September 24, 2008

Recovery Mode

NOW THAT IT IS Wednesday, I have finally recovered enough to discuss football. While Michigan was off this past week -- thank God for small blessings -- the Pittsburgh Steelers ventured to the east (read: bad) side of Pennsylvania to take on the detestable Philadelphia Eagles. The game was set. It was aired on national television. Pittsburgh fans were psyched, having won their first two games.

It was thus only natural the Steelers got their asses kicked on Sunday night.

I lay most of the blame for this debacle on our offensive coordinator, Bruce Arians, who was clearly outcoached by his defensive counterpart from Philadelphia. I also lay a portion of the blame on our offensive linesmen, who quickly found themselves overwhelmed in the face of a furious defensive assault from the Eagles. But Arians should have made better adjustments and focused more on the running game. At least, that's how I see it. All things considered, our defense played really well -- when you hold Philadelphia to 10 "real" offensive points, that's not a bad outcome.

But it was not a pleasant game to watch. As Loyal Rant Readers might expect, I was down at Billy's Sports Bar and Grill here in Manchester, watching the game on the big screen. If there's one word that would describe my fellow Pittsburgh fans, it would be dejected. Some of them also got a bit frustrated. Including me. However, I was not as frustrated as some, who watched the game in disbelief and were visibly upset at our shellacking. This is not to say I was the model of calm decorum -- football is one of the few things in which I can really get, well, focused -- but there were a few folks who were clearly not happy.

Also not happy was Browns Fan Rick, who turned out to watch Cleveland again. Everyone at Billy's likes Rick, who arrives each week and watches the Browns game from his chair next to the video golf machine. As everyone else (mostly Steelers fans) gets to watch their games on the big screens, Rick makes do with a small 21-inch television screen hoisted above the Golden Tee machine, and watches the Browns play the entirety of their games -- no matter how badly they do.

A friend of his who was at the bar, a Steelers fan decked out in jersey, gleefully told me that after the Steelers' win against the Browns last weekend, he had called Rick to give him crap about the Browns losing. Rick did not return his calls for roughly a week, this friend reported. Rick was particularly unhappy to watch the Baltimore Ravens, who are evil, stomp their way to victory over the Dogs, and by the fourth quarter he was calling for backup quarterback Brady Quinn enter the fray. I can't say I blame him. But word has it that Anderson is the starter against Cincinnati this week and hopefully Romeo Crennel and his team will win one against the stupid Bengals. I hope so.

However, the most astonishing thing about this weekend was the silence that emanated from the main room of the bar, as fans of the New England Patriots watched in silence as the Miami Dolphins -- God help us! -- crushed them underfoot. What an amazing performance Ronnie Brown turned in during that game, and how demoralizing it must have been for the Pats fans to watch as their defense proved powerless against the Dolphins' offense. As one colleague of mine at the office put it, "At least you lost to a good team."

Well, there's that. Pittsburgh plays Baltimore Monday night for leadership in the AFC North. We had better not lose.

Also, while I'm thinking about it, what's up with the Oakland Raiders and Lane Kiffin? It's three games into the season and Kiffin's team actually looks pretty good. This annoys me, because I hate the Raiders, but even I have to say the team looks as if it's much improved. They had a tough loss to Buffalo and Denver stomped them into the ground, but this is not the usual incompetent Oakland team we've come to expect. Why cashier the guy if he's produced the first half-decent team Oakland's seen in a while?

Posted by Benjamin Kepple at September 24, 2008 07:43 PM | TrackBack
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