Week 16 Recap: Santa Silverback Is Comin' To Town

You better watch out.  You better not cry.  Better not pout.  Who cares if we get a fine.  Blitzburgh is comin’ to town…

I thought the drop of semen being collected from a certain bathroom in Georgia was a shoo-in for strangest picture I posted this year.  But it may have been edged out at the last minute by Santa Silverback and his merry men singing Christmas carols.  Seriously.  Click this link if you don’t believe me.  Prepare to have your mind blown.

And your ears, too.

The fact I’m talking about James Harrison performing the most badass version of Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town in history instead of last night’s game should be a clue to those of you busy wrapping gifts or putting the drunken moves on your boss at the office Christmas party that you didn’t miss anything.

The Pittsburgh Steelers laid a 27-3 beat down on the Carolina Panthers in a battle of teams moving in opposite directions.  The final score doesn’t begin to tell you how one-sided this truly was.  Put it this way, I’m as nervous as anybody when it comes to holding leads but when the Steelers went up 10-0 early in the second quarter, I had no doubt the game was over.

The Panthers are terrible.  Absolutely terrible.  The next time I moan about our offensive woes, remind me about this game.  As bad as things are at times, watching Carolina’s comical attempts at offense shows how much worse they really can be.   The Panthers had 119 yards of total offense last night.  I repeat, 119 YARDS FOR AN ENTIRE GAME!

31 of those yards came on their opening drive.  The Steelers D always starts slow until they get a chance to figure out what the other team is trying to do and make the necessary adjustments to thwart it.  In this case, Carolina tried to run (Big Mistake) while mixing in short sissy throws for Jimmy Clausen (Bigger Mistake).  Well, nobody runs on the Steelers so strategy #1 was doomed even though Jonathan Stewart’s 71 yards will cause our yards per game average to go up a little bit.  And Clausen is such a deer-in-the-headlights that once he was asked to face a rush and get the ball down field, strategy #2 headed to where number twos usually end up.

Despite facing a fairly untalented bunch, the Steelers D deserves kudos for a terrific game.  They finished with four sacks, including one by Harrison which didn’t draw a flag.  IT’S A CHRISTMAS MIRACLE!  When they weren’t sacking the Pickle, they were smacking him around like he was Tiny Tim.  Ike Taylor bottled up Steve Smith to the tune of 3 catches for 17 lousy yards.  Bryant McFadden intercepted a ball Clausen overthrew by about five yards while the special teams forced a fumble on a kick return.  Even when the Carolina offense was gifted great field position thanks to a Steelers miscue, there was almost no danger of them scoring.

In fact, I seriously doubt they could have scored a touchdown even if we were playing with ten men.

Ben Roethlisberger got his security blanket back and put Heath Miller right to work catching 5 balls for 73 yards.  Anybody who doubts Heath’s importance to this offense needs only watch the vast improvement of the passing game over last week.  Once again, they spread the ball all over the field with five receivers making multiple catches.  Rookie Emmanuel Sanders continued to open eyes with several nice catches although his failure to catch a bullet in the end zone cost the team a score.  Mike Wallace only caught four passes but that was good for 104 yards.  The Flash’s highlight reel play came on a five yard slant he took 43 yards for a TD, blowing past four defenders along the way.  Big Ben had a statistically great game (22/32 for 320 yards) but he twice mishandled the ball leading to sloppy turnovers.

Rashard Mendenhall had 18 carries for 65 yards with 35 coming on his first carry of the game.  Three plays later, he was stopped for a 5 yard loss when Jonathan Scott whiffed on a block.  Scott was pulled from the game where first Sean Kugler then Mike Tomlin ripped him a new one.  After throwing his helmet and pitching a fit, Scott eventually went back out there and finished the game without further incident.  He’s still a major weak link.   The refurbished offensive line seems to be improving as pass blockers.  Ben was sacked three times (twice by budding star Charles Johnson) and had his magnificent nose re-broken although two of the sacks were because he ran around for thirty five minutes trying to make a play instead of just getting rid of it.

By rights, this game should have been a 45-3 blowout.  The only reason the score doesn’t reflect the lopsided nature of play was the Steelers continued to misfire in the red zone.  Six trips netted only two touchdowns.  Mendy banged one home while the other score required Big Ben to sneak it in after the line repeatedly failed to get enough push to power in from the 1.  It’s funny, Bruce Arians and Ben have said in recent weeks they think the problems inside the 20 result from being too impatient to score instead of taking what the defense is willing to give you.  Well, sure enough, every time they cracked the red yesterday, they’d start bombing passing in to the end zone.

You do realize identifying the problem is only HALF the battle, right B.A.?

Anyway, a win is a win, especially when that win puts the Steelers exactly where they want to be with one game left to play.  If the Browns were to upset the Ravens, the second seed would be clinched with a week to spare.  Although the chances of that happening are about as high as finding an attractive woman in Cleveland.  So more than likely, we’ll have to play out the string in order to earn our bye which, believe it or not, is probably for the best since teams which coast into the playoffs tend to go out early.

Finally, on a personal note, I would like to thank all my readers, new and old, for riding along with me this year.  I started this blog because I enjoy talking Steelers and, whether we agree or not, I thank each and every one of you who left a comment for taking part in the fun.  I’m off next week for holiday vacation and while I plan on updating my site at least a couple times, I may not have as much content up as you’re used to seeing.  So please bear with me until we get back to normal in 2011.  In the meantime, Happy Holidays and Go Steelers!

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