FanPost

1999 Steelers regular season recaps

BONUS ADDITION. Each game has a real fan's expectations and analysis before the games and post game analysis after the game (Got those random fan reactions from McMillen's site)

Believe me they are fun to read :)

**********************************

Pittsburgh 43, Cleveland 0
Posted: Monday September 13, 1999 04:20 PM

CLEVELAND (Ticker) -- The "Dawg Pound" began the night with some loud barking for their beloved Cleveland Browns. By the end of the night, the Pittsburgh Steelers turned the cheers into helpless whimpers.

The Steelers made the Browns look every bit like an expansion team, rolling to a 43-0 rout in the first NFL regular season game at new Cleveland Browns Stadium.

A sellout crowd of 73,138 was on hand to celebrate the return of the Browns, who were back in the NFL after a three-year absence. But the Steelers, an old AFC Central rival, ruined the party and thoroughly dominated the Browns.

"The crowd was loud when we got started and the easiest way to take the crowd out of it is not to give them anything to cheer about," said Steelers coach Bill Cowher, who played and served as an assistant coach for the old Browns.

The Steelers (1-0) had 460 total yards to 40 for the Browns, held Cleveland to just two first downs and controlled the ball for 47:49 compared to 12:11 for the Browns. Pittsburgh ran 88 offensive plays and had 32 first downs while Cleveland ran just 28 offensive plays.

Pittsburgh rushed for 213 yards and held Cleveland to nine yards on the ground. Jerome Bettis led the Steelers with 89 yards on 18 carries.

Under new offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride, the Steelers scored on eight straight possessions before Josh Miller punted for the first time late in the fourth quarter.

"Gilbride called a great game," Bettis said. "He kept their defense off balance. We didn't treat them as an expansion team.

They had experienced guys out there."

Kordell Stewart scored on a one-yard run in the first quarter and hit running back Richard Huntley with a five-yard touchdown in the second quarter. Huntley also scored on a three-yard run in the third quarter and caught a 21-yard TD pass from backup Mike Tomczak in the fourth quarter.

Rookie Kris Brown, a seventh round pick, kicked three field goals for the Steelers.

Stewart seemed more at ease in Gilbride's system and completed 15-of-23 passes for 173 yards. Tomczak replaced him in the third quarter and was 8-of-8 for 78 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

"Kordell did a great job of taking what they gave us," Cowher said. "We threw a lot at him. He's kind of absorbing it and we're going to keep throwing it at him."

Chris Palmer of the Browns suffered the worst loss for a coach making his debut since Weeb Ewbank of the Baltimore Colts absorbed a 48-0 loss to the Rams in 1954.

"We played poorly," Palmer said. "The defense just couldn't keep them off the field. We had mental errors. I'm disappointed the offense didn't execute. We were outmatched tonight."

Cleveland's Ty Detmer completed 6-of-13 passes for 52 yards.

Rookie Tim Couch, the first overall pick in the draft, was 0-for-3 with an interception.

"Everybody had a bad night tonight," Detmer said. "We never got out there thinking we're not going to move the ball. We knew they were fast on defense."

On Cleveland's first play from scrimmage, Detmer hit Leslie Shepherd with a 13-yard pass. However, three plays later safety Chris Oldham intercepted a pass by Detmer and returned it nine yards to the Cleveland 39.

Stewart hit rookie Troy Edwards with a 19-yard pass and Bettis broke off a nine-yard run to the Cleveland 11. Stewart then rushed for nine yards and scored on a one-yard run on the next play with 5:16 left in the quarter.

The Browns managed their last first down of the game when Detmer connected with Shepherd on a 19-yard play with a little more than four minutes left in the quarter.

The Steelers put together an 18-play, 79-yard drive which lasted 7:37. Brown missed a 30-yard field goal, but it was negated by an offside penalty against John Thierry. He later redeemed himself with a 19-yard field goal to cap the drive 5:04 into the second quarter.

On Pittsburgh's next possession, the Steelers drove 56 yards in six plays, capped by Stewart's TD pass to Huntley. The key play in the drive was a 42-yard pass from Stewart toHines Ward.

A 28-yard field goal by Brown with six seconds left in the half increased Pittsburgh's lead to 20-0.

In the second half, the Browns ran 12 plays for minus-7 yards and an interception.

Huntley scored on a three-yard run in the third quarter to cap a 14-play, 76-yard drive. He rushed six times for 31 yards, and caught a 24-yard pass on a 3rd-and-12 play to highlight the drive.

In the fourth quarter, Brown kicked a 19-yard field goal, and Tomczak hit Huntley and Ward with scoring passes of 21 and one yard, respectively.

Couch relieved Detmer midway through the fourth quarter and had his first pass picked off by rookie safety Scott Shields and returned 12 yards to the Cleveland 29.

"I never expected it to be like this," Couch said. "I came in and forced the first one and after that point everything was downhill. We can't get any worse than we were tonight."

PREGAME ANALYSIS

Submitted by McMillen & Wife

Living in the heart of Browns country, this is one I'm definitely qualified to comment on. I've seen some or all of every stinking Bronwies game so far this pre-season (it's ALL anyone talks about around here), and believe me when I say, these guys SUCK.

People, they have no players. Even in the Steelers' current state of disrepair, I doubt there is even ONE Brown who could crack our starting lineup. I hear everyone talking "potential," and it may indeed be there... yes, Tim Couch could very well go on to greatness (although my personal opinion is that he'll ultimately be a bust)... yes, they've installed a quality front office... yes, owner Al Lerner has more money than God... but as of right now, these guys SUCK.

I'll give credit to Browns fans... they are supremely loyal to their team, win or lose. When it comes to intelligence, however (not to mention opinions based in reality), they're just a "wee bit" lacking.

Consider the fact that a Browns-loving co-worker bet me $20 that the Browns will make the playoffs this year. I'll never make an easier 20 bucks. Listen, Brownies... take the stupid dawg bowls off your heads, take the dawg bones out of your... er, mouths... pack away those idiotic dawg masks till Halloween (even though they're often an improvement when worn by female fans), and please put that fat-ass "Big Dawg" on the Slim Fast plan, because the Browns are going NOWHERE this year. Why? Because (sing along with me, bruthas) THESE GUYS SUCK!

Face it... the Browns are a 4-12 team, and they only get that much credit because they get to face the Bengals twice this year. Speaking of the Bengals, THOSE guys SUCK, too!

Later!

Tim McMillen

POSTGAME REACTION

Submitted by Michael Clark

I was hoping to get a look at the young Steeler defense. Kinda hard to form an opinion when they only spent twelve minutes on the field... HAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

Pittsburgh 23, Baltimore 20
Posted: Sunday September 19, 1999 07:52 PM

BALTIMORE (Ticker) -- The Pittsburgh Steelerscompleted a two-week sweep of theCleveland Browns, new and old.

Will Blackwell's 37-yard kickoff return to midfield set the stage for rookie Kris Brown's 36-yard field goal on the game's final play as the Steelers posted a 23-20 victory over theBaltimore Ravens.

Pittsburgh, which opened its season with a 43-0 humiliation of the expansion Browns, is 2-0 for the second straight season. The Steelers have won five straight over the Ravens, the former Browns who moved to Baltimore following the 1995 campaign.

"You can say what you want about coming here for the home opener," said Pittsburgh coach Bill Cowher. "This is a real tough team to play in here. This was a huge win for us. It has been two huge wins for us, especially against division rivals on the road."

The Ravens are 0-2 under first-year coach Brian Billick, making it the first time they have started a season with consecutive losses.

"It was just good tough defense on their part," said Billick. "It came down to that last drive. We battled back enough, but we have to learn how to win games like these."

The Ravens offense was stagnant for almost three quarters until mounting a six-play, 72-yard drive in the waning minutes. Stoney Case hit Justin Armour for a 26-yard completion to get Baltimore into Steelers' territory and later found Qadry Ismail for a 19-yard touchdown that tied it with 1:22 remaining.

Case, in relief of benched starter Scott Mitchell, completed 7-of-15 passes for 130 yards and a touchdown. Mitchell was 7-of-16 for a meager 48 yards and was picked off twice before being pulled.

"We were trying to make things happen," Billick said. "We needed to get somebody in there who could move around and that's not particularly Scott's strength. Things weren't happening for him, things weren't happening around him."

"I'm real disappointed," said Case. "I was thinking too much out there. It wasn't nerves, my feeling was that we needed to win the game."

On the first play after Blackwell's return, Kordell Stewart hitCourtney Hawkins for a 12-yard gain and found Troy Edwards for a 16-yard pickup to the Ravens 22. But Stewart gave the credit to Blackwell.

"That was the biggest play of the game I think," Stewart said of the kick return. "That put us in great position. They didn't know what to think, and we took advantage of that. As soon as Kris let it fly, I knew we won."

Two runs by Richard Huntley netted four yards before Brown calmly split the uprights to give the Steelers the victory.

"Everything happened so fast, I just tried to keep my emotions in check," Brown said. "I just do what I know how to do. It's an indescribable feeling right now, to win a game for the team. Obviously, I know what I have to do, and I'll be here to do it. I hope I get a couple more of these under my belt, because this is a great feeling."

"I was really happy for Kris Brown," Cowher said. "Six weeks ago he was hitting our lineman in the back of their heads with the ball and now he's hitting the game-winning kick. He got the game ball."

The game-winner was the third field goal of the game for Brown, who was selected with the 228th overall pick in the seventh round of April's draft. He connected from 32 yards late in the third quarter to give Pittsburgh a 17-10 lead.

After Baltimore's Matt Stover cut into the deficit by hitting from 28 yards just over seven minutes into the fourth quarter, Brown was good from 28 yards with 2:39 to play as the Steelers regained their seven-point advantage.

Stewart was 18-of-27 for 138 yards. He did not throw a touchdown pass, but he did run for an eight-yard score four minutes into the contest to make it 7-0. Baltimore answered by mounting a 10-play, 80-yard drive that ended with Errict Rhett scoring on a two-yard run.

"Our offense was sputtering all day," said Stewart, who led the Steelers with 51 rushing yards. "We really didn't have a running game."

Huntley, a third-year pro out of Winston-Salem State, carried 10 times for 49 yards and provided Pittsburgh with a 14-7 advantage by scampering 17 yards for a score with 1:46 left in the first half.

Rhett carried 22 times for 101 yards for the Ravens, the ninth time he has reached the 100-yard plateau. It was his first 100-yard game since December 10, 1995 against Kansas City as a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

"It would feel better if we won," said Rhett. "I don't care about what I did. We lost and that's what matters."

There were only two minor injuries to speak of, both on the Ravens side. Cornerback Rod Woodson suffered a left hip pointer and wide receiver Jermaine Lewis has a back contusion.

The 68,965 in attendance at PSINet Stadium was the third largest crowd in Ravens history.

PREGAME

Submitted by Kelley Allison

If the Steelers play as well as they did this past weekend against the Brownies, we're going to reach that one for the thumb, baby. Oh behaaave!

The Ravens (and everyone else on the schedule) are going to take the same merciless beating as Cleveland did on Sunday. Hopefully, it will at least be more exciting than against the Dawg-('yawn')-pound.

POSTGAME

Submitted by Terry Ingle

Well, looking at my pre game predictions, I was wrong all all occasions except for Mitchell throwing interceptions. I didn't even think about Stoney Case or Eric Rhett. Since I am in Germany and didn't get to watch the game, what was our overall problem? From what I am reading, it was a bunch of missed tackles in the second half. I also read that the Ravens were putting up a 8 man front with plenty of blitz packages to stop the run. My question is, if this is the case, couldn't Kordell find any receivers, or didn't the receivers break the routes when they read blitz? Help me out here, brothers. I'm lost on what happened.

Don't get me wrong, a win is a win and it feels good to be 2-0. Maybe I am expecting too much in too short an amount of time. I thought for sure Kordell would go over 200 yards. I guess the other positive thing is that he again had no interceptions. If you have time, please comment.

Regards,

Terry Ingle

Seattle 29, Pittsburgh 10

Posted: Sunday September 26, 1999 06:28 PM

PITTSBURGH (Ticker) -- The Seattle Seahawksspoiled the Pittsburgh Steelers' home opener and barely needed any offense to do it.

Seattle scored two touchdowns before taking a snap and added four first-half field goals en route to a 29-10 victory over the Steelers, who were one of three unbeaten teams in the AFC.

"We gave Detroit credit when they beat us," Seahawks safety Jay Bellamy said. "They have to give us credit for coming down and beating them."

Todd Peterson tied a team record with five field goals as the Seahawks won their second straight road game after a season-opening home loss to the Lions.

Safety Merton Hanks returned an interception 23 yards for a score 68 seconds into the game and Charlie Rogers followed with a franchise-record 94-yard punt return for a TD as Seattle grabbed a 14-0 lead on Pittsburgh's first two possessions.

"You try to take advantage of the other team's mistakes," Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren said. "We set the tone for the game even before we had a ball possession."

The Seahawks set an NFL record last season with 13 returns for scores -- eight interceptions, two fumbles, two punts and a kickoff.

Peterson had field goals of 45, 51, 41 and 26 yards in the first half and converted a 38-yarder in the fourth quarter. He also hit the left upright on a 30-yard try.

"It's kind of a dream day for a placekicker," he said. "Offense was moving the ball, getting down the field. Obviously you want to score touchdowns, but I was thankful for the opportunity."

Pittsburgh's Kordell Stewart and Mike Tomczak combined to throw five interceptions. Stewart was pulled after completing 7-of-14 passes for 61 yards and three interceptions in the first half.

"Just one of those days," he said. "One that you don't want to be a part of. Before you know it, it was 14-0. For myself I didn't play well. I'm disappointed in the performance today, not getting things accomplished early in the game."

Seattle needed only three plays to open the scoring as Hanks picked off Stewart's pass on 3rd-and-10 and sprinted in for his first score as a Seahawk. He was signed prior to the season after being waived by San Francisco.

"For interceptions you just have to be patient," said Bellamy, who had one of the five. "When you have a quarterback whose struggling you just have to let him come to you."

