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Thread: '08 Steelers: In Review

          
   
   
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    '08 Steelers: In Review

    NO ONE picked this team....the AFC triumvirate pre-season was New England, San Diego, Indy.

    Then....Brady went down, thanks to L'il Wayne (remember...Kevin Faulk, who would have been blocking Bernard Pollard was out due to a weed arrest at a L'il Wayne show), SD & Indy both sucked early, and the AFC was there for the taking.

    BIG questions going in for the Steelers were the two lines, and the '08 draft drew the ire of many Steeler fans by ignoring these glaring needs.

    The O-line was expected to suck, and did early on, then was re-shuffled as well. By the season's fifth game, 2 of five starters were lost, Kendoll Simmons to IR, Marvel Smith with a bad back that was "status quo" every week, until finally being placed on IR in late December. And wither Max Starks?? The $8mil tackle who never saw the field, even against Jax when Smith came out. Well....Coach Tomlin explained that Trai Essex gave us a better look against the Jax edge rushers late, but Starks would start at LT after the by week. He did....and never came back out. After damn near getting Big Ben killed vs. Philly & Baltimore, the O-line seemed to solidify it's protection of The Franchise during the Jax game, where the Steelers often spread the field, with great success!! For the remainder of the season, even though the sack totals were high, the O-line protected acceptably. All the way 'til the very end though, this group struggled with getting push at the goal line, coming up short against....Colts, Chargers, Patriots, Cowboys, Titans, Chargers again, Cardinals.

    The worries on the D-line were of depth, given how this unit was gashed on the ground after Aaron Smith went down in '07. There were problems from the beginning with Fat Casey's penchant for Fat****edness, resulting in his being banished to the Training Camp Fat Farm. Then he had this groin thing early on, Keisel had a knee thing early AND late. But guess what? Our backups stepped up!! We knew Chris Hoke had it in him....but Travis Kirschke? Nick Eason? WE thought both of these guys sucked, but they were solid throughout.

    The linebackers. What a crew. We were the beneficiaries of solid inside play throughout...the reports of Larry Foote's demise continue to be premature, but L.Timmons, now introed with the starters for good reason, but.....the outside boys!! Harrison & Woodley bring so much more than did Porter & Haggens before them. As good a pass rusher as was Peezy, he was always neutralized by the big tackles. The pair we have now are beasts.....plowing right through the big boys. Whenever I see an interview with Woodley, in street clothes, I'm shocked by how huge this guy is in the chest & arms. It looks like someone stuck his head on a fake body. And Harrison's low center of gravity. Their ability to bring constant pressure, in my unqualified opinion, resulted in lockdown pass coverage, as we rarely had to bring any DBs on the blitz. One more thing about Harrison, prophetic.....in the pre-SB interview with Deion Sanders, he complained about the game plan that would have him back in coverage, and that he would need to "pick one or two, take one to the house....I'm short, maybe they won't see me." And then, listening to Cardinal QB Kurt Warner describe...that's EXACTLY what happened. He didn't SEE Deebo. Amazing that this guy has been a starter for only two years, and when Peezy was cut, there was alot of doubt as to whether Harrison could be the guy. Not only does he bring the pressure, he's stout against the run, and covers the pass as well....AND....obviously knows what to do with the ball when he gets his hands on it. We KNEW this though, starting back in '05 when he hurtled LT after a pick against San Diego.

    DBs....can never have enough good cover guys. We lost Deshea early, BMac stepped in and exceeded Deshea's play. Then BMac broke his arm. No prob....Willie Gay!! Gay stepped in so well, that he now basically alternates with BMac in our base D....and Deshea is in the nickel. And THEN....our safeties. Troy had his best year ever....one of the rare defenders that an OC need to gameplan around. Ryan Clark!! Damn....he brings the wood. And think about it.....we weren't sure he'd even come back from his organ removal...AND...never knew he was this good. Lays people the ****.....OUT!!

    Rest of the offense.....

    Wides...
    Hines was Hines, aging, not fast....still solid as hell. Can count on Hines for the big catches...game-winning drives vs. San Diego, vs. Baltimore...Hines comes up big. Still DESTROYS people with his blocking (ask Keith Rivers), and toughed it out with a significantly damanged knee in the SB....made 2 VERY BIG catches. Most people would be out a month with that knee, but there was Hines, giving a Willis Reed like performance early with his 38-yarder on the game's 2nd play. Unlike Willis though, who left game 7 of the 1970 NBA Finals way early, Hines was there throughout......was running his pattern, drawing coverage, on the game-winning play, then held hands with Ben on the sideline when the D sealed the victory.
    Santonio....still say that his this kid grew up after his mid-year weed incident, when Mike Tomlin sent him the **** home, then welcomed him back with "Don't be THAT guy." How did Santonio respond?
    *Made the catch to put us in winning FG range vs. SD
    *Caught a 20 yard TD, our first of the game, vs. NE
    *Awoke the moribund offense with a 43 yard catch on 3rd & 16 vs. Dallas, then took a punt back to set up a FG mid-4Q
    *Game winner vs. Balt on a play where he couldn't afford a hint of a bobble
    *Stretched waaaay out for a TD vs. Tennessee
    *Took the punt to the House vs. SD in the Div. Playoffs
    *Long TD, robbed of another, and a good punt return in AFCCG vs. Baltimore
    *SB: a performance for the ages, 9 catches, 131 yards....schooled that rook....and then a catch, greatest TD catch in NFL history to win the ****in' Super Bowl
    Nate....big this year....made plays....long ****in' plays. He can climb the ladder...that's for sure. This kid has always, always, always been under-estimated. Hope we can keep him.....afraid we won't.
    Limas Sweed....I booed him, too, after the drop in the AFCCG. When he made a catch with his hands, early 4Q, for a first down, I was saying, "I LOVE this guy." Didn't do much this year.....he'll be alright.....he'll be a big contributor next year...a starter when Hines finally hangs 'em up.

