Monday, October 01, 2007

Excerpts From MJD’s Monday Smorgasbord

Over on Deadspin, MJD’s Smorgasbord contains the following nuggets culled from his watching the Steelers-Cardinals game, among others. It’s recommended reading, and too good not to share … so here are excerpts from MJD’s Smorgasbord, via Deadspin:
  • "And speaking of wonderful people ... fuck you, Joey Porter. Guaranteeing a win against the Raiders, and then getting pushed around all day by Justin Fargas and five oafs in front of him ... it just couldn't happen to a better guy. Please feel free to shut the fuck up for the rest of your career now."
  • "In fact, there should be consequences for something like that. If you guarantee a win, and then don't back it up, particularly against the Raiders ... the NFL should step in and do something. Mandatory retirement seems appropriate ... perhaps he could be fined his entire yearly salary. Or maybe Roger Goodell could just implement some kind of new punishment, where players aren't allowed to speak for weeks at a time ... I'd like that."
  • "Steelers/Cardinals is underway ... and for the second week in a row, I get to see Ben Roethlisberger attempt to block someone. It's just sick-looking ... he ends up laying face down on the grass, the defender untouched ... I really wish I didn't have to see that. It feels like I just walked in on Betty White taking a shit."
  • "Santonio Holmes just scored because he can run faster than any of the people assigned to stop him from scoring ... Large Benjamin just heaved one up, Santonio ran under it, and got there before anyone else ... 42-yard TD and a 7-0 lead for the Steelers."
  • "Kurt Warner's finally entered the game for the Cardinals ... and he's putting a drive together, and the Cardinals are about this thing. Warner finishes it off with a short pass to a fellow named Urban, who sort of catches it, and sort of doesn't ... On the 40-yard-line, I tend to think that one's ruled an incompletion. The only reason he gets away with it here is that a "football move" is not required once you're in the endzone."
  • "Steve Breaston is finally going to take one of these ridiculous, booming Daniel Sepulveda punts to the house ... and the Cardinals lead the Steelers 14-7 in the fourth quarter. This is rather amazing."
  • "While we're back on the subject of Santonio ... Dan Dierdorf just called him "San Antonio" Holmes. Somewhere at home, Santonio's mom is watching and thinking to herself, "HA! I finally got someone. Now go do your homework, Langeles and Nork."

That’s Spesh-i-al

Ironic, isn’t it, given all the attention on Special Teams during the pre-season, that the Steelers’ special teams play on Sunday, well, wasn’t so special? Special Teams gaffes on consecutive plays early in the fourth quarter were pivotal.

After the Steelers’ Carey Davis was flagged for leaving too early on a Daniel Sepulveda punt early in the fourth quarter, the Arizona Cardinals’ Steve Breaston, formerly of the University of Michigan and Pittsburgh’s Woodland Hills High School, blazed through coverage for a 73-yard punt-return touchdown.

Davis’s penalty was one of way too many penalties – a total 11 for 73 yards, with a whopping six penalties on special teams alone.

Worse, with Hines Ward out, the Cardinals’ defense showed little respect for the Steelers’ passing game and stacked up against the run, limiting Willie Parker to just 37 yards on 19 carries.

With no running game to support him, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger struggled in the second half, throwing two interceptions while completing just 9-of-21 passes for 124 yards and one late touchdown.

And, if Breaston’s touchdown wasn’t the pivotal play in the game, then Roethlisberger’s third-quarter interception in the end zone was. Following James Harrison’s fumble recovery that gave the Steelers first and goal at the four yard line, Roethlisberger, on a third-and-goal play from the two yard line, inexplicably threw into triple coverage and was picked off by safety Adrian Wilson. The interception breathed new life into the Cardinals and shifted momentum for good.

“This loss is on me,” Roethlisberger said. “I can't throw a pick in the end zone. The defense gives you an opportunity, and you throw it away. It's disappointing. It's frustrating. You feel like you let guys down.”


Roethlsiberger seemed off his game, especially in the second half, but he didn’t get much help from his receivers, except for Santonio Holmes, who had six receptions for 128 yards and two touchdowns. Cedric Wilson and Nate Washington seemingly ran the wrong routes all day, and Washington had at least a couple drops. It also didn’t help that the offensive line struggled to protect Roethlisberger, who took four sacks and was harassed repeatedly.

But if Roethlisberger’s end-zone interception shifted momentum in the Cardinals’ favor, Breaston’s subsequent punt return for a touchdown sealed the win. It was spe-cial.