What We Learned In Week 8 In The NFL:
- Philly finally backed up the big talk with a big win over Dallas
- The Ratbirds almost blew it again to a bad team
- Cincy seems to have gotten it together after cleaning the riff raff out of the locker room
- The Steelers defense comes up big against the Patriots
Who the hell cares what else happened this week, we beat the effing Patriots! Ok, I’ll go through some of the notable items anyway before getting to the good stuff. Philly ran all over the Rob Ryan Cowboys defense, which coughed up 495 total offensive yards including 185 rushing yards for Shady McCoy. Vick also added 50 rushing yards in a 34-7 rout of Dallas. The Eagles had been surprisingly quiet during their bye week after the hype train had them sitting at 2-4 going into this week. The NFC East is still controlled by the Giants at this point, who had a win handed to them by the hapless Dolphins.
On a side note, former Steelers head coach Bill Cowher announced on CBS’s NFL Today that he has no plans to coach next year after reports of him in talks with the Dolphins spread all over the wires last week. I thought it was pretty crappy for those reports to be circling. Cowher has too much integrity to be talking with an organization when they don’t even technically have a head coach vacancy. He clearly has his choice of teams he can coach if and when he chooses to do so and while I believe him when he says he has “no plans” to return to coaching, if the Dolphins win the Andrew Luck sweepstakes and handle the firing of Tony Sporano with a little more tact than they’ve handled him so far, I’m pretty sure Cowher’s plans will change. At this point, the way the Dolphins front office are conducting themselves, they are making it pretty difficult to lure a big name to that spot.
Steeler Nation watched the first half of the Cardinals @ Ratbirds game feeling pretty good about things as Flacco and the rest of the purple bunch looked like total crap. Unfortunately, thanks to Flacco actually remembering how to get the ball in the hands of Anquan Boldin and Ray Rice and the Cardinals defense being super mediocre, the Ratbirds were able to come back from a 24-3 deficit to win the game. There’s always next week. Flacco, we’re coming for you and your unibrow.
One team Steeler Nation might be overlooking so far this season could be the Cincinnati Bungles, who sit at 5-2 following their win against the Seahawks. Then I took a look back at Cincy’s schedule so far. The
only team with an above .500 record they have won against has been Buffalo. I’m not ready to crown them a contender or pretender at this point. It remains to be seen whether or not they are at 5-2 because they are a legit team or because they haven’t played many legit teams.
All we heard all week long was how Brady has “owned” the Steelers and how the Steelers defense had not been able to get to Brady or disrupt his offense. Until now. Dick LeBeau flipped the script on the Pats and changed up the looks of the defense which resulted in Pretty Boy Brady spending a heck of a lot of time on the sidelines on Sunday. The Steelers held the ball almost 20 minutes longer than the Patriots. And if you’re looking for defensive “splash” plays you got your wish in the last 40 seconds of the game with Patriots getting the ball back with a slim chance and Brett Keisel coming through with the sack/fumble on Brady and Polamalu’s punching the ball forward causing it to go through the endzone for a safety, sealing the victory for the Steelers. Another standout performance came from LaMarr Woodley, who recorded his fourth straight multiple-sack game on Sunday. Woodley is the first Steeler to have 4 straight games with multiple sacks since sacks were officially counted as a stat in 1992.
The game started off with Bellichick actually deferring the kick off to the second half. Really? This is the coaching master mind everyone is supposed to be impressed with? He has Tom Brady in Heinz Field, a place where he has played some of his best games, and a defense that has been suspect so far all season and he gives up the first offensive possession to the Steelers? Well thanks buddy, we appreciate that. The Steelers opened the game with a 68 yard, 11 play scoring drive where the crowd at Heinz Field must have had sore throats early from screaming “Heeeeeeeeeaaaaaaath!” every play. Another outstanding coaching performance from Bellichick was the onside kick late in the fourth quarter. Never have I’ve seen such a clearer example of how wrong an onside kick attempt can go. Gostkowski barely hit the stop of the ball with his foot causing it to roll about 7 yards. The Patriots haven’t recovered an onside kick since 1994.
The Steelers weren’t without their mistakes in this game either, unfortunately. Ben threw a horrible ball on a 3rd and long in the 2nd quarter that was intercepted by Gary Guyton and was returned to about the 10 yard line leading to an easy Patriots touchdown. A couple of stupid penalties allowed the Patriots a fresh set of downs at the goal line late in the game. But the most glaring problems I’m taking away from this game is the fact that the Steelers were only able to score 2 touchdowns and had to settled for field goals instead of touchdowns late in the game. The Steelers were able to effectively move the ball downfield the entire game but in the second half the Patriots were able to shut them down in the red zone, holding them to field goals and keeping the Pats in the game.
Let’s all take a moment to think back to the Houston game and the state the O-line was in then. It’s like night and day to the O-line that was giving Ben all kinds of time and allowing the middle of the field to be wide open all day long. Whether is the return of Max Starks or they’ve just gotten the right combination of guys on that line they are playing worlds better than they started this season. Keep up the good work Team Tiny Shirts!
Last week I asked the question of whether or not it was more important to Steeler fans to beat the Patriots or the Ravens. I’m not going to lie, I enjoyed the hell out of that game last night. A win against the Ratbirds next week is going to taste a whole lot sweeter now that the Pats have been knocked down. Bring it on Week 9!
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