    Tight Ends....all year long, we heard about how they couldn't block...couldn't seal the edge...went along with the rest of the OL. Both these boys could catch the ball though. Heath Miller's a ****in' threat....love Heath Miller. And the Spaeth kid stepped in nicely in the short game when Miller went out. The McHugh kid's alright with me, too....placed as a FB.

    Running backs....First FWP goes out with a knee after the 3rd game, then #1 draft pick Rashard Mendenhall breaks his ****in' shoulder next game. Up steps Mewelde Moore, who upon his signing, we all wondered..."Why the **** do we need him?" and was absolutely ****in' HUGE....making plays late in the passing game that signficantly contributed to wins against Baltimore, against Jax, found the end zone 3x versus Cinci....and when his PT was drastically reduced after FWP returned, continued to make big, albeit unheralded plays. Final drive last week....3rd & 6, the Francisco kid blitzing....Mewelde jacks him the **** UP!! The, he sells the flat well enough from the AZ 46, that Rodger-Cromartie comes up, leaving Santonio open for the 40 yarder. Glad he was on the field for the entire winning drive.

    FWP had his injuries to deal with, but gave us a solid enough year. His return against San Diego after we had dropped 2 of 3, two home games in a row, was big. Ran very tough inside, broke plays outside that had been missing. Did the same thing against SD in the Divisional Playoffs.

    Then, there's the QB....the ****in' Magician. SIX times, in this year that brought the SIXTH Lombardi trophy, Big Ben brought his team down the field to tie or win the game on its final possessin. SIX wins, out of 15 were of this variety. And don't forget, the first Cleveland game, up by 4 with 3 minutes left, Ben hits Heath on 2nd down to keep the clock moving, not giving it back to the Brownies until 20 tics remained. Something about Ben...when AZ went ahead in the SB, first shot is of Brenda Warner (she must've prayed about her hair), the next one is of Ben...grabbing his helmet. He had that Ben look, where you just KNEW something good was about to happen. As Chris Berman says....John ****in' Wayne (well, he doesn't exactly say it like that!). As the guy that writes for the New England Patriots Weekly said, much to the chagrin of his colleagues, following the Jax game....Ben could be the MVP 'cause he does things for his team, that Brady & Manning, even when healthy, can't do...extend the play, extend the play, extend the play....make something happen. Ben has his foibles, ain't always pretty, was seeing ghosts mid-season, suffering from the QB's version of PTSD...was seeing no ghosts in all those game-winners though, almost all of them marked by an impossible play or two....
    *the toss in the flat to Mewelde in OT against Balt on 3rd down with a defender in his face, giving us FG range
    *the 3rd & 8, 18 yarder to Hines in Jax with a defender hanging on him, when nobody knew that Skippy was hurting, couldn't have made a FG of that length...
    *the 3rd down toss to Hines for the first down against SD, after facing 1st & 20...
    *the sneak for the first down on 4th down against Dallas
    *the winning TD to Santonio in Baltimore, after scrambling left, then right, about to throw it away
    *the perfect pass to Santonio, his 3rd option, to win the SB

    Oh....Ben still blocks & tackles, too. Do NOT underestimate the value of his helping break up a ball that was batted on 2nd & goal at the 2, 3Q last week. Cardinal safety Rolle's eyes got REAL big.....saw a TD in front of him, was gonna be a reversal of the Deebo pick.....Ben was there....broke up the ****in' thing.

    Ben...the Best. Guess we didnt' need to worry about that little concussion vs. Cleveland in the finale.

    Props to Lefty....stepped in against Washington on a night when Steeler Nation took over the Skins building on Election Eve. Showed this team would be in capable hands if he was called upon.

    Fullbacks....get off Carey Davis' case. We don't have him to handle the ball.

    The specialists.....
    Skippy....guy's money....don't give a **** what he does carousing on the SaSide. Missed a couple kicks, uncharacteristically, in December, vs. NE & TN, but so what? Had one money kick to make in the playoffs, 45 or 47 yarder into the open end, 3Q agaisnt Balt. in the AFCCG to make it a 2-score game...****in' drilled it!! Snuck one through from long-range to beat Balt. in OT in September in a game that had HUGE implications. Skippy's the guy I want with the game on the line.

    Mitch Berger....won't be back next year, but thank you, Mitch Berger. You took alot of heat, you kinda sucked in the AFCCG, but you held well, you stuck your ****in' nose in, you toughed it out with the hammy.....you're okay with me.

