During the Steelers, 19-6, victory over the Jets at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, I wasn't sure if I was hearing Bill Cowher's live game analysis as part of CBS' 'Road Trip' promotion that had Pittsburgh's former head coach in the booth to call the game, alongside Jim Nantz and Phil Simms, or if it was audio from Cowher's coaching days.
As it turned out, it was live, but man, it sure did feel like the kind of low-scoring, hard-hitting affair Cowher's Steelers were once famous for.
During the telecast, Cowher preached about ball security and a more conservative approach for the offenses, especially for the Jets and their rookie quarterback Geno Smith. And anytime there was discussion in CBS' booth about whether or not Mike Tomlin or Rex Ryan should either go for it on fourth and short or kick the field goal, The Jaw urged the easy three points.
During a radio interview last week on 93.7 The Fan, Cowher said he hadn't been to many professional football games outside of playing or coaching. And it was almost like his old coaching spirit was on hand, especially for the Steelers, who notched their first victory of the 2013 season, and they did it with a Cowher-style "blow-out."
While coaching the Steelers, a Cowher "blow out" wasn't necessarily of the 35-3 variety. More often than not (especially pre-Roethlisberger), Cowher's charges would take care of the football on offense, kick three or four field goals, maybe notch a touchdown or two and dominate on defense so thoroughly, even a 13 point lead seemed secure.
Not only did the Steelers defense look like a unit from years gone by, limiting New York to 267 yards of total offense and zero touchdowns, Dick LeBeau's troops actually thwarted two potential touchdown drives, thanks to INTs by Ryan Clark and Lawrence Timmons, respectively.
In addition to the first takeaways of the season, the defense also recorded three sacks, and Troy Polamalu had five tackles--including a vicious but clean hit on the Jets' Stephen Hill near the end of the first half.
Even Ben Roethlisberger got into the act and was so efficient, I couldn't tell if I was watching a live broadcast, or one of from his rookie season. Roethlisberger was 24/31 for 264 yards, a touchdown and no turnovers. And to further the old coach Cowher spirit, Roethlisberger tossed the game's only touchdown pass (a 55 yard strike to Emmanuel Sanders early in the third quarter) following the most beautiful play-action pass you'll ever see.
There were even some "gadget" plays called on Sunday, in the form of two passes thrown by Antonio Brown--including a 15 yard strike to Felix Jones.
The only thing missing was a will-imposing ground game, as Pittsburgh only recorded 73 yards, but the offense did hold the football for nearly 36 minutes.
While he was certainly calling things down-the-middle during his time in the booth on Sunday, the kid from Crafton had to feel a little proud as the Steelers played smart, tough, physical football reminiscent of his days on the sidelines.
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- Levi Brown injury: Kelvin Beachum expected to maintain starting role
- Steelers vs. Jets final score: Plays get made in Steelers' 19-6 win over Jets
- Winners and Losers from Steelers 19-6 win over the New York Jets in Week 6
- Le'Veon Bell injury: Steelers rookie running back returns to the field
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- The Steelers have their first takeaway of the season