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i'm a little groggy as i write this, on this crisp november morning in new jersey. morning came much too quickly in succession after night for me to handle it properly, and so i'm still half asleep, still half aware, and still completely excited about the steelers.

the steelers started off week 12 of the nfl schedule by beating the bengals to move to 8-3 on the season, gripping firmly to their division lead and their hopes for a prominant playoff spot. it was not exactly that game i had expected, though. i had hoped that the steelers ground game could have really been dominant and chewed up yards and time while imposing their black and gold will on the striped cats. but that didn't happen. i had expected james harrison to have a huge game with sacks and forced fumbles, but that didn't happen.

what i did expect, though, is that the game might be closer than many others were thinking. not because the bengals are so great, but because the steelers tend to play close to every team, it seems. i was right about this one, at least for awhile. the steelers seemed to be asleep coming out of the gate. just lethargic. the offense sputtered. the defense seemed unprepared or surprised or maybe even distracted. but that soon got turned around, and the defense clamped down and was dominant again. the offense eventually came around, and the steelers clearly showed themselves to be the superior team.

as to my points from yesterday:

1. the short week. i think it clearly affected both teams. alot of injuries going on. ocho cinco falling asleep in meetings and getting deactivated. i think the preparation for the game suffered. i think some bodies were pretty beat. but it was so nice having significant football just four days after the last game. now i have to wait 10 days. :-(

2. james harrison didn't have the game i expected. i saw him being held on at least one occasion, and i coudl be wrong about this, but it seemed to me that lebeau had him dropping back in coverage more rather than rushing the passer. so harrison was quiet. the steelers only had 1 sack, and 1 pick, which occured right at the end of the game. but the run defense was superb, the coverage pretty good for the most point, and fitzpatrick, while he wasn't on his butt much, was nervous and threw early and off-target many times.

3. the offense. it was alright. ben played a pretty good game. he had a couple of throws that could have been picked, which would have dramatically changed how we are looking at this game. one in particular that he was trying to force to heath miller was a terrible decision. kudos to the offensive line for giving ben tons of time to read the play and make a good throw. the running game was a bit more of a disappointment. willie could do nothing, and then left with his knee aggravated. russell was good in short yardage (great second effort on the td) and mewelde looked good in open space again and on the screen passes (thank you, bruce arians, for calling some screen passes!). santonio had a big game until he had the poop knocked out of him. calling it a concussion. hopefully he'll be alright. hines only had the one big catch, dropped another and had another big play called back for a penalty on nate washington. all in all, it was some improvement by the offense, but we need to see it sustained. i'd like to see some more dominant run-blocking by the steelers.

4. hines was a non-issue. on his big catch and run on the second drive, he showed that he is still the one who dishes out the punishment, but running over a db. he was unscathed. santonio, on the other hand, took one for hines, i think. great job by him holding onto the ball. showed me some toughness there.

5. we won. for me, this was no doubt a must-win game. the bengals were 1-8-1 coming into the game and the steelers schedule coming up includes new england, dallas, tennessee, cleveland and baltimore. it is a tough final stretch. this one was important. we won the game we should win. now we've got 10 days to prepare for a game up in new england. go steelers!

ps. my mom and dad were at the game. i am so jealous of all my family members going to hienz field to watch games. if anyone knows of anyone who has tickets for the 12/28 game and can't use them, let me know. i'm interested...

pss. the nfl network's game coverage sucks. collinsworth is a nitwit, and the audio is mixed so that you can barely hear the crowd. it felt like a tennis match crowd, not a steelers crowd. yuck. bad job, nfl network.

psss. shannon made me pittsburgh style chicken sandwiches for dinner with coleslaw and french fries right on them. it is inspired by the leesburg hero sandwich at rachel's roadhouse in mercer, pa. we call it the steelers hero. i am a lucky man, folks. a lucky man.
pssss. i hope kiesel, willie and santonio are alright. rest up, boys. it doesn't get easier.


cathyq said…
Great game, We had a fun time cheering on the black and gold despite the snow and wind! Just wanted to share that at the end of the game, we moved our seats closer to the field since so many others had alreay left (Why? who knows!). Anyway, I looked at Dad and said, "I wish we would get an interception. I haven't seen one of those yet." Sure enough, the next play Polamalu snagged a pick and tried his best to run it all the way back. It was an awesome and exciting moment for me. The football gods were smiling on me. What can I say? Go Stillers!!!!!!

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