Sunday, January 16, 2011

Happy Day!

Big smiles all around today, at least here in Pittsburgh and all across Steeler Nation.

Much more to come on this blog about last night's win over the Baltimore Ravens, but for now, let's just revel in the happy afterglow and say a few prayers of thanks on this sunny Sunday morning.

Yeah, it was a close one, with spectacular plays knocked out by both sides, as well as questionable officiating slamming both teams. Granted, that holding call on Lardarious Webb's electrifying punt return with just under six minutes left in the game may or may not have been technically correct. Even Joey Porter's Pit Bulls, ardent Steelers' fans, probably wouldn't have called it.

Still, shaky calls went against both teams throughout the game and, even if Webb's return had been allowed to stand, you had the feeling the Steelers were going to win the game.

And ... and, let's point out, the officials had absolutely nothing to do with what happened on 3rd-and-19, just a few minutes later. Third-and-19!

On 3rd-and-19, with about three minutes left in the game, the Ravens vaunted defense allowed Ben Roethisberger and Antonio Brown to hook up for a bee-yoo-tee-full 58-yard completion that set up the winning touchdown -- which would have won the game anyway, even if Webb's punt return had been allowed to stand.

A 58-yard-completion on 3rd-and-19 with three minutes left in the game??!!! How does
that happen?

Just where were the Ravens' vaunted safeties and pass rush on that play?
That play is going to haunt the Ravens and their fans all off-season, and probably for years to come.

Allowing a 58-yard pass completion on 3rd-and-19? Inexcusable. Even Terrell Suggs said, "Even if we allow just 18 yards there, we're off the field."

Graciously, and to his credit, Suggs absolved the refs and credited the Steelers for making a great, clutch play with the game on the line.

That 58-yard completion was the defining play of the game, thank goodness, and rendered moot what might have become a bitter, simmering debate over the officiating throughout the contest. The officials were too prominent throughout, as if they were trying too hard to keep the lid on a nearly boiling-over cauldron of a barely controlled riot, which is what they were facing, more or less.

Well, that's what you get with the Ravens vs. Steelers.

As Steelers' head coach Mike Tomlin said in his post-game news conference, "That's Hagler-Hearns right there, that game."

More happily, he closed his nationally televised press conference with a cheery birthday greeting to his son Mason, who turned nine years old yesterday. Must have been quite a memorable birthday for the kid.

"Happy Birthday, Mason," Tomlin said with a big smile, as he stood up to leave the post-game dais.

Indeed, and a happy day for all of us in Steeler Nation.

Bonus Track:

"Sun Is Shining"