Sunday, January 8, 2012

100 Steeler-Bronco Takeaways

This was something like 3 games in 1. So, the biggest number of takeaways ever. You're welcome. I think. Of course, we can always just cut to the chase...

100) Matt Prater's opening kickoff hit the crossbar and rolled back to the 20, which made it the only entertaining kickoff for the entire game

99) Jim Nantz fellated Champ Bailey for getting beat, but having the mental powers to will a poor throw from Ben Roethlisberger

98) There's something wrong with the planet when a January home game in Denver looks like San Diego

97) It really didn't take long for Bronco Fan to get quiet enough for the Steeler Fan chants of "HEATH" to be heard

96) For a QB with ankle issues, the Steelers are calling a lot of full drop back plays, rather than shotgun

95) It's amazing, really, how few turnovers the Steeler defense has forced this year

94) Phil Simms praised Tim Tebow for throwing the ball away on a 3rd and 7 when he had an open WR -- no, seriously

93) It's a little discouraging for Steeler Fan that Ben still needs the wristband with formations at this stage in his career

92) Jericho Cotchery has had a really nice year, but that first quarter third down drop cost them at least three points

91) Rafael Bush got away with interfering on a fair catch, in the first of many shaky moments for the refs

90) If the Steelers go on a deep run this postseason, Isaac Redman could easily kick Rashard Mendenhall to the curb

89) Given that Bailey is the Broncos' best cover guy and that every other receiver has been open, I'm not sure why the Steelers keep going after him

88) John Clay reminds you of Jerome Bettis, until he actually has to play football

87) Hines Ward really should retire this off-season

86) The refs called DPI in this game as if it were still a hard call to make

85) Shawn Suisham is very happy this game isn't at Heinz Field, since Denver's altitude makes kickers look a lot better than they are

84) Denver had 8 yards on offense in the first quarter, which is kind of what happens when a good run defense faces a run-only offense

83) Eric Decker got high-lowed and wrecked for an incompletion that took a review, which is to say we got 10 minutes of not game due to the refs not getting the call right in the first place

82) Tebow connected with DeMaryius Thomas for 51 yards on a play where he had 8 seconds to throw, and Ike Taylor never looked for the ball, for the first Bronco first down of the game

81) Eddie Royal's touchdown was spectacular, and showed that Jebus only needs to show up for two consecutive plays to give the home team a lead

80) There might not be a team in NFL history that goes from terrible to dangerous more than these Broncos

79) Roethlisberger to WR Mike Wallace should have stopped the party, but the wideout lost the catch on a replay challenge for the third drop in 17 minutes

78) Losing Brent Keisel is a big damn problem for the Steelers, even if it doesn't show up so much in this game

77) Once this Broncos offense gets moving and Tebow starts making throws, the transformation is startling

76) Seriously, how Bronco opponents don't sniff out QB draws in the red zone is a continuing mystery

75) I've seen special teams players who get less amped up than the Bronco QB

74) I think Tebow was so excited about scoring that he forgot to thank Jesus, which means he will now burn in Hell for his hubris

73) When Ben can't move and prolong plays, this is a lot less imposing offense than you'd expect from a 12-4 team... and when he's throwing picks, "lot" is an understatement

72) It's hard to imagine how much this game changed in five minutes of game play

71) That the Steelers couldn't get a fumble or a pick on a play where both were available, and took a roughing the passer flag to boot, kind of shows how quickly this game went south on them

70) The misfire in the end zone before the Prater field goal showed the Broncos miss Decker

69) The Steelers were completely bailed out from Pick #2 from an offsides call, then picked up another one play later

68) When you have a QB that can't move, I'm not sure that empty backfields are a winning move

67) Wallace nearly got killed on a high hit, but since the WR was going down, the no-call was actually correct, even by modern prissy football standards

66) The rollout bomb throw from Tebow to TE Daniel Fells was a perfect throw, and part of the continuing mystery of how a QB can look so bad and so good from throw to throw

65) You have to admire the caginess of the Broncos to play terrible offensive football for weeks before this game

64) When the Bronco big plays get S Troy Polamalu off the line, it opens up running plays

63) The red zone Steelers stand to prevent a third second quarter TD kept this a game

62) The bad snap with 30 seconds left cost the Steelers at least three points, and kept up the narrative of Pittsburgh is making too many mistakes to win a road game

61) I think Ike Taylor is a good CB, but Steeler Fan might disagree with me by now

60) Tebow's spiral is wildly inconsistent, which is a key to why he can look good or bad from snap to snap

59) It's kind of nice, really, to see a running white QB get the same lack of calls as a running black QB

58) If the Steelers get through this game with any healthy defenders, that's a plus

57) John Fox did not let Prater try a 55-yard figgie on a day in which he was hitting them off the kickoff tee from 70, all to gain 23 yards of field position

56) Independent of the whiffed ref call, I'm really not understanding the need to throw lateral screens, given the huge risk of fumble and limited chance of real gains

55) The refs clearly got gun-shy in this one, with the Redman non-touchdown run being yet another bad moment

54) As the Steeler defense got more hurt and tired, Tebow's running became more problematic

53) As Tebow's numbers continued to rise, you could almost hear Skip Bayless's erection grow

52) The OPI call that wiped out the Tebow to Royal screen negated a downright nifty design and execution

