Thanks, Romo!

(Think, Let It Snow!)

Oh, the Steelers‘ offense was frightful
But the late comeback? Delightful
Why didn’t he find TO?
Thanks, Romo! Thanks, Romo! Thanks, Romo!

Oh, the first half had fans shaking
The game was there for the taking
Forth and two to go
Thanks, Romo! Thanks, Romo! Thanks, Romo!

Oh, the Steelers‘ defense was flying
But the third quarter left fans crying
Fifteen more minutes to go
Thanks, Romo! Thanks, Romo! Thanks, Romo!

Oh, the Steelers‘ offense was frightful
But the late comeback? Delightful
Why didn’t he find TO?
Thanks, Romo! Thanks, Romo! Thanks, Romo!

Was that the Michelin Man on the Cowboys Sideline?

Note to Coach Phillips: avoid puffy, over-stuffed winter wear. Choose a regular winter hat over a roundish puffy hat if wearing a roundish puffy coat.

You’ve heard of the Michelin Man, right? No? You will.

Just trying to help, Coach Cupcake.

Don’t Cry, TO!

What a sight to behold: Terrell Owens ranting and raving on the sidelines after the Steelers iced their comeback. Isn’t this the same player who celebrated with the glee of a school girl receiving a new Hello, Kitty lunchbox after he caught an unlikely touchdown pass that gave the Cowboys a 7 point lead?

Shudder to think that Tony Romo would deign to attempt a pass to Jason Witten with the game on the line. Way to rally the troops, Terrell! Yes, that’s absolutely how to be a selfless leader. Of course, we all know it would have been different if Romo had just given you the damn ball! You were wide open, right? Somewhere, Keyshawn Johnson giggled to himself during that display.

Dallas Brings Circus to Pittsburgh

Mention the Dallas Cowboys and jumbles of images present themselves. There’s the goofy everyman quarterback, Tony Romo, his ditsy blond girlfriend, Jessica Simpson, brash and mouthy wide out “TO” Owens, nipped and tucked owner Jerry Jones, bad boy club hopper Adam “Make it rain Pacman” Jones and the rest of the merry band of misfits, hoodlums and football players.

When one thinks of the Pittsburgh Steelers images of crushing blows, sturdy defense and a physical, grind-it-out style of football comes to mind. There’s a toll when playing the Steelers and, win or lose, opposing teams will pay it.

This weekend the Cowboys bring their entourage to the ‘Burgh to face the Steelers in the great outdoors of Heinz Field with sub-freezing weather, possibly in the snow and likely in the slop.

Both teams have ample motivation: the Cowboys compete for their very playoff lives while the Steelers seek to keep a one game divisional lead over rival Baltimore, whom they face the following week.

The game will likely garner Fox Sports #1 broadcast team featuring announcer Joe Buck and analyst Troy Aikman.

When these two teams last met the place was Texas Stadium and the time was Big Ben’s rookie season (Willie Parker’s, too). Vinnie Testaverde played quarterback for the Cowboys. Keyshaw Johnson had 6 catches and a touchdown while Eddie George had 10 carries for 28 yards. Big Tuna roamed the sideline. For the Steelers Deuce Staley had 93 yards on 18 carries and after a late fumble recovery, Jerome Bettis scored a 1 yard touchdown to grab a late 24-20 victory.

Many of the players and both head coaches have changed this time around but it’s still the Cowboys and the Steelers. The star heads versus the men of steel. The self-proclaimed America’s Team versus the real America’s Team (check the stands at any Steelers’ road game, you’ll see).

Tune in the festivities this Sunday afternoon. There may not be a big top but there will be a spectacle to behold.

Prediction: 23-20, Steelers.

A Steelers’ Holiday Ditty

(Think Jingle Bells)

Kickoff time arrives
Towels are waving high
Tomlin says to beat them up
Steelers happily comply
Parker to the left
Mewelde to the right
Big Ben heaves it down the field
Heat pulls that ball in tight

Oh, Jingle bells, TO smells
Flozell whiffed again
Romo sacked, March them back
Time to punt again
Oh, Jingle bells, TO smells
Flozell whiffed again
Romo sacked, March them back
Time to punt again

Dashing down the field
Weaving all the way
Cowboys on his heels
Holmes goes all the way!
Reed kicks off again
They don’t dare run it back
Witten tries one up the seam
And Clark gives him a whack

Oh, TO blows, Don’t you know
Cowboys lose again
Playoff hopes go up in smoke
Wade gets fired again
Oh, TO blows, Don’t you know
Cowboys lose again
Playoff hopes go up in smoke
Wade gets fired again

Beat Down at Lady Gillette

It was a rainy day along much of the East Coast, fitting weather as the Patriots’ defense threatened to rain on the Steelers‘ hopes of a road win. Big Ben’s second pass from scrimmage was intercepted and quickly converted into a Patriots touchdown. The next possession was a 3-and-out. The game had ugly potential before it started. That potential was quickly realized.

