Week 7 Recap: Snatching Victory From Defeat

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The Pittsburgh Steelers handed the Minnesota Vikings their first defeat of the season with an incredible 27-17 victory. That sentence may seem self-explanatory but it doesn’t even begin to cover what happened. In all my years of watching football, I don’t remember a crazier fifteen minutes of football than what occurred in the fourth quarter. Even for a team which seems to make a habit of the thrilling last second comeback, this one will be remembered by Steeler Nation for a long long time.

Things went well for the Steelers in the early going. Adrian Peterson was held to negative yardage in the first quarter, a first for him. He finished the game with only 69 yards (although he did have another 60 on catches), which is an accomplishment for any defense, let alone one playing without their best run-stopper. They ran right at Travis Kirschke on several occasions and he held his ground, while our linebackers attacked him like a Kit Kat bar at a Jenny Craig meeting.

The first quarter was a punt-fest which the Steelers got the better of thanks to a Mitch Berger impression by the Vikings’ punter. Mike Wallace had a 10 yard catch and then a 13 yard reverse to set the Steelers up at the Vikings thirteen yard line. Ben Roethlisberger, who was a fairly mediocre 14/26 for 175 yards, hit Santonio Holmes for a TD.

Unfortunately, the score was negated by a pass interference penalty against Heath Miller. Evidently, you can interfere with a pass that you not only didn’t catch but was thrown to another receiver 15 yards away. I understand you’re not allowed to run into DBs to prevent them from covering their man. However, it looked to me like the two, yes TWO, DBs Heath ran over bumped into each other first. And there’s still the little fact they were FIFTEEN YARDS AWAY FROM THE PLAY!

The Steelers settled for a FG. After more punts, the Vikings began a methodical drive down the field featuring a 28 yard pass to Percy Harvin and capped by a Peterson blast.  With 1:39 left in the half, the Vikes went to some soft zone type defense and Big Ben methodically picked them apart. A 22 yard pass to super-rookie Wallace (Who deserves a cool nickname. Suggestions please.) was followed up with a 40 yard bomb for a TD. Black and Gold up 10-7 at halftime.

The third quarter saw an exchange of FGs.   The Steelers wasted a great opportunity to score a knockout blow with a first and goal from the Minny 8. Three consecutive pass plays resulted in a near INT, a busted play, and an incompletion. This team leaves the barn door open more often than Matt Spaeth after an all-night bender.

Then came the unbelievable fourth quarter. The Steelers drove downfield, mixing pass and run quite effectively. First down at the Minnesota 9 and it appeared they were finally going to club that baby seal.  A hand-off to Rashard Mendenhall and…and…

…and what the f*#k happened?? I saw what happened but can’t quite believe it. In over two decades of watching football, I’ve never seen a dumber play. Mendenhall launched himself skyward, unfortunately failing to take the ball with him. The Vikes pounced on his horrendous fumble while I literally screamed at my television. Rashard, you see, attempted what looked like perfect goal line dive.  Problem was, he jumped from the SEVEN YARD LINE!! Does he think he’s Michael Jordan!? Who attempts an endzone dive from SEVEN FREAKIN’ YARDS AWAY?!?

Predictably, Brett Favre took this gift and marched the Vikes right down the field. Our secondary fell apart as Troy Polamalu was way out of position several times and they picked on Will.i.am Gay mercilessly all game long. To make matters worse, Kirschke and Lawrence Timmons both left the game with injuries during the drive.  In Timmons’ case, that would come back to haunt the Vikings later, much like the movie Paranormal Activity haunts my dreams on a nightly basis.  A tripping call on Minnesota nullified a TD pass to Sidney Rice, momentarily saving the Steelers from yet another 4th quarter choke.

Still, with a third and 8 from the Steelers 8, it looked like the Vikes would get the tying FG. Then Brett Keisel darted up the middle and swatted the ball out of Favre’s mitts. Mister Woodley rescued the pigskin from the evil clutches of Captain Wrangler and a whole convoy of Steelers escorted him 77 yards the other way for a TD.

To say everybody was excited is like saying Megan Fox kinda looks like a stripper.  Even Dick LeBeau was celebrating!  Steeler nation was excited.  Heinz Field was rocking. I was doing my patented Snoopy Dance of Joy.

Then we kicked off.

Percy Harvin took the ball and without the slightest hesitation streaked the other way for an 88 yard TD. He was barely touched. And I never EVER want to hear how kickers are football players again because Skippy Reed‘s attempt to “tackle” him was laughable. After apologizing to Steeler Nation this week, you’d think he’d at least try to make up by throwing his body at Harvin. Instead he just gave him a dainty little push like he was afraid to break a nail.  Way to go, dipshit.

The Steelers got the ball back and at this point I was just hoping we could somehow run out the clock.  Naturally, Bruce Arians answers my prayers by dialing up a SHOTGUN PASS.  This ends in epic failure as Ben gets the ball stripped and the Steelers are lucky to swat it out of bounds.  Which left Brett Favre with the ball, down 3, with three minutes left. In other words, exactly where we didn’t want to be.

And Favre immediately makes our nightmares come true by leading his team down the field.  The key play here was Purple Jesus SMITING William Gay on a short dump pass before rumbling 30 yards. Minnesota had the ball at the Steelers 19 and at this point I was just hoping for OT. Then Favre floated a screen pass to Chester Taylor who got his fingertips on it enough to deflect it into the waiting hands of Keyaron Fox. Fox was escorted 82 yards for the second thrilling defensive TD in the quarter.