    Retofsky, Retosky....whatever your hunky name is....thank you as well. Not sure if we see you again, but you never ****ed up.....was one of my greatest fears when you came in, mid-season.

    Statistical oddity: Of the 23 Steelers (including IRs) that were around in both '05 & '08, 5 came to the Steelers as undrafted rookie free agents (FWP, Harrison, Nate, Skippy, Warren). THREE of these (FWP, Skippy, Warren) are from the same school...UNC! Chances of that??

    Oh...forgot about the coaches...
    Positon coaches: Who the **** knows? Answer: Nobody
    Special Teams: Kudos on the coverage....what a world of difference form past years....
    DC: LeBeau....what else can you say. I am going to hypothesize that Tomlin's work with DBs added alot to this D
    OC: I think the criticism of Arians is overblown. Ordinarily, I'm not one to focus too too much on individual play calls. If it works, guys' a genius....if it doesn't , he's a dope. Plus, I don't know that any of us know how much is the OC, and how much is his marching orders. Goal line offense? What the **** was the guy supposed to do? He runs it...we kill 'im. He passes it...we kill 'im. Fact is, nothing worked down there, resulting in what appeared to be, and what undoubtedly was, a ****in' grab-bag down close.
    I was critical though of the wasting of first downs in the AFCCG. Ten of 13 first down runs netted 0,1, or 2 yards. The tattered Raven secondary could have been had with play action on first down. There was no need for the game to be 16-14, Ravens with the ball and a chance to win with a field goal with under 7 minutes left. The defenders of The Great First Down Giveaway say that "3rd & 8>3rd &13" and that did I want "#20 (Ed Reed) to waltz away with a pick-six?"

    Y'know what?? **** #20.....he's never done **** against the Pittsburgh Steelers, other than get knocked the **** out by Hines Ward, and Ben burned his *** with a pass to Hines on the very first possession. Is aiming for 3rd & 8 any way to play football. "Hey Willie, gain 1 yard on 1st down, 1 yard on 2nd, guarantee we win." What the ****!! Most pissed I've been at Arians all year. Might as well have taken a ****in' knee.

    The Head Coach: This is where I'll focus my efforts. I was plenty pissed at Mike Tomlin throughout the off-season because of 3rd & 6 in last year's Jax playoff. I still think this was a dumb-assed call, and as the head man, he needs to take the responsibility. A timeout directly preceeded this play, so he had plenty of time to weight in, and damn well should have. Tomlin hedged his bets on this call, ****ed with his priorities. Rather than focus solely on moving the sticks, ending the ****in' game, Tomlin tried to mitigate risk while doing so....and got ****ed in the process.
    This ****er learns though, and I said so after the Cleveland game, 2 games into the season, when after the Dumb**** Romeo Crennel kicks a FG, down 7 points, 3 minutes left, Tomlin has Ben through on 2nd down (you can see it was Arians....to me, the HC is ultimatley responsibl) 'cause he KNOWS he has to get a first down, exhaust the clock.
    The other ****-up, which I beat the proverbial dead horse on, not subscribing to the "all's well that ends well" school that's so prevalent on some other sites, was the spike against Baltimore in December. Fifty-three seconds left, a timeout in our pocket, essentially 3 bullets in our gun to win the game in regulation....you DO NOT waste one of the bullets in order to preserve the timeout, or to not rush. We were the beneficiary of the reversal of reversals on 3rd down (yes, I think Santonio scored....but i was SHOCKED that the call on the field was reversed). Fourth down, inches away, our GL offense, who the **** knows what happens. AFCCG might've been in Baltimore, not Pittsburgh.
    Anyway, at the time, I said that if this should happen in the playoffs, I sure as hell hoped that we wouldn't see a spike again. Presto....in the drive for #6, SAME ****IN' THING did happen. This time.....we take the timeout, preserving all 3 shots at the EZ, and scored on the second one. Like I said, the ****er learns.
    Lastly on Tomlin, I've stated a number of times that he was hired cause he has an exceedingly well-developed line of bullshit, postulated that he earned a degree in Rhetoric (i.e. Bullshit) from William & Mary. I still kinda think this is so, but one should not be dismissive of the value of a good line of bullshit. For MikeTomlin, it makes him what Ken Whisenhunt is not....an incredible leader. Hell....Tomlin could publish a quote book....
    *Miles to go before we sleep; miles to go before we sleep
    *It's not what you're capable of; it's what you're willing to do
    *Humble, grounded, selfless
    Hell...he has his player repeating his bullshit.
    Last year, when the Steelers lost at AZ, and it appeared that Whiz had outcoached Tomlin, I wrote that one should expect this. Whiz was probably more ready, due to experience as a coordinator, his grasp of offensive x's & o's, to be a head coach AT THAT TIME. I also wrote that Tomlin had more upside.

    Tomlin has the greatness.....seriously, the Lombardi, Noll type greatness, that Whiz will never see. A great line of bullshit is a gift, not a skill that one develops. Tomlin's got it.


    So there you have it, YOUR 2008 Picksburgh Steelers.....not one, not three, not Four, not even Five, but Six...SIX....Super Bowl Championships!!

