Week 12 Recap: Winning's Hard When You Can't Cheat

Haha...Cassel

Revenge is a dish best served cold or, sometimes, wet. Playing in a steady downpour, the Pittsburgh Steelers crushed the New England Patriots 33-10 in their most dominating win of the season. The almost biblical rainstorm drenching the field was oddly symbolic as if the heavens above were trying to wash the rotten stink of Bill Belichick from the landscape of the NFL.

Make no mistake, this was the Steelers finest performance of the year. The Massholes, as is their modus operandi, will come up with 101 reasons why this game shouldn’t count but considering most of them weren’t aware they had a team until 2001, ignore their excuse-making. Why just last week those same dimwits were throwing their franchise QB overboard while anointing Matt Cassel the Chosen One. If that doesn’t show you the amount of ignorance we’re dealing with, Cassel’s sloppy and inept play should. Whatever terribly run franchise, I’m guessing the Detroit Lions, that empties the bank to sign this guy is going to be really disappointed when they discover their shiny new sports car is a lemon.

Cassel was coming off two 400 yard passing performances which led to the ridiculous level of hysteria surrounding his play. That those performances came against mediocre Miami and Jets (watch as everybody jumps off that bandwagon this week) defenses seemed to escape the no-nothing talking heads who are, you know, paid to analyze football. Granted, the Steeler defense isn’t your typical defense. It’s an unrelenting machine. It can’t be bargained with. It can’t be reasoned with. It doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are dead.

Where to begin with the beautiful violence displayed on Sunday afternoon. Defenders stormed in on Cassel from all angles, finishing the game with 5 sacks. James Harrison cemented his place as the BEST DEFENSIVE PLAYER IN FOOTBALL adding 2 more sacks to his league leading total, both of which caused fumbles. LaMarr Woodley chipped in with one of his own while Casey Hampton, moments after being flagged for a ridiculous holding call, showed why you do not piss off the Fat Man by promptly squashing Cassel on the next play. Troy Polamalu was all over the field, dropping back and blitzing, culminating in a nice tip-INT to ice the game. Lawrence Timmons, who should be starting at this point, made a sweet pick out in coverage.

Words can’t describe how dominate this defensive performance was. The only score the feeble Patriot offense could manage was when they started at the Steelers 14 after a Ben Roethlisberger interception. They had 5 total yards in the 3rd Quarter. They didn’t convert a third down until late in the 4th. They had 122 rushing yards, about double the 66 which Pittsburgh had been allowing, but that’s misleading. For some reason, the Steelers went to a weird Cover-2/prevent type D late in the first half and the Pats used draws to rip off 55 yards on two runs. Ike Taylor continued to establish a reputation as an elite Shut Down Corner by limiting WR Randy Moss to 45 measly yards.

Of course, the most memorable play occurred in the third quarter when S Ryan Clark, who missed last year’s game, made sure the Patriots knew he was there by attempting to behead WR Wes Welker. The hit was like something out of “The Longest Yard” but without benefit of a highly trained stuntman. Clark was flagged for a personal foul despite the fact Santonio Holmes was lit up on almost an identical (unpenalized) play last week as the NFL continues their march toward turning into Flag Football. Clark will undoubtedly receive a fine from Fuhrer Goodell because, well, the NFL hates the Steelers. Members of Steeler Nation should start a fund for Ryan as I don’t know about you but that hit was totally worth something to me.

On the flip side, the Steeler offense actually showed a spark of life today. I’ve been monitoring the poll I have going on and I’m sad that so many people swallow what the media feeds them without examining the evidence. The offensive line is not a great unit by any means but they are far from the main culprit behind our woes. Big Ben was sacked only once against a pretty decent group of pass rushers while the running game piled up 161 yards which shows you they are a capable if unspectacular unit.  Injuries to the backfield, Ben holding on to the ball way too long, and our idiot Offensive Coordinator dialing up 30 yard pass plays in the face of jailbreak blitzes are a much bigger problem than any shortcomings along the line.

Case in point this game. Notice how the Steelers have began utilizing the bunch formation (when all the receivers are packed about 5 yards off the line) in order to facilitate a short, quick-hitting passing game. Notice how the TEs like Heath Miller, who led the team with 4 catches for 60 yards, have become a bigger part of the offense. Notice the commitment to the run as the Steelers have settled into a three pronged running attack with Mewelde Moore featured in the 1st half, Willie Parker (showing good speed but questionable cutting) in the 2nd half, and Gary Russell in short yardage situations. All these things combine for an offense which controls the clock, keeps downs and distances manageable, and keeps the defense off balance enough to prevent them from pinning their ears back on the pass rush.

Again, the Massholes will no doubt whine that Moss dropped a potential TD pass along with several other key throws during the course of the game. I counter by noting the Steelers left several TDs on the grass themselves. Santonio is playing like a man who doesn’t want to be here much longer as he dropped not one but two potential TDs and his loafing on a play almost led to an INT. If rookie Limas Sweed can blossom into a solid #3, he could be squeezed out with the rise of Tiffin Thunder Nate Washington, who has emerged this season and can be counted on for at least one or two big catches per game, although he did drop what would’ve been a back breaking bomb late in the game.

The Bungles bent over and grabbed their ankles for those pesky Baltimore Ravens so the Steelers maintain their slim one game lead in the division. The Purple Birds have the Washington Redskins next week at home which is a tough one to predict because on one hand the Skins are fighting for a playoff spot but on the other hand they haven’t played very well in recent weeks. Meanwhile, our old buddies the Dallas Cowboys come into town also fighting for a playoff spot. In any case, it’s looking more and more like the week 15 showdown in Charm City is going to be the tipping point for the entire year. If the Steelers can continue to play at the level they displayed this week, nothing short of a Silverback launching long snaps can stop them.

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  • bigmaq

    Nice Pick Cowher,

    Quite a controversy arose at our local watering hole in Bellevue Washington, where we were ghettoized for a Sunday afternoon due to the TV scheduling gremlins.

    Observing Coach William Belicek’s interesting wardrobe choice of a burqa, we were about evenly split between those who believe that a burqa is appropriate attire for a male and those who are sure that Coach William was recently betrothed.

    Assuming that the latter are correct I have a number of queries, which perhaps you can resolve: First, will Coach William be required to walk behind his mate? Second, will Coach William no longer be able to be in the presence of single male men without a male member of his new husband’s family present? Will Coach William have a tabouli recipe to die for? Will praying five times a day limit his film study in the future? And what about that prayer rug? Finally, will fingering prayer beads under his burqa constitute an unfair advantage which should be investigated by the league front office or perhaps Arlen Specter?

  • toddler4372

    I can’t say enough about our defense.  I just hope our offense keeps improving, especially at this point in the season with some tough games ahead.

  • Nathan

    Same old stupid Steeler rhetoric.  I have a few bones to pick as a huge Pats fan who stumbled across this website.

    The spygate stuff is really ridiculous.  You fans (especially Steeler fans) just can’t take the fact the Patriots built a dynasty in an age where it was supposed to be impossible.  But you fans seem to disregard important FACTS when it comes to spygate such as thinking the Pats are the only team to use cameras, which is entirely not true.  Opposing coaches were waving to Matt Walsh’s camera so therefore they knew about videotaping.  Jimmie Johnson even said it was exactly what he was taught to do.  If cameras gave us such an advantage how did we go 16-0 with no cameras?  You are just so stupid and jealous you ignore reason.  If going 16-0 is so easy why don’t your Steelers do the same?

    Another thing is kind of amusing actually.  You refer to us as Massholes as if it’s a put down, but actually me and my fellow Massholes love the word and are proud of our state.

    Did you really criticize the Patriots for calling themselves the New England Patriots?  Clearly you have run out of legitimate reasons to hate the Patriots other than we have owned the Steelers this century.  Remember the 2001 and 2004 AFC Championship games?  It’s just a name first of all, the Patriots would have just as many fans in the other New England states if they were called the Boston Patriots.  The Red Sox play in Boston but have a loyal fan base in in the other states of New England.  Yes we are from different states but we all have pride in coming from New England, not a difficult concept to grasp, but apparently to complex for you.

    And New England was not aware of the team before 2001? Really?  Well we were selling out games well before we won our first title despite playing in a shit hole of a stadium.  I mean, we must have some football fans right?  I would love to see you go to a bar in South Boston and say we don’t know football.

    Oh yea, Ryan Clark is tough.  He is tough enough to naila 5’9″ 185 lb receiver when the ball is nowhere near him and isn’t looking.  Actually, that’s the only case where Clark seems to want a nail a guy.  When the receiver is able to defend himself he turtles away.  What a fraud. 

    I won’t make excuses about the game.  Great performance by the Steelers in all 3 phases.  But what does it say about your team that they only come to play the Pats when half our team is on the shelf?

  • http://nicepickcowher.com/ Chris

    BigMaq:  I was going to answer your questions but I was laughing so hard at your post, I couldn’t think of a suitably witty response.  All I can say is if Sir William of Belichick needs to accessorize with his burqa, I bet Tom Brady can get him a sweet deal on a purse.

    Nathan:  You built a dynasty through CHEATING.  Just because Goodell covered it up to protect the integrity of the league, don’t pretend like it doesn’t taint every dubious “accompishment” your immoral team had.   As for the rest, I won’t bother responding to that book-length screed because my post speaks for itself.  I will say to your last point:  Last year, you beat us with Willie Parker, Troy Polamalu, Ryan Clark, Marvel Smith, and Aaron Smith on the shelf.  Every team has injuries and making excuses over them is the ultimate argument of a pitiful whiner. 

  • bigmaq

    I think Belichick and the Pats should be awarded the Eddie DeB/Niners “Bend the Rules” award for creativity. Surely, their acts of rooking the NFL are on a par with each other.

    Young Bill must have learned something from Carmen P, Eddie’s consigliere and believed mastermind behind their CAP gaming schemes, during their shared stints in Cleveland. Eddie and Carmen P. did make their bones in what was then referred to by Life Mag as  “Bomb Town USA” Youngstown.

    Interesting that the two biggest gamers of the NFL system spent some long face time together. Also, interesting that the NFL never publicly dissed either to avoid negative PR. Sort of like banks to big to fail, the NFL would rather sweep under the rug any hints that the real “games” are played before the whistle blows. Perhaps, Bill can really follow his mentors and, without doing hard time, commint some felony with a Mass politician.

  • bigmaq

    Nathan,

    You really are 1) naive and 2) still wet behind the ears. This is less like the Zabruder tabes and more like the Nixon tapes. (two references, Nathan, which you likely will have to do a  Wikipediea for).

    Belichick and the Pats should be awarded the Eddie DeB/Niners “Bend the Rules” award for creativity. Surely, their acts of rooking the NFL are on a par with each other.

    After all, Eddie and Carmen P., Eddie’s consigliere and believed mastermind behind their CAP gaming schemes, did make their bones in what was then referred to by Life Mag as  “Bomb Town USA” Youngstown. Young Bill must have learned something from Carmen P, during their shared stints in Cleveland. Interesting that the two biggest gamers of the NFL system spent some long face time together.

    Also, interesting that the NFL never publicly dissed either to avoid negative PR. Sort of like banks too big to fail, the NFL would rather sweep under the rug any hints that the real “games” are played before the whistle blows. Perhaps, Bill can really follow his mentors and commit a felony involving a Mass politician and a hooker girl friend.

  • Nathan

    Chris and bigmaq: Actually this is to everyone.  I love how you ignore some points I made because you know you lack a valid point.  Ok I’m naive?  What does that make you for thinking the Patriots are the only team that used cameras?  Common practice in the NFL, it just so happened Belichick did it the game after Goddell sent out a memo, he got punished and he deserved to be.   But give me a break.  You fail to mention how exactly this gave them a competetive advantage when other teams were doing it.  We had the best regular season in NFL HISTORY with ZERO cameras.  This included demolishing your Steelers, beating the Colts in Indy, crushing the Chargers, and stomping the Cowboys in Dallas.  OK I understand you hate Belichick because he has owned your team since he took over, but try to be the least bit impartial and give the man his due.  The fact we are in the playoff hunt this year is remarkable and a testament to the Patriot way and Belichick’s coaching ability.

