Defense Wins Championships: Steelers WIN

Defense Wins Championships: Steelers WIN

The Steelers N'at

Defense Wins Championships: Steelers WIN

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Since I’m at home watching this game, I’m going to liveblog it as I watch. What will this mean for you? Well, it might be a little more boring and have a limited perspective because I won’t be able to see singular events

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The pregame show on WTAE was awful. If anyone else sat through that in anticipation, I feel your pain. Decent analysis by Sally Wiggin about the Redskins lack of “big” wins. She’s right. All their games have been close. Let’s begin the political ad count.

WTAE screws up the audio feed from ESPN to start the game. Brilliant. No political ads yet. Holy shit I forgot how terrible Kornheiser and Jaws are at sports commentary.

The Redskins run out of a giant puffy helmet surrounded by cheerleaders. We don’t need that in Pittsburgh, our team is our flare. We get some extra incentive to root for the Steelers as they let us know that the “Redskins rule” will prove that Obama will win the election if the Redskins lose.

After what seems like a pregame show that took forever, we finally get things started. Washington won the toss and elected to revieve.

The Steelers try an onside kick to start the game. Why? That was stupid. The last time we tried to do that to surprise a team, it was against Indy on Monday night in the Super Bowl year. That didn’t turn out so well. Portis gets stuffed on first down. Ike brings down Cooley short of the sticks on 2nd down to bring up 3rd and short. Harrison stops Portis on 3rd and Suisham comes in for the field goal. Hey, we held them to 3 and out and they still got 3 points.

0-3

Parker gets stuffed on 1st down and Ben is forced into a quick pass on 2nd down which falls to the turf. The Skins tip a pass at the line on 3rd down and it falls into the hands of a lineman. Interception.

Campbell goes deep for Moss, but Ike is there to break up the pass. After a short pass on 2nd down, Troy breaks up a short pass intended for El. Suisham hits another one from just over 40.

0-6

Kathy Dalkemper dominates the commercial break by ripping Phil English a new one. Two PA incumbents also try to defend their seats (Murphy and Murtha).

Parker dashes for 8. Ben hits Nasty Nate for his first completion on 2nd and short. Parker gets 4, but Ben can’t hit Holmes on a slant. And on 3rd and long, you know what happens.


Ben gets sacked. Lob Wedge punts.

Campbell to Moss for 10. Portis dashes for a big run, but then gets stuffed. Nick Eason comes up with a big sack of Campbell to force 3rd and long. Washington takes a timeout so that we can get some ads.


Fear tactics from the RNC fill up this commercial break.
Ad count: Fear 2, Hope 0

Jason Altmire gives us a break from the fear mongering.

Farrior bats down the pass on 3rd down. Touchback.

Holmes drops a ball then Parker goes nowhere. Another 3rd and long. Incomplete pass. Lob wedge manages a 28-yard punt. Why is he still kicking?

Portis gets a few. Alexander comes in and gets a few more. Campbell takes another timeout and Ike comes up with another big play against Moss. The Redskins have a real punter who drops one inside the 10.

Parker rips a good one to get out of the shadow of our goalposts. Parker gets a few more, then Spaeth and Washington drop passes in tight coverage. Lob Wedge punts.

Campbell hits El short, then Portis gets undercut by Polamalu in the backfield to end the quarter.

Where were Hines and Heath that quarter? 0 passes in their direction.

Second Quarter

Harrison and Farrior team up for a HUGE sack to start the 2nd. Holmes shows some grit on the punt return.

Parker carries twice for 8 yards to set up 3rd and short. On 3rd and 2, Arians makes a terrible play call by trying to throw a swing pass off a draw. Moore drops it, but he would have been hit for a loss by Fletcher anyways. Lob Wedge punts…again. Still no looks for Heath or Hines. The coaching staff is losing this game for us.

Ike has tight coverage on Moss again as the pass flies out of bounds. Aaron Smith stops Portis on 2nd down and Harrison comes up with another HUUUGE sack on 3rd down. Props to Farrior for getting pressure and forcing Campbell out of the pocket. The Steelers get called for a block in the back on the punt return to set them back even further.

Hines picks up a pass interference call to finally get us some field position. Ben almost gets sacked and throws an incompletion. Ben goes deep for Holmes on 2nd down and the ball goes right through his hands to set up another 3rd and long. Ben takes a timeout to set things up. Hines makes a huge grab on a crossing route and uses his legs to pick up the first down for our first 3rd down conversion of the night. Parker hesitates and picks up a few. Spaeth pulls one in and sets up 3rd and short. At least Ben was under center for this one, but once again we throw on 3rd and 2 and Ben gets pulled down around the line. Reed knocks it through.

3-6

Our boy Patrick Bailey gets his name called on national TV by coming up with a special teams tackle. Campbell underneath to Cooley on first down and Portis converts on 2nd down. After an incompletion, the Skins get called for holding. Deshea gets a hand on the ball to break up the pass and force 3rd and long. Campbell throws a short pass but it’s nowhere near the sticks, forcing a punt.

