Sunday September 30, 2007
University of Phoenix Stadium - 4:15 PM EST
As much as the media would like to turn this into a Steelers vs. Coach Whisenhunt or or a Big Ben vs. Coach Whisenhunt, I would like to think of it as a Steelers Defense vs. Coach Whisenhunt's Offense! This Steeler D always seemed to get the best of the first team offense when Whisenhunt was the offensive coordinator for the Steelers. Now the defense finally gets to go all out with no special jersey on the QB or holding back on that devastating hit on the receiver dragging across the middle. It's on this time!!!!
The Cardinals come into the game as an average team, they don't really do anything great but on the same token they don't do anything bad. When it comes to their rankings they are in the middle of the pack, which probably accounts for them being in every one of their games thus far. The Cardinals have put up a total of 63 points while giving up only 66 in their first the games. This team could easily be 3-0 but late in the game in their two losses their D collapsed. Actually, let me rephrase that... their last game against the Ravens was all but over until Leinart was yanked for AARP veteran Kurt Warner came in and brought the Cards back to make it respectable and actually give them a chance, so had they continued with Leinart I highly doubt they would have been in their last game.
This brings up an interesting point though, how is Leinart going to respond to being yanked last week? Is his confidence shot all to hell now and will he be able to do anything against the blitzing Steeler D? After all, this Steeler D is definitely know Pac-10 defense! Will the changing of the QB's have impact on the Steelers preparations for this game? I would like to think not...
The Steelers come into this game averaging almost 200 rushing yards per game, and can boast about having the number one rusher in the league with Willie Parker! Parker is currently tracking at 400 carries this year for 2000 yards which would shatter all the Steelers rushing records. Not to jinx him in anyway, FWP actually struggled rushing the ball on the road last year. Thankfully he had a breakout road rushing game against the Browns late in the season which skewed his numbers but up to that point in the season he was averaging barely 60 yards per game on the road. Willie is going to be the key to the Steelers offense, as Willie goes so does the offense!
Let's not forget about Big Ben! He's looked sharp this year, from a statistical point of view especially with a 102 QB rating, but when Ben is given time in the pocket he seems rushed and not relaxed. He's been making most of his big plays when he gets rushed out of the pocket and has to avoid a couple of would be sackers! If the o-line was to ever make a statement and show what they are really about this game against the Cardinals is that game! Ben will be without his star receiver Hines Ward
Here is something that is we kind of expect from the Steelers defense... they are ranked number 2 in the league and have earned that ranking in a respectable fashion by completely dismantling their opponents. The Cardinals passing attack will be the first true test for the Steelers but with the recent report from Cardinals camp their air attack isn't looking so great anymore with Boldin more than likely not playing this weekend. Regardless though, the Cardinals still have quality receivers with 2 quality QB's no matter who plays so it should be interesting.
- Edge is the last running back to gain 100 yards on the Steelers D (November 2005, Monday Night)
- Steelers all-time record against the Cardinals since moving to Arizona is 2-2 (2-3 including pre-season games)
- The last regular season game between the Steelers Cards in Arizona was 11/30/1997 which resulted in Steelers OT win
- Last Meeting 11/9/2003 at Heinz Field, Steelers won 28-15
Join us this Sunday... here in the gameday thread as we talk about the game and cheer our Steelers to a victory!!!!