenhall took advantage of his opportunity by rushing for 165 yards on 29 carries.  More importantly, many of those yards came on tough, physical runs between the tackles, something the Steelers had been unable to do up to this point.

RB Rashard Mendenhall

RB Rashard Mendenhall

Mendenhall’s rushing success made things much easier for Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who threw for 333 yards and 2 touchdowns.

The Steelers win, combined with a Baltimore Ravens loss to the New England Patriots, leaves the Steelers only one game out of first place in the AFC North.

The AFC North leading Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals have to play one another next week, so if the Steelers can defeat the Detroit Lions, they will gain ground on at least one of their AFC North foes.

Ordinarily I’d feel very confident when the Steelers have back-to-back games against the lowly Detroit Lions and Cleveland Browns.  However, I know that this year’s Steelers team will find a way to make both of these games exciting to the very end.  That’s not a good thing in my opinion, but I’m starting to get used to it.

Now where did I put my heart medicine?


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Steelers vs. Chargers: Key match-ups

October 04, 2009 By: Admin Category: Pre-Game Analyses

Note:  If you haven’t already read our Pittsburgh Steelers vs. San Diego Chargers Preview, please click here.

This week the San Diego Chargers invade Heinz Field to battle the Pittsburgh Steelers. 

Each week we look at the key match-ups that may impact the outcome of Sunday’s game.  Here are this week’s key match-ups.

C Justin Hartwig vs. NT Ogemdi Nwagbuo
Ordinarily teams facing the Chargers have to deal with NT Jamal Williams.  Unfortunately, the 350 pound Williams is on  injured reserve, so instead the Steelers will have to face his replacement Ogemdi Nwagbuo.  Nwagbuo is 50 pounds lighter than Williams, and spent last season on the Chargers’ practice squad.  I’m sure that Steelers center Justin Hartwig is very happy to be facing the really fat replacement rather than the extraordinarily fat injured starter.  Advantage:  Steelers.

S Tyrone Carter vs. TE Antonio Gates
Even when Troy Polamalu is healthy, Chargers TE Antonio Gates is a difficult match-up.  Gates is tall (6’4″), and has great hands.  With Polamalu out with an injury, the responsibility of stopping Gates falls to Tyrone Carter.  Carter gives up 8 inches and 65 pounds to the much bigger Gates.  Needless to say, that’s not a good thing.  Sorry Tyrone, but it’s going to be a very loooooooong day for you.  Advantage:  Chargers

CB Ike Taylor vs. WR Vincent Jackson
Jackson is tall (6’5″) and fast, but Taylor is also tall (6’2″) and faster.  It will take a lot to shut down QB Philip Rivers’ favorite target, but Ike Taylor should be up to the challenge.  This should be one of the most exciting match-ups of the game.  Advantage:  Neither.

LBs James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley vs. Philip Rivers
Chargers QB Philip leads the NFL in passing.  He is a brash young quarterback who can pick teams apart if given time.  The only way to stop Rivers is to apply pressure and force him to hurry his passes.  That challenge will fall to linebackers James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley.  So far this season, Harrison has only 1 sack and Woodley has none.  That will have to change, or the Steelers could be in for a long day. Advantage:  Neither 

LaMarr Woodley

LaMarr Woodley

Rashard Mendenhall vs. his playbook
Last week Mendenhall was benched by coach Mike Tomlin because he did not know his playbook.  One week later, Willie Parker is likely to be out due to turf toe, and Mendenhall may get the start.  Is it realistic to believe that Mendenhall could successfully learn the plays in one week?  After all, this is Mendenhall’s second season with the Steelers.  If he couldn’t learn the plays during the course of 2 training camps and a full season, why should we believe that he can learn them in one week?  I remember watching Mendenhall run into Ben Roethlisberger during a game earlier this season.  Hopefully, we won’t see any more mental gaffes from Mendy.  Advantage: Playbook.


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LaMarr Woodley slams Philip Rivers (video)

January 12, 2009 By: Admin Category: Uncategorized

I hate to emphasize violence in the NFL.  I don’t think it is right to show devastating hits over and over again.  Afterall, there is more to football than the big hit.

Who am I kidding?  I LOVE the big hit.  I LOVE violence in the NFL.  And most importantly, I love big hits on players that I don’t like.  Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers falls into that category.  I don’t like him.  He talks too much trash.  He’s never won anything, but he acts like he’s All-World.

So I just couldn’t resist posting LaMarr Woodley’s slam of Philip Rivers.  I could watch this over and over again.  Great play LaMarr!!!


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And then there were four.

January 12, 2009 By: Admin Category: Post-Game Reports

In an unusual playoff weekend, only one of the favorites managed to defend their home field advantage.  Fortunately, that one team was the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Steelers defeated the San Diego Chargers 35-24 in a game that looked like old fashioned Steelers football.  The Steelers ran the ball, controlled the clock, and played stingy defense.  Sound familiar?

Willie Parker ran for 146 yards on 27 carries.  That’s a 5.4 yard per carry average.  Not a bad day’s work.

