Sunday, December 20, 2009

Steelers vs. Packers: It Never Felt So Good to Be At .500


Getting back to .500 never felt as good as this. True, it was an ugly game in which the Packers racked up yards almost at the same clip as the Steelers (final count for Big Ben, I believe, is 503 yards, 3 TDs), Mike Tomlin called for an inexplicable onside kick just as the Steelers took a 2-point lead and then managed to put together a game-winning drive thanks mainly to the Packers being the most-penalized team in the NFL.

I can't discount Ben's lights-out passing day, but consider this: Roethlisberger is having a career stat year... and the Steelers are only 7-7. A significant portion of that can be attributed to defensive injuries and the Ignominious-Yet-Ubiquitous Late-Game Defensive Breakdown, but it also speaks to a real difficulty with the run game, despite having an able running and possible rising star in Rashard Mendenhall.

Two things that Joe Buck mentioned stand out to me today (which is rare; the only thing that usually stands out is my everpresent hate of Joe Buck): Ben's career year, and the fact that not a single Steelers cornerback has had an interception this season. Not a one of 'em. That's terrible. Some of it is attributable to Polamalu being gone. He causes all kinds of havoc and - when he's not getting the INTs - opens things up for other D-backs to get INTs.

Stan Savran is describing on 'Steel City Postgame' right now how, in a massively-convoluted way, the Steelers can still squeeze into the wild-card spot. If they can win out over Baltimore and Miami, they can hand 'em both important losses. They need Denver to lose (they play the Eagles next week), and they need Jacksonville to lose (they play the Pats to close out the season).

I really don't even wanna think about it, or do the math.

So, without further ado, my dream off-season:

Gots-to-Go Situations
• William Gay - I've heard his name called too many times this season giving up big plays. He blew tackles allll day today.
• Willie Colon and possibly Max Starks - Again, their names come up every single week. Starks had an especially bad game today and has been fair-to-middling this year, but Colon specializes in the late-game, momentum-killing penalty, whether it's a false start or holding.

Probably Going
• Willie Parker - I love him, but he just hasn't been the same since he broke that leg. I have a feeling he'll probably be gone after this year.

Off-Season Moves
• Trade some combination of Colon, William Gay and Limas Sweed for one solid offensive lineman. Sweed is young, and he might have an upside yet to come, despite his "Nice hands, feet" performance this year.
• Use the draft picks to try and pick up one more solid addition to the O-line.
• This will probably never happen, because it's not the Rooneys' style, but I really think they should try and throw some cash at a shutdown corner. It's probably going to be a tough year for that; I'll admit I don't know who may be available in the offseason... but they can't go back to the days where teams just abandoned the running game and passed all day on the secondary. Rodgers went wild on 'em all day today.
• I have no solution for the special teams. Steelers just can't seem to do special teams. My only recommendation is trading for Josh Cribbs, so he can't run back two kicks every single &$^!ing game.

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