  2. #2
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    Swissvale, wow you have a lot of time and i'm assuming skills to type 100+ WPM? lol anyways good good recap down to a T. Very good assessment with accurate stats to back it up. It is very true how nobody gave the team a chance and didn't even factor them into SB talk until the AFC Champ game. Good read.

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    I believe from the beginning i could care less about the so called experts, they are an bunch of anyways. This was an great season an i think next year if we stay healthy again an make an few adjustments we get Ben his third ring an theere is no way the media can ignore what we have done in the 2000's

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    Great post. Couldn't disagree with anything.

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    Took me a day to read it, J/K excellent piece of work.
    It's no fun when the rabbit has the gun

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    Top 30 Troyisabeast_43's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by swissvale72 View Post
    NO ONE picked this team....the AFC triumvirate pre-season was New England, San Diego, Indy.

    Then....Brady went down, thanks to L'il Wayne (remember...Kevin Faulk, who would have been blocking Bernard Pollard was out due to a weed arrest at a L'il Wayne show), SD & Indy both sucked early, and the AFC was there for the taking.

    BIG questions going in for the Steelers were the two lines, and the '08 draft drew the ire of many Steeler fans by ignoring these glaring needs.

    The O-line was expected to suck, and did early on, then was re-shuffled as well. By the season's fifth game, 2 of five starters were lost, Kendoll Simmons to IR, Marvel Smith with a bad back that was "status quo" every week, until finally being placed on IR in late December. And wither Max Starks?? The $8mil tackle who never saw the field, even against Jax when Smith came out. Well....Coach Tomlin explained that Trai Essex gave us a better look against the Jax edge rushers late, but Starks would start at LT after the by week. He did....and never came back out. After damn near getting Big Ben killed vs. Philly & Baltimore, the O-line seemed to solidify it's protection of The Franchise during the Jax game, where the Steelers often spread the field, with great success!! For the remainder of the season, even though the sack totals were high, the O-line protected acceptably. All the way 'til the very end though, this group struggled with getting push at the goal line, coming up short against....Colts, Chargers, Patriots, Cowboys, Titans, Chargers again, Cardinals.

    The worries on the D-line were of depth, given how this unit was gashed on the ground after Aaron Smith went down in '07. There were problems from the beginning with Fat Casey's penchant for Fat****edness, resulting in his being banished to the Training Camp Fat Farm. Then he had this groin thing early on, Keisel had a knee thing early AND late. But guess what? Our backups stepped up!! We knew Chris Hoke had it in him....but Travis Kirschke? Nick Eason? WE thought both of these guys sucked, but they were solid throughout.

    The linebackers. What a crew. We were the beneficiaries of solid inside play throughout...the reports of Larry Foote's demise continue to be premature, but L.Timmons, now introed with the starters for good reason, but.....the outside boys!! Harrison & Woodley bring so much more than did Porter & Haggens before them. As good a pass rusher as was Peezy, he was always neutralized by the big tackles. The pair we have now are beasts.....plowing right through the big boys. Whenever I see an interview with Woodley, in street clothes, I'm shocked by how huge this guy is in the chest & arms. It looks like someone stuck his head on a fake body. And Harrison's low center of gravity. Their ability to bring constant pressure, in my unqualified opinion, resulted in lockdown pass coverage, as we rarely had to bring any DBs on the blitz. One more thing about Harrison, prophetic.....in the pre-SB interview with Deion Sanders, he complained about the game plan that would have him back in coverage, and that he would need to "pick one or two, take one to the house....I'm short, maybe they won't see me." And then, listening to Cardinal QB Kurt Warner describe...that's EXACTLY what happened. He didn't SEE Deebo. Amazing that this guy has been a starter for only two years, and when Peezy was cut, there was alot of doubt as to whether Harrison could be the guy. Not only does he bring the pressure, he's stout against the run, and covers the pass as well....AND....obviously knows what to do with the ball when he gets his hands on it. We KNEW this though, starting back in '05 when he hurtled LT after a pick against San Diego.

    DBs....can never have enough good cover guys. We lost Deshea early, BMac stepped in and exceeded Deshea's play. Then BMac broke his arm. No prob....Willie Gay!! Gay stepped in so well, that he now basically alternates with BMac in our base D....and Deshea is in the nickel. And THEN....our safeties. Troy had his best year ever....one of the rare defenders that an OC need to gameplan around. Ryan Clark!! Damn....he brings the wood. And think about it.....we weren't sure he'd even come back from his organ removal...AND...never knew he was this good. Lays people the ****.....OUT!!

    Rest of the offense.....