On Pittsburgh's next series, Stewart failed to dive for the first down on 3rd-and-1. Josh Miller then boomed a punt 62 yards that Rogers returned 94.

"About time I made a play," said Rogers, who ran past Miller before scoring. "The punter's not supposed to tackle the return man. We had a great return call. Our guys made great blocks and we got lucky."

Rogers eclipsed the team mark of 89 yards established by holdout wide receiver Joey Galloway in 1995. Galloway had the team's top two returns, including an 88-yarder in 1996.

Mike Pritchard, Seattle's top weapon with Galloway absent, helped set up Peterson's first field goal with a 51-yard catch from Jon Kitnato Pittsburgh's 36-yard line.

"We had seen some things on film and if the safeties did something we had a play that could kill them," said Kitna, who completed 18-of-29 passes for 265 yards.

Peterson's 45-yarder gave the Seahawks a 17-0 lead, which they held after a quarter.

Pritchard had six catches for 90 yards in his second game since returning from offseason knee surgery. Sean Dawkins added another five receptions for 105 yards.

The Steelers managed only 79 yards and four first downs in the first half and a total of 272 yards in their first home game under new offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride. Jerome Bettis finished with only 39 yards on 11 carries.

Rookies Kris Brown and Troy Edwards accounted for Pittsburgh's scoring in the fourth quarter with a 33-yard field goal and 16-yard TD reception, respectively.

Seattle took a 7-6 lead in the all-time series with its second win in seven meetings at Three Rivers Stadium.

The Steelers, who had won seven of their last eight games against the AFC West, host division foe Jacksonville next week.

PREGAME

Submitted by Mazter

Q: Why do seahawks fly upside down over Seattle?

A: The Place isn't worth $#!tting on... hahaha!

Submitted by Terry Ingle

Here we go again, the world according to me. Although 99.9% of the predictions that I make in all aspects of the game rarely come true, I will go ahead and do it again. Here we go.

I truly believe that Kitna can not get it done, especially in Three Rivers Stadium. Therefore, on that point alone, I do not see Seattle scoring that many points. 13 will the the maximum. As far as our offense goes, Kordell and the BOYZ will be facing a lot of 8 man fronts to include 3rd down situations, just to try to confuse him. Here is the deal... it will not work. Gilbride has got a plan to beat this team, and only he and BOYZ know what it's gonna be. I will take a stab at what the plan is. The plan is called TROY EDWARDS. This rookie will have the game of his young career today over Willie Williams and Shawn Springs. My only concern is Chad Brown at this point. He is another story I don't have a solution to. Here is the prediction.

STEELERS - 31

SEAHAWKS - 13

Regards,

Terry (A.K.A. - M1A1HVY)

POSTGAME

Submitted by Tom Bragg

After witnessing one of the most PATHETIC EXCUSES for a football game, it's time to bitch a little! Anyone that watched this Steeler/Seahawk game could easily see that the Pittsburgh Steelers were simply not prepared to play football on this Sunday, either mentally or physically. This Steeler team had one thing on its mind , and it definitely was not theSeattle Seahawks. It was the Jacksonville Jaguars. This was a classic case of a team looking ahead, instead of worrying about the problems at hand. And that my friends, is a problem that is laid directly on the doorstep of head coach Bill Cowher! Granted, Cowher may not be able to catch passes or make blocks or even make tackles, but it is his job to have his team focused and ready to play football. On this particular day Cowher himself dropped the ball BIGTIME! This team was in no way focused on the Seahawks. What's worse is the Steelers still have not even came close to grasping Kevin Gilbride's offense. If we struggle against an average team like the Seahawks, then God help us next week when we finally play a quality team in the Jaguars! The Steelers had better get their ass in gear in a hurry or instead of playing for a Super Bowl, the only bowl they will be playing in is the toilet bowl!

Tom Bragg

Submitted by McMillen & Wife

I feel like the 'ole "Way Back" machine just whisked me back to December of '98 (when the Steelers lost five straight to end the season). What in the hell WAS that?

29-10... rah, rah. For the record, no matter what, I love the Steelers, win or lose. Having said that, the rose-colored glasses are finally off, and I need to vent.

Let's be honest... some of fits & starts on offense were expected early in the season as the players learned Gilbride's complex system. But 26-0 at halftime? Man, is that pathetic. Kordell stunk (three 1st half interceptions), Bettis stunk (if he had more than 20 yards in the half I'll paint my house brown and orange), the O-line stunk (see Bettis), and I'd if we actually HAD any receivers, I'd say they stunk, too (did we REALLY draft Troy Edwards in the first round?). 26-0??? For God's sake, the Steelers only led the hapless Browns 20-0 at halftime in the season opener! Double yoinks.

What bothers me even more is the horrible performance by the... er... defense (???). True, Seattle didn't score a TD on offense, but Seattle QB Kitna (who we made look like the second coming of Joe Montana today) simply shredded us. Swiss friggin' cheese. Dudes, I really thought the defense would hold their own in this one, even with the absence of Lee Flowers in the secondary. DeWayne Washington was Kitna's whipping boy all day, the front seven did nothing to put pressure on Kitna nor to slow down asshole extraordinaire Ricky "Dicky" Waters.

Enough... it's out of my system and I'm ready to move on. Dallas spanked us 37-7 in the home opener in '97 and the Steelers ended up in the AFC Championship game, so all is not lost. Next up are the Jax Jags, arguably the best team in football. Call it a hunch, but I think we'd better have a little better game plan next week, eh?

McMillen & Wife

Jacksonville 17, Pittsburgh 3

Posted: Sunday October 03, 1999 06:27 PM

PITTSBURGH (Ticker) -- In an early season showdown in the AFC Central, theJacksonville Jaguars used a stellar defensive effort en route to a 17-3 victory over thePittsburgh Steelers.

The Jaguars defense picked up a sluggish offense by holding the Steelers to just a second-quarter field goal. Jacksonville's defense recorded a pair of safeties, sacking Pittsburgh quarterbackKordell Stewart in the end zone twice in the final five minutes.

As expected, the matchup between the AFC's top two defenses produced little offense. Neither club ever got on track and combined for just 420 yards of offense but the Jaguars improved to 3-1 while the Steelers fell to 2-2. Tennessee leads the division with a 3-0 record and plays at San Francisco later this afternoon.

"We had some outstanding defense," said Jaguars coach Tom Coughlin. "I was pleased with our defense. Our offense continues to make progress."

Defensive end Tony Brackens had a huge defensive game for the Jaguars, recording 10 tackles, seven solo stops, 2 1/2 sacks and forcing three fumbles. Middle linebacker Lonnie Marts added nine solo tackles.

"We wanted to start fast and try to keep them out of the end zone," Brackens said. "We knew it was going to be a tough time for them. We felt it was going to be a struggle. We wanted to keep as much pressure as we could, coach told us to keep coming."

After a scoreless first quarter, Mark Brunell gave the Jaguars all the offense they would need with a seven-yard scoring strike to Keenan McCardell, 45 seconds into the second quarter. The play capped an 11-play, 63-yard drive.

Brunell completed just 10-of-25 pass attempts for 85 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Fred Taylor started for Jacksonville and carried eight times for 28 yards but was removed in the second quarter after aggravating a hamstring injury. Backup James Stewartcontinued to do a good job filling in, carrying 21 times for 73 yards.

Pittsburgh quarterback Kordell Stewart struggled again, going 15-for-32 for 126 yards.Jerome Bettis had 20 carries for 58 yards and four receptions for 27 yards.

"I think it is obvious right now that we are not a very good football team," Steelers coach Bill Cowher said. "We had some opportunities today. We got the running game going but could not convert some third downs. We have been very inconsistent."

This victory marked the first time in the nine meetings between the rivals that a home team has lost.

Jacksonville put together their best drive of the contest near the end of the first quarter. The drive stalled at the Steeler 30 and Mike Holliskicked a 48-yard field goal. But the Jaguars did not get the play off on time and were penalized five yards for delay of game.

After the the points were taken off the board, Jacksonville went for it on 4th-and-6. Brunell broke free up the middle for 12 yards, keeping the drive alive. Two plays into the second quarter Brunell found McCardell for a 7-0 lead.

The Steelers got their only points on the final play of the first half, a 48-yard field goal by kris Brown. The score was setup by Travis Davis' interception at the Jacksonville 42.

The Jaguars had six first downs in the first half while the Steelers had just seven.

"It's on us to execute the plays," Brunell said. "If you ask our offense they will tell you that we are pleased with the way Coughlin is calling them. We have added guys and the expectations should be high. Parts of our team still have to get together."

"Everytime we play Pittsburgh we never look pretty," Jaguars wide receiver Jimmy Smithsaid. "If you are not on the same page Pittsburgh can make you look bad."

Brackens forced a fumble early in the third quarter and recovered the ball at the Pittsburgh 45. An upheld call on an 11-yard reception by McCardell and some strong running by Stewart set up a 27-yard field goal by Hollis 8:42 into the third quarter.

The Steelers put together their best drive of the contest early in the fourth quarter when they moved from their own 4 to the Jacksonville 40. But on 4th-and-1, Cowher called for a flea-flicker and Stewart underthrew Hines Ward in the end zone.

"We had some people open," Steelers receiver Hines Ward said.

"Maybe Kordell did not see the receivers. If 10 players are on the same page and one isn't, it does not work. Maybe he got rushed and didn't see the receivers."

The Jaguars immediately capitalized and moved 39 yards in nine plays, culminating in a 41-yard field goal by Hollis. Hollis is 10-of-11 on field goal attempts this season.

Brackens put the Jaguars on top 15-3 when he sacked Stewart in the end zone on the Steelers next possession. Joel Smeenge added a sack of Stewart in the end zone with just under a minute left to cap the defensive effort.

"I just know that as a unit, we are a much better team than what you have seen the last two weeks," Stewart said. "It is just a matter of everyone jelling. Everybody having confidence. I know I haven't lost mine. We are just going to try to get something going because nothing is working now."

PREGAME

Submitted by Will Smith

Guys, I hear people saying that the Steelers can't compete with the Jags. That is bull. I just went to the preview on NFL.com and the stats as far as give away/takeaway, yards allowed, and yards gained per game are almost even, and let's not forget here that Jacksonville is hardly a team that is impossible to beat. I mean, yes, we lost to the Seahawks, but the Jags lost to a Titans team that are not any better than the Seahawks (and much less talented). The Seahawks have the talent to be a Super Bowl contender. Think about it... aside from QB, they have a lot of stars on the team. The Titans have a few good players on offense... not too many recognizable names on defense, though.

My point here is that if Jacksonville were the Juggernaut that everyone makes them out to be, they would have demolished a team like Tenessee, just like we should have demolished the Seahawks. Apparently, there is a big chink in the armor of the Jags. We can and will win this game. We have never lost to the Jags at home, and we won't this time either. I think General Cowher will have his Steel City Soldiers ready for war against our biggest division rivals. We are not as bad as our game against the Seahawks, and not as good as our game against the Browns. I think that this game will play out a lot like the Baltimore game and we'll win it in the closing seconds 27-24.

P.S.--I didn't watch the game last week, but I've read all of the reviews and I'm not so sure that I would have pulled Kordell. I mean, I saw the first pick and that "thrown behind him" crap is dead wrong. That was another case of Will "Stonehands" Blackwell proving that he doesn't belong on the team. I've also read that the one awful looking pick was a case of Hawkins reading the defense one way and Kordell reading another. Good ol' Courtney stepped up and took the blame for it (not that it was entirely his fault... he and Kordell have to be on the same page), but we expected to see a few of those in Gilbride's new offense (remember all of those Warren Moon picks we used to get when he was in Houston). Anyway, my point is that Kordell has always been a second half player, and Tomczack doesn't even have the potential to bring us back from a 20-something point deficit.

POSTGAME

Submitted by Holly Manley

Believe it or not, I feel sorry for Kordell Stewart. I never thought he had the capability of becoming a star QB, and said it all along. The Steelers have had the unfortunate inability to pick a QB since Bradshaw. To say that Bradshaw had a bad year in 1970 is irrelevant. It's what he did after that. To say that Kordell had glowing years is ridiculous. When he became QB he threw interceptions, and if it wasn't for Thigpen, Johnson and Bettis, he would have looked equally as bad. The press, TV and Bill Cowher have made this guy seem as if he's something special. Everyone was looking for a star. Let's face it. There were a few out there, and some of them remain, but Marino, Elway, Young, Montana, Farve, and the men that came before them are a dying breed. They were thinking QBs. There are guys who are more than adequate now, but never had the chance for whatever reason to find that greatness.

I have to blame Cowher for a lot of this. His ego stands in the way every time. People can put down O'Dummell (that's for you Tim), but I don't blame him for the Superbowl. He was never a thinking QB. He did what they told him to do, throw where they told him to throw, and I think that is what cost the Steelers the Super Bowl.

Bettis can't even score. What the hell were they thinking when they got rid of Tim Lester? Bettis will be the next to go... watch.

Submitted by Chris

Does anyone else feel shell shocked?

OK... I've remained on the Kordell bandwagon up until now, similar to the way I hung in there with O'Dummell until his Super Bowl heroics ruined my day and any Steelers chance of a fifth ring.

I'm jumping off in a hurry today. And I'm jumping off the Cowher wagon as well. How many poor performances does a team have to have before someone, anyone, starts looking at the coaching staff for answers, and to lay blame. I'm personally tired of the coddling Cowher seems intent on giving Kordell. I'm tired of the smiles and laughter between the two on the sidelines as if they know something we don't. A Steelers football season isn't a joke to me. It's serious business. I've invested a lifetime of very fond memories in this team only to watch free agency, off and on field offensive and front office complacency, and an obvious lack of work ethic and respect for the opponent make me sick to my stomach on a weekly basis (Now I know what Bears fans have felt like for so long).

The seasons a wash. Trust me. The team needs to start building for the future. Now. I could understand the losses if I saw rebuilding going on. It's not.

Kordell IS NOT the guy to take this team to the next level. Put Gonzalez in until a real QB is either drafted or signed. Let Kordell carry the board for awhile to get a fresh perspective of the real world, then get rid of him and the big salary.