Characteristically, the Pittsburgh defense would force punts on the following three series before the Patriots broke through for a field goal and a 10-3 lead. Next, the Steelers‘ offense put together their most productive drive of the day and tied the score on a 19 yard pass to Santonio Holmes. Before the half New England tried to answer but missed on a 44 yard field goal attempt.

It wasn’t pretty but the Steelers made it to halftime tied at ten.

New England received the kickoff to start the third quarter. After gaining one first down their drive fizzled and Chris Hanson executed what would be the only punt of the second half. An ugly first half for both teams was about to turn into a hideous nightmare for the Patriots.

The following Steelers’ drive was methodical while picking up two third downs and consuming almost seven minutes of clock. It ended 79 yards later with a 25 yard field goal.

(Cue the scary Patriots-slaying music.) The next five New England drives would end fumble, fumble, interception, interception, regulation. Interspersed were Harrison sacks and forced fumbles, Woodley and Farrior fumble recoveries, Polamalu’s NFL leading sixth interception and an 89 yard interception return to the 1 millimeter line by Lawrence Timmons.

When the clock struck 00:00 the scoreboard read 33-10, Visitor. It was a beautiful sight on an ugly day. A few thousand Steelers fans remained to see it – the front runner Patriots fans having long since fled the beat down at Lady Gillette stadium.

Hey, Arians! Nothing Fancy Required

When the Pittsburgh Steelers arrive in Foxboro they’ll have their offensive gameplan in hand.  One hopes that  offensive coordinator Bruce Arians has devised a plan for success, one that gets back to smash mouth Steeler football.

The Steelers need to establish their running game versus the Patriots.  Whether it be with Fast Willie Parker or Mewelde Moore or Gary Russell or Dookie Davenport, they need to pound the ball.  And it’s not because Big Ben can’t carry the team – at times he’s proven he can.  Like most teams, the Steelers have their best success when the passing game isn’t asked to go it alone.  Equal measures of run and pass should go a long ways towards keeping the Patriots offense off the field and keeping the Steelers defense fresh when it’s on the field.

Pound the ball.  Hit Heath Miller up the middle.  Find San Antonio Holmes deep and Hines Ward on third down.  Hey Bruce, it ain’t nothing fancy that’s required.

Showdown at Lady Gillette Stadium

The Steelers roll into Foxboro with a chip on their collective shoulder.  Let’s face it, the Pats have owned the Steelers this decade.  But this week that all changes.

Last season when they met the Patriots easily rolled to a 34-13 victory against an injury ridden team.  This season both teams suffer from the injury bug but the Steelers defense will feature a healthy Aaron Smith up front and Troy Polamalu and Ryan Clark solidifying the back.

Matt Cassell has surely felt a surge in confidence after consecutive 400+ yard passing games.  This week he’ll feel the pressure of James Harrison and Lamar Woodley.  Look for the Patriots running game to be stuffed and their passing game contained.

The Steelers offense should be able to grind out 24 points against a Patriots defense that ranks about average or below compared to those the Steelers have faced so far.  Give the Steelers defense that much wiggle room and the boys should have a happy flight home Sunday evening.

Prediction:  Steelers win 24-16.

Chad Ocho Cinco is Having a Quiet Year

He still wears a jersey with “Johnson” stitched across the back. But this isn’t the same brash and productive wide out of years past. His numbers are down across the board. Instead of 15 yards per catch he’s slipped below ten. Instead of 90+ catches and 1300+ yards it’s looking more like a 60 catch sub 600 yard season. He’s even stopped posting a list of opponents who didn’t cover him the previous game.

This is not the way to earn an increase in pay or a place on another team.

For a player who bellowed for a fat paycheck then bellowed to be released it now seems Mr. Ocho Cinco plans to quietly blend in with the crowd and disappear.

Rivers Still Tight Lipped Regarding Ward

Ha ha!

When the Bengals play at Heinz field on Thursday night, it will have been about one month since Ward broke the jaw of linebacker Keith Rivers with a crushing but legal block.

Rivers, only halfway through his eight week jaw-wired-shut sentence, will not suit up for the contest but looks forward to their next meeting.

“Wrrmph gomphs armph cmphs armph,” he growled through clenched teeth.