    Wides...
    Hines was Hines, aging, not fast....still solid as hell. Can count on Hines for the big catches...game-winning drives vs. San Diego, vs. Baltimore...Hines comes up big. Still DESTROYS people with his blocking (ask Keith Rivers), and toughed it out with a significantly damanged knee in the SB....made 2 VERY BIG catches. Most people would be out a month with that knee, but there was Hines, giving a Willis Reed like performance early with his 38-yarder on the game's 2nd play. Unlike Willis though, who left game 7 of the 1970 NBA Finals way early, Hines was there throughout......was running his pattern, drawing coverage, on the game-winning play, then held hands with Ben on the sideline when the D sealed the victory.
    Santonio....still say that his this kid grew up after his mid-year weed incident, when Mike Tomlin sent him the **** home, then welcomed him back with "Don't be THAT guy." How did Santonio respond?
    *Made the catch to put us in winning FG range vs. SD
    *Caught a 20 yard TD, our first of the game, vs. NE
    *Awoke the moribund offense with a 43 yard catch on 3rd & 16 vs. Dallas, then took a punt back to set up a FG mid-4Q
    *Game winner vs. Balt on a play where he couldn't afford a hint of a bobble
    *Stretched waaaay out for a TD vs. Tennessee
    *Took the punt to the House vs. SD in the Div. Playoffs
    *Long TD, robbed of another, and a good punt return in AFCCG vs. Baltimore
    *SB: a performance for the ages, 9 catches, 131 yards....schooled that rook....and then a catch, greatest TD catch in NFL history to win the ****in' Super Bowl
    Nate....big this year....made plays....long ****in' plays. He can climb the ladder...that's for sure. This kid has always, always, always been under-estimated. Hope we can keep him.....afraid we won't.
    Limas Sweed....I booed him, too, after the drop in the AFCCG. When he made a catch with his hands, early 4Q, for a first down, I was saying, "I LOVE this guy." Didn't do much this year.....he'll be alright.....he'll be a big contributor next year...a starter when Hines finally hangs 'em up.

    Tight Ends....all year long, we heard about how they couldn't block...couldn't seal the edge...went along with the rest of the OL. Both these boys could catch the ball though. Heath Miller's a ****in' threat....love Heath Miller. And the Spaeth kid stepped in nicely in the short game when Miller went out. The McHugh kid's alright with me, too....placed as a FB.

    Running backs....First FWP goes out with a knee after the 3rd game, then #1 draft pick Rashard Mendenhall breaks his ****in' shoulder next game. Up steps Mewelde Moore, who upon his signing, we all wondered..."Why the **** do we need him?" and was absolutely ****in' HUGE....making plays late in the passing game that signficantly contributed to wins against Baltimore, against Jax, found the end zone 3x versus Cinci....and when his PT was drastically reduced after FWP returned, continued to make big, albeit unheralded plays. Final drive last week....3rd & 6, the Francisco kid blitzing....Mewelde jacks him the **** UP!! The, he sells the flat well enough from the AZ 46, that Rodger-Cromartie comes up, leaving Santonio open for the 40 yarder. Glad he was on the field for the entire winning drive.

    FWP had his injuries to deal with, but gave us a solid enough year. His return against San Diego after we had dropped 2 of 3, two home games in a row, was big. Ran very tough inside, broke plays outside that had been missing. Did the same thing against SD in the Divisional Playoffs.

    Then, there's the QB....the ****in' Magician. SIX times, in this year that brought the SIXTH Lombardi trophy, Big Ben brought his team down the field to tie or win the game on its final possessin. SIX wins, out of 15 were of this variety. And don't forget, the first Cleveland game, up by 4 with 3 minutes left, Ben hits Heath on 2nd down to keep the clock moving, not giving it back to the Brownies until 20 tics remained. Something about Ben...when AZ went ahead in the SB, first shot is of Brenda Warner (she must've prayed about her hair), the next one is of Ben...grabbing his helmet. He had that Ben look, where you just KNEW something good was about to happen. As Chris Berman says....John ****in' Wayne (well, he doesn't exactly say it like that!). As the guy that writes for the New England Patriots Weekly said, much to the chagrin of his colleagues, following the Jax game....Ben could be the MVP 'cause he does things for his team, that Brady & Manning, even when healthy, can't do...extend the play, extend the play, extend the play....make something happen. Ben has his foibles, ain't always pretty, was seeing ghosts mid-season, suffering from the QB's version of PTSD...was seeing no ghosts in all those game-winners though, almost all of them marked by an impossible play or two....
    *the toss in the flat to Mewelde in OT against Balt on 3rd down with a defender in his face, giving us FG range
    *the 3rd & 8, 18 yarder to Hines in Jax with a defender hanging on him, when nobody knew that Skippy was hurting, couldn't have made a FG of that length...
    *the 3rd down toss to Hines for the first down against SD, after facing 1st & 20...
    *the sneak for the first down on 4th down against Dallas
    *the winning TD to Santonio in Baltimore, after scrambling left, then right, about to throw it away
    *the perfect pass to Santonio, his 3rd option, to win the SB

    Oh....Ben still blocks & tackles, too. Do NOT underestimate the value of his helping break up a ball that was batted on 2nd & goal at the 2, 3Q last week. Cardinal safety Rolle's eyes got REAL big.....saw a TD in front of him, was gonna be a reversal of the Deebo pick.....Ben was there....broke up the ****in' thing.

    Ben...the Best. Guess we didnt' need to worry about that little concussion vs. Cleveland in the finale.

    Props to Lefty....stepped in against Washington on a night when Steeler Nation took over the Skins building on Election Eve. Showed this team would be in capable hands if he was called upon.

    Fullbacks....get off Carey Davis' case. We don't have him to handle the ball.

    The specialists.....
    Skippy....guy's money....don't give a **** what he does carousing on the SaSide. Missed a couple kicks, uncharacteristically, in December, vs. NE & TN, but so what? Had one money kick to make in the playoffs, 45 or 47 yarder into the open end, 3Q agaisnt Balt. in the AFCCG to make it a 2-score game...****in' drilled it!! Snuck one through from long-range to beat Balt. in OT in September in a game that had HUGE implications. Skippy's the guy I want with the game on the line.