Ben almost throws another pick, but we dodge a bullet with a drop. Parker makes some sick moves to get away from a tackler in the backfield and gets 6 yards. Hines gets whalloped over the middle and can’t come down with the ball. Lob Wedge punts……again.

Moss pulls in a short pass, Hampton stops Portis behind the line to force another 3rd down. Farrior comes up with a huge tackle to hold Cooley short of the sticks to force another punt.

THE STEELERS BLOCK THEIR FIRST PUNT SINCE 2006!!!! Andre Frasier with some awesome extension to get the block and Willie Gay picks up the ball and goes down at the 15. FINALLY we get some field position. That’s the first punt block since James Harrison blocked one against Carolina on Dec 17, 2006.

Ben takes too much time on first down and gets pulled down as the clock ticks down to 2:00. Starks gets called for holding to negate a solid Parker run. Ben hits Holmes on a slant to get good yardage then Ben hits Hines with a bullet to get down to the goal line. The Steelers take a time out hoping the booth calls for a review, but no dice. Washington isn’t ready and takes another time out as the clock stands at 35 seconds. Ben takes the snap and falls forward into the end zone for the TOUCHDOWN. Reed nails it to give us a 4-point lead.

13-6

With no timeouts and 25 seconds left, Washington comes out looking to throw. But it’s Teddy Roosevelt time as the Big Stick Policy comes through for a HUGE sack to end the half.

First Half rundown: 11 punts, 7 sacks (Steelers 4, Redskins 3), Parker outrushing Portis 45-36.

Halftime

Obama rocks his interview talking about needing playoffs in college football. A president who doesn’t like the BCS? I’m all for that.

McCain talks about limiting steroids. Snore. Standard answer from a Washington senator where they held hearings on steroid use. McCain shows some humor by using a Berman line, then goes into his standard “country first” stuff. Berman rips him by saying “we certainly know that.” To close out the interview, McCain quotes Casey at the Bat, a poem about failure…ironic.

Third Quarter

Bad news as Ben is still in the locker room getting x-rays on his hand. Byron comes in to fill in and hands off to Parker for 5. Parker again for 3 then Najeh pounds for a first down. More bad news as we find out Heath is banged up as well. Byron shows off his rocket arm and launches on downfield and hits Nasty Nate for a HUGE gain of 50 yards. Word from the sidelines is that Ben’s shoulder is injured. Parker gets 3 then Byron can’t hook up with Holmes in the corner of the end zone. Byron pump fakes as we all hold our breath as the pocket collapses and then hits Moore with a rocket to get the ball down to the 1. Power I formation and Parker slams it into the end zone. Reed hooks one wide on the extra point. What just happened?! That was the first extra point he’s missed since December 28, 2003 at Baltimore. Ouch.

16-6


“We can choose hope over fear.”
Ad count: Fear 2, Hope 1

Portis goes nowhere on first down. Woodley drops the Big Stick Policy on Campbell and brings him down for the 5th Steelers sack of the game. Campbell is rattled and throws an incompletion on 3rd down. Punt.

With the ball near midfield, the coaching staff craps on itself. Parker goes nowhere on first down. Nate gets the ball on a reverse on 2nd down and loses a handful of yards. Terrible play call. On 3rd and 17, they call a draw play to Moore who loses 4 more yards. Lob Wedge punts 37 yards. Once again when we have the chance to put the game away, the offense stalls, mainly because of terrible playcalling.


RNC fear-mongers strike again.
Fear 3, Hope 1

Campbell hits a short pass then Ports grinds out a few to get to 3rd and 1. The Skins go play-action to Cooley to get their first first down of the half. Hoke stops Portis, but he comes back on a screen pass to pick up 16. Deshea makes the first pick of Campbell on the season off a tipped pass and we go to commercial to give the Skins some extra time to think about challenging.

Surprise, surprise, Washington challenges and we go to another commercial. I think it was a reception…and I’m right! Steelers ball!

Washington brings the heat against the not-so-mobile Byron and brings him down. Parker eludes a defender in the backfield and dives for 3. Byron rockets a pass to Holmes on the sidelines to pick up the first down on an out-route. Parker bounces it outside for 8. Moore gets tripped up in the backfield to set up 3rd and 4. Byron goes back to Moore on the outside with a solid throw on the run to pick up the first down as the quarter expires.

Fourth Quarter

Do or die time here. With a 10-point lead and our lead in the division on the line, we need a solid quarter.

So far, Portis has 48 yards rushing and Campbell has 80 yards passing. Stellar performance by the defense thus far.

