Sunday, September 18, 2011

That's More Like It: Steelers Shut Out Seahawks

Does anybody care what Warren Sapp has to say about the Steelers this week?  Didn't think so.

Tough guy Ben Roethlisberger labored through an apparent knee injury and continued playing well Sunday to lead the Steelers to a convincing 24-0 victory over the Seattle Seahawks. The shutout was the first for the Steelers since October 2007, when they whitewashed the Squawks.

Roethlisberger, felled in the late second quarter by a hit to the back of his right knee -- it would have been called "clipping" under different circumstances -- by Seattle defensive end Raheem Brock, who was called for a personal foul on the play.  Roethlisberger left the game for one play and limped to the locker room with a 17-0 lead.  First-half highlights included Roethlisberger going 12-15 passing, Antonio Brown going 41 yards with a sterling punt return, and the Steelers rolling for 94 yards rushing, including Isaac Redman's nifty 20-yard touchdown run.

The Steelers increased their lead to 24-0 with 3:30 left in the third quarter on a short Roethlisberger touchdown pass to Mike Wallace on a fade pattern.  Late in the third quarter, Wallace had an absolutely beautiful fingertip catch that put him over 100 yards receiving for the fifth consecutive regular-season game.

The outcome of this game was never in doubt.  The compliant Seahawks weren't much of a challenge, and Seattle fans are probably bellowing for Charlie Whitehurst to take over at quarterback.  How depressing it must be for them. 

Next up for the Steelers:  The Indianapolis Colts on the road.

Footnote: End of an Era; Pitt Bolts the Big East
In the cesspool that is the business of big-time college sports, Pitt's abandonment of the Big East is just a sign of the times, cynical and dollar-first as they are.  KDKA-FM's Joe Starkey wrote an excellent column today noting that Pitt's move to the ACC ruins its rivalries with WVU and Connecticut:

"Many Pitt fans undoubtedly are intoxicated by the idea of basketball games against Duke and North Carolina -- never mind that the UConn and West Virginia rivalries would be ruined -- and the fact that even if ACC football is highly mediocre, at least it`s not the Big East.
"The good news, I suppose, is that Pitt football would have almost as good a chance to win the ACC as it does the Big East.
"But what becomes of the basketball program? Can it compete over the long haul with Duke and North Carolina in those schools` backyards?
"Geographically, Pitt in the ACC is about as logical as anything else happening in college sports. More logical than, say, TCU in the Big East."

No Kemoeatu, McFadden vs. the Seahawks?

Not only did the Steelers lose starting right tackle Willie Colon to injured reserve list this week, they appear likely to be without starting left guard Chris Kemoeatu and starting left cornerback Bryant McFadden today vs. the Seattle Seahawks at Heinz Field.

Kemo and B-Mac are listed as "questionable" for the game, Kemo with an injured knee, and B-Mac with a balky hamstring that has hampered him since July.  Ramon Foster would start at left guard; and either Keenan Lewis or William Gay would get the nod at corner.

On the opposite side of the ball, the Seahawks will miss standout receiver Sidney Rice, who signed with Seattle in free agency during the off-season, and starting fullback and one of their special teams captains, Michael Robinson, a six-year veteran and former quarterback of the Penn State Nittany Lions.

One Final Note About Last Week's Debacle
If there's any consolation to be taken from last week's massacre in Baltimore, it's just one game. Yeah, the Steelers sucked, but they also sucked in 1989, when they lost their opener to the Cleveland Browns, 51-0, but still made the playoffs and even the AFC Chamionship game.  Ironic, isn't it, that the Ravens are (and always will be) the Browns reincarnated?

And, for what it's worth, the 2003 New England Cheatriots lost their opener, 31-0, to the Buffalo Bills ... and went on to win the Super Bowl.