    Mitch Berger....won't be back next year, but thank you, Mitch Berger. You took alot of heat, you kinda sucked in the AFCCG, but you held well, you stuck your ****in' nose in, you toughed it out with the hammy.....you're okay with me.

    Retofsky, Retosky....whatever your hunky name is....thank you as well. Not sure if we see you again, but you never ****ed up.....was one of my greatest fears when you came in, mid-season.

    Statistical oddity: Of the 23 Steelers (including IRs) that were around in both '05 & '08, 5 came to the Steelers as undrafted rookie free agents (FWP, Harrison, Nate, Skippy, Warren). THREE of these (FWP, Skippy, Warren) are from the same school...UNC! Chances of that??

    Oh...forgot about the coaches...
    Positon coaches: Who the **** knows? Answer: Nobody
    Special Teams: Kudos on the coverage....what a world of difference form past years....
    DC: LeBeau....what else can you say. I am going to hypothesize that Tomlin's work with DBs added alot to this D
    OC: I think the criticism of Arians is overblown. Ordinarily, I'm not one to focus too too much on individual play calls. If it works, guys' a genius....if it doesn't , he's a dope. Plus, I don't know that any of us know how much is the OC, and how much is his marching orders. Goal line offense? What the **** was the guy supposed to do? He runs it...we kill 'im. He passes it...we kill 'im. Fact is, nothing worked down there, resulting in what appeared to be, and what undoubtedly was, a ****in' grab-bag down close.
    I was critical though of the wasting of first downs in the AFCCG. Ten of 13 first down runs netted 0,1, or 2 yards. The tattered Raven secondary could have been had with play action on first down. There was no need for the game to be 16-14, Ravens with the ball and a chance to win with a field goal with under 7 minutes left. The defenders of The Great First Down Giveaway say that "3rd & 8>3rd &13" and that did I want "#20 (Ed Reed) to waltz away with a pick-six?"

    Y'know what?? **** #20.....he's never done **** against the Pittsburgh Steelers, other than get knocked the **** out by Hines Ward, and Ben burned his *** with a pass to Hines on the very first possession. Is aiming for 3rd & 8 any way to play football. "Hey Willie, gain 1 yard on 1st down, 1 yard on 2nd, guarantee we win." What the ****!! Most pissed I've been at Arians all year. Might as well have taken a ****in' knee.

    The Head Coach: This is where I'll focus my efforts. I was plenty pissed at Mike Tomlin throughout the off-season because of 3rd & 6 in last year's Jax playoff. I still think this was a dumb-assed call, and as the head man, he needs to take the responsibility. A timeout directly preceeded this play, so he had plenty of time to weight in, and damn well should have. Tomlin hedged his bets on this call, ****ed with his priorities. Rather than focus solely on moving the sticks, ending the ****in' game, Tomlin tried to mitigate risk while doing so....and got ****ed in the process.
    This ****er learns though, and I said so after the Cleveland game, 2 games into the season, when after the Dumb**** Romeo Crennel kicks a FG, down 7 points, 3 minutes left, Tomlin has Ben through on 2nd down (you can see it was Arians....to me, the HC is ultimatley responsibl) 'cause he KNOWS he has to get a first down, exhaust the clock.
    The other ****-up, which I beat the proverbial dead horse on, not subscribing to the "all's well that ends well" school that's so prevalent on some other sites, was the spike against Baltimore in December. Fifty-three seconds left, a timeout in our pocket, essentially 3 bullets in our gun to win the game in regulation....you DO NOT waste one of the bullets in order to preserve the timeout, or to not rush. We were the beneficiary of the reversal of reversals on 3rd down (yes, I think Santonio scored....but i was SHOCKED that the call on the field was reversed). Fourth down, inches away, our GL offense, who the **** knows what happens. AFCCG might've been in Baltimore, not Pittsburgh.
    Anyway, at the time, I said that if this should happen in the playoffs, I sure as hell hoped that we wouldn't see a spike again. Presto....in the drive for #6, SAME ****IN' THING did happen. This time.....we take the timeout, preserving all 3 shots at the EZ, and scored on the second one. Like I said, the ****er learns.
    Lastly on Tomlin, I've stated a number of times that he was hired cause he has an exceedingly well-developed line of bullshit, postulated that he earned a degree in Rhetoric (i.e. Bullshit) from William & Mary. I still kinda think this is so, but one should not be dismissive of the value of a good line of bullshit. For MikeTomlin, it makes him what Ken Whisenhunt is not....an incredible leader. Hell....Tomlin could publish a quote book....
    *Miles to go before we sleep; miles to go before we sleep
    *It's not what you're capable of; it's what you're willing to do
    *Humble, grounded, selfless
    Hell...he has his player repeating his bullshit.
    Last year, when the Steelers lost at AZ, and it appeared that Whiz had outcoached Tomlin, I wrote that one should expect this. Whiz was probably more ready, due to experience as a coordinator, his grasp of offensive x's & o's, to be a head coach AT THAT TIME. I also wrote that Tomlin had more upside.