51) On third and 17 from the 20, John Fox called a draw, which tells you all that you really need to know about his level of trust in his QB, or his taste for risk

50) Redman's stiff arm on the big fourth quarter run was downright manly, and seemed to inspire Ben into moving better

49) How a team with heavy playoff veteran experience could have this many mistakes is beyond me

48) The Pittsburgh red zone performance was, yet again, not something you expect to see from a winning road team

47) Since kickoff returns are especially pointless at altitude, I'd like to propose that we just stop televising them

46) With Brent Keisel and Casey Hampton on the sidelines, Tebow went for 11 and more rah rah rah

45) Tebow might be the only QB in the league where he's more dangerous with his legs than his arm

44) Thomas is a true #1 WR that's being hidden by his scheme and QB

43) The Willis McGahee fumble changed, well, everything, and was a bad challenge to boot... and made me wonder, at the time, if we were absolutely destined for overtime

42) Adding insult to injury, Fox wasted a challenge trying to bail out McGahee, and lost the ability to challenge for the rest of the game

41) On the Broderick Bunkley sack, Roethlisberger ran into the sack and didn't take an easy checkdown to Redman, because he's in Hero Big Play Mode

40) Redman's ability to deliver in short yardage makes him a much better fit than Mendenhall for this team's needs

39) Considering that they were down by a touchdown, the amount of clock being run by the Steelers late in the game was positively Reid-esque

38) Doug Legursky's shotgun snaps are not helping Steeler Fan's mood at all, and explain all of the Ben dropbacks from earlier

37) Bailey failing to bring in the pick on a double coverage throw was a killshot missed

36) Pittsburgh calling for a timeout of an incomplete with four minutes left was yet another, yada yada, mistake you can't make and win a road playoff game

35) The cross-body touchdown throw to Cotchery was spectacular, and one of those Oh No Great Plays that have defined Ben's career

34) After 56 minutes, we actually had a kickoff returned, not that it was a good idea

33) Fox's conservatism was especially telling on the first down carry, but Tebow bailed him out with a 17-yard strike to Fells

32) Given Prater's range and history, the Steeler defense needed to defend as if the 50-yard line was a field goal chance

31) Pittsburgh got away with a clear face mask on Tebow with 1:54 left, proving that the refs also hate Jebus

30) Tebow short-hopped an open Thomas for a critical first down and possible game winning field goal attempt

29) Denver actually puled for a penalty when Antonio Brown nervously danced after a fair catch

28) Vaughn Miller nearly had a strip sack for the win, which would have been another missed killed shot

27) Brown's catch for the first, and Roethlisberger standing in the pocket for way too long, was crazy close

26) Denver blitzed for no good reason on the 18-yard fly route to Sanders that made a game-winning figgie attempt possible, seeing how they were getting pressure on every down before that

25) Phil Simms talked about long game-winning figgies in the Denver air as if they weren't, you know, any problem or pressure at all

24) "Cotton Eyed Joe" might not be the best soundtrack to amp up a crowd when they need a defensive stop

23) Denver got the pressure they needed and a crucial sack and burned timeout, from a 3-man rush, which was their best defense for much of the day

22) Had Pittsburgh not wasted a timeout with 4 minutes left, which CBS didn't feel was important to discuss at the time, the end of regulation would have been a lot more manageable

21) Why Ward against Bailey is your need to have WR target, we'll never know

20) Another delay of game flag with 12 seconds left, with Ben furiously windmilling for the snap, was just one more They Miss Maurice Pouncey and are making too many mistakes moments

19) Denver gave up a Redman checkdown that gave Pittsburgh the option of a super-long figgie, but also made a Hail Mary option possible... and the Denver pass rush crushed that anyway

18) The new overtime rules really didn't come into play that much

17) Seriously, Thomas is a beast

16) Tebow remembered to Tebow after that

15) If Steeler Fan wants to be bitter about how Ryan Clark's absence ended their season, well, yes, but the myriad mistakes are also something of a factor

14) That pass ensures Tebow will have the starting QB job for another 1-2 years, regardless of results

13) I'm not sure Taylor ever has his professional reputation recover from the Thomas stiff arm, or for that matter, this entire game

12) Tebow ended his day with 312 yards on 10 completions, and no turnovers

11) For the second straight year, an 8-8 division winner advanced

10) The biggest play in this game, for me, was the first Bronco first down, since it never seemed as if the Pittsburgh defense recovered from that

9) The ending of this game proves that Tebow's Jesus is better than Polamalu's Jesus, which is only fair, seeing how Tebow's Jesus is white

8) The only way that CBS could have been happier with this game was if it had somehow lasted for an extra hour or two

7) Making Bill Cowher analyze this play in the postgame show was a special moment of Pittsburgh torture... and watching their old coach do the Tebow salute afterward, even more so

6) For all of the absurd reductionism involved in this game, it really just came down to Thomas owning Taylor, early and often

5) Pittsburgh is one of the best organizations in football, but their neglect of the offensive line has reached critical stages, and the defense is getting old fast

4) The only way this weekend could have worked out better for New England is if the overtime had gone longer

3) The over-under on number of times you will see the killshot touchdown in the next week on postgame highlights is 666

2) To all of the Tebus haters out there, I'm very, very sorry... but on the plus side, you're going to have him to hate for a very long time now

1) As entertaining as this game was... you can pretty much book Patriots-Ravens for the championship game now

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