A great Steeler victory in Jacksonville!!

We watched the first half of the game at The Brass Rail, a new pool hall near our house. It was a nice bar and I had an excellent ham hoagie. However, the volume of the game was not on at the bar. I was surprised, because they had nice, big plasma screens all over the joint. I thought that they would have had more of a sports crowd. We ended up coming back to our house to watch the second half of the game. After about 5 minutes of listening to Joe Theisman and his cronies, I was ready to turn my volume down! Those guys say some of the dumbest things. A few weeks ago, Jaq ranted about Joe. I agreed with him then, and tonight’s performance just reinforced my opinion.

I expected an exciting game, and I was not disappointed! The Steelers continue to impress me with their ability to win games with clutch plays. Critics will find plenty to use to argue that the Steelers are not at the top of their game. That is fine. They are not at the top of their game. However, they are doing what champions do, and that is to win when they are not playing their best. The team had its share of adversities to contend with on Sunday night: some derived from bad luck, and some self inflicted.

Plaxico Burress did not play, which again made it hard for the passing game to gel. However, Ben, Hines and the rest of the offense overcame Plax’s absence by scoring two first half touchdowns. Replays indicated that the second touchdown was questionable, but nevertheless an excellent play.

The team committed too many penalties, but overcame them with good control of the ball, not in terms of time of possession, but by not committing a turnover.

Beating a Jacksonville team on the road that had zero turnovers, less than a handful of penalties and great plays by Leftwich and Taylor is remarkable. For the Pittsburgh offense to have the poise for the last minute drive that resulted in the winning field goal is not something to which a Steelers fan is accustomed, until this magical season came along.

I was amused that it seemed like every time that a Jacksonville player turned around, it was a former Pittsburgher. Actually, all of these players are former favorites of mine, especially Fu and Gildon. Although I often was horrified by his play in Pittsburgh’s secondary, I was always a fan of Dwayne Washington. Interestingly, he was the victim of multiple completions during the game, and especially on the last Steelers drive.

The Jacksonville coach, Del Rio, is gutsy. I like his style, and I liked his attempt at the 60-yard field goal at the end of the game that almost left Pittsburgh stunned. His team played a heck of a game, and I think that they will make the playoffs, possibly coming to Pittsburgh. Let’s hope the Steelers make another trip to Jacksonville, in February!

I thought the coaching tonight for the Steelers was a bordered the dubious. I was surprised that they were willing to settle for a 37-yard field goal attempt at the end of the game. They had plenty of time on second down and one to pick up a few extra yards. I guess Cowher felt that a turnover, or a negative play, was more likely than a Jeff Reid miss from that distance. I’m glad it paid off, but I would have played it differently. Of course, Cowher has coached the Steelers for over a decade, and I work in a cubicle in North Kansas City, MO.

For a game with so much emotion and intensity, it was an incredibly clean game. That is a testament to the coaching of both teams. There were a few unsportsmanlike conduct penalties. However, with the hard hitting and playoff like intensity, there was the potential for many more.


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