    Tomlin has the greatness.....seriously, the Lombardi, Noll type greatness, that Whiz will never see. A great line of bullshit is a gift, not a skill that one develops. Tomlin's got it.


    So there you have it, YOUR 2008 Picksburgh Steelers.....not one, not three, not Four, not even Five, but Six...SIX....Super Bowl Championships!!
    Great Stuff there Swiss man you talk about breaking down every single game and big play that occured during the season to the T you did just that. Just like yourself I liked this teams chances the first week of the season when Tom Brady went down and was done for the year, and also when teams that were favorites such as the Colts,Chargers,and Jags all were struggling to start the year when the Steelers started 5-1. Like I have said before the game the Steelers won in Jacksonville on the Sunday night the first Sunday in October was really the game where I started to believe this Steelers team was for real and had a legit chance to go deep in the playoffs and win the Super Bowl. The stuff you wrote about the plays Ben made late in those games you mentioned, and the catches by Hines and Santanio late in games, and the big big plays that the D had to make each and everytime this season when they had to make them is as Mike Tomlin said while on the podium getting that 6th Lombardi Trophy the story of the 2008 Pittsburgh Steelers.

  7. #7
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    Swissvale, Great job... You typed more in that one post than I have in ALL my posts... COMBINED! I have loved the Steelers for 35 years or more... and will continue to for the rest of my life.. I thought with the difficulty of our schedule, Pitt would get 9 wins, 10 MAX... never did I think our D would be as bad a** as It was... the run D, I knew would be stout, but I never thought our pass rush and Pass D would be soooo dang strong!!! And of course Big Ben would put on his cape and become...
    DA DA DAAAAAA!!!! CAP'T COMEBACK!!!!!!!
    Tomlin has done well in having our DB play better and MASSIVE PROPS to the master of the ZONE BLITZ, methusela himself (and HOF'er in making) Dick LeBeau !!!!
    Well Done to all the players and coaches!!! I hope the players of the 2008 draft can make a sizable contribution this next year, since they made little help to the team due to injury and/or steeep learning curve!!

  8. #8
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    TALE of the TAPE, and more...

    Wrote this last week.....thought yinz might like it...slightly technical.

    Tale of the Tape, etc.

    Okay, asshats, I’ve contracted a full-blown case of Post-Euphoric Immersion Syndrome (PEIS). The chronic sufferer of this affliction typically exacerbates his or her symptoms by repeatedly, and obsessively, viewing video footage of the specific Euphoria that brought on this most enjoyable of maladies. In this case, the footage in question is the game tape of Super Bowl XLIII. I completed my initial review, of many to come, this morning. Before I present my findings, please first indulge:

    PREAMBLE
    Champions come in different shapes and sizes. Some are dominant throughout (circa 1978 Steelers), some get “hot” at the opportune moment (circa 1975 Steelers). Some “wannabe” champions, imposters, have their audience fooled, but their diminished character leaves them without the ability to finish, to grab that brass ring (circa 2007 Patriots).

    Some champions are flawed, seriously, but embrace those flaws, morph those flaws into their daily lives, and yield a crescendo of a final act. The 2008 Pittsburgh Steelers are such a champion, flawed to the point where those (ahem…like myself) that predicted a Super Bowl run in September were called “delusional,” “preposterous,” “dumb****s.”

    This team, with….
    *The offensive line that could get little push, particularly inside the opponent’s 5
    *The inability to finish off an opponent, either via it offense or its defense…

    …had these same warts on display on Super Bowl Sunday.

    How many times has this squad had the ball inside its opponents 5, but couldn’t punch it into the end zone…
    *vs. SD
    *vs. New England
    *vs. Dallas
    *vs. Tennessee
    *vs. SD….again!!

    And there the flaw was again on display against the Arizona Cardinals…..1st down on the 1, 1st down on the 5, 1st down on the 4….and only Skippy Reed field goals to show for it.

    Eight points left on the field, a long 3Q drive that could have extended the lead to 3 scores. A defense that had yielded but 7 points through 3 ¼ quarter quarters, coming near apart in the final 11 and one-half minutes.

    But…but….this flawed Pittsburgh Steelers team, in its Final Act, not only stayed in character with its flaws, but stayed in character with its character as well. This team that took possession for one final time, down 1 point in Jacksonville, took the ball for its last attempt down 2 points against San Diego, down 7 points against Dallas, down 3 at Baltimore…this team, led by #7 (and don’t you love how Mike Tomlin refers to these guys by number…”7”…”92”), took the ball with 2 minutes 37 seconds remaining Sunday night, knowing that it needed to put points on the board, or else have their dreams shattered.

    Was this ending not reminiscent of the December contest in Baltimore…
    *down 3 points
    *80+ yards from paydirt
    *a hurried drive inside the opponents 10
    *a catch by Santonio, where there was nary a hint of a bobble, both feet firmly on the ground

    For only the 3rd time in Super Bowl history, the game had been won by a team coming from behind in the game’s final minute.

    The 2008 Pittsburgh Steelers…look at the footage of this final offensive play. This time, the O-line was impenetrable…#7 was able to go through his progressions, the protection…perfect, the pass….perfect, the catch….perfect, and this imperfect team, from the imperfect City, won its Sixth Lombardi trophy!!

