Thursday, September 07, 2006

Steelers Good Enough to Hold Off Fins

A non-challenge by Miami enables Pitt to score go ahead TD, win 28-17

"Read the dang rule book, jackass!"

Thanks to a major brain cramp from Dolphins coach Nick Saban, who is a major ass cramp, the Steelers were given a TD that would have been over-turned, leading to their victory over Miami on Opening Night in the NFL.

Trailing 17-14 midway through the 4th quarter after a timeout the Steelers broke the huddle with a beauty of a play call that even Charlie Batch couldn't screw up: from their own 12 yd line they sent bruising tight end Heath Miller out behind the charging linemen and between the secondary; he caught the pass at the 30 and then ran as fast as a man his size can towards the end one. Fins LB Zach Thomas ran out of gas at the 50, but CB Will Allen (the one from Syracuse) ran him down and tripped him up, causing his knee to go down at the 2 yard line before he fell into the end zone. The ref signaled touchdown and the Steeler special teams unit came out for the PAT.
In the booth Michaels and Madden saw the replay and declared what I could see from my couch: that Saban should challenge because Miller was clearly out of bounds. Considering that Batch had fumbled at the goal line earlier in the quarter, there was no guarantee the Steelers would've put the 6 points on the board again.

But Little Hitler waited and waited before throwing the red challenge hanky, apparently waiting for the word from his coaches in the booth. By the time he figured out the call was a no-brainer (even if he lost the challenge, it was near the end of the game) and gently tossed the flag BEHIND the ref and without yelling in his direction something like "HEY, I WANT TO FREAKIN' CHALLENGE THAT CALL", the kick was up and good, the momentum swung into Pittsburgh's favor and the Coach was left WIth egg on his face with no one to blame but himself. Although he has already started blaming his coaching staff (typical).
"We can't challenge something until we see it... so when we saw it in the box I threw the flag. And it was thrown well before they kicked the field goal, and the officials didn't see it... and they said they didn't see it, and I said 'who's fault is that?" Considering the head of officiating clarified that since the league did away with the coach's buzzer a couple of years ago the coach is allowed to go on the field to get the ref's attention on a challenge, I'd say it's your fault, jackass!

After that score made it 21-17 the Fins still had a chance to win the game. Until new QB Daunte "Party Cruise"Culpepper threw two straight INTs, to Troy Polamalu and Joey Porter, the last one a game-sealing 30-yd'er for Porter's 1st career TD.

Porter celebrated in odd fashion, though, by kissing Coach Cowher on the cheek on the sideline. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

All in all it was a pretty entertaining game for a opener in which the Super Bowl- winning QB was on the sidelines acting like the head cheerleader and both QB's turned the ball over in key situations, although Charlie did toss 3 TDs. There were other high points for both teams, and I'll go over those plus my observations from the whole event in my next post tomorrow.

It's just nice to have football back and not have to think about baseball for a night!

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