i know i know. i know what you're thinking. "it's only been three days since greg wrote about the steelers. why is he writing about them again. i hate steelers posts."
well, get over it. even though they just finished their game sometime around 8pm on sunday night, they play again tonight at 8:15 against the one-win bengals, and i am excited. why am i excited? here's why...
1. the short week. i know that the nfl is such a rough sport that the players need the full week to recover (a little) before the next game and all that, but i love the 4-day break between games. so much less time to wait for the steelers game. love it. as i have said to many others, when i get to heaven i will find that the steelers are playing every day. and winning. every day.
2. levi jones, starting left tackle for the bengals, is out for this game. which means a backup will be starting in his spot. know who will be lining up against him? none other than james harrison, possibly the most dominant defensive player in the nfl so far this year. he is just incredible and i have to imagine he is just salivating at this opportunity. maybe he won't get the 8 sacks tonight that i want him to get, but at the very least he will command a ton of attention, which will give opportunities to other guys. i'm looking for fitzpatrick to spend some time on his fitzkiester.
3. i'm excited to see if the offense can show me something. they have been pretty anemic the last couple of games, and for a good part of the season, and i am just holding on to this hope that they are going to break out of this funk and find some identity and rhythm. i'm looking for some trust in willie, some reliance on russel in short yardage, and some healthy mixing of the pass and run. i am also looking to see if we can finish drives. we've got to finish drives with points. no more sacks that take us out of field goal range.
4. hines ward is a marked man. the last time these two teams played, you'll remember that he broke kieth rivers' jaw on the block that you see above. ended his season. it was a legal block, but not one that is too popular with the bengals. they'll be looking for opportunities to exact revenge, and i am excited to see how hines responds.
5. we need to win this game. this is a must win, looking at the rest of our schedule. if we win this we will be 8-3, with a little more pressure on the baltimore birds to keep winning to keep pace. plus we will get the next 10 days off to rest and recover and let muscles and tendons and ligaments heal up. hopefully, with a win, we'll be rested and ready for the next obstacle on the schedule: new england.
i, however, hate to get my hopes up. i've had them up for the last couple of games, and the steelers have been underwhelming, at least offensively, and have had games coming right down to the final seconds. i'm not sure how much more of that my heart can take. i would love to see a one-sided victory tonight, but i just can't realistically expect that. so, i am very cautiously and barely optimistic. we'll see what happens.
here we go steelers! here we go!