Monday Night Football: Steelers' Quick Hits, Awesome and Not-So Awesome
AWESOME: Mike Tomlin's decision to sit Ryan Clark. And then Ryan Clark's celebration and jubilee over his substitute Tyrone Carter's interception and return for a touchdown. That smile was Hines Ward Approved.
NOT-SO AWESOME: James Harrison's blatant helmet-to-helmet hit late in the fourth quarter. Now, I'm all about letting 'football be football' and so on, but that hit was dangerous and needlessly ruthless.
Then he celebrated afterward while the guy was lying on the field prostrate and potentially seriously injured. Tacky.
AWESOME : Running back Mewelde Moore got significantly more touches in the final quarter of the game than he had in the prior three quarters, and every time he touched the ball he clasped it to his chest with both hands and arms and acted like it was a hot dog and he was a starving fat man. Now that was some serious ball protection.
Which leads us to:
NOT-SO AWESOME: Sigh. Regardless of what the Referees and the Offical Review decided, I'm fairly positive that in the final two minutes of the game, Rashard Mendenhall did it again and fumbled in the red zone. Now, I thanked my lucky stars that it was not ruled a fumble and we maintained possession of the ball, but really? Really, Mendenhall? Again?
Was anybody else watching that thinking, why did Ben not hand it off to Moore instead?!
AWESOME : Now, the questionable ball-protection skills aside, Mendenhall had one heck of a game. Over 150 yards, with 130 of those coming in the second half alone, and with three runs of over 20 yards apiece. That is just awesome.
NOT-SO AWESOME: Feeling like the Vikings fans must have when Brett Keisel stripped Brett Favre two weeks ago and Lamar Woodley ran it back for a touchdown. Excrutiatingly not awesome.
Which leads us to:
AWESOME: The Offensive line. They had that one nasty gaff that lead to the Ben Roethlisberger fumble and run-back by the Broncos' Defense, but other than that, their pass protection in the second half was phenomenal and the holes and blocks they were able to create for Mendenhall were also, just awesome.
NOT-SO AWESOME: Ben, Ben, Ben. I understand your need to win and to hold onto the ball so you can make a play that will save the team, the game, and send us to the Super Bowl.
But I would personally appreciate if, once in a while, you would throw the ball away so you don't get sacked again, and again, and again. I'd personally like to see you around to lead the team for the next decade or so, but if you persist in taking these sacks, that might not happen.
AWESOME: The offense did not settle for field goals. Hallelujah! And the corollary-awesome you ask? No Jeff Reed Drama last night! Sweet!
NOT-SO AWESOME: I could comment on the slow start and the slow heartburn it gave me, but the dominance of the second half kind of overshadows that and reminds me why I love watching Steelers football: it's awesome!
AWESOME: Mike Wallace. Not just his wideout abilities, but his all-out effort on the field. When Big Ben was intercepted in the red zone and the Broncos' defender was running the ball back, the tape shows Wallace flying out of the end zone 30 yards away to launch himself at the defender to stop him from making it a Pick-6. Good Job, Rook!
GAME BALL: Tyrone Carter. Two interceptions including a pick-6. Nothing but awesome.
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