The offensive line absolutely sucks. Dawson is the only talent I see on that line. This is a major project in and of itself. It's going to take big off season money to fix this catastrophe, so start saving money now by dishing Kordell to the f#@%ing Bungles, or something.

I like the receiving corps. They're talented, but not gamers. We're stuck with them for now, so start playing Edwards as much as humanly possible. The kid's going to be a star. Use some of the Kordell money to sign a go-to deep threat guy to compliment him, like Thigpen was.

The running game remains bright, but we'll never see it flourish because of a pitiful offensive line, a bad QB, and unimaginative play calling (sound familiar?). It's not hard to figure out that teams are still stacking the line to stop the run because Kordell isn't feared as a serious threat at QB.

The defense is fine (still awesome, actually). My favorite part of the team. Always has been, always will be. So stop screwing it up by allowing it's stars to run to the gold every year (See below).

One last thing to the management: PLEASE stop letting valuable, important, fan favorite players go to free agency!!! Hire a f#@%ing accountant to finagle the salary cap like the 49ers have done for so many years. Maybe then we can return to the days where hoping for a championship team didn't seem like such a pipe dream.

Man, I hope I'm wrong. Someone tell me I'm wrong, because I never thought in my entire life I'd ever hear myself say that I wish O'Dummell was still the Steelers QB!!!!

Thanks. I had to vent and I appreciate you allowing me the soapbox to do so.

Chris

Buffalo 24, Pittsburgh 21

Posted: Wednesday October 13, 1999 03:52 AM

BUFFALO, New York (Ticker) -- The Buffalo Bills had all the advantages of home, even against their closest geographical rivals.

Doug Flutie improved to 14-1 as a home starter and the home team in the series held for the 12th straight time in Buffalo's 24-21 victory over thePittsburgh Steelers.

Flutie completed 11 of his first 12 passes and went on to throw three touchdown passes as he increased his record as a starter at Ralph Wilson Stadium to 8-1. The Bills have beaten Pittsburgh, which is roughly 160 miles away, seven straight times at home since September 3, 1978.

Flutie completed 21-of-32 passes for 261 yards without an interception, finding Eric Moulds six times for 122 yards. The pair helped the Bills to their fourth straight win after a season-opening defeat and their first 4-1 start since 1996.

"Today was my best day (this year)," Flutie said. "I just felt like it was coming off nice. I was seeing the field real well and I was being patient with my throws."

The Steelers got an improved effort from Kordell Stewart, who was 21-of-29 for 216 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. But they fell to 2-3 for the first time since 1990.

The Bills extended the lead to 24-14 with 32 seconds left in the third quarter when Flutie hit wide-open tight end Jay Riemersma with an eight-yard scoring pass. Jonathan Lintonhad a three-yard run on 4th-and-1 as the Bills converted after linebacker Sam Rogersreturned an interception of Stewart 24 yards to the Pittsburgh 38.

"Beautiful call. That is the one trick-then play," Flutie said. "I faked a toss and rolled right while Jay gets lost in the mix. It is a play that I have seen run even up north."

"I was in a perfect position, he just threw the ball to me," Rogers said of Stewart. "It just so happened the No. 2 (receiver) went out. I played (Mark) Breuner the whole time, I didn't even think of No. 2 -- he could have been up the field scoring a touchdown, I wasn't even looking at him -- I knew they were gonna throw that route. When I saw him look over there, I just broke on the ball, ran to the ball."

Linton registered 45 yards on 15 rushes while Andre Reed had 68 on six catches. Reed passed Art Monk for fourth on the all-time list with 12,742 receiving yards. Monk had 12,721.

Linton played the fourth quarter and might be pushing Antowain Smith for the starting spot.

"It's a great confidence-builder," Linton said. "To me it's a great honor. It's exciting for me to have the game in my hands."

Pittsburgh made a final attempt to get back into it with 2:44 left in the game when Jerome Bettis ran a yard for his first touchdown since December 20 and his second in his last 14 games.

But the Bills were able to melt the clock with two first downs after the ensuing kickoff.

"At the end of the game, when you have to win the game, we won the game," Bills coach Wade Phillips said. "I can't say enough about that, because you get in those situations, you need to hold the ball when you need to hold the ball and you need to stop them when you have to stop them."

The Steelers got a gift early in the game when Smith fumbled away the ball at the Buffalo 12. Three plays later, Stewart hit Hines Wardwith a 12-yard scoring pass and a 7-0 lead.

Ward had 67 yards on six receptions and rookie Troy Edwards 50 on four.

But Flutie drove the Bills 69 yards in 14 plays on the ensuing possession, capping the nearly eight-minute march with a two-yard touchdown toss to fullback Sam Gash on 4th-and-2.

"Anytime you go for it on fourth down and you are in the game, you are excited, because you know it takes 11 people to makes the play successful and we were able to do that," Gash said.

Buffalo grabbed the lead for good 47 seconds into the second quarter when Flutie connected on a 49-yard TD strike to Moulds.

The only other play of the drive was an 11-yard pass between the pair.

"That was a play we had been working on since Wednesday," Moulds explained. "We knew that the safety likes to come down and cover the tight end, so that gives us the opportunity to make a big play. I just wanted to get up on the corner real quick, give him an out move and break it post and Doug made a great throw."

Steve Christie tacked on a 29-yard field goal with 4:31 left in the first half, completing a drive kept alive when Flutie scrambled for 21 yards on 3rd-and-20.

"We had a three-man rush on that one, he broke clean, no one could contain him," Steelers defensive end Orpheus Roye said.

"He made big plays and hurt our defense. He's a mobile quarterback. We had a nice game plan for him, we just didn't keep containment. He hurt us."

"Everyone keeps talking about the offense; we gave up too many plays defensively, we gave up too many big pass plays and we weren't very good on third down (defensively)," Pittsburgh coach Bill Cowher said. "On third down, they did a good job of converting and he (Flutie) made some plays."

Pittsburgh got within 17-14 in the final minute of the first half when Stewart threw a 17-yard pass that went off the hand of cornerbackThomas Smith and into the arms of Edwards in the end zone. Stewart converted three third-down passes to extend the 71-yard march.

"I have faith in Kordell when nobody else does," Pittsburgh nose tackle Joel Steed said. "He's a great player, a great athlete.

You have just got to rally around him. The key is when he plays well, it makes our job easier. It's just one of those things where we've got to pull each other up."

Sprained left ankles limited linebacker Levon Kirkland and guardAlan Faneca of the Steelers. The severity of the injuries is not known.

PREGAME

Submitted by Nat LaBorde

Buffalo kinda owes us a but kicking and Sunday, they are going to give it to us BIGTIME! Wayne Gandy, man, you'd better pack two lunches, because Bruce Smith is going to eat yours. Kordella will SUCK as usual. The Steeler defense will play their hearts out as usual, but all for nothing, cuz you can't win if you can't score! Hey, I wonder if we could just keep our defense on the field and let them try their hand at offense? Why not? They couldn't suck any more than Kordella and company! Lee Flowers at QB, Kirkland at running back, Chad Scott and Washington at wide recievers... boy, that's starting to sound good!

Bills 27, Steelers 0

Nat

P.S.-- Just how much money would it take to get Terry Bradshaw out of retirement?

POSTGAME

Submitted by McMillen & Wife

You wanna know what the most frightening thing about Sunday's loss to the Bills is? The fact that many fans (myself included) came away from it satisfied.

Satisfied? With a loss to the Bills? This truly illustrates just how far the Steelers have fallen. My bruthas, it wreaks of the Steelers teams of the mid-80s. God, it almost makes me want to break out the old "Tears for Fears" albums. Pardon me while I vomit...

On the bright side, this is a week where I can finally say thank God for Kordell... he wasn't perfect, but he was the ONLY thing the Steeler offense had going for it. The O-line protected Stewart much better today (Gandy was superb against Bruce Smith), but the run-blocking? Aargh! Bettis finished the day with an abysmal 24 yards on 13 carries (for you stats freaks, that's a nifty 1.8 yard average). If we're "satisfied" with that, I guess next week, we'll all be ecstatic if Jerome gets back up to the whopping 2.5 yard average he had after week four's ass-whipping by the Jags. Sheesh.

Still, I can't help but feel that things might just be turning around a bit... our next 4 games all come against horrible or struggling teams, so maybe Cowher & company can somehow get things on track. I hope so... I don't wanna spend the rest of the season listening to the song "Shout."

Later, my bruthas!

Tim McMillen

Webmaster, McMillen & Wife

Pittsburgh 17, Cincinnati 3

Posted: Sunday October 17, 1999 06:31 PM

CINCINNATI (Ticker) -- The Cincinnati Bengalshave been trampled by NFL teams all season. Today they got run over by "The Bus."

Jerome Bettis ran for 111 yards and two touchdowns as the Pittsburgh Steelers avenged two losses to Cincinnati last season with a 17-3 victory.

Playing with a sore calf muscle, Bettis had a one-yard scoring run in the first quarter and added another from five yards out in the second quarter.

"The Bus" has rushed for 726 yards in his last seven games against Cincinnati, including six 100-yard games. It was his first 100-yard game overall since rushing for 139 yards in last year's season finale against Jacksonville.

"I didn't think he could play," Pittsburgh coach Bill Cowher said. "But he had his best week of practice in 1999. I think he felt healthier (today) because it was the best he felt. It didn't surprise me he had the game he had today."

Kordell Stewart completed 17-for-29 passes for 134 yards for Pittsburgh (3-3), which snapped a three-game losing streak.

Again starting rookie Akili Smith at quarterback, Cincinnati (1-5) committed three turnovers, including a pair of crucial ones in the fourth quarter, in losing for the 15th time in 17 games dating to last season.

Smith was 19-of-38 for 207 yards and two interceptions, including one deep in Pittsburgh territory late in the final quarter.

Pittsburgh scored on its third possession of the game, set up by a 16-yard pass on 3rd-and-6 from Stewart to rookie Troy Edwards to the 1. Bettis banged in on the next play.

Smith completed three passes totaling 34 yards on Cincinnati's next possession, including two to Carl Pickens, to set up a 37-yard field goal by Doug Pelfrey with 1:41 left in the first quarter.

Bettis helped the Steelers extended their lead to 14-3 in the second quarter. He had seven carries for 27 yards on the drive, highlighted by his five-yard TD run.

Bettis again was instrumental in Pittsburgh's scoring drive early in the fourth quarter, totaling 31 yards on just two carries. Rookie Kris Brown remained perfect in nine field-goal attempts by booting one from 43 yards out.

"It's all starting to come together," Bettis said. "We took pride in our running game this week. Everyone was focused and we ran the ball well in practice. It's good that we are able to get the running game going."

A 26-yard run by Corey Dillon moved the Bengals to the 3. But on first down, Smith rolled right and threw a pass into the end zone that apparently was intercepted by safety Travis Davis.

After Cincinnati coach Bruce Coslet ordered a review of the play, the officials determined it was inconclusive whether Davis made the catch and reversed the decision.

On the next play, Smith was pressured by linebacker Earl Holmes as he released the ball and defensive end Orpheus Roye made the interception with 4:35 left.

"We knew it was going to be a testy situation with him and their package," Cincinnati coach Bruce Coslet said. "He made some nice plays, but he wasn't quite sharp. That was the game in a nutshell. He wasn't quite sure of himself."

After the Bengals forced the Steelers to punt, Damon Griffin muffed the catch and Pittsburgh's Chris Oldham recovered at the Cincinnati 44 with 3:51 to go.

"A win is a win," Cowher said. "It wasn't pretty. It wasn't artistic. We had some opportunities to put the game away, and we just couldn't do it. But we did find a way to win again."

Dillon, who came into today's game with a league-leading 423 yards, had 78 yards on 16 carries. Pickens caught four passes for 54 yards, and Darnay Scott, who had 34 catches in the first five games, made one catch for 11 yards before leaving the game in the second quarter with bruised ribs.

PREGAME

Submitted by Bill Williamson

I'm going to make this short and sweet! If the Steelers can't beat the freakin' Bungles on Sunday, then they officially suck!

Bill Williamson

POSTGAME

Submitted by Nat LaBorde

Oh my God, we finally win a game! Seeing as how we won, I am not even going to talk about our offense. The "Big D" is the story here, folks. And by the way, has Nolan Harrison begun packing his bags yet? He should, because it's over for him in Pittsburgh. Roye done stole the show and Mr. Harrison's job! Hey, thanks for everything, Nolan. I've got the classifieds here. 'Ya want me to mail 'em to ya? Damn I'm mean!

I would love to be a fly on the wall in the Steelers locker room. I wonder what it's like after a game... who says what to whom? Who feels guilty cashing their paychecks? Oh, I'm sorry, I said I wouldn't talk about them... ooooooooopps!

Well,I would like to get really happy over this win, but it's tough -- it's only the Bungholes. Tim, Tommy, and I could beat the Bungholes. But, as the man pointed out, a W is a W.

Don't look now, more birds coming. Will the Falcons be able to control their bowel functions? The Seahawks couldn't. Until next week...

Later!

Nat

Pittsburgh 13, Atlanta 9

Posted: Tuesday October 26, 1999 01:54 AM

PITTSBURGH (Ticker) -- The Pittsburgh Steelers came up with a pair of goal-line stands late in the fourth quarter that would have made the old "Steel Curtain" proud.

With members of the 1974 Super Bowl championship team looking on, the Steelers made three stops from the 1-yard line, then held on for a 13-9 victory over the Atlanta Falconswhen Chris Chandler threw incomplete into the end zone as time expired.

"It was obviously a very exciting game. I think we did enough for ABC's ratings, I'm sure," said Pittsburgh coach Bill Cowher.

"We let Atlanta hang around, that's a team you can't let hang around. We had some chances but couldn't do anything with the ball. They had a couple of good plays. I give credit to the defense."

Pittsburgh (4-3) used a smothering defensive effort to build a seemingly safe 13-0 lead. But the Falcons (1-6) got on the board on a five-yard toss from Chandler to Terance Mathis with 6:42 remaining.

Four plays later, safety Marty Carter recovered Jerome Bettis' first fumble of the season at the Steelers 47. A gimpy Chandler threw a 40-yard strike to Mathis on the first play from scrimmage and Ken Oxendine bulled up the middle to get to the 1.

