View Full Version : Holme's TD run validates Cowher's faith

12-19-2006, 01:11 AM

By Scott Brown
Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Bill Cowher didn't blister the punt returner that's made Steelers fans more nervous than Steelers opponents this season.

Instead, he simply said, "Tone, you're way better than that."

Given yet another vote of confidence from his coach -- not to mention a reprieve, since a penalty nullified his lost fumble against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday -- Santonio Holmes returned the next punt 65 yards for a touchdown.

His second NFL touchdown -- and his first on a return -- came early in the fourth quarter and left the Panthers looking like road kill.

After the Steelers' 37-3 victory at Bank of America Stadium, a relaxed Holmes talked about shrugging off the punt return that he botched.

That's something the rookie may not have been able to do earlier this season, which is probably as good an indicator as any of the progress Holmes has made.

The Steelers' No. 1 pick in April's draft started his second consecutive game at split end and came up just short of the end zone twice after catching Ben Roethlisberger passes.

He appeared to stretch the ball across the goal line in the second quarter, and officials initially gave him a touchdown. But the Panthers challenged the call, and it was overturned.

Holmes eventually scored that elusive touchdown in the fourth quarter, after the Panthers were called for an illegal procedure -- they had recovered his fumble on the muffed punt. And Holmes made them pay, while also atoning for his mistake.

The blocking was so well executed on the return, Holmes said, "I think if I would have caught it (on the play he fumbled), I probably would have (scored), but I took my eye off the ball."

That problem plagued Holmes early in the season, as he fumbled a handful of times on punt returns and committed a critical turnover in the Steelers' 41-38 loss to the Atlanta Falcons.

Cowher, perhaps keeping his eye on a bigger picture, stuck with Holmes.

And Holmes has rewarded Cowher for the faith he's shown in the former Ohio State star. Holmes has gradually become a bigger part of the offense, while also reducing the drops on special teams.

"The guys know, on this team, that I can make plays, and I have confidence in myself," said Holmes, who is second on the team in catches (40) and receiving yards (610) and is averaging 10.3 yards on punt returns.

Holmes is making the kind of plays the Steelers envisioned when they moved up in the first round of the draft to take him.

You gotta be happy for a guy like Santonio, in a year where he fumbled so many times, had poor returns when he didn't fumble, and just generally wasn't playing well, then he started coming on and making plays on offense, and stopped the fumbles on ST, and voila !!! He's going to be great for us for years to come !

12-19-2006, 12:52 PM
I have faith in the kid. He just has to mature and I think he can be something very special in the future

12-19-2006, 01:29 PM
This really says something about Holmes! I was really happy to hear about his return for a TD (didn't get to see it though :cursin:)! Holmes has been coming up huge here at the end of the season and I think he has now officially made us forget about that other guy... what was his name? :dunno:

12-19-2006, 04:41 PM
I am not going to tell you guys that I love this guy because I do not and one run last week is nothing to annoint anyone for. I mean if you get good blocking up front week in and week out and finally hit a hole one week doesnt excuse him from his troubles in the past. He made a meaningless play in a game one time and he has made how many mistakes in critical games. When he comes through for a hole season then we can talk about him.

K Train
12-19-2006, 05:05 PM
Hes a rookie, and has made some mistakes....this run isnt waht made me like him, it was continuous improvments each week and even though his ST play has been a little shaky, he has made great catches all season long....what more can you ask of a rookie than to improve everytime they play? WR is the toughest position to play out of college and hes done a damn good job working on what he has struggled with so far...jmo

12-19-2006, 05:33 PM
After all his problems he had in the offseason before he even set foot on the practice field for us, and then all the struggles returning the ball, to see him starting to put it together after being benched, and then to have a fumble followed right up by a TD return is amazing. Don't forget, he went to Spencer and asked him for a straight up the field return instead of trying to go to the outside like we normally do, so that makes it more special IMO.

Sure he's got a LONG way to go but he's definately on the right track.

12-19-2006, 05:45 PM
On Sunday Santonio showed what was to come out of him. No Doubt he has a great future ahead.