Monday, October 31, 2011

All Treats!

Now that's the way to beat the Patriots!  The Steelers exposed, exploited and dominated the Boston Massachusetts New England Patriots yesterday -- although, it must be pointed out, the Patriots hung around and made it a close game.

The Steelers jumped out front, controlled the tempo, maintained a two-to-one edge in time of possession, converted 10 of 16 third downs (including multiple third-and-longs), and played well in every phase of the game, mistakes notwithstanding.

And, dare we say it, the Steelers out-coached Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and the Patriots. If anybody deserved the game ball, it's Mike Tomlin, Bruce Arians and Dick LeBeau.

The Steelers limited Brady to 188 yards passing. Think about that for a second. A mere 188 yards passing.

Troy slams Welker.
The entire team played well, but special kudos go to defensive players Ike Taylor, Brett Keisel, Troy Polamalu, Ryan Clark  Larry Foote, Stevenson Sylvester, William Gay, Keenan Lewis and company. Lamarr Woodley sacked Brady twice and played a monster game before leaving with a pulled hamstring.

Even without Woodley and usual starters James Harrison, James Farrior, Aaron Smith and Hines Ward, the Steelers didn't miss a beat. The reserves played extremely well. Nine Steelers caught passes, with Heath Miller, Antonio Brown and Emanuel Sanders leading the charge. Ben Roethlisberger apparently called many of his own plays, judging from his post-game comments.

The Steelers have little time to relish this victory, not with a must-win match-up vs. Baltimore looming Sunday at Heinz Field. Today, at least we fans can enjoy yesterday.

All photos courtesy of The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
The Steelers' defense contained receivers Wes Welker, Deion Branch, Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez and Chad Ochocinco. No other team this year has been able to contain those guys the way the Steelers did.

Joey Porter's Pit Bulls are among the legions of elated Steeler fans so giddy with joy that today we are willing to gloss over the few witch's warts in the Steelers' exorcism of the evil Patriots yesterday -- the first win over the Patriots since Halloween seven years ago.

The warts weren't many, although it was unsettling that Brady had a chance to win the game in the last few minutes. The Steelers settled for threes (field goals) instead of sevens (touchdowns), and a missed FGA late in the fourth quarter led to a Patriots' score that made it a one-score game. Bad Ben emerged briefly with the ugly interception that led to the first-half score allowing the Patriots to hang around. Roethlisberger took five sacks, although the two at the end were a factor of Ben holding onto the ball (to keep the clock running) instead of throwing it away. Once again, the defense had no takeaways.

It is tempting to suggest (facetiously) that the Steelers may as well scrap whatever they did successfully yesterday. They should plan to do something different when they meet the Patriots in the playoffs. After all, you just know Bill Belichick and company will pore over the game tape and do something differently the next time these two teams play. Forget that for now.

Really, though, there's little to complain about. Enjoy while we can. Up next: The Baltimore Ravens, Sunday night, at Heinz Field.

In the meantime, enjoy yesterday's victory and have a fun, safe Halloween.

Game Links From New England: