I have no idea what happened last Sunday when the Pittsburgh Steelers played and defeated the Green Bay Packers 37-36 at Heinz Field. How can your offense make this trip and that trip into the enemy’s territory and come away with 3-pointers yet score the winning touchdown as time expires with first year wideout Mike Wallace making a diving last second ballerina-like grab with no time left on the clock to seal the win. Go figure.
Steelers center Justin Hartwig said, “The way the game ended was incredible, especially that last play. It was obviously pretty reminiscent of the Super Bowl.”
Big Ben Roethlisberger led the team to victory giving mouth to mouth resuscitation to the Black and Gold’s post-season hopes and slinging the pigskin for a whopping 503 yards.
With all of the justifiable hoopla over the victory, may I briefly pose as the devil’s advocate? Steelers kicker Jeff Reed contributed three field goals toward the victory, but if the Steeler offense converts just one of those opportunities, the “duufuss” onside kick called by Mike Tomlin and the heroics provided by Big Ben and Mike Wallace would have likely been unnecessary and Wallace could have tiptoed into the locker room as the play clock ran out as opposed to having to do a “nutcracker suite”-type move on Packers cornerback Josh Bell in the corner of the end zone. The only thing Wallace was missing was a pair of leotards and a tutu. The catch was reminiscent of a performance at Heinz Hall instead of Heinz Field.
The Packers and their quarterback Aaron Rogers seemed to have been more than happy to make the acquaintance of Steeler cornerback William Gay, but I am certain there was not much post-game gaiety originating for Mr. Gay’s stall after the close win. Also safeties Ryan Clark and Tyrone Carter performed as if their hands were cuffed behind their backs with platinum handcuffs, wearing lead-toed, and not steel-toed boots.
I am livid about the absence of defensive back Troy Polamalu. Instead of seeing him doing shampoo commercials, I want to see him on the field. Some of those boys in the secondary need a little assistance. It seems to me that Troy’s alleged private workouts in “Cali” when the rest of the team is here busting their butts in OTA’s and minicamp do not seem to be cutting the mustard. His “workouts” need to overseen by a personal trainer over at the Southside as opposed to a muscle-bound moron somewhere on Venice beach.
To add insult to injury, the so-called brain cramp suffered by head coach Mike Tomlin allowing an attempted onside kick with a tad bit more than four minutes left in the final quarter leads me to believe that Mr. Tomlin and the headmaster of the New England Patriots, Bill Belichick, have been burning the midnight oil in the celluloid room and blowing up each other’s cell phones attempting to form a new fraternity called the brotherhood of stupid coaching decisions or the B.S.C.D. for short.
Well folks, you no longer have to deal from a theoretical perspective because you now will have it straight from the horse’s mouth. Tomlin had this to say according to the ShutDown Corner football blogsite. “I’ll be very bluntly honest with you. Based on the way the game was going in the second half … first of all, I felt like, with the element of surprise, we had a chance to get it. But if we didn’t get it, and they were to score, then we would have the necessary time on the clock to go down the field and score, match their score.
“Plan A didn’t work. We got the ball, but we were illegal, and that was the correct call. But it kind of unfolded the way you kind of envisioned it. We had 30 minutes of evidence there to show that we could drive the ball on them. We also, conversely, had 30 minutes of evidence to show they could drive the ball on us. That’s why we took that risk when we did.”
What made Tomlin think that he could pull off such shenanigans with his special “ed” teams? The not very special teams of the Black and Gold have been atrocious under normal conditions so what made Mike Tomlin think that these same lads could function normally under these adverse and pressure-filled circumstances when their performance has been less than stellar in the past even under the most ideal situations?
I am glad for the sake of the third year head coach that his players had the intestinal fortitude to bail him out.
The Steelers may or may not advance into the 2009 post-season tournament but one thing is clear. They are not the losers as some would suggest and if the Steelers defeat the Ravens next week and the Dolphins thereafter with a little help from their friends and the refs, (who seem to be blind to the blatant holding on linebacker James Harrison on almost every play), anything can happen.
(Aubrey Bruce can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.)