Byron goes play action and looks deep and as the pocket collapses, flicks one out to Moore who has no one around him and has free space to run for 25 yards. Moore carries for 2 to get it down to the 20. Byron looks for Holmes at the front corner of the end zone, but can’t hook up. Byron’s not used to the system, so he calls a time out. Hopefully that doesn’t come back to bite us. Another strike from the Byron to Hines for the first down to get down to the 7. Moore plows forward to the 5. Byron sees the defensive back sitting back off of Holmes and hits him on the hot route and Holmes rocks the Superman dive into the end zone to get inside the pylon for the TOUCHDOWN. Reed knocks it through.

23-6


Rearview Mirror ad.
Fear 3, Hope 4

Campbell hits Portis on a short pass that he turns upfield and takes it into Steelers territory inside the 40. Campbell looks downfield, but is forced to dump it off, but Portis gets rocked and drops the ball. Campbell tries to go deep for Devin Thomas, but Ike is all over it and Thomas has no shot. As a bonus, the Skins get called for holding, so it’s 2nd and 20. Aaron “Aero”Smith doesn’t let Campbell step up and gets the Steelers 6th sack of the night on a 4-man rush. On 3rd and loooong Cooley pulls one in to get to 4th and 9. The Skins elect to go for it and the Steelers send the heat forcing Campbell to throw it away. But Farrior gets called for roughing the passer on a weeeeak call.

With new life, the Skins throw a WR screen to Thomas, but Willie Gay blows it up and stops him in the backfield. Campbell throws too high for Cooley and the Steelers force another 3rd and long. Cooley snags one on a slant route and turns it upfield to get the first down and get inside the 10. Washington gets their first shot in the red zone all night and has no idea what to do, so they call a timeout, leaving them with only 1. Campbell has nowhere to go and throws a swing for Portis that is dropped. Portis gets down to the 6 on a draw. Campbell scrambles and it gets called a touchdown, but Tomlin challenges…and wins! Campbell was down at the 1, as replay clearly showed. The Redskins elect to go for it and with the leading rusher in the NFL, Campbell goes play-action but James Farrior makes a diving play to break up the pass.

The motif offense makes an appearance with the ball on the 1. Parker almost gets stopped in the end zone, but spins out to prevent the safety. Parker dives out for another yard. Leftwich throws incomplete for Holmes to stop the clock with 5:27 to go. Lob Wedge pops one up out of the end zone and El makes a move but gets tripped up at the 30.

Portis catches a short pass and gets the ball near the 20. Cooley pulls one in off of no-huddle to get the ball down to the 14. Willie Gay comes up with a tipped pass then applies some heat on Campbell to force 3rd down. The Steelers bring the heat off the corner and Campbell flips it over the top of the blitz to Portis but Tyrone Carter is there. The Skins try to go for it on 4th down, and Lawrence Timmons is all over Campbell to rack up the Steelers 7th sack of the night. What a performance by the Steelers defense.

Parker carries twice and Washington uses their last time out to force the Steelers into a 3rd and 9. On a defensive offisides, Leftwich goes downtown, but it falls incomplete. Leftwich is sacked on 3rd and 4 and Lob Wedge punts and El hops around then goes out of bounds as the Steelers bear down on him.

The Skins get the ball with 2 1/2 left and go to the air. Thomas pulls one in for a short gain, then an incompletion stops the clock just before the 2:00 warning. Portis picks up the first down on a short pass as the clock ticks down to 2:00.

Campbell hits El over the middle, then Devin Thomas before throwing an incompletion with a minute to go. El catches one in front of Deshea on the sidelines and scampers out to stop the clock. Cooley pulls one down to get to the 14, but can’t get the second one as Troy bats it down. Campbell throws one underneath, but the Steelers have seen enough of it and Tyrone Carter jumps the route for the Steelers second interception of the night.

Victory formation.

Game.

Players of the Game:

Offensive Game Ball: Byron Leftwich
He came in when Ben went down and had a great game. He looked like a starting quarterback. Great to know we can rely on him when we need to.
Defensive Game Ball: James Farrior
We could have given this to Woodley or Harrison who wrecked havoc all night, but Farrior was just all over the place tonight. Farrior had 13 tackles and half a sack. Great game.

Honorable Mentions:
LaMarr Woodley-
2 sacks and general pressure all night, he’s looking like a Pro Bowl linebacker.
Ike Taylor- great coverage on Moss and other recievers all night
Deshea Townsend- came up with the first pick of Campbell this year.
Andre Frazier- blocked punt!
Willie Parker- 70 yards and a TD against a pretty good defense. Solid first game back.


Mr. Yuck Sticker of the Game
Jeff Reed missing an extra point. Ouch

Final thoughts:

  • Heath and Ben getting hurt…hopefully they’re not out too long.
  • The Redskins didn’t have the ball inside the 20 until the 4th quarter.
  • Portis: 13 carries, 51 yards. So much for the “MVP” talk.
  • Our defense is getting better each week. That’s scary.
  • We gave the Redskins a short field twice (failed onsides kick and interception) and that was the only points they scored.
  • According to the “Redskins Rule” we saw before the game….

Believe.

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