Pardon my absence Monday - I just rolled into Seattle from California a few hours ago. Loooong drive. About 18.5 hours, and that's if you're being extra disciplined about not stopping much.
Anyway, full game coverage coming starting later Tuesday but just one opening thought from me about this Sunday's game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the San Diego Chargers:
To me, above all else, I don't want to see the same kind of A) mistakes from Ben that we saw last year against Jacksonville and B) more importantly to me, I hope we don't play too timidly late in the game like we also did against Jacksonville in the playoffs last year.
To briefly expound on Point B - there's a fine line between playing smart, calculated agressive football, and passive, playing 'not-to-lose' football. Last year with a lead, we played not to lose. Two runs and a QB rollout sneak on 3rd down. This past weekend in Arizona, Ken Whisenhunt and his offensive coordinator dialed up unexpected big plays in the passing game when they had to keep the chains moving, the clock running, and the Falcons offense on the sideline for good.
I'm all for the offense not compromising our all world defense. But there comes a time, prior struggles be damned, when an offense needs to seize the moment and deliver a final knock out blow. We have the tools to do it, we just need to hope that Big Ben can toe that fine line between looking to make a play and hedging his bet with safe decisions.
I absolutely cherish what Mike Tomlin has been able to do this year. I'm expecting to be wowed once more by his uncanny ability to movitate, prepare, adjust, and learn from past mistakes. This weekends game against San Diego is a phenemonal opportunity to win the first playoff game in the Mike Tomlin era. It's not going to be easy though. San Diego, if nothing else, is resillient. Very resillient. Even if we're up, I'd expect them to mount one final charge.
If given the chance - will we keep the Chargers on the ropes and knock them out? Or will we play tight and unimaginatively, hoping our defense will bail us out once more? There is very little that can tarnish this special season for me. It's had its low moments, and there's loads of work to be done this offseason regardless of whether we bow out this Sunday or win a 6th Lombardi Trophy. But one of the few things that would leave me truly disappointed heading into the offseason would be playing scared on offense late in the game if we have a chance to seal the deal with some intelligent and opportunistic play calling.
More soon. Glad to be home. I can't wait for this game!