Thursday, September 07, 2006


It's the most concise title I could think of for my first update in a while.

1) The Steelers - Trailing by 3 to the Dolphins early in the 4th quarter, graced with a 1st and Goal that left the go-ahead score a mere 36 inches away, the play clock runs down quickly. Rather than burn a timeout (and certainly not wanting to take a delay of game penalty), Charlie Batch rushes the snap, bobbles and drops it. Alan Faneca runs into him, keeping him from getting it and the Dolphins recover. With the Dolphins deep in their own end, Culpepper rushes a throw which should be picked off by Troy Polamalu, but is not. Miami gets past midfield before their drive stalls and they punt it to the 13. One play later, Batch hooks up with Heath Miller for what should have been an 85-yard reception, but went for an 87-yard touchdown as Dolphins head coach Nick Saban failed to throw the red challenge flag in time (or at least to a place where a referee could see it). Elapsed time from start to finish - 6 minutes, 23 seconds.

Ike Taylor had also dropped a pick. The next play, the Dolphins score a TD. Had the Steelers lost, the Taylor & Polamalu missed INT would have been the big story. The special teams and passing defense were also not good. This was not the demolition that New England wrought on the Oakland Raiders in last season's opener. Of course, this season's Dolphins is better than last year's Raiders (and this year's for that matter).

What is good, though, is there is finally some comprehensive game film that will illustrate what needs to be done.

2) The Pittsburgh Pirates. Two-fold. -

a) They are out of the cellar entering a series for the first time all year. They see a bit of daylight. While catching the Milwaukee Brewers (7.5 games ahead) seems a bit out of the realm of possibility, with their horrific start, the Pirate players can feel like they accomplished SOMETHING. Especially if they can stay out of last place. The evil flipside, front office and management may feel the same way.

b) Sunday's 7-5 win over the Cubs bailed out struggling (and ailing) starter and constant butt of jokes Shawn Chacon. He finally went more than 5 innings (6), but seems that he can't really do quality work for more than 3, as he gave up 3 runs in the 4th, 1 in the 5th, and the equalizer in the 6th. All but one the result of home runs. Uhm...but how about getting those walks down, eh? (2BB in 6IP).

3) The Pittsburgh Penguins - they have officially signed Evgeni Malkin after a roller coaster ride. Of course, unless Malkin can score from his own blue line, the Penguins need to really worry about shoring up their defense.

Anyway, the Steelers and the Panthers are 1-0, so I'm feeling pretty good. I'm going to close by promoting that my 2006 NFL Preview is now available here. It will have a place in my sidebar, too, replacing the 2005 article (which only makes sense). The only thing that I don't like about this preview, and it's something I realized after crunching some numbers, studying depth charts, and consulting the ol' gut...I only have 2 new playoff teams in my field of 12. Since the divisional re-alignment in 2002, there have been no fewer than 5 new playoff teams, and as many as 8.

Feel free to register and comment on the burghsportsguys message boards (letting them know Steeltown Mike sent you when you register), or leave those comments here at the blog.

One final note: The broadcast I "blugged" earlier this week happened just before the Steelers game. My first on-air roundtable. It went fairly well. There were just too many things that had to happen within that hour's time (network and local news being the most time-consuming things). I'll get the audio on my podcast page before long. I sincerely thank those of you who tuned in.


Anonymous Pie said...

wow. what a preview.

9/09/2006 7:53 PM  
Anonymous jay said...

pie sounds sarcastic. must have only thought your preview was the graphics with the final standings.
it wasn't bad. it's more credible than people picking the dolphins or ravens to represent the afc.

9/10/2006 11:17 PM  

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