    Well I’m going to ask you again since both of you seem to like ignoring my main points.  HOW DID THE PATRIOTS GO 16-0 WITHOUT THE AID OF VIDEO CAMERAS, WHICH ARE SUPPOSEDLY A HUGE COMPETITVE ADVANTAGE?

    Oh and saying Belichick “must have learned something from Carmen P” is really not a valid point as you can only speculate a supposed friendhsip and its influence on Bill Belichick’s coaching style.   Why don’t we discuss 9/11 conspiracy theories and the magic bullet while we’re at it on this forum?

    BTW if you’re trying to make it personal by trying to insult my intelligence maybe YOU should wikipedia Zabruder, because it was actually Abraham Zapruder who shot the film.  Seeing as how the ‘B’ key is not close to the ‘P’ key I think you’re the one who needs to log onto wikipedia.  And I know plenty about the tapes of Zapruder and the Watergate tapes if you’re interested but I’m sure in your narrow minded perspective you just assume anyone who differs in opinion from you (even if it’s football) must be of less intelligence.

  • http://nicepickcowher.com/ Chris

    Nathan, it’s hard to discuss this with you when you clearly don’t even follow your own team.  The Spygate thing didn’t break until AFTER the season, during the Super Bowl bye week.  Before that, all we had was your team getting caught red-handed against the Jets, which Goodell claimed was an ISOLATED incident.

    You do not know when the taping began or ended.  Clearly, the commissioner of the NFL didn’t even know.  And even if it did end with the Jets incident, how many times do you need to steal a team’s signs?  The Colt, for example, have the same QB and same coach for like 10 years now…if you taped them in 2006, you could probably figure them out in 2007. 

    The larger point Bigmaq is trying make, and you’d know this if you watched football before 2001, is the NFL has always tended to cover up scandals and stink when “signature” franchises are involved.  If you can’t understand why it would be in the NFL and all their TV stations’ best interests to downplay the scandal and/or cover it up, well, it must be nice to live in your world filled with cotton candy clouds and marmalade skies.

    Your franchise has and will always have a tainted legacy.  Now, I’m finished discussing this with you because you clearly have red and blue blinders on and will never take them off.  Thankfully, the rest of the NFL doesn’t have to buy the load you, your team, and your team’s apologists are trying to sell us.

  • Nathan

    “This is exactly how I was told to do it 18 years ago by a Kansas City Chiefs scout. I tried it, but I didn’t think it helped us. Bill Belichick was wrong because he videotaped signals after a memo was sent out to all of the teams saying not to do it. But what irritates me is hearing some reactions from players and coaches. These players don’t know what their coaches are doing. And some of the coaches have selective amnesia because I know for a fact there were various teams doing this. That’s why the memo was sent to everybody. That doesn’t make [Belichick] right, but a lot of teams are doing this,” Jimmie Johnson

    Why don’t you get your facts straight instead of your ridiculous assertion the Patriots did nothing to deserve their dynasty.  I realize you hate us because we’re good, but don’t mask it with some stupid conspiracy theory which has no basis.  Keep thinking the Patriots were the only team using cameras and that it provided any advantage.  It’s sad you are so biased by your Patriot hatred you make baseless accusations.  You even said you don’t know when the videotaping began or ended, so therefore they cheated in every game? Really? That’s your logic.  I certainly hope you’re not a lawyer because you really can’t argue a point. 

    You pick out one game (against the Colts) that is convenient to your argument but ignore the other ones which do no support it.  First of all Tony Dungy has been coach of the Colts for 6 seasons, not 10.  Funny how you don’t mention the Cowboys game, which was a blowout, and is a team we haven’t played since 2003 and has a different coach and a different quarterback.

  • toddler4372

    My favorite “classless” moment was when the Pats played the Colts a couple years back in the playoffs…after the game Peyton Manning walked up to him in the middle of the field and offered to skake his hand.  Belichick walked right past him, still mad that his team got beaten.  Ha! What a baby!  Billy didn’t get to win…quick, get Billy’s paci!