Monday, February 2, 2009

Post-Super Bowl Thoughts

I was heartbroken when Arizona took the lead with less than three minutes to go in the game. Not in a “Oh crap, the Steelers are going to lose” kind of way, but in a “Oh crap, the Steelers are going to lose a Championship game that they had in the bag and could have put away long ago” kind of way. By the time the Steeler offense took the field for the final drive I had some optimism back. I told myself that Arizona has been vulnerable through the air and that Ben could move the Steelers down the field for at least a field goal. When the Steelers crossed midfield I found myself thinking in full attack mode again---screw the FG, go get a TD, the Cardinals have given up more TDs than any other team this year—etc. But the nagging feeling of “It should have never come to this” never left me, even well after the game. The win ended up being more relief than joy, and it still is a bit that way.

As Scribbler50 pointed out in a comment to the last post, the Steelers really need to find a way to score from inside the 5 yard line. I think the play calling in the red zone was questionable, as it has been all year. On the first possession, the Steelers should have run a play-action pass on 1st down. Arians should put the game in the hands of his best player and on offense it is unquestionably Roethlisberger.

Also, Tomlin should have gone for it on 4th down from the 1-foot line on the first drive. Run a QB sneak and they should be able to punch it in with Ben even if the defense is waiting for it. Should they fail to convert, they leave Arizona trying to negotiate early game offensive jitters as well as the #1 defense in the league from its own one foot line. If a team cannot take advantage of those offensive and defensive scenarios, juxtaposed as they were, it probably doesn’t deserve to win the game.

The officiating was mediocre and Arizona did appear to get the worse of what was called. I don’t think it affected the game but it took some shine off the Steeler win.

Santonio Holmes came up huge in this game and deserves all the accolades he gets. But Ben Roethlisberger was the Steeler offensive MVP for the game. Without his playmaking, including that final ridiculously precise pass over three defenders, they’d have been toast. If Ben’s last name were Manning, they’d be putting him in the Hall of Fame today.

If they had given James Harrison the MVP award I’d have been just fine with that too.

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Comrade PhysioProf said...

You're such a fucking Steelers homer that you didn't even mention Fitzgerald! That dude is a monster! The motherfucking Eagles could use a dude like that for Donovan to throw to.

scribbler50 said...

Surprise... the Scribbler has a comment on the Super Bowl.

Once again, we're on the same page, Stache, from the MVP selection, or in this case non-selection, to going for it with a yard to go at the goal line. Man, I remember when Jerome was there and we got to the five yard line a touchdown was as automatic as an extra point. And not that Jerome always took it in but his mere presence (and clearly a superior offensive line in those days) opened up all kinds of options for Ben including your suggestion of a play action on first down. And not to rip the "O" line we now have, for they have improved immensely in the last half of the season and that type of synchronicity as we know takes time to develop, but the way things are now the ball carrier is being tackled two yards deep in our own backfield. It's fucking embarrassing, especially since that's who the Steelers used to be. "We're running it down your fucking throat and I dare you to fucking stop us." As I commented here before the game, way too many field goals. We're putting Jeff Reed in the Hall of Fame!

I had weird thoughts too near the end of the game, but different than yours. I was thinking (before Larry Fitzgerald scored the go-ahead) that even if we hold on and win the game the victory will feel empty in that we were completely outplayed from the second quarter on. Especially our defense. But hey, once Ben made that drive (which I, like you, thought he would accomplish at least to the point of a tying field goal) and did a Joe Fucking Montana all the way down the field, empty victory thoughts went out the window. This was a great, great win and a great, great Super Bowl and Ben proved he's a great, great quarterback. Eighteen times he's done this in his short career, mount game winning drives, which makes him a money player and to do it in the fucking Super Bowl makes him the Gold Standard.

As for Santonio Holmes, the accolades have been made by you, me and everyone else by now but one negative lingers. If I'm Tomlin, when all this hoopla dies down and they're ready to resume business, I take him and every other player who has this "me first" hot dog fucking-itis and sit them down and present them with a no tolerance warning for future showboating. It's just not Steeler behavior. If the refs were doing their jobs Holmes could've gotten more than a few penalties for his bullshit, including one after his game winning catch for excessive celebration which would've given the Cardinals even better field position for their final drive. And before that catch, when Holmes made the long catch and run that got them down there in the first place, Ben was trying to get everyone lined up to spike the ball but Holmes was pounding his chest with his back to Ben's instructions and walking toward the end zone cameras which ended up costing us a valuable time out. Not just 'bush" but fucking detrimental. Tomlin is a take-no-shit kind of guy and I'm amazed he's let that go on all year long. Ah well, things to think about and shit to address for the next season.

And again, Harrison's play was the best (offensive or defensive) play in the history of the Super Bowl. Bar none. And just for the record, Woodley's THIRD sack was a sack. Fuck all this talk about no replay and his arm was going forward. His arm was slammed before it went forward and the ball rolled off his arm. In the old days, before every third p[lay needed to be taken under the hood, it would've been called a sack-fumble, end of story, play fucking ball!

All right, that's it, Bro, I'm wrapping it up because I've just developed a "high forefinger sprain" in my right typing hand.

Anonymoustache said...

Yes, I should've mentioned Fitzgerald.
There was a time, during Fitzgerald's college career at Pitt, that I'd wish he didn't look so fucking good all the time in the hope that he would somehow slide to the Steelers in the draft. He has been a beast for a while and, without question, if there were a collective post-season MVP award he should have won it. He made Rice's postseason record look fucking silly.
If the Eagles had him they would probably win 13 games every year and a Super Bowl every other year. McNabb has gotten them to 5 NFC title games in ten years with marginal talent at receiver.
BTW, your ref to Fitzgerald reminded me of something I forgot to add in my post---I can't wait for the Steelers to cut Ike 'Swaggin' Taylor.

Anonymoustache said...

I guess I was writing my reply to CPP when your comment came in.
Dude, great point regarding Jerome's presence. Sure that mattered. And it mattered because he punched it in enough times that the D has to fucking respect it! This team hasn't earned any such cred so why try to push it against the %s? I don't get Arians.
And don't get me wrong--I am totally elated about Ben's final drive. Legendary stuff and I'm glad for Ben. He's a freaking stud and deserves that success. I just kept thinking that the Steelers should have put the damn game away.
Agreed re Holmes. I was skeptical of his ability earlier in the year, but he clearly has that. In spades. But he really needs to work on his maturity. They could have easily called that celebration penalty and it would have been a really queasy time for the Steelers kicking off from their own 15.
BTW, I don't think Tomlin lets it go. I just don't think there's much more he can do without damaging team morale. Holmes just needs to grow up on that front.