I don’t know what else to say about this one.  We played a legitimate Super Bowl contender and held them to one offensive TD.  We also squandered several chances to put the game away on offense, continuing the disturbing trend of not finishing teams when they have the chance.  On the other hand, our defense playing without three starters had four sacks, a ton of pressures, held the league’s best RB pretty much in check, and scored two TDs.  Sure our secondary isn’t nearly as good as it was last year but this was the first time I felt our defense matched 2008′s level.  And we all know how last year ended.  If the Steelers could figure out how to stop sabotaging their efforts with dumb mistakes on offense and special teams, this team would really be dangerous.

Topics: 2008 Nfl Champions, 2008 Super Bowl Champions, 2009 Nfl Champions, 2009 Super Bowl Champs, AD, Adrian Peterson, All Day Peterson, Baltimore Ravens, Ben Roethlisberger, Black And Gold, Blitzburgh, Brett Favre, Brittfar, Byron Leftwich, Charlie Batch, Chicks Dig The Bling, Ching Ching Bling Bling, Dennis Dixon, Dick Lebeau, Heath Miller, Hines Ward, James Harrision Snl, James Harrison, Kenan Thompson, Kevin Colbert, Kordell Stewart, Lamarr Woodley, Lawrence Timmons, Mike Wallace Steelers, Minnesota Vikes, Minnesota Vikings, Minny Vikings, Mister Woodley, NFL, Nfl Draft, Nice Pick Cowher, One For The Other Hand, One For The Other Thumb, One For The Thumb, Peterson AD, Pittsburgh Steelers, Pittsburgh Steelers Draft, Purple Jesus, Rashard Mendenhall, Saturday Night Live, Silverback, Slash, Steel Curtain, Steeler Nation, Steelers, Steelers Blog, Steelers Offseason, Super Bowl 25 Champions, Super Bowl Champions, Tampa Bay Bucs, Tampa Buccaneers, Troy Polamalu, Vikes, William Gay

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  • http://countrygirlcitylife.com Kati

    AHhh!I am soo bummed I didnt get to watch the game. I watched bits and pieces from an online feed that kept freezing.. and missed the entire 4th quarter.. forced to watch the horrible slow updates on NFL.com. However, I will no doubt take the win.

    And Jeff Reed.. he is on his way out of Pittsburgh.. that is for sure. He may be a decent kicker.. but he is just a pathetic old man looking for attention and his little stunt last week just affirmed my reasons for not liking him!

    P.S. Damn Cleveland.. Grr!

  • andrew

    Great game. You say up there halftime was 14-3 us but it was 10-3. Just fix that and it looks great otherwise.

    Honestly I really loved our performance. Yes there were a few errors and shortcomings, but against a good 6-1 team you can’t fault them. They played one of their toughest opponents very well.

    We have GOT to fix our Kick Coverage though.

  • http://nicepickcowher.com chris

    Kati, I’m sorry you had to miss the craziest quarter of the year. If it makes you feel any better, at least you won’t have to worry about your blood pressure as you get older.

    Speaking of “old,” Jeff Reed is 30. If that makes him an “old man,” I’m practically a geezer. *Weeps softly*

    Seriously, I do agree with he’s probably punching his one-way ticket out of the ‘Burgh. Hopefully our next kicker is almost as good but far less of an idiot.

  • http://nicepickcowher.com chris

    Andrew, actually it was 10-7 at halftime. Peterson had a TD plunge before Big Ben and co. went to work. Thanks for pointing out my mistake, though. That’s what I get for doing these recaps at 6:00 a.m.

    To be honest, I was pretty impressed with our performance, too. I point out things here and there but overall, there really was only one huge stupid mistake (Mendenhall’s fumble). Rashard has to get his act together because he’s an awesome runner and these bonehead fumbles (two weeks in a row!) are killing me.

    And I totally agree on the kick coverage. Last year we did so well and this year I hold my breathe every time we kick off.

  • Jer

    Man, I know how it is not being able to watch the game sometimes. Sucks being stuck up here in New York and being too cheap to pay for the Sunday Ticket.

    The nfl.com and espn.com updates are horrible. My best suggestion to our Steeler brethren afar is to find a Penn radio station that streams online and airs all the games. Listening to the radio broadcast is a hell of a lot better than watching lines progress back and forth over a green grid. I use WTDA 103.9FM in Columbus Ohio.

    http://stream1.securenetsystems.net:443/radio_player_large.cfm?stationCallSign=WTDA&relocateURL=true

  • http://npc.com Dave Hatfield

    Mike Sixty Minutes Walace

  • Cecil

    How ’bout them Black ‘n Gold? I am very impressed with our defense, and when it needed to the offense stepped up as well. I don’t think that LaMarr Woodley is the Invisible Man any more. I hope that Denver is still undeafeted when we play them on Monday Night. Also, that Jeff Reed tackle attempt was one of the lamest efforts I’ve ever seen on a football field. He needs to get his act together.

  • http://nicepickcowher.com chris

    Dave, I totally forgot “Mike Wallace” is the same name as that ancient dude from 60 Minutes. Good call. I’ll keep that in mind, although when I think of “60 Minutes” in relation to the Steelers, I always remember Kevin Greene and the mid 90’s Steelers D wearing t-shirts that said “Sixty Minute Men.”

    Jer, thanks for that link. My traffic seems to be 60-40 as far as ‘Burgers vs. out-of-towners so I’m sure Steeler Nation appreciates the chance to hear the games outside the Steel City.

  • http://nicepickcowher.com chris

    Cecil, I totally agree with you about the defense. 1 offensive TD allowed per game in three straight games! And LaMarr Woodley has definitely made up for his slow start and earned the respect of being called Mister Woodley once again.

    I also hope Denver remains undefeated. There’s nothing more satisfying than ruining a team’s perfect record.