But fullback Bob Christian lost a yard on a pair of carries and linebacker Levon Kirklandstuffed Oxendine at the 1 to preserve the lead with 1:45 to play.

"I was just looking at the referee. I didn't really know how far they had advanced the ball," Kirkland said. "It was just like the game was on the line and I knew we had to get to the ballcarrier. I'm grateful for this win, it didn't have to go this way for us."

Pittsburgh punter Josh Miller stepped out of the end zone for a safety and Tim Dwightreturned the ensuing free kick to the Falcons 36. With no timeouts, Chandler gained 19 yards on passes to Mathis and Dwight. After an offsides penalty on the Steelers, an eight-yard toss to Christian and a spike, Chandler found Dwight over the middle for 27 yards to the Pittsburgh 5.

He hobbled to the line of scrimmage and managed a spike to stop the clock with two seconds remaining.

But Chandler threw behind Dwight at the goal line and the defending NFC champions suffered their 10th straight Monday night loss.

"I was proud of how our football team played. (We) played hard, we just came up short," Atlanta coach Dan Reeves said. "When you have three shots at the end zone and can't get it in, you have to give them credit. Then to get back down again, I'm proud of how our guys battled but we just came up short."

"I know a lot of people have been ready to see us lay it down. I don't think so. I can't hear the fat lady sing yet," added Byron Hanspard, who managed six yards on four carries.

Pittsburgh's Kordell Stewart was ineffective, completing 13-of-21 passes for 127 yards. But he threw a screen pass that Richard Huntleyturned into a 13-yard touchdown late in the first quarter after cornerback Chad Scott returned an interception 16 yards to the 11.

"We did some good things and the defense came up great," Stewart said. "A win is a win and it helps us as we go into this bye week. We had opportunities that we just didn't take advantage of."

Atlanta drove to the Steelers 21 midway through the second quarter, but Chandler was sacked on third down and Morten Andersen's 47-yard field goal was wide left.

The Steelers surrendered only six rushing yards in the first half, extending their lead to 13-0 on field goals of 51 and 25 yards by rookie Kris Brown. The second kick capped a 10-play, 50-yard drive that turned out to be Pittsburgh's second-longest of the game.

Brown tied the NFL record with 11 consecutive field goals to start his career. He shares the mark with Rich Karlis and David Treadwell.

Pittsburgh hounded Chandler throughout, sacking him seven times.

But he completed 20-of-34 passes for 233 yards with an interception. Mathis was his favorite target with 12 receptions for 166 yards. He moved past Andre Rison into first place on the all-time Falcons' list with 439 catches.

Bettis had gained at least 100 yards in each of his last eight Monday night appearances but was held to 80 on 23 carries. Other Steelers' streaks survived. They improved to 8-0 at home under Cowher on Monday night while running off their ninth consecutive victory over Atlanta.

PREGAME

Submitted by Nat LaBorde

So... Big Bird comes to town tonight. The last time they beat us (and the only time) was December, 1970. Good luck, Birdies! Alert to Pittsburgh Police: Mr.Robinson is outta his neighborhood... may be spotted trying to hustle up some hoochi mama before or after tonight's game. "Would ya be mine,could ya be mine, won't you be my neighbor?" Steelers win, 31-7.

Cya,

Nat

POSTGAME

Submitted by DSIRELVR

The game against the falcons was a decent one... the defense seemed to have some fire in it, but began to relax near the end. The Falcons had enough weapons and determination to stay in the game and come within one play of winning (memories of playoff loss to Chargers). How can a team with a 13-0 lead throughout 3/4 of the game almost lose the game in the final seconds? I think the offense and defense are not supporting each other and the offense needs to try to open it up no matter what. How is your number one pick gonna have the confidence to do what he's supposed to if you don't tell him and give him the opportunities? How is Kordell supposed to be comfortable and the spark to lead the team if you stay so conservative with him? Give him at least a couple options to do something while he's playing... don't stifle his talents and give him only one alternative (throw to Witman). His stregth is "options"... the option play, the run (if he can), etc., etc. He has the arm... practice the long pass. Sure, use Bettis, but don't hinge your whole game around him. I would be concerned about all the penalties by the defens that gave Atlanta all the first downs to stay int he game and basically nixed the defensive highlights. And take measures to ensure Bettis never fumbles again. Use Huntley on a swing, sweep, outside pass, Breuner and Lyons for outlet passes. Stretch the field with both Hawkins and Edwards (like stallworth and Swann). At least if it gets intercepted, it's down the field and your defense can help you get the ball back. Hopefully, the condition of the Niners won't give us a false sense of confidence. We need to play intense football 60+ minutes, no stupid penalties, and if we make a mistake, no costly ones for score. Learn from it... hopefully we can reforge the Steel Curtain and a 21st century dynasty.

Pittsburgh 27, San Francisco 6

Posted: Sunday November 07, 1999 10:13 PM

SAN FRANCISCO (Ticker) -- In a driving rainstorm, Jerry Rice finished with less receiving yards than backup quarterback Steve Stenstrom. That sums up the state of the San Francisco 49ers.

Jerome Bettis rushed for two touchdowns and rookie Kris Brown kicked a pair of field goals to lead the Pittsburgh Steelers to a 27-6 victory over the Niners, who suffered their fourth straight loss.

The 49ers (3-5) last lost four straight back in 1980, which was also the last time they hit the midway point of a non-strike season with a losing record. In the 1982 strike season, the Niners finished 3-6.

The last four losses have come with Jeff Garcia as the starting quarterback for the injured Steve Young. Today, Garcia was unable to handle the rainy conditions, completing just 7-of-18 passes for 39 yards.

Stenstrom replaced Garcia in the fourth quarter and was also ineffective, completing 5-of-15 for 54 yards with an interception. He had a nine-yard reception after his own pass was blocked at the line of scrimmage.

Rice, the NFL's all-time leading receiver, had just two catches for two yards, his lowest yardage production in a game since he was held without a catch in a December 1, 1985 contest at Washington in his rookie year.

"You just try to make plays and make things happen and right now, that's not happening," said Rice. "I have tasted the best. I have been there on top for so many years and now things have not been (going) as well, but you can't give up. You just have to keep pushing forward."

Charlie Garner was the lone bright spot for San Francisco, rushing for a career-high 166 yards on 20 carries.

"If there are any positives, we ran the ball well," said Niners coach Steve Mariucci. "We didn't throw the ball well. It's hard for me to say why. There are a lot of reasons, including me. Coaching is where it starts. We have half a season to go and we have to be better."

Bettis was held to 53 yards on 18 carries, but scored on runs of one and 22 yards for the Steelers (5-3), who won their third straight. Afterwards, Bettis said the Niners looked past the Steelers.

"They pretty much counted us out," Bettis said. "I think that's just disrespectful. I don't care if you are the 49ers. We've got to earn our respect and we earned our respect today. We're moving in the right direction."

Pittsburgh's Kordell Stewart completed 15-of-26 passes for 139 yards, including a 13-yard touchdown to Hines Ward, with no interceptions. Rookie Troy Edwards had six catches for 76 yards.

"Probably the best I have thrown the ball," Stewart said. "It is basically me going out there, putting the ball in the spot and letting them go get it."

The Steelers drove 69 yards in eight plays on their opening possession which was capped by Bettis' one-yard touchdown run. The long plays in the drive were an 18-yard pass from Stewart to Courtney Hawkins and an 18-yard pass interference penalty against cornerback Darnell Walker.

Lawrence Phillips returned the ensuing kickoff 75 yards to the Pittsburgh 23. Garner broke off a 14-yard run on the next play, but the drive stalled at the Pittsburgh 2 and the Niners settled for a 19-yard field goal by Wade Richey with 5:09 left in the first quarter.

The Steelers responded with a four-play, 60-yard TD drive.

Stewart connected with Edwards on a 41-yard pass to the San Francisco 13 and hit Ward with a TD on the following play to give the Steelers a 14-3 lead with 2:52 left in the quarter.

"It was a slant and go route," Ward said of the TD. "Their cornerbacks were really aggressive so we figured they would bite hard on the slant. But the guy didn't bite so Kordell threw it up and I went up and made the catch."

On the final play of the quarter, Steelers linebacker Levon Kirkland forced a fumble by Garner and linebacker Earl Holmes recovered the ball for Pittsburgh at the San Francisco 19. After the drive stalled at the 10, Brown kicked a 28-yard field goal to give the Steelers a 17-3 lead nine seconds into the second quarter.

The 49ers consumed nearly eight minutes with a 14-play, 69-yard drive, capped by a 20-yard field goal by Richey. Garner rushed for 39 yards on five carries in the drive.

Brown kicked a 38-yard field goal with 3:41 left in the third quarter to give Pittsburgh a 20-6 lead. He missed a 31-yard attempt in the fourth quarter, ending his record streak of 13 straight field goals to begin his career.

"He's unbelievable," Steelers coach Bill Cowher said of Brown.

"He's like a 10-year vet. He's rock solid and he's been a big part of our success this year."

After the Niners failed to convert a 4th-and-13 play the Steelers took over at the San Francisco 26 with 4:06 left. Two plays later, Bettis raced around right end and scored on a 22-yard run with 3:15 left.

PREGAME

Submitted by SPJTX@aol.com

If Kordell doesn't hurt us too much, and if he doesn't cause the defense to play so long they nearly die, ,we should be in this game late in the 4th. In that case, I think our kicker is the type of guy who can win it for us.

POSTGAME

Submitted by McMillen & Wife

With apologies to Schultzie on "Hogan's Heros," I know NOTHEENG! (Gotta stop watching so much TV Land...)

Rather than commenting on the game itself (I'll leave that to those of you who actually SAW the game), I do have a few peripheral comments to make...

First of all, it's heartwarming to see the Super Bowl-buying Niners "going down" (a little Gay Bay lingo, there) the proverbial tubes. After watching Frisco find ways to sidestep (euphemism for cheat) the salary cap for all those years while our Steelers were getting ripped apart in free agency, it's nice to see it finally catch up with 'em.

Secondly, the jerks at WOIO in Columbus can kiss my ass. I spent my morning raking leaves (yet again), then came in for lunch. To my delight, Cleveland was the only game on, meaning CBS had the double-header. The Cleveland network can't broadcast both games when the Brownies have a home game, but the Columbus station can. And since Pittsburgh had an afternoon game, that meant we'd get to see the Steelers beat up on the Niners after the Browns game, right?

Wrong.

After getting ourselves psyched into a frenzy to watch the Steelers as the final seconds ticked away in yet another hillarious Cleveland ass-whipping, we were rewarded with the monumental matchup of... Cincinnati at Seattle. Needless to say, our reaction was not pleasant. Man, we have GOT to get a DSS system. Thank God for internet radio simulcasts.

One thing is for sure... we'll definitely get to see the Steelers next week. Get ready for that steady (and oh-so-familiar) pounding sensation, Dawgies.

Until then, my bruthas!

Tim McMillen

Webmaster, McMillen & Wife

Cleveland 16, Pittsburgh 15

Posted: Sunday November 14, 1999 05:35 PM

PITTSBURGH (Ticker) -- It's a rivalry again.

Rookie Phil Dawson booted a 40-yard field goal as time expired, giving the new Cleveland Browns a stunning 16-15 upset of their longtime and suddenly current rivals, the Pittsburgh Steelers.

"I was just hoping we would get a chance," Dawson said. "The wind was really blowing, it was swirling in front of me. It all happened so fast, I didn't know how long the field goal was or how much time was on the clock."

Pittsburgh, which slaughtered Cleveland in the season opener to spoil its return to the NFL after a three-year absence, held what appeared to be a comfortable 15-7 lead after rookieKris Brownkicked his third field goal with 9:10 to play.

The Browns (2-8) had scored on their opening possession but did not seriously threaten again until receiving a gift when Kordell Stewart threw his second interception of the game with 6:26 to play. Stewart, who had a dreadful game, inexplicably fired a third-down pass right into the midsection of linebacker John Thierry, setting up the Browns at the Pittsburgh 15.

"This game is really special," Thierry said. "Everyone's kept on fighting. It's a special gang, definitely something to work on for the future."

"After last week, when we didn't take advantage of opportunities, I thought we showed a great deal this week," Cleveland coach Chris Palmer said. "John Thierry gets the turnover. We didn't buckle over. We kept coming at them."

Three plays later, Tim Couch fired his second touchdown pass of the game to fullbackMarc Edwards, breaking the Browns' rookie record with his ninth scoring strike of the season and pulling Cleveland within 15-13 with 5:12 remaining.

"We've grown a lot since the first game of the year," Couch said. "Pittsburgh's really a tough place to play. We hung in there until the opportunities were there."

Pittsburgh linebacker Earl Holmes and safety Travis Davis combined to stuff running backKarim Abdul-Jabbar just shy of the goal line on the ensuing two-point conversion attempt, but the Browns would not go away.

After taking over on downs deep in their own territory with less than two minutes to play, the Browns used a long completion from Couch to rookie Darrin Chiaverini and a 15-yard personal foul on linebackerMike Vrabel to set up Dawson for the winning kick.

"I'm very pleased with how Tim handled the situation," Palmer said. "You don't know what a quarterback will do until its in front of him. This is something that shows he's comfortable."

"I threw it under (the coverage) and Chiaverini made a great move," Couch added. "We knew we didn't have timeouts. We tried to move the ball as quickly as possible."

The Steelers (5-4) pounded Cleveland, 43-0, on opening night at the new Browns Stadium on September 12. The Browns, who last visited Pittsburgh on November 13, 1995, snapped a six-game losing streak to their rivals and increased their lead in the all-time series to 53-42.

"It was a very disappointing game," Steelers coach Bill Cowher said. "We really didn't sustain any type of momentum throughout the day. The lack of converting a couple of third downs, really not that many big plays at all."

Couch completed 18-of-28 passes for 199 yards and surpassed Bernie Kosar's previous rookie TD pass record of eight established in 1985. The 6-4, 227-pound signal caller put his team ahead just five plays into the contest when he found fellow rookie Kevin Johnsonwith a 35-yard TD pass just 2:35 into play.

