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October 31, 2010 - Ray Eckenrode
BLEEDING BLACK AND GOLD
Brees, Saints defense outsmart Steelers on Halloween night
It was over when:
Steelers tight end Heath Miller doesn’t make many mistakes, but the fumble he coughed up as the Steelers marched into Saints’ territory late in the fourth quarter Sunday night was a killer.
Play of the day:
It was really three plays. The first was a pass to Antwan Randle-El that initially was called a touchdown then overturned on replay (although we’re not sure the officials knew exactly what they were reviewing, see below). The second was Rashard Mendenhall’s run two plays later where he appeared to break the plane of the goal line, but was spotted short, a call Mike Tomlin chose not to challenge. On the next play, Mendenhall, had a perfect crease into the end zone but inexplicably broke his run outside where it was snuffed, causing the Steelers to settle for three points.
+ From their coach making a ridiculous early challenge to their kicker missing a clutch field goal in perfect conditions to their star halfback missing a huge hole on a huge goal line play to their usually reliable tight end fumbling the ball at the most inopportune of times, the Steelers played losing football from the opening whistle Sunday night. And the time has come to admit they’ve played very poorly since Ben Roethlisberger returned as quarterback and are lucky to be 2-1 during that span. Maybe we’re making a huge assumption here, but we’re wondering about the team chemistry and whether the issues that boiled over last year with Hines Ward criticizing #7 have really been smoothed over.
+ Are we sure Referee Pete Morelli knew what he was doing on the replay challenge that took away the Steelers touchdown? Al Michaels seemed sure Morelli misspoke when he said video evidence support the call of the field, but if he did, he did it twice, because he also said the Saints were challenging the ruling “that the runner was down short of the goal line” in announcing the challenge. It might seem absurd that an NFL referee could be unaware a touchdown had been called on the play, but Morelli is the same clueless twit who overturned Troy Polamalu’s clean interception at Indy during the 2006 playoffs.
Paralysis by analysis:
+ Chris Collinsworth understated that you “don’t often see” the offensive pass interference call that went against Hines Ward. Um, if that same push off was called uniformly Sunday, it would have been called two dozen times or more.
+ After a borderline roughing-the-passer call on James Harrison, Collinsworth interpreted Harrison’s head wag this way: “Even he can’t believe he did that.” Harrison then mouthed a barnyard epithet that made it clear he couldn’t believe Morelli called that.
+ It sure looked like Morelli missed a facemask against the Saints on their first gang sack of Ben Roethlisberger.
And now a word from our sponsors :
The H&M spot with the male model dude wearing the puffy jacket has to be the most unintentionally funny commercial every made.
@15MinutesBlog: Mike Tomlin seemed surprised that Andrea Kremer would ask about his quarterback: Ben?
@15MinutesBlog: Jeff Reed is costing himself $$$$ every week in his contract year.
@RMGinn: Tomlin wrong to call timeout before the fake FG. I'd take my odds defending a QB who has never thrown a pass in the NFL.
We were right:
Even though we told we thought the Saints were going to win, we predicted the opposite, meaning we were right, sort of. (We know, tell that to your bookie...)
We were wrong:
We expected Brees to get the ball downfield much more against the Steelers defense. Instead, he was content to dink and dunk and let Pittsburgh kill itself.