Sunday, January 8, 2012

Playoff Recap: Steelers/Broncos

I think this will be a defensive battle, but I think Tebow and the Denver offense will be forced to make more mistakes than the Steelers' offense will make.  I'm calling this one for Pittsburgh, but I'm not willing to ignore the old addage, "That's why they play the game."

1.  Opening kickoff hits the uprights and bounces to where it eventually stops at the 20 yard line.  I'm not sure whether that's an omen of good spots in this game or just a coincidence, but either way, I'm amused.

2.  Both defenses have shown up, but so far, it looks like Pittsburgh's offense isn't AWOL like Denver's.  That said, I don't expect to see Denver move the ball till at least 45 minutes into the game (game clock time, not real-time).

3.  James Harrison's hit on Decker on the 20 yard completion (update: incompletion) is a step in the right direction for him because he didn't go helmet to helmet.  Unfortunately, helmet to the gonads and shoulder straight to the knee is still very dirty.

4.  That Eddie Royal touchdown past to take the lead is one of the more impressive catches I've seen in a while.  The defender was not beaten on the route, and somehow Royal pulled it in with one hand and an obscured view.  That, coupled with the pass to Thomas the play before, ought to open up a little running room on future drives...That is unless LeBeau thinks those plays were a fluke and sticks with his plan to make Tebow beat them by turning off Denver's proverbial "run faucet."

5.  Lebeau ought to alter his gameplan.  It's time to get some help on the outside against Demaryius Thomas.  Tebow's looked like Brees in the second quarter.  That probably shouldn't be happening.  (Update: He also looks a bit like Cam Newton.).

6.  While I still expect Pittsburgh to come out in the second half and play much better, Denver has come out playing with nothing to lose, and they look good.  That said, I'm not sure that Tomlin shouldn't put Batch in.  Ben seems to have a lot of trouble planting and throwing with zip and accuracy consistently.

7.  There's another bad call by the refs where a whistle blows on a clear fumble (Ben's lateral).  Why doesn't the head of officiating say, "If it's questionable, let it play out.  That way, if it is a fumble, nobody gets screwed, and if it's not, then it's like it never happened."  (Update: What should have turned into at least three Denver points just became a Pittsburgh touchdown.  I'm getting sick of the refs making such a difference with blown calls.).

8.  What a finish!  Tebow magic!

UPDATE:  It just occurred to me that all of the teams that scored first in their games on Wildcard weekend lost.  Maybe that's just an odd coincidence, but I'm certainly amused by it.


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