Johnson finished with five receptions for 93 yards, picking up the slack for Leslie Sheperd, who collected two receptions for 31 yards on the opening drive before leaving the game with a strained calf.

Stewart was clearly outplayed by his young adversary, going 15-of-32 for 137 yards with a costly pick in the first half to go with his fourth-quarter blunder.

"It only takes one point to win a game," Stewart said. "I didn't play well, we didn't play well. It's tough to digest.

The guy just made a good play on (the second interception)."

After Courtney Hawkins brought a punt back 14 yards to the Cleveland 37, Stewart took the next snap and fired a ball directly at safety Marquez Pope standing all alone at the 22.

Brown did manage a 41-yard field goal in the first quarter, pulling Pittsburgh within 7-3, which is how it remained until the half. Brown went 3-for-3, improving to 16-of-17 on the season after drilling an NFL-record 13 straight between the uprights to begin his career.

Pittsburgh came out with renewed vigor in the second half, taking the kickoff and marching 51 yards in 10 plays before Brown booted a 32-yard to make it 7-6 with 9:57 left in the third quarter.

The Steelers appeared to finally take the game by the throat when linebacker Jason Gildon forced Couch into a fumble at his own 8. Defensive end Orpheus Roye pounced on the loose ball and three plays later, Richard Huntley scampered in from the five for a 12-7 Pittsburgh lead with 8:18 remaining in the period.

Jerome Bettis had 26 carries for 99 yards, picking up 22 during a 10-play, 51-yard drive that culminated in Brown's 51-yard field goal, making it 15-7 with 10:10 to play.

The Steelers turned up the defense, registering five of their six sacks in the second half and allowing only four first downs after halftime before Stewart's ill-advised pass.

Facing a 3rd-and-4 from his own 30 Stewart dropped back and appeared to be setting up a screen in the left flat. But Thierry rushed the passer and somehow got his hands around a bullet fired directly into his chest from short range.

"I was in the path of the ball, the tackles were trying to cut me," Thierry said. "When you see a tackle trying to cut you, you know it's a screen pass. I read it and the ball just came my way."

"It was a quick screen we were throwing to the X receiver," Cowher added. "Then we went to go cut the guy and he jumped at the same time."

Thierry returned the ball to the Pittsburgh 15 before Couch found Edwards to close the gap to 15-13. Abdul-Jabar, who had 56 yards on 18 carries, tried to go up the middle on the ensuing conversion attempt, but Holmes and Davis were up to the task, halting the running back's momentum inches from the goal line.

Taking over at their own 21 with 5:12 to play, Bettis and the Steelers appeared poised to run the clock out. Bettis took four carries to rush for consecutive first downs and ran off right tackle for six more to set up 2nd-and-4 at his own 43 with 2:20 to play.

But the burly was stopped for no gain on his next carry and Huntley lost a yard on third down, forcing Pittsburgh to punt.

Cleveland started at its own 20, but Roye committed an encroachment penalty on the first play from scrimmage before Couch found Chiaverini over the middle for 23 yards to the 48.

Vrabel, who was rushing Couch on the play, drilled him high a split-second after the ball was released, moving the ball to the Pittsburgh 37 with 1:43 left.

"I can't judge how they're going to call it," Vrabel said.

"That's part of the game, it's what they see. It's just me out there, the plays in front of me and I just make every effort to make a play."

Couch proceeded to hit running back Terry Kirby for seven yards, handed off twice to Abdul-Jabbar for eight more before Dawson came out and split the uprights.

The Browns have won twice in three weeks after defeating New Orleans on October 31.

PREGAME

Submitted by Nat LaBorde

This game couldn't come at a better time! Kordell will look like Terry Bradshaw against these boner boys! I wonder how much of an ass kicking the Steelers will give these girls this time? Will they have mercy on these bastards? Hell No! I hope we get a good long look at Dwight "we just kicked your niners' asses" Clark. Do you think if Clownland was whipping us that they would go easy on us in the fouth? No way, and everyone knows it. Well I would be surpised to see any dog bones this weekend. On opening day, the Steelers shoved those bones so far up the Brownie's asses. I doubt they'll ever see the light of day again. Orange helmets... browns? Dumbasses!

Steelers 77,clowns 0!

Later!

Nat

POSTGAME

Submitted by Timothy Arbisi

Listen, gang. We have a defense; we don't have an offense. I mean WE DON'T HAVE AN OFFENSE. Our offense is so bad that we will be lucky to beat Cincinnati the second time, and we will most certainly be shut out by the Ravens (hell, Jax scored a grand total of six points; if it's possible for an offense to lose points, this bunch will find a way). Do you think Bettis is wishing he'd never left the Rams? And yet, look how many other ex-Steelers saw the writing on the wall (Searcy, Jackson, ALL of our early 90's receivers--and that's just the offense!!). I feel sorry for Bettis, that he has to play for a team that doesn't believe in investing in offensive players and then keeping their investments. Hell, I'm not even talking about receivers--let's get an offensive line for 'crissake! I don't need to remind you that the front office made the ingenious (dripping with sarcasm) move of picking up a Bungles' SECOND string castoff lineman. Did we ever replace Searcy? Wolford? Jackson? Anyone else I didn't mention? We signed Faneca, and that's IT. And still, God knows how, Bettis can gain steam late in the game; of course, this was the Browns, and I fear for what happens against decent the run defenses of the Jags, Titans, Ravens, and Chiefs.

So although you can continue bashing Kordell (not undeserving of such, mind you), let me point out what's happening in Green Bay, where the best quarterback in the league is misthrowing balls, handing out INTs, and altogether losing games. Am I saying Favre is as bad as Kordell (or Kordell as good as Favre)? Hell no. But I will say this: the similarities between the two offenses--minus Green Bay's occasional ability to throw the long ball--are eery. Green Bay's O-line is manhandled, which hurts the run, and their receivers are both not getting open and dropping balls (or else tipping balls for interceptions, which I think we set the record for last year with C Johnson). And that's with the highest-paid reciever in the NFL!!!

My point? That our problem is structural, and requires re-tooling of the O-line and receiver corps. Sure, go ahead and replace Kordell. I'm not his #1 fan. But don't fool yourself into thinking Gonzalez, T-zak (never put him in, please!!), or any second-rate backup free agent is going to perform any better (any positive difference in completed passes--if the receivers didn't drop them all--would be offset by an increase in sacks for an immobile quarterback (though I can't say Kordell's impressed me this year with eluding the rush). Again, look at Green Bay if you don't believe me. We need to--are you ready for this--actually SPEND A LITTLE money, hurting the front office's pride a little, and pick up a receiver and proven lineman, instead of putting all our eggs in the draft basket every year. Damn right the Steelers know how to draft--that's our Steel Pride, and where we've rule over the NFL for years (though I still prefer more Super Bowls!). But it doesn't matter how well we draft, if we eventually lose them when we can't pay them enough to stay. So let someone else do a little of the training work, so we can pluck a few ripe free agents for once. We almost had J.J. Stokes at one point. Anyone is better than this wimpy corps we have now (keep Edwards--he'll turn out O.K.).

We don't know who our QB "answer" is, everyone. Was O'Donnell ever an "answer"? Defense and the running game (which INCLUDES the O-line) got us to the Super Bowl, with errror-free passing. Let's get an exciting receiver, a second durable receiver, two ass-kicking 300lb. offensive lineman, and then let's see where we stand. Drop Kordell? Fine with me, but you won't find any answers until you fix the rest of the offense (recievers and line). Did you ever think Brett Favre could look as bad as Kordell? A quarterback needs a supporting cast.

Tim Arbisi

Tennessee 16, Pittsburgh 10

Posted: Sunday November 21, 1999 07:16 PM

NASHVILLE, Tennessee (Ticker) -- Two touchdown runs by quarterback Steve McNairwere enough for the Tennessee Titans to extend their winning streak in the AFC Central Division to 12 games.

McNair scored on runs of two and three yards in the first quarter to lead the Titans to a 16-10 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The win moved the Titans (8-2) within one-half game of the first-place Jacksonville Jaguars in the AFC Central. Tennessee is off to its best start since the franchise was located in Houston and opened 9-2 in 1991.

"We're getting closer," said Titans coach Jeff Fisher. "We talked about playing in different phases and I saw improvement out of this team today on all three phases. The offense, the defense, the special teams. We beat a good football team today."

After a 27-22 loss to Jacksonville in September 1998, the Titans won six straight division games last year and the first six this season. Included in the streak are three wins over the Steelers (5-5).

Kordell Stewart hit Troy Edwards with a 15-yard touchdown in the first quarter, but the Steelers would not reach the end zone again.

Stewart also was called for intentional grounding in the end zone as he attempted to throw a pass while in the grasp of Josh Evans, resulting in a safety in the third quarter.

Rookie Kris Brown kicked a 24-yard field goal in the fourth for Pittsburgh, but missed a 44-yard attempt in the first half.

McNair completed 14-of-26 passes for 149 yards with an interception and Eddie Georgerushed for 83 yards on 21 carries for the Titans. George has 315 rushing yards in his last three games against the Steelers.

Stewart, who was sacked five times, completed 18-of-30 for 177 yards with an interception. Jerome Bettis, who was held to 55 yards in two games against Tennessee last season, had 88 yards on 14 carries.

"It's frustrating," Bettis said. "We didn't make the big plays when we needed to. We've got to go out there and keep playing.

We have to keep scratching and get some wins."

Tennessee opened the game with a seven-play, 74-yard scoring drive. The key play was a 45-yard bomb from McNair to Chris Sanders to the Pittsburgh 4. Two plays later, McNair rolled right and scored on a two-yard run.

"These were plays we just put in the last couple of weeks," McNair said. "On the first one, it was so wide open I probably could have walked in."

The Steelers marched 75 yards in eight plays, capped by Stewart's TD pass to Edwards, on their opening drive. Bettis broke off a 35-yard run to the Tennessee 31 and Stewart kept the drive alive with a nine-yard pass to Edwards on a 3rd-and-6 to the Tennessee 18.

Tennessee responded with a 10-play, 82-yard drive which ended with McNair scoring again on the final play of the quarter. The key plays were a 25-yard pass to Joey Kent and a 17-yard pass interference penalty on cornerback Deshea Townsend, who was starting for the injured Chad Scott. McNair capped the drive by diving around left end for a three-yard touchdown.

The Titans increased their lead to 16-7 on a third-quarter safety. On a first-down play at their own 6, Stewart faded back in his own end zone. As he was wrapped up by Evans, Stewart desperately threw the ball away and was flagged for grounding in the end zone, an automatic safety.

Brown kicked a 24-yard field goal with 6:55 left in the fourth quarter to cap a 15-play, 68-yard drive which lasted more than seven minutes.

PREGAME

Submitted by McMillen & Wife

I don't usually have time to put in my 2 cents on pregame. But with all the defeatism I'm hearing (including my own) after what happened vs. Cleveland last Sunday, I'll chime in for a change.

Last week was last week. It's over. Move on.

Anybody who thinks this Titans team is unbeatable needs to take a little closer look. Yes, they're 7-2. And yes, they did come away with a couple of big upsets vs. Jacksonville (a complete fluke) & St. Louis. But other than that, they've been playing nobody's, and certainly haven't played flawless football. Here's what they've done:

vs. Cinci, 36-35 W

vs. Cleveland, 26-9 W

at Jacksonville, 20-19 W

at San Fran, 22-24 L

vs. Baltimore, 14-11 W

at New Orleans, 24-21 W

vs. St. Louis, 24-21 W

at Miami, 0-17 L

at Cinci, 24-14 W

5 of their 7 vitories have come by a total of 11 points (that's a margin of 2.2 points per game), and mostly against horrible teams. They're not exactly bulldozing the oposition, guys & dolls. And anyone who saw their so-called "win" over Jacksonville will recall that Brunell inexplicably threw an interception in the end zone in the final minute of the game when the Jags were poised inside Tennessee's 10. The Jags had it won if Brunell had just thrown the ball away & let 'em kick the chip-shot FG. As for their win over the Rams, I actually watched that game, and the Rams just had an off day. Everything that could go wrong, did. Let's face it... the law of averages was simply against St. Louis that week. 7-0? No.

Now look at the Tuxedos two losses. One was to a pathetic San Fran team (which is not too many notches down from our loss to Cleveland), and the other was a humiliating 17-0 shutout by Miami. Let me tell you something... Miami's defense isn't any better than ours, folks. Our "D" is damn good. Yes, the absence of Chad Scott will hurt, but since Tennessee (God, I still wanna call 'em Houston) is likely to be missing an excellent receiver in Yancey Thigpen (who's suffering from a twisted ankle), it's gonna be a little less necessary to dedicate a safety to help Townsend out on every play. Thus, containing running back Eddie George should be a bit more managable in Thigpen's absence. Yeah, I really do like our chances. This is definitely a win-able game.

One other point. I mentioned the law of averages earlier. Does anyone think the Titans are really a 14-2, 13-3 team? I sure don't. They're solid, even good, but still not Super Bowl material. Tennesse is 5-0 in the division, too. Does anybody really think that's gonna hold up? Not me. They're due for a slump, guys. I'm tellin' 'ya right now, they're gonna fall to Pittsburgh this week, and that defense in Baltimore is gonna nip 'em in 2 weeks. Wait & see. Jax has 'em again in the next-to-last game, we get 'em in Pittsburgh the following week for the finale. They aren't gonna beat Jax twice, and if we're still somehow in contention that last week, we're gonna sweep their asses. The Titans are an 11-5 team at best (and hopefully, only 10-6 so we have a shot at a playoff berth). But, I'm getting ahead of myself.

It's not over, people. This isn't some "feel-good" pep talk... I'm serious about this. We have a superb defense, and an offense that performs relatively well on the road. I refuse to give up on this season. The Steelers won't give up, either. Time to kick some ass.

McMillen & Wife

POSTGAME

Submitted by RJHurf

Dear Mr. Cowher:

Please give Famous Amos and Malcolm Johnson a chance. Maybe Pete Gonzales and Anthony Wright for a couple of series. What have you got to lose? Worried that you won't score any points?? Don't worry. It can't get any worse. Maybe something will click. Just tell them to go out there and bust heads. Run around, have some fun. You never know.

