Have you ever walked out of your door and gazed at your car and it appeared as if the neighborhood bird population used your freshly washed vehicle as a “Porta John?”
Well the Steelers strode into Baltimore with the 2011 AFC North and AFC Championship notched on their belt. Also, the salary cap police pulled Steelers All-Universe defensive back Troy Polamalu off to side at Pittsburgh International Airport just as he was taking his shoes off and informed him that before he boarded the aircraft they had a few documents for him to sign. Hey, it’s my guess that the Ravens young speedy receivers were just as happy as the Steelers and the Steelers “nation” that Troy inked his new deal that reportedly will keep him in a Steelers uniform until at least 2012.
The Steelers again stuck to the company line when acknowledging this 35-7, hideous loss at the hands of the Ravens. Big Ben had this to say; “There’s not too much we can do now, let’s just keep fighting, stay together as a team, don’t let anything come between us. I felt more comfortable seeing what was going on out there probably (than ever before) when we’ve played these guys, it wasn’t like we were out there and I was confused. I need to play a lot better. I grabbed our offense at the end and just talked to them and said the season’s not won or lost today, the division’s not won or lost. We just dug ourself a little hole. We’ll be all right. We’ll learn and we’ll come back stronger than ever.”
O’K Big Ben if you say so. The offense did not dig grave, you did. Throw the freakin’ ball away if nobody’s open. Take a sack, or an intentional grounding call and punt. Do not fumble and throw picks trying to make something happen because bad things happen. Why should everyone always have to rescue you? If you don’t think that the definition of confused is throwing the pigskin to guys who are wearing the other colored jerseys, well; could confusion be in the eyes of the beholder? Baltimore QB Joe Flacco did not seem to be confused at least not as confused as he has been in the past when he played Pittsburgh.
People are saying that the Steelers defense looked confused. Well check out this small observation. The Ravens and Steelers offenses both ran 61 plays, yet Pittsburgh’s offense gave Baltimore’s offense seven more series to run because of turnovers, so theoretically if Baltimore ran 3 plays per series then they would have 21 extra plays. Sixty-six minus 21 is 45. Baltimore should have only run 45 plays for the game. The Steelers defense was not confused. The more that any defense is on the field the easier it is for the opposing offensive coordinator to decipher what they are doing.
The defense was tied to the whipping post by the Ravens, the Steelers fans and maybe even the Steelers coaching staff. All-Pro linebacker James Harrison said; “We’re not going to divide on this, we all own this.” C’mon James don’t let em break your spirit because as you said before concerning Roethlisberger, “Hey, at least throw a pick on their side of the field instead of asking the D to bail you out again, or hand the ball off and stop trying to act like Peyton Manning. You ain’t that and you know it, man; you just get paid like he does.” Even Ike Taylor got in on the self- depreciative jargon, he said, “This was an old fashioned butt whipping, plain and simple.” How many completions did Taylor allow to Ravens new kid on the block wide receiver Lee Evans? Let me see was it one two or three? Was it four, five or six? No boys and girls it was, zero, zero, zilch, nada. Ike blanketed the speedy ex-Buffalo Bills wideout like the security guards sometimes blanket you or I when we go into a fine clothing store. Taylor saying that reminded me of a sibling taking a beating for another sibling when they know darned well that they are not the guilty party.
James Farrior said, “We got beat into submission.” Hey James, put a lid on it already. Hit rewind. A few years ago when Pittsburgh faced Jacksonville in a divisional playoff match up at Heinz Field, Jack Del-Rio and his cronies kept swinging their star running back Maurice Jones-Drew out of the backfield into the coverage area of Farrior and as we all know Drew made Farrior look as if he were wearing 25lb ankle weights. Baltimore tight end Ed Dickson ran directly past Polamalu Sunday and beat him like a drum on one touchdown play. Did the new dough from Troy’s new deal weigh him down?
The Ravens are reflective of the new NFL offensive philosophy. Run if you can, but pass as you will. The running backs of the new millennium must, run, catch and block. So much for keeping a spy on Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall.
(Aubrey Bruce can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-583-6741. Bruce is also the AFC North and NFL analyst on ‘The Odd Couple Show’ every Wednesday streaming live from 11-1130 a.m. on Fox Sports Radio WCWA 1230 Toledo, Ohio.)