The Steelers ran the ball 42 times while only throwing the ball 27 times.  That’s probably not a bad ratio, particularly when the running game is working as well as it was on Sunday.

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger completed 17 of 26 passes for 181 yards.  More importantly, Roethlisberger avoided careless turnovers.  He threw no interceptions, and never fumbled the ball.  Roethlisberger did take several long attempts downfield that just missed their intended receivers.  Though the long bombs missed their intended receivers, they were enough to keep the defense honest.

On the defensive side of the ball, the NFL’s #1 ranked defense held the Chargers to 15 yards rushing.  Total.  In the whole game.  That is impressive under any circumstances, but considering that Chargers’ running back Darren Sproles had torched the Indianapolis Colts’ defense for 328 all-purpose yards last week, it is absolutely astounding.  Sproles averaged 1.4 yards per carry, and his longest carry was only 8 yards.

But the most impressive aspect of the entire game was probably the third quarter.  The Steelers controlled the ball so effectively that the Chargers only got to run one play from scrimmage during the entire quarter.  Their total time of possession during the quarter was less then 20 seconds.  it’s pretty hard to score when you don’t get to touch the ball.

So the Steelers move on to the AFC Championship against the Baltimore Ravens.  The Steelers have already beaten the Ravens twice this season.  Now they’ll have to do it a third time if they hope to move on to the Super Bowl.  As they say, “three’s a charm”.

On the NFC side, the Arizona Cardinals defeated the highly favored Carolina Panthers to move on to the NFC championship.  Former Steelers coaches Ken Whisenhunt and Russ Grimm will lead the Cardinals to the NFC championship game for the first time in……….. well, it’s been so long that I don’t think anyone really remembers the last time it happened.  Suffice it to say that it was a looooonnnng time ago.

Finally, the Philadelphia Eagles ousted the defending Super Bowl champions, the New York Giants, to move onto the final four.

The Steelers-Ravens and Cardinals-Eagles will meet next week to determine which two teams will meet in the Super Bowl.  Stay tuned.

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It’s Steelers vs. Chargers game day!!!

January 11, 2009 By: Admin Category: Pre-Game Analyses

It’s Sunday morning, and I can’t wait until game time. I feel like a kid on Christmas Eve waiting for Santa to arrive.

The weather forecast for Pittsburgh calls for temperatures in the 20′s, but later in the game, the wind chill should make it feel like 18 degrees. That’s perfect Steelers weather. The team has been practicing outdoors this week to acclimate themselves to the conditions. Everybody is healthy, and the Black and Gold is ready to kick some Charger butt.

On the other hand, the Chargers come limping into Heinz Field. LaDainian Tomlinson isn’t going to play. Antonio Gates is hurt (although he is going to play). And Darren Sproles is about to find out that running against the Steelers is a lot more difficult than running against the Colts.

That leaves Philip Rivers as the Chargers’ best hope for victory. Rivers is the NFL’s highest rated quarterback. However, he had his worst game against the Steelers.

Rivers, who was born in Alabama, played all of his childhood football through high school in the warm climate of Alabama. He went to college at North Carolina State, where he played in warm southern temperatures. After college, he went directly to the Chargers and their tropical southern California environment. So basically, we have a kid who has never had to shovel a driveway, has probably never built a snowman, and probably doesn’t own a good pair of winter boots, being called upon to lead the Chargers to victory in chilly winter conditions. That’s like asking an African lion to join a pack of polar bears on a walrus hunt. He’s going to be completely out of his element, and probably won’t excel.

Kickoff is at 4:45PM ET. It’s going to be a good one.

Here we go Steelers, here we go!!!!

In other news, the Baltimore Ravens defeated the Tennessee Titans yesterday 13-10. I predicted that was going to happen here (scroll all the way down to the end of the article).  I never root for the Ravens.  Never.  In fact, few things make me happier than seeing the Ravens lose.  But on this occasion, I wanted the Ravens to win.  The Steelers had a tough time against the Titans.  Contrarily, we’ve beaten the Ravens twice this season.  Given the choice, I’d rather play the Ravens.

I know that some Steelers fans will say that we shouldn’t avoid tough challenges.  Others will say that we should want to play the Titans so we can get revenge for their little towel stomping episode.  To all of that, I say “phooey”.  This is not the time to be proud.  This is the time to be pragmatic. 

I don’t care about revenge.  At least not right now.  Yes, the Titans did stomp on a Terrible Towel.  And they’re going to pay for that.  But not now.  Now is not the time for that.  The only thing that matters right now is winning another Lombardi Trophy.  And in my opinion, playing the Ravens is a more favorable path to that goal. 

If we played the Titans, we would have to play in their house.  But now that the Titans are eliminated, any opponent that we play leading up to the Super Bowl will have to come to our house.  If we can take care of business today, the road to the Super Bowl goes through Heinz Field.  That’s huge.

So bring on the Chargers.  And if things go the way that they should, bring on the Ravens.  In our house.  Beating the Ravens 3 times in the same season will be sweet.  Real sweet.

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