    STEELERS WON THE ****IN’ SUPER BOWL!!! GOT SIX!! 6>3!!….6=2X3!!

    TUESDAY POST-SUPER BOWL THOUGHTS:
    *Steelers had surrendered only 174 yards through the SB’s first 48 and one-half minutes, then was gashed for 233 yards in the final 11 and one-half minutes
    *Steelers scored on a return in all 3 playoff games
    *Santonio Holmes found the End Zone in all 3 playoff games. I maintain once again, that the rebirth of Santonio Holmes can be found in the “tough love” coaching of Mike Tomlin, telling Santonio to go the **** home after his weed arrest during Giants week….look at the performance of #10 down the stretch, starting with the November 16 San Diego contest. Look not just at the numbers, but at the plays THIS guy…who Tomlin told not to be THAT guy, made….
    *Big catches vs. SD, incuding THE catch that brought the ball into FG range
    *20 yard TD catch vs. NE
    *43 yard catch on 3rd & 16, 4Q vs. Dallas, followed by long punt return, setting up FG that cut the 10 point deficit to 7
    *Winning catch vs. Baltimore
    *Extending self completely for TD catch vs. Tennesee
    *Playoffs
    *Wouldn’t have counted, IMO…..meaning, a lot of conjecture yesterday on whether the Steelers would have had one more play if Harrison had been ruled down short of the goal line on his 100 yard rumble. There was a penalty on AZ on the play, and yes, half or game cannot end with a D penalty, but review of the tape yielded the Ref clearly stating that the offense had taken place “prior to the pass” meaning that it was NOT a defensive penalty. Good thing Silverback made it.
    *Anyone else notice The Bus in the corner of the EZ, cheering on Silverback?
    *Yesterday’s bitching about the game being “over-officiated.” **** that ****!! Gandy was whistled 3 times for holding Harrison, meaning the SOB was likely holding on every ****in’ play.
    *And…..bullshit on these gripes about the lack of a penalty on Santonio for “using the ball as a prop.” I say, do away with all of these “excessive celebration” penalties. I don’t necessarily like the celebrations, but it’s bullshit that it’s flagged….has nothing to do with the game. All season long, they don’t call O-lineman for chokin’ the **** outta James Harrison, and they want a call on Santonio for playing with the ball after a SB winning TD catch!!

    TALE OF THE TAPE

    On the offensive side….

    Closest thing Steelers ran to a “base” formation was 3 wides, 1 tight. They ran this on 19 of 66 offensive plays (including those plays negated by penalty). Oftentimes, 2 of the 3 wides were on the LOS, with Heath set back off of the line.

    Other oft-used sets, 10 plays apiece, were
    …2 wides, 2 tights
    …4 wides (7 of these came during the glorious final TD drive)

    There’d been an outcry all year for more fullback. Steelers ran 13 plays on Sunday with a fullback….
    2 tights, 1 wide, FB…5 times
    2 wides, 1 tight, FB…3 times
    3 tights, FB…3 times
    3 wides, FB….2 times
    As you all know, sometimes the FB was Davis. Otherwise it was McHugh, and Heath even lined up in the FB slot.

    How effective were the Steelers running out of these sets? Not very. The eight runs out of these sets yielded 15 yards. The remaining 18 runs out of other sets gained 43.

    The remaining sets?
    *3 tights, 1 wide….3 times
    *5 wide….3 times (though the 5 wides always included Heath & either FWP…who can’t ****in’ catch, or Mewelde)
    3 wide, 2 tights…2 times
    4 wides, 1 tight….1 time
    Wildcat (let’s not try that again)…1 time
    VICTORY…..1 joyous time

    On the defensive side…

    Of 47 Arizona pass plays, Steelers rushed….

    4…27 times
    5…11 times
    3….7 times (including the final 3 AZ plays)
    6 or more….2 times (both AZ TDs from inside the 5)

    Once again, the Steelers “blitzed” on less than 30% of the plays. Once again, they often showed 5, but dropped one off, often into the middle to defend a screen.

    There was a suggestion that the defense started to come apart when it rushed more guys, but of the 3 AZ 4Q drives that gobbled yardage, this was only true of the initial TD rive. Steelers rushed 5 on 3 of 8 plays, and then rushed 6 on two plays down close. The combo of more rushers, and as The Fat **** John Madden correctly pointed out, safetys that were lined up in excess of 20 yards off the ball, and shaded toward the outside receivers, provided huge chunks of open territory over the middle. These RedBirds gladly feasted on these huge helpings of seed., doing so on the subsequent 4Q drives as well.

    CLOSING
    My record as a prognosticator remains near-perfect, being wrong on just about everything.
    *I predicted a buck and a half for Willie…he finished with 53 cents
    * I predicted L. Sweed would make a big play…..well, he was in for “a play,” making his cameo appearance on the failed QB draw

    Oh….time for my next injection…..gotta keep the PEIS going…..back to the tape.

  9. #9
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    Definately a sickness.

  10. #10
    THAT DAMN GOOD yinzer's Avatar
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    SWISS!! nice to hear from you again!! great stuff as usual!
    RIDICULOUSLY good looking...

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