Yesterday was a great day of football. Nice and stress free for us Steelers fans. Sure I wanted us to be playing, but better that the BYE week come when Hines and Ben are still not quite 100 %, than when we get on a roll later in the season (fingers crossed). The Steelers are gearing up for a HUGE contest at San Diego next Sunday night, but for now we rest and take a look around the league.
Game of the Week: Indianapolis 31 - New York Jets 28
This game had it all: good defense (at times at least), lead changes, kickoff returns, last minute drives. You have to tip your hat to the Jets for fighting so admirably yesterday, but don't tell that to them. They most certainly felt as if they blew a chance to beat the Colts and keep pace with the New England Patriots in the AFC East. As much as it pains me to say it, Peyton Manning was spectacular in the final minutes, leading the Colts on not one, but TWO come-from-behind TD drives.
The Oops! I Did it Again Award : This one goes to Charlie Frye for throwing a bone-headed INT in the redzone for the 2nd week in a row. Last week it cost the Browns a victory at home against the Ravens. Against the Raiders, Frye had a chance to ice the game late in the 4th quarter with the Browns inside in the Raiders 20. Folks, if you saw this pass, you would understand why I am giving him an award for this decision. Frye scrambled right, backpedaled, surveyed the field, avoided a rusher or two, then decided to throw all the way across his body towards the middle of the endzone where 3 Raider defenders were. It didn't cost them this time, but it will when they're playing a team not quarterbacked by Andrew Walter.
The Marty Schottenheimer Antiquated-Dinosaur Coach of the Week: This goes to it's namesake, Marty! Once again, Schottenheimer and his staff got uncreative in the 2nd half while leading. I followed the Chargers very closely last year and saw it time and time again. A nice mix of play-action and LT in the first half followed by uncreative running plays and obvious passes in the 2nd. Yesterday against the Ravens it was much of the same, although it is admittedly hard to get an offense in rhythm against the Ravens at Baltimore. Rivers looked shaky, throwing a critical pick that led to a Baltimore score. I think we match-up well with the Chagers, which we'll discuss in depth later in the week. For now, I'm just happy that the Chargers momentum was stalled heading into our showdown with them thanks in part to mediocre coaching.
The Good Things Happen When You Get me the Ball Award : This one's a no-brainer: Santana Moss. If anybody did not get a chance to watch his TD receptions and runs, find a way to do so. They were spectacular. Our friend Skin Patrol eloquently wrote back in August on Hogs Haven that Santana Moss was better than Terrell Owens. Maybe, maybe not, but yesterday was a lovely sight for Redskins fans. Moss had three TD catches, two of which went for over 50 yards, including a 68 yard game winner in OT. There may be no better receiver in the NFL at making things happen after the catch than Santana Moss. He's not just a speed guy though. On the game winning TD score, Moss left his feet and went after the ball fearlessly. He actually exposed himself to a monster hit but found a way to contort his body mid-air to avoid the Jaguars corner and safety. Then it was off to the races and you're not going to catch him from behind.
The `There's no Crying in Football' Award: Did anyone notice that Carson Palmer looked like he was going to cry on the sidelines yesterday? I swear it looked that way to me. For the second week in the row, Palmer was battered and bruised, and this time, the Bengals weren't bailed out by a slew of mistakes from their opponents. Palmer lost two crucial fumbles that led to Patriots points. For the season, Palmer has 6 fumbles, a worrisome total only surpassed by Mr. Fumble himself, Kurt Warner. Maybe I'm just still being bitter from last week, but it sure did appear that Carson Palmer was exuding tremendous amounts of negative energy with his body language on the sidelines. Palmer's one heck of a talent at QB, but his leadership skills may not be as good as his physical gifts.