Send your postgame critiques, analysis, ranting and raving about the last game as well as your predictions, smak, & insults about our upcoming opponent. Whether your message is a simple, "These guys SUCK," or a detailed, in-depth analysis, tell us what you think.
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Key Stats & Facts|
DeWayne Washinton 10 solo tackles, 1 Int: Another great game for DeWayne! If he started wearing a ridiculous-looking derby, found God (supposedly), learned to dance, and wore a silver and blue uniform (scratch that... Deion is a Redskin now), he'd get an invitation to Hawaii.
Joey Porter 3 sacks, 1 safety, 6 tackles: This was the breakout game we've been waiting for, folks! Joey finally realized some of his eye-popping potential.
Jason Gildon 1 sack, 1 fumble recovery: "The Magnet" earned his nickname again with a key fumble recovery just before halftime to set up a FG.
Jerome Bettis 29 carries, 101 yards: A poor game plan left the Bus inactive and largely a non-factor in the 1st half (just 8 carries for 20 yards), but Jerome was again outstanding late in the game. He just never quits.
Graham 13 of 33, 173 yards, 1 TD, 0 Int: I dunno... although he hit 5 of his 1st 6 passes including a 15 yarder that Hines Ward turned into a 77-yard TD, 8 of 27 down the stretch is not exactly a sparkling performance. In his defense, there were a LOT of drops, however.
Josh Miller 12 punts, 43.8 avg, 6 inside Bungle 20: You could make a pretty legitimate case for Miller as game MVP. In the first half, he pinned the Bungles at their own 5, 11, 15 and 17 en route to a rather dubious team record of 12 punts in a game. If this guy doesn't make the Pro Bowl squad, nobody should.
In the Eye of the Beholder|
Article by McMillen & Wife
A lot of fans are classifying Sunday's beautiful 15-0 shutout of the Bungles as an "ugly win." As a lover of defensive football who was in attendance at Three Rivers for this game, I couldn't disagree more.
Some words of wisdom for Steeler fans:
"If at first you DO succeed, try not spoil the moment by complaining about the manner in which success was achieved."
Now, I'll be the first to admit that offensively, Sunday's "clash" (?) with the Bungles was a "boring" game. But when we're playing a winless team at home, the LAST thing I want is excitement. The Steelers got 'em down and kept 'em down, and in my view, this beautiful victory was further proof of just how far the Steelers have come. In '98 and '99, similarly bad Bengal teams came into Three Rivers and WON. As we said in our pregame, not THIS year, not THIS team. Our boys showed up and did what they had to do (even if, in essence, all they had to do WAS show up). Who cares if it was exciting or not?
Contrast what the heavily favored Steelers did with the debacle I witnessed in Ohio Stadium on Saturday. In addition to going to the Steelers game Sunday, I also attended Ohio State's game (we're HUGE Buckeye fans) against Minnesota. The Bucks were ranked #5 in the nation going in, while Minnesota came in as a HUGE underdog who hadn't won a game in Columbus since 1949. Guess what? The game was exciting... and Minnesota upset the Bucks. Now THAT is something to complain about (plus, my brother is now convinced that I jinxed the Buckeyes).
Back to the Steelers. How 'bout that defense, folks? For Sandy and me, this was the first shutout we've ever attended, and it was about as perfect a defensive effort as you'll ever see. The Bungles could've played for 12 quarters against our guys and they still wouldn't have scored. Aside from one breakdown on Cinci's reverse to Warrick early in the 2nd quarter, things were friggin' air tight. Yeah, there were a couple of scrambles by Akili Smith where I thought Pittsburgh's tackling could've been a bit better, and yeah, we were playing the worst offense in the league, and yeah, the Bengals have also been shut out but the Ravens and Jags, but let's not nitpick, shall we? Cinci is bad, but they've been playing considerably better under Dick LaBeau and actually enjoyed halftime leads over the 5-1 Dolphins and the 5-1 Titans