Okay, okay, it was one kick. One kick. And I've been one of Brad Wing's biggest supporters since training camp started.
But Jordan Berry's first-quarter punt was just that perfect.
Through three games, the battle between Berry and Wing has been one of the most awesomely boring battles to watch. Awesome, because they are so closely matched it's downright scary. Boring, because...well...they're punters.
Every so often, though, one of them does something that just makes you think, "I'm excited about a punt. I need a beer."
Against the Packers, Berry did just that. He did what punters live for: he completely changed the momentum of a game. Don't get me wrong, all players probably dream about it. But, again...punter.
We talk about "coffin-corner" punts. Forget the coffin. Berry, with an assist from Antwon Blake, buried the Packers under the Lithosphere. From the Green Bay 43, Berry kicked a beautiful, high-hanging punt to the left corner that was fielded by Blake at the one-yard line. Maybe the one-foot line. Blake then pulled off a move right out of the Soviet-era Bolshoi Ballet, tiptoeing until he could establish his feet in-bounds, before underhanding the ball around his left side and back into the field of play as he fell into the end zone. It was a great play by Blake.
But let's not let that diminish the level of perfection in the kick. It was that good. It was that perfect. It could be the opening sequence of a marketing video for a professional punting clinic. It went high, it went just the right distance, it was angled perfect. If it was a baseball swing, it would have had that solid pop of the sweet spot, and it would have landed in the Allegheny River without a bounce. In basketball, it was a full-court buzzer-beater that was nothing but net. In hockey, it was...well, it would be just about any time Sidney Crosby is on the ice. Let's not act like there is anything more poetic in hockey than that. But, I digress.
Sure, that's an awful lot of hyperbole, especially for an undrafted rookie punter struggling to outperform an incumbent who is inconsistent at best. But even if we replaced "Jordan Berry" with "Reggie Roby" it would have been spectacular. And it seemed to energize the defense, who would have forced a three-and-out if James Harrison, Bud Dupree and Stephon Tuitt hadn't decided to have a meeting standing on top of Packers quarterback Aaron Rogers in the north end zone, about 103 yards from where Rogers and his team had been trying to reach.
Two points to the home team.
In the end, it really is just one punt. But Berry showed an ability to pin an opponent, something Wing struggled mightily with last season. The fact that they have been so disgustingly equal this pre-season has largely served to disappoint those who would wish Wing sayonara no matter how well he might perform between now and roster cut-down day. All else being equal, in Pittsburgh, it's hard to knock a returning player off the roster without clearly defeating him.
But, with a kick like that, it could happen.