Cincinnati 27, Pittsburgh 20

Posted: Sunday November 28, 1999 10:12 PM

PITTSBURGH (Ticker) -- Kordell Stewart dug a hole the Pittsburgh Steelers couldn't climb out of as the Cincinnati Bengals avoided a record-tying 107th loss this decade by holding on for a 27-20 victory.

Jeff Blake threw for one touchdown and ran for another in the first quarter and rookie cornerbackRodney Heath returned an interception for a score early in the second period before Stewart was yanked.

The Bengals (2-10) snapped a season-high six-game losing streak and avoided a defeat that would have tied the Tampa Bay Buccaneers of the 1980s for the most losses in a decade.

"It's been quite a long time coming for the second win," Coslet said. "To move the ball on a defensive team like that, you get a lot of confidence. This is the most complete game we've played this year. Even though we beat Cleveland, this was better. It's always nice to come into Pittsburgh and get a win. I think I've left on the bus a dozen times after losses."

Although backup Mike Tomzcak rallied the Steelers (5-6) within a touchdown in the third quarter, Cincinnati's defense toughened down the stretch, forcing Pittsburgh to turn the ball over on downs in four of its last five possessions.

Stewart's afternoon came to an end after Heath intercepted his last pass and returned it 58 yards for a touchdown, giving the Bengals a 21-3 lead with 13:30 remaining in the first half.Doug Pelfrey's field goal just over three minutes later extended the advantage to 24-3 before Pittsburgh came alive behind Tomczak.

"Considering the way I played and the way things have turned out, it's not a positive for this team," said Stewart after learning that Tomczak would start at Jacksonville on Thursday.

"When you're not playing well, no matter who you are, there is going to be a change. I understand."

Stewart completed 5-of-11 passes for 36 yards with two interceptions. He attempted to enter the game as a receiver late in the fourth quarter, but the Steelers had too many men on the field and were forced to call a timeout to avoid being penalized.

"The game was disappointing," Pittsburgh coach Bill Cowher said.

"To come out and play as lethargic as we played defensively is very disappointing. Obviously, what Mike Tomczak has provided us with from a spark standpoint, I at this time say that he is our starter for (Thursday's) game at Jacksonville. We will utilize Kordell in whatever means or fashion we need."

Tomzcak was 19-of-34 for 263 yards with a pair of touchdown passes. But his 4th-and-6 pass fell incomplete deep in Cincinnati territory with less than a minute to play. The Steelers suffered their third straight loss, falling 2 1/2 games behind Buffalo (8-4) for the final AFC wild card spot.

"I'm always loosy-goosy," Tomczak said. "I try to get a pulse for what's going on. We have a short week, but the adrenaline is still flowing. I'm exciting about the opportunity (to start). It's a win-win situation to get on the field and show I can still play effectively. I'm looking forward to good things happening these next five weeks."

Blake went 15-for-28 for 241 yards with a touchdown and an interception. His favorite target was Darnay Scott, who collected 123 yards on four catches, including the game's opening score on a 76-yard TD grab.

Cincinnati has won three of the last four meetings with the Steelers, but trail the all-time series, 32-27.

Stewart's poor day started on the Steelers' first possession.

Facing a 2nd-and-7 at the Cincinnati 41, he fired a pass into Heath's chest at the 26. The rookie returned the ball to the 35 where Blake began a six-play march that ended in his one-yard scamper to the pylon at the right corner of the end zone, giving Cincinnati a 14-0 lead with 8:04 remaining in the first quarter.

"The touchdown was just a quarterback sneak," Blake said. "We just came into the game trying to open it early and we hit the big passes. Great routes run by Scott and (Carl) Pickens."

The first of Kris Brown's two field goals closed the gap to 14-3 entering the second period. Brown has made a rookie franchise-record 19 field goals in 21 attempts.

But Stewart found Heath again and this time no one would catch the fleet-footed safety from Minnesota as he rumbled down the sideline to extend the lead to 21-3.

"As a defensive back, it calls for us to play pass first, run second," Heath said. "I keep my eyes on the backfield and I was really focused on the receivers today. I just keyed on my man and stuck with the receivers."

Tomczak had an immediate impact, guiding the Steelers to a field goal and hitting second-year wideout Bobby Shaw with a 15-yard touchdown pass to make it 24-13 with just under two minutes left in the first half.

The 15-year veteran signal caller opened the second half by completing a 29-yard pass to tight end Mark Bruener before findingHines Ward with a 34-yard TD strike, pulling Pittsburgh within 24-20 just 1:28 into the third quarter.

Doug Pelfrey's 29-yard field goal with 9:44 remaining in the period capped the scoring as the Bengals' defense stiffened.

John Copeland sacked Tomczak on a 4th-and-4 from the Bengals' 44 with 11 seconds remaining in the third quarter to thwart one potential tying drive. Jerome Bettis, who rushed for 88 yards on 22 carries, was stopped for no gain on a 4th-and-1 from the Cincinnati 44 with 9:52 to play.

"It's frustrating. We didn't take advantage of the opportunities Cincinnati gave us," Bettis said. "We can't give up. We still have a lot of football ahead of us."

The Bengals marched down to the Pittsburgh 8 on the ensuing drive but Pelfrey missed a 25-yard field goal with 5:51 left, giving the Steelers hope to pull it out down the stretch.

Pittsburgh went three and out and gave the Bengals the ball at midfield with a chance to close the game out. But Cincinnati was unable to move and Brad Costello's punt left Tomczak and the Steelers at their own 13 with 4:12 to go.

Tomczak converted a 3rd-and-3 from his own 20 by scrambling 27 yards up the middle. He hit rookie Troy Edwards with an 11-yard bullet to convert another third down, moving the ball up to the Pittsburgh 42.

Tomczak connected with Shaw and Ward on consecutive first-down passes to bring the ball to the Cincinnati 21, which is where the drive stalled. After an incompletion to Ward, Tomczak fired two incompletions to Shaw, who was covered closely by Heath on both attempts. The Bengals took possession with 49 seconds left and Blake ran out the clock.

Pittsburgh fell to 1-4 at home.

PREGAME

Submitted by Tom Bragg

What can you say about this game? It's a game that the Steelers should definitely win, but will they? We all thought they would blow the Browns away, but it didn't happen. The Bengals are every bit as bad as the Browns, if not worse. So just what does all this mean? It means, defensively the Steelers should be able to handle the Bengals, provided they can contain Darnay Scott and Carl Pickens. On offense, it's a different story. The Steelers at this point in time are having problems just getting out of their own way, much less challenging an opposing defense. Look for a low scoring game with the Steelers winning 17-10. Key thing to watch - look for Cowher to have a very short leash on Kordell Stewert in this game. If Stewert struggles early in this game, he will be gone.

Tom Bragg

POSTGAME

Submitted by Greg Gentile

These guys will not win another game. This is a repeat of last year. Does any one know how many times Wayne Gandy has personally screwed up! Another false start at a critical time vs. Cinci. Put him on the bench with Kordell.

Submitted by McMillen & Wife

So your rose-colored glasses haven't been working for weeks and you can't find the silver lining in all of this, huh?

Brutha Timmy is here to SHOOOW you the LIIIIGHT, so be of good cheer, bruthas & sistas. Not only will the Steelers bounce back sooner than anyone thinks, Kordell Stewart will once again be the toast of the town next season.

What's that? You're a non-believer, you say? Ah, ye have little faith.

True, like you, I have NEVER in my life been as thoroughly disgusted with the Steelers as I was immediately following Sunday's loss to Cinci. I mean, to lose to the expansion Browns AND the ridiculously bad Bungles (both of which came into OUR house with only one stinking win) in the span of 3 weeks is beyond reproach. These are inferior teams that should have been dispensed with easily. Clearly it's not enough to simply shine the light of blame on hapless Kordell Stewart anymore, folks. Coach Cowher, the spotlight is on YOU, buddy... if what we've seen the last three weeks is the best you can do for your $2 million a year, and if the rumors of your impending departure are true, then thanks for those first 6 glorious seasons you gave us, but don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.

But -- here's where the silver lining comes in...

Kordell has failed miserably at QB. Of course, in and of itself, that's not a good thing. But you have to look at the biiiiig picture, bruthas & sistas. Kordell's failure has been so complete that we can end it NOW without dragging it on for years like so many other teams seem compelled to do. And we can credit Coach Cowher for allowing Stewart to fail COMPLETELY, rather than yanking him in an effort to stop the bleeding. I know that sounds crazy, but had Cowher pulled him sooner, Kordell might've had a different attitude about all of this. As it is, I think Cowher might've played things perfectly. Let me explain.

Things have gone so horribly that Kordell has accepted his benching without resentment. Deep down, I suspect he almost welcomed it at this point. More importantly, not only has Stewart said he understands the move, he has readily agreed to return to his role as "Slash." This tremendous display of maturity by Kordell will play a monumental role in the future success of the Steelers.

Still not convinced? Consider the following:

Fact: Kordell will once again be the toast of the town. Many of us loathed Kordell as a starting QB, but we ADORED him as a QB/WR/RB.

Fact: In essence, we just traded one of the most mediocre starting QBs in the NFL for a truly gifted triple-threat that any team in the league would salivate over! Kordell was a tremendous big-play threat as "Slash" and was one of the most dangerous game-breakers in the league in that role in '95-'96. He is without question one of the best athletes in the league.

Fact: That he's returning to this role WITHOUT COMPLAINT for the good of the team speaks VOLUMES about Kordell's character. Many people have questioned his heart (myself included), but let's face it: the guy never WANTED to play poorly... he was trying his hardest. It just hasn't worked out for him at QB. His willingness to make the switch back to "Slash" for the TEAM makes him a veritable hero in my book. That takes serious balls, folks, and demonstrates remarkable UNSELFISHNESS. We've all lamented that we wished the Steelers could use him in that role again, but who among us ever thought he would be willing do it? Not me. Kordell, I'm impressed... BIG time.

The moral of this sermon? Roll with the punches, Bruthas & Sistas... the future of the Steelers just got MUCH brighter.

See 'ya next week. Until then, my bruthas!

Tim McMillen

Webmaster, McMillen & Wife

P.S.-- On the other hand, Stewart will probably be the starting QB again in a week or two, so what do I know? Listen, I know we can't afford to pay a QB salary to a glorified WR, and ultimately, Stewart won't be happy playing WR anyway. Bottom line is, I had write SOMETHING to make myself feel better for the time being, and this piece did the trick for me. Are my dreams of Kordell remaining as "Slash" for the long-term plausible? Maybe. Are they fun to think about? Definitely. Are they likely to come true? Absolutely not. Oh, well... :-)

P.P.S.-- I still had the balls to wear my Steelers tie to work on Monday as I do EVERY "morning after," win or lose (of course, I wore the now-obligatory bag over my head as well... it's been a staple since the Cleveland game). Don't give up the ship, folks. Now is when the fair-weather fans sink to the bottom and disappear for a few years. Hope you're not one of 'em.

Jacksonville 20, Pittsburgh 6

Posted: Friday December 03, 1999 01:39 AM

JACKSONVILLE, Florida (Ticker) -- TheJacksonville Jaguars used national television exposure to show why they are the NFL's prime-time players.

Backup James Stewart ran for a career-high 145 yards and Mark Brunell recorded his third straight 300-yard passing game as the Jaguars improved to 11-1 with a 20-6 triumph over the lifeless Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Jaguars' defense continued its assault on the NFL record for fewest points allowed in a season. Jacksonville has surrendered only 131 in 12 games and is within striking distance of the 1986 Chicago Bears, who yielded only 187 points.

"The last few weeks everybody has been questioning us if we were for real," Jacksonville cornerback Fernando Bryant said. "So we challenged ourselves. Teams are going to put up yards and they are going to put points up; our goal is to go out there and win the game."

Riding a franchise-best nine-game winning streak, the Jaguars can clinch a playoff berth on Sunday with losses by Kansas City and New England.

"We just finished this part of the season we called 'The Grind,'" Jacksonville coach Tom Coughlin said. "We were 6-0 during 'The Grind' and now we get into the final stretch, and it is time for us to eliminate those type of things that keep us from being a complete football team."

"Tonight we were able to show the whole country what kind of team we can be," Brunell added. "It was a good night for us. I was pleased with all three phases of our team."

Brunell completed 25-of-37 passes for 308 yards and a touchdown.

Jimmy Smith hauled in 10 receptions for 124 yards and a score whileKeenan McCardellhad five catches for 113 yards.

"It's clicking right now," Brunell said. "Our production is not just the quarterback. We have guys who are making big plays.

Jimmy and Keenan were fabulous tonight. The protection was there and we were able to run the football. We did all the things we need to do to be effective."

A change in starting quarterbacks did little to spark the Steelers (5-7), who managed only 15 first downs and 235 yards of offense. Mike Tomczak, starting in place of Kordell Stewart, was 19-of-39 for 194 yards and was sacked three times.

"You have to give these guys some credit, they are a good football team, obviously, and their record indicates that," Tomczak said.

"This isn't all about Mike Tomczak," said Steelers coach Bill Cowher. "It's about everyone. It is a football team, we've got four games to go and we've got to find ways to win football games. I keep saying that, but it is the truth. It's where we are at. That is the only thing we have to focus on."

James Stewart, filling in for injured star Fred Taylor, opened the contest with a 12-yard run but the Jaguars were forced to punt and Tomczak led the Steelers to points on their first possession. Pittsburgh stalled at the Jacksonville 17 and rookie Kris Brownkicked a 40-yard field goal for a 3-0 lead.

Although the Jaguars owned nearly 2-to-1 edge in time of possession, the lead remained 3-0 until the two-minute warning.

That's when Jacksonville's Mike Hollis capped a 10-play, 83-yard drive with a 25-yard field goal. The drive was aided by a 30-yard pass interference call on cornerback Deshea Townsend that put the ball on the Pittsburgh 27.

