Monday, September 26, 2011

Gonna Have to Do Better Against the Texans

Too old and slow?  That question -- yes, that question -- is being revisited already by the talking heads on the NFL Network after the Steelers' disjointed, breathe-a-sigh-of-relief win last night in Indianapolis.

One thing for sure:  There's room for improvement.  And the Steelers will need to play better, much better, next Sunday vs. the high-scoring Houston Texans than they did last night vs. the debilitated Indianapolis Colts.

Curtis Freaking Painter
As Mike Freeman, a blogger at wrote, "The Steelers were headed towards one of the more humiliating regular season losses in recent franchise history. They were about to lose to the two-headed monster of Kerry Collins and Curtis Freaking Painter. Think about that for a second."

Granted, Mike Wallace, Troy Polamalu, James Harrison, Mewlede Moore and Ben Roethlisberger all had splash plays vs. the Colts.  As a team, however, the Steelers seemed out of sorts most of the night.  The rushing game put up just 67 yards, the defense tallied just one sack, and the offensive line and the secondary both looked shaky much of the night. Very shaky.  Plus, the offensive line sustained several injuries, the nature of which remain largely undefined -- more cause for concern, especially with the Texans' Mario Williams looming.

One ugly stretch during the first half set the tone.  Soon after the Steelers jumped to what seemed like a comfortable 10-0 lead, Ben Roethlisberger fumbled twice and tossed an ugly interception.  Next thing you knew, the Colts were up, 13-10, by halftime.

Curtis Painter, of Dutch Boy Paints
Joey Porter's Pit Bulls speculated last week we might see third-string quarterback Curtis Painter last night, and sure enough we did.  And it turned out be a good thing, more or less.

On his first series, Painter, who entered the evening with a career QB rating of  9.8 (nine. point. eight), overthrew a wide-open Pierre Garcon for what should have been a 74-yard touchdown strike (where was the coverage?).  On his second series, Painter's fumble after a hit by James Harrison was returned by Troy Polamalu for a Steelers' touchdown.  Painter rebounded, however, to engineer a 10-play, 80-yard touchdown drive to tie the score at 20-20 with just 2:08 left in the fourth quarter.  Et tu, defense? Chinks in the armor?

This is not reassuring, but rest assured: Houston quarterback Matt Schaub is light-years better than Curtis Painter.  And Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson, who may be the best in the game, is way better than anybody the Colts have.  And Mario Williams is a beast.

Unless the Steelers get better, fast, their record will be 2-2 next Monday.  And the "old and slow" talk will continue.

That's all for now.  More, later.

Just one other thing ... 
Michael Vick should just shut up.  

"I just want to know why I don't get the 15-yard flags like everybody else do," Vick said yesterday after his Eagles lost to the New York Giants.  "I'm not going to complain about it.

Oh, yeah?  No complaints?  What's all this, then??  What?  Why he isn't getting 15-yard flags "like "everybody else do"?

Who?  Ben Roethlisberger?  Kerry Collins, who sustained a concussion last night but drew no flag?  No flag.  Matt Ryan last Sunday?  No flag. Drew Brees and Matt Cassell yesterday?  No flags.  Jay Cutler all season?

Really, just what, really, is Vick trying to say?  What is he implying?  Is there an undercurrent of insinuation in his remarks?  And just what is he insinuating?  What?

That slimeball has nothing to complain about.

Leave a comment (lower left), if you are so inclined.

A Bills-Lions Super Bowl?

Both the Buffalo Bills and Detroit Lions are 3-0 for the first time since Dwight Eisenhower was president.  Well, for the first time in a long time, anyway.  Good for them and their long-suffering fans.

The Bills intercepted Tom Brady four times rallied from a 21-point deficit to beat the New England Patriots for the first time in 16 meetings. This just so happened on the Sunday following the week that the NFL Network repeatedly and lovingly tortured us with aired "A Coach's Life," the two-part paean slobbering over honoring profiling New England Patriots punjab Bill Belichick.  You think Belichick isn't frettng a bit this morning -- "Distractions!"

The Bills are back.  For what it's worth, they are the first NFL team since Harry Truman (for real; literally) was president to win games in successive weeks after coming back from 18-point deficits in those games.  Just a footnote here, but remember guard Kraig Urbik (6'5", 329) a Steelers third-round draft choice (in 2009, from Wisconsin) who was cut before the 2010 season opener?  Urbik is starting at right guard for the Bills.

Oh, and by the way, the Bills' defensive coordinator is Dave Wannstedt, last seen in The Capital of Appalachia as head coach of the Pitt Panthers. 

Oh, and by the other way, the NFL Network will re-broadcast the Bills-Patriots game tonight (Monday) at 8 p.m. ET ... but if you miss that replay, you'll also be able to watch yet another replay of "A Coach's Life" later this week.

The Detroit Lions look legit, too, as they continue to impress in every phase of the game (offense, defense, special teams, coaching).  Yesterday, 72-year-old Jason Hanson, who has been in the NFL since 1992, kicked four field goals, including the game-winner in overtime, to help the Lions overcome a 20-point deficit to defeat the Vikings in Minnesota for the first time since 1997.

The Lions are 3-0 for the first time since 1980 (Jimmy Carter was president).

Detroit now has a division-champion baseball team (the Tigers) and an upstart NFL team.  Good for them and their own long-suffering fans, who haven't had an NFL championship team since Dwight Eisenhower was president (truly; you can look it up).

Fans in Buffalo and Detroit -- two downtrodden Rust Belt cities -- finally have a glimmer of hope and something to cheer.  Maybe there is yet hope for Pirates' fans!  Nah.