The Jaguars took a 6-3 lead when Hollis converted a 32-yard attempt on the final play of the half. Brunell found tight end Damon Jones for 24 yards on 3rd-and-10 and McCardell for eight on 3rd-and-8 just before the go-ahead kick.

Pittsburgh drew even early in the second half when they pinned the Jaguars deep in their own territory. After a short punt, the Steelers took over at the Jacksonville 39. Tomczak found tight end Mark Bruener for completions of 18 and six yards, setting up a 38-yard field goal by Brown with 9:42 left in the quarter.

The Jaguars took control on the ensuing possession as Brunell engineered an eight-play, 86-yard drive. He found Reggie Barlow for 13 yards on the first play and Stewart broke off tackle for 40 yards on the next snap. Stewart plowed off left tackle for seven more on 4th-and-1 and, two plays later, Brunell found Smith in the end zone with a 27-yard strike.

Jacksonville pushed its lead to 20-6 with just over eight minutes left in the final period. Brunell found McCardell for 49 yards and Smith twice on third-down plays. Stewart capped the drive by going in from one yard.

Any chance the Steelers had to rally were erased when Tomczak was sacked deep in Jacksonville territory and followed with three straight incompletions. Pittsburgh did convert a third-down opportunity until 69 seconds left in the contest.

Defensive end Tony Brackens recorded his 10th sack of the season and with 27 1/2 in his career passed Joel Smeenge on the Jaguars' all-time list.

"It really hasn't hit me yet," Brackens said of the record. "I have a few more games to play, so I am going to keep on playing.

I was looking at the big picture and really wasn't looking at my goals.

"They got some big plays here and there but we kept them out of the end zone, and that is the biggest stat of all," Coughlin added. "Our defense kept getting more physical and more aggressive, and I was glad to see the return of that."

PREGAME

Submitted by PUG02

Holy smokes, Cowher still has some brain cells! I am so glad that Kordell is out of there. Mike did great job and no one could possibly dispute that. I read all of the comments and I only have one concern... nobody has mentioned Pete Gonzalez. Why?? I agree that Mike is not the answer for the future, but I truly believe that Pete is deserving of a chance. I guarantee he could not possibly do worse than Kordell. It seems that no one believes that Pete has the stuff to get the job done. Well, I have a question... why did Donahue and Cowher sign him?

Let me share some thoughts... "there once was a guy named Bret Favre who was the lonely back up in Atlanta and Green Bay"... "there was once a guy named Mark Brunell that was the unheard of backup at both Green Bay and then backed up Steve Buerline in Jacksonville"... there once lived this awesome QB in arena football, I think his name was, um, um, Curt Warner or something like that." Get the message? We have a guy on our team that should be given some time to play. He just may surprise everyone, kinda like the guys I just mentioned.

That's my take this week folks. I live here in Jacksonville and I will be at the game Thursday with my Black n Gold. I will always bleed "Black n Gold".

Trust me, we will beat the Jagwads!!!

Baltimore 31, Pittsburgh 24

Posted: Sunday December 12, 1999 06:27 PM

PITTSBURGH (Ticker) -- Qadry Ismail added to the quandary of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Ismail caught six passes for a franchise-record 258 yards, including touchdown catches of 54, 59 and 76 yards in the third quarter, as the Baltimore Ravens handed the Steelers their fifth straight loss with a 31-24 victory.

"One of the things that has helped our passing game the last couple of weeks is that Tony (Banks) and us (receivers) got together and discussed the situation," Ismail said. "If we run the right routes, Tony will trust us and anticipate where we're going and put a touch on the throws. We've had some good connections and that paid off today."

Pittsburgh (5-8) cut Baltimore's lead to 31-24 with 2:45 left in the fourth quarter whenKordell Stewart, who was benched as quarterback last week in favor of Mike Tomczak, caught an 11-yard touchdown pass from Tomczak, his first scoring catch since 1996.

After Pittsburgh's onside kick went out of bounds, Baltimore faced 3rd-and-7 at the Pittsburgh 38 at the two-minute warning.

But Priest Holmes, who had a 64-yard touchdown run in the first quarter, ran off left tackle for 28 yards to seal the victory.

"This was as disappointing an effort defensively that I've seen since I've been here," embattled Pittsburgh coach Bill Cowher said. "I'll make changes if I have to make them, but I don't know what my options are at this point."

Banks completed only 8-of-26 passes, but they went for 268 yards and three touchdowns. Holmes had 18 carries for 130 yards.

Baltimore (6-7) posted its fourth win in six games and stopped a five-game losing streak against Pittsburgh. It was Baltimore's first win at Three Rivers Stadium in team history.

Tomczak was 22-of-41 for 249 yards and two touchdowns. Jerome Bettis was held to 39 yards on 13 carries but threw a 21-yard TD pass to Hines Ward in the first quarter.

All of Pittsburgh's losses have come against AFC Central foes.

The Steelers also fell to 1-5 at home and are assured of their first losing season at Three Rivers since going 1-6 in 1969.

"We're losing right now. That's all the more reason to step up your game," Pittsburgh safety Lethon Flowers said. "It is unfortunate that we got beat by Baltimore today. I thought we were a better team. They just made us look like chumps today."

Ismail's first touchdown of the game came when he took a shoulder in the stomach after he made the catch, but managed to stay on his feet and run into the end zone for a 54-yard touchdown catch to give Baltimore a 17-10 lead.

Pittsburgh came right back on its next drive to tie the game as a 41-yard kickoff return byRichard Huntley led to a a six-yard touchdown pass from Tomczak to rookie Troy Edwards.

But the Ravens needed only three plays and just over a minute to regain the advantage as Banks, out of the shotgun, connected with Ismail on a 59-yard scoring strike with 8:28 left in the period.

After the Steelers punted on their next possession, Ismail caught a pass from Banks, faked out cornerback Dewayne Washington and raced into the end zone for a 76-yard touchdown catch as Baltimore took a 31-17 lead with 3:19 to go in the period.

"I knew we were going to put pressure on the corners to play man-to-man coverage, but I wouldn't say we stunk up the joint, I stunk up the joint," said Washington, who was victimized by Ismail on all three touchdowns. "I didn't hold up my end. I didn't play well."

Pittsburgh took a 7-0 lead on its opening drive as Bettis got a pitch from Tomczak, rolled right and threw a spiral to Ward for a touchdown.

"I threw one in college in a bowl game, but never in the NFL," said Bettis, who lined up as a wide receiver on the first play from scrimmage but could not catch up to a pass thrown by Tomczak. "We just couldn't hold on. We played well for one or two quarters but not 60 minutes."

The Ravens came right back on their first drive as Holmes ran up the middle for a 64-yard scoring run.

Kris Brown kicked a 31-yard field goal to give Pittsburgh a 10-7 lead late in the first quarter.

Matt Stover booted a 19-yard field goal just over a minute into the second period to tie the game. The score was set up by a pass interference call on Pittsburgh defensive backChad Scott, which moved the ball to the Pittsburgh 1. The penalty nullified an interception by safety Travis Davis after Holmes attempted to throw a pass to rookie tight end Ryan Collins.

PREGAME

Submitted by Tommy "Fleetwood 'N' Julio" Coleman

Tim, I know you'll be @ Mecca this Sunday. Take the power back, brother. As you may remember from that newspaper article I sent you, I always go directly up to the old (and soon to be put down) girl, put my arms around her and whisper, "I love you, old girl." Please do this for me, say a little -- no scratch that -- a BIG prayer for her, us, the team, etc. I won't be there this year and I miss her.

P.S.--I see no reason at this point not to play Pete Gonzalas & Anthony Wright. That being said, let me add this Myron Cope-ism; "Deck the halls with Modell's Meatballs, Fa Gah Gah Gah Gah! Gah Gah, Gah, Gah!

P.P.S.--Is that new helmet considered an improvement by the Modells?

POSTGAME

Submitted by Tommy "Fleetwood 'N' Julio" Coleman

Getting beaten by the Browns at Home 2wice in one season sucks.

Submitted by Tom Bragg

PART 1 --- The one ray of hope that Steeler fans could salvage out of this HORRIBLE season was the Steeler defense. Now after this pitiful display of what's supposed to be pro football against the Ravens, it's obvious that the team's defense is going the same route as the offense... straight down the CRAPPER! Every single aspect of this organization needs to be evaluated after the season, from the front office all the way down to the the peanut venders! No stone should go unturned! BOTTOM LINE - IT'S TIME TO CLEAN HOUSE!!!

Tom Bragg

Kansas City 35, Pittsburgh 19

Posted: Saturday December 18, 1999 06:06 PM

KANSAS CITY, Missouri (Ticker) -- It did not seem possible three weeks ago, but theKansas City Chiefs find themselves in sole possession of first place in the AFC West.

Tight end Tony Gonzalez caught a pair of touchdown passes as the Chiefs rolled over the reeling Pittsburgh Steelers, 35-19, to stretch their winning streak to four games and move a half-game ahead of the slumping Seattle Seahawks.

Prior to starting their winning streak against Oakland on November 28, the Chiefs were three games behind Seattle, which has hit the skids with a three-game losing streak.

"We've got a ways to go but today's game was really important to me for a lot of reasons," said Kansas City coach Gunther Cunningham, whose club was coming off a last-second 31-28 victory over the Minnesota Vikings on Monday night.

"It was a tough week and a short week. It was emotional for me because the Steelers did not have a very good record coming in and Seattle loomed down the road."

The Seahawks visit Denver on Sunday before hosting Kansas City on December 26. The Chiefs close the season at home against Oakland while Seattle ends the campaign on the road against the New York Jets.

The defeat gave the Steelers (5-9) their first six-game losing streak in the era of coach Bill Cowher, who was hired prior to the 1992 season. Pittsburgh's last six-game slide game came in 1988 under Chuck Noll.

"This game was disappointing," Cowher said. "Overall, the big plays were very significant. Tony Gonzalez, who is a big-play guy, made some to keep drives going today. A lot of guys got banged up in this game, so we are going to go from there."

Gonzalez, who became the first tight end in Kansas City history with 60 receptions in a season, caught a 15-yard TD pass to tie it, 7-7, in the first quarter and a two-yard scoring strike that gave the Chiefs a 21-13 advantage with 4:17 left in the first half.

"You have a feeling that the guy's going to be open pretty much all the time," said Elvis Grbac, who completed 12-of-22 passes for 149 yards and a pair of touchdowns. "His confidence right now is so high that he thinks he can catch everything."

"Tony is a consummate professional football player," Cunningham added. "He's not only a great football player but a great person. What you see during the game is what you see every day in season or offseason."

Pittsburgh marched 63 yards on seven plays on the game's opening possession and grabbed a 7-0 lead on Mike Tomczak's 12-yard TD pass to Troy Edwards with 11:10 remaining in the first quarter.

But the Chiefs' defense took over, allowing only a pair of field goals by rookie Kris Brownuntil Tomczak tossed a meaningless 11-yard TD pass to Bobby Shaw with 34 seconds remaining.

The Steelers scored on their first two possessions as Brown kicked a 42-yard field to make it 10-7 with 5:07 left in the first period.

Pittsburgh had a chance to extend its lead but Brown had his 49-yard field goal blocked with 21 seconds left in the first period. Kansas City took the lead for good at 14-10 when linebacker Donnie Edwardsreturned an interception 28 yards for a touchdown 4:44 into the second quarter.

"This team feeds off interceptions and turnovers and fumbles, Tomczak said. "I think Jacksonville has a better defense, but this team feeds off turnovers."

After Brown booted a 47-yard field goal with three seconds remaining in the first half, the Chiefs made it 28-13 on wide receiverDerrick Alexander's 82-yard TD scamper on an end around with 1:29 to play in the third quarter. It was his first career rushing touchdown and his fourth-longest play from scrimmage.

"I think Derrick Alexander is another guy I would go to and so isKevin Lockett," Grbac said. "I'm just not zeroing in on one guy. I think a lot of it was the two-deep coverage they were playing."

"Derrick Alexander's run was something special, but not only his run," Cunningham added. "There were three or four blocks. Kevin Lockett made two on the play. Tim Grunhard, bless his heart, he's beat up, but got out there and made a great block. Tony Gonzalez made the finest block you'll see. He knocked the guy out."

The Steelers had a chance to get back in the game early in the final period but safety Eric Warfield picked off Tomczak in the end zone with 9:28 to play.

Tomczak was 23-of-46 for 278 yards with two touchdowns and four interceptions whileJerome Bettis rushed for 63 yards on 19 carries, ending his string of four consecutive 100-yard games against the Chiefs.

"This is a sad ride and embarrassing ride," Tomzcak said. "We know we are better than this and we have two weeks left to prove it. Two weeks to get a victory under our belt. We owe it to ourselves and we owe it to the fans."

Former Steeler Bam Morris added to Pittsburgh's misery with a 10-yard TD run with 1:56 remaining. Morris rushed for 71 yards on 17 carries.

"Cowher always gets his team fired up coming in here," Morris said. "We knew he had to be ready. They are a hard-hitting team."

The teams have split their last six meetings, all at Arrowhead Stadium. Pittsburgh posted a 20-13 victory here last year, ending Kansas City's 11-game home winning streak.

PREGAME

Submitted by Tommy "Fleetwood 'N' Julio" Coleman

There is nothing worse than a Stadium full of Pasty-Faced White People pretending to be Indians.

Start Huntley!

Start Gonzalas!

Go Steelers!

POSTGAME

Submitted by Ed Hodakowski

Mr. and Mrs. McMillen,

last Saturday was my second excursion to Arrowhead, the first being a Monday-Nighter last year in October. Let me tell you firsthand that no matter how bad it looked on T.V., it was much worse in person. We had incredible seats... 4th row, endzone. The first touchdown by Pittsburgh took place about twenty feet in front of me, and I swear that I could've reached out and taken the ball out of Edwards' hands. The second drive, field goal, and thoughts of me actually getting to watch the first Pittsburgh upset this year. Then the penalties, injuries and turnovers began. I've been a die-hard fan since my high school, Steel-curtain dynasty days, and considered myself fortunate to be stationed overseas during the bleak eighties and unable to watch what I thought were the lowest depths to which the Steelers could sink. Having to sit tight while obnoxious, unwashed, bearded hillbillies screamed smug obscenities at Kordell and our fine team was intolerable. This humiliation will be vindicated next year, and you can bet the farm that I will be in Arrowhead to watch it. Until next year, when high draft picks and a new attitude will save us, I'll be BLEEDING BLACK AND GOLD IN THE MIDWEST!

P.S.-Happy Holidays to you and your fine family!

Carolina 20, Pittsburgh 30

PREGAME

Submitted by Tommy "Fleetwood 'N' Julio" Coleman

If it makes you feel any better, we might get to see Kevin Greene end Mike Toma-sack's career Sunday! I guess at this point that's as good of a pre-game comment as any. Why not start Pete Gonzalas?

POSTGAME

Submitted by Scott Springer

Dear Fellow McMilleniacs,

This week can be summed up in two words - LINE PLAY.

Despite the defense's sudden inability to stop anybody, the offense was able to step up and win one for the team. This defense thing concerns me, though, since it was the Defense at the beginning of the year that was winning games for us. Is it the injuries that could be causing so many problems, or is it something deeper than that.

For example, Lee Flowers got beat in the second quarter big-time, and it was because he bit on a play fake and let the receiver behind him. These mental lapses are becoming more and more alarming on a team that is supposedly well coached. I'm not ready to lay blame at Cowher's feet yet, but maybe Haslett is the problem.

It's obvious that there are problems on the defensive side of the ball, but the cause is still up in the air. It might be the injuries, but the Steelers have been able to overcome injuries before. It might be lack of talent, and although I would tend to agree in the defensive secondary, the front seven is as good as any in the league despite injuries. I also see good players making stupid mistakes (see Lee Flowers above).

It was nice to see the O-Line show up. If Bettis runs for 135 yards in the majority of games this season, Stewart would still be under center and we would be talking about who we would be playing in the first round of the playoffs - probably hosting a wild-card game. If Bettis wasn't getting hit three yards deep in the backfield all year (exception being yesterday), then he would have run for 100+ yards in almost all his games this year. There are other areas to point blame this year, but the O-Line is the biggest culprit this year!

The area that must be solidified for next year (when Kordell goes back under center - mark my words) is wide receiver. Other than the finally emerging Edwards and the occasional solid play of Hines Ward, this teams receivers simply suck! T-zak's INT yesterday should have been caught by a Steeler's receiver, but the receiver popped the ball up into the air (which is amazing since the pass was thrown low) and was picked out of the air by a Carolina Panther. These guys can't get separation, don't run the right routes, can't catch the ball when thrown to them, and don't scare anybody's defensive secondary. In fact, I would go so far as to say that the poor receivers contributed to the poor play of the offensive line; the defenses could essentially run a gap-8 style defense and win the numbers game with the O-line. This could have been countered with better line play and execution at the point of attack, but it was definitely a contributing factor.

I guess I should just be happy with a win. Okay, I'm happy! I'll be even happier next week with a win vs. Tennessee, but I'm not going to get my hopes up too high!

Scott Springer

Steeler's Fan stuck in "Raven's Country"

(At least according to the local TV and Radio stations)

Submitted by Tom Bragg

This Steeler win over the Panthers proved one thing for sure about the 1999 season. Jerome Bettis is definitely not "over the hill" as some very foolish people have made him out to be. For all you so-called experts that said Bettis was ready to park his bus for good, I have one thing to say... GET A FRIGGIN' LIFE! This Steeler team has without question one of the worst offensive lines in all of football. Plus the fact that Jerome's carries have been way down this year because the Steelers are constantly playing catchup on the scoreboard. Yet, with the latest win over the Panthers, Mr. Bettis will still rush for over 1000 yards when all is said and done! Considering this guy only averages 12 to 15 carries a game and behind one of the worst offensive lines in the game, what Bettis accomplished is truly an amazing feat! For that, Jerome, you are to be commended!

Tom Bragg

Tennessee 47, Pittsburgh 36

Posted: Sunday January 02, 2000 10:00 PM

PITTSBURGH (Ticker) -- With their playoff position already sealed, the Tennessee Titansgot a chance to rest their starters and set a franchise record for wins with a wild 47-36 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Tennessee (13-3) will be the fourth seed in the AFC playoffs and host the Buffalo Bills in the wild card round next week. The Titans finished one game behind the Jacksonville Jaguars for first place in the AFC Central. Tennessee won both meetings with Jacksonville this season.

"We've got a short week," said Tennessee coach Jeff Fisher. "It's single elimination. It's a first and long time for this club. We watched the Jackosonville win so we played it accordingly today. Now we get ready for Buffalo."

Steve McNair completed 9-of-11 passes for 107 yards and a touchdown in the first quarter for the Titans. Eddie George rushed eight times for 32 yards before resting with McNair.

Neil O'Donnell replaced McNair and was 6-of-12 for 109 yards with two touchdowns and an interception against his former team.

The Titans built a 31-7 halftime lead. Tight end Frank Wycheckcaught a touchdown pass from McNair and O'Donnell in the first half.

"Thirteen and three, I've been 12-4 before but never been 13-3," said O'Donnell, who led Pittsburgh to a 27-17 loss to the Dallas Cowboysin Super Bowl XXX. "We put this one behind us. It was pretty ugly, but now we get ready for Buffalo. I felt good out there. I wasn't thinking about anytime that I played here before, but Pittsburgh is a special place for me."

Mike Tomczak took advantage of playing against a second-team prevent defense and was 21-of-39 for 309 yards and two TDs for Pittsburgh (6-10). The Steelers lost seven of their last eight games and will miss the playoffs for a second straight season after six straight postseason appearances.

"We need to get back to the basics to get back to a championship," Tomczak said. "The last five games have given me a new outlook on life. There's been no pressure, I just go out here and have fun."

Richard Huntley rushed 11 times for 78 yards and Bobby Shaw had seven receptions for a career best 131 yards for Pittsburgh.

Kordell Stewart, who was replaced by Tomczak in the middle of a 27-20 loss to Cincinnati on November 28, did not have a rush or reception.

"We'll have a conversation about what's going on, what's going to happen next season," Stewart said. "The whole season was fluky in the sense of turnovers, jumping offsides, bad plays.

Once everyone becomes disciplined I think we'll have an opportunity to improve."

Steelers rookie wide receiver Troy Edwards and Titans cornerbackDainon Sidney were ejected for fighting as cornerback Denard Walker returned Huntley's fumble 83 yards to give Tennessee a 47-29 lead with 3:59 left in teh fourth quarter.

Steelers offensive tackle Wayne Gandy was ejected for two penalties after Tomczak threw a 35-yard pass to Bobby Shaw with 1:42 remaining.

Huntley scored on an eight-yard run to tie the score, 7-7, with 2:59 left in the opening quarter. But Rodney Thomas had an 11-yard touchdown run to give the Titans the lead for good, 14-7, four minutes into the second.

Wycheck, who had a nine-yard TD in the first quarter, caught a 26-yard pass from O'Donnell to push the lead to 21-7 with 71 seconds remaining in the second. On the first play after the ensuing kickoff rookie linebacker Jevon Kearse forced Tomczak to fumble and returned it 14 yards to make it 28-7 with 61 seconds left. Pittsburgh got the ball back and failed to convert a 4th-and-2 from its own 36 and Al Del Greco kicked a 42-yard field goal 14 seconds before halftime to make it 31-7.

"This team deserves recognition," Wycheck said. "We've busted our butts all year. Guys going out putting their all to something, being part of a team."

Tomczak hooked up with Hines Ward for a 15-yard TD, cutting the deficit to 31-15, 5:42 into the third quarter. Just under two minutes later rookie John Thornton tackled Tomczak in the end zone to give the Titans a 33-15 bulge. O'Donnell found Michael Roan for a 24-yard score to make it 40-15 with 2:56 remaining in the third.

Jerome Bettis scored from one yard out after a pass interference penalty on Sidney to cut the gap to 40-22 with 1:39 left in the third. Rookie linebacker Joey Porter forced O'Donnell to fumble and had a 46-yard return to pull Pittsburgh within 40-29 with 86 seconds to go in the third.

POSTGAME

Submitted by Scott Springer

First comment: Cowher will stay. I'm kind of saying that with my fingers crossed, but I really think he wants to be here next year and I don't think the Steelers are about to get rid of him with his contract.

Second comment: The game sucked. It was a microcosm of the entire season. No running game to control the clock, missed passes (I think I actually heard Myron say that T-zak was having a good game after throwing a complete pass after two or three straight incompletions in the first half. C'mon - he was just over 50% for the day!), penalties (pass interference is the worst penalty in football - that rule should go back to the way it was and like it is in college), and stupid plays.

As strange as it sounds, I don't care about knocking Neil around. I'll be the first to tell yo that he screwed us when he went to NY, but knocking him silly didn't really help us in the end. If it would have, I would be jumping for joy and sending his mail telling him he's washed up and should retire. I understand everyone being happy about him being flattened at Three Rivers, but the fact is that they handed us our asses and stomping on O'Donnell's skull just isn't as much fun when we lose.

I also don't care about 61 yards rushing by Bettis. Why? Because it could have/should have been 161 yards if we has a line that could move ANYBODY!!!!! They'd have trouble moving the Temple Owls off the line of scrimmage, let alone an NFL D-line. Bettis is still a great back and I'm glad to have him in Pittsburgh, but we need linemen. 61 yards won't get it done for any NFL team that relies on the run.

I don't care about gutsy fourth down calls. Why? Because we don't have an offense that can get two or three yards guaranteed. First and goal from the one should have resulted in a Touchdown, not an over-on-downs after being unable to move the damn ball 1 yard in 4 f$#@#%g plays!!!!! We can't run play action pass because we don't have a QB who can get the ball there and the majority of the receivers won't make plays anyway.

Most of all, I don't want to hear about this team's great defense anymore! What defense? This team has been burnt for more yards since the bye week than I think the Philly Eagles (yes, I said the Philly Eagles) have given up all season!!!!! All I have to say is 47 points! Nothing else needs to be said.

Scott Springer

The guy in Hershey with the Black and Gold paper bag over his head!

Submitted by David Munson

Extremely tough year for us Steelers fans. Actually, Sunday's game was a disgrace with how they conducted themselves as "professional" players. You are right, we need 1974 all over again with the draft, but Rooney also needs to do something with free agency. Any predictions??? Cowher is in trouble. If he does remain, it is "put up, or shut up" next year for him. A digruntled Steeler's fan in Dallas.

Submitted by Tommy "Fleetwood 'N' Julio" Coleman

Oh, the PAIN! Sunday was sooo bad vs. the TITanS that it was laughable. Three bottles of Black 'n' Gold "Three Stooges Beer" in the 2nd half helped (I was Curley). Funny, the word "knuckleheads" appeared on the beer as well as this site. Hmmmm...

Submitted by Tom Bragg

As far as the Steelers losing to the Titans on Sunday, I must say it really didn't surprise me. In all honesty, it was pretty much expected. The following are my own personal thoughts on what turned out to be a Horrific and Hideous 1999 season to remember. These are guys that need to look for work elsewhere because they should never be allowed to where the Black & Gold again.

1) Kordell Stewert - After two consecutive years of the worst QB play in recent memory, its time to cut the ties and say goodbye.

2) Mike Tomczack - While he should be commended for coming in and providing a much needed spark to a lifeless offense, its time for Mike to start his lifes work as Chuck Noll used to say.

3) Wayne Gandy - this guy is a total stiff! Brought in to help solidify , all he provided was bonehead plays and the inconsistencies of a college playe!

4) Will "no thrill" Blackwell - This kid has done nothing from day one, it's time to get him out of here.

5) Anthony Brown - What in the hell were the Steelers thinking bringing in some stiff that wasn't even good enough to start for the lowly Bungles?

6) Nolan Harrison - the trainers room worst nightmare. Has done virtually nothing except stay in the wirlpool since he got here!

7) Carlos Emmons - a sometimes decent player with way two many inconsitencies to be a starter. Rookie Joey Portershould have had this position coming out of training camp! He has done nothing but produce every time he's stepped on the field! Bottom line - he earned it!

8) Travis Davis - We lose Carnell to Jacksonville and get an inconsistent backup player in return. Way to go guys! Gee, with personell moves like these, no wonder we went 6-10 and are one of the laughingstocks of the league!

Tom Bragg

http://community.webtv.net/francoharris/TomsPittsburgh

Submitted by McMillen & Wife

Okay, so we lost. Okay, so we allowed 47 points. Okay, so our record for the season is 6-10. At least the Steelers didn't mail it in. Down 31-7, and later 40-15, the Steelers never gave up and actually got themselves back in the game by the end of the 3rd quarter. 'Ya gotta wonder what mighta happened had Jerome been able to punch it in on that 4th & goal.

And best of all, Joey Porter clocked Kneel O'Dummell and forced a fumble, then returned it 46 yards for a TD! Yeeeeehaaaaaa!

Moments later, Knell threw a pick and suddenly, the Steelers were right back in the game! We may have lost, but Kneel's gaffes were enough to make me a happy man.

Do I sound a little bitter? Hey at this point, bitterness is about all I've got left. Not to be redundant, but we're 6-10, folks. Let's face it... in spite of encouraging performances by Bettis, Porter, Ward, and Shaw (I would've also mentioned Huntley if not for his fumble and the fact that he QUIT on the play, allowing it to be returned for a TD), there doesn't appear to be much relief in the forseeable future. We have no quarterback, no O-line, no D-line (Steed will probably never be the same), no secondary, no wide receivers... on and on, ad infinitum.

We're gonna need one HELLUVA draft... of the 1974 variety.

Speaking of the draft, now that the '99 season is mercifully behind us, it's time to begin our pre-draft prognostication. So let's hear it, folks... send us your draft predictions, what positions you think we need to strengthen, and all that good stuff.

Until then, GO STEELERS!

Tim McMillen

Webmaster, McMillen & Wife


X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Behind the Steel Curtain

You must be a member of Behind the Steel Curtain to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Behind the Steel Curtain. You should read them.

Join Behind the Steel Curtain

You must be a member of Behind the Steel Curtain to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Behind the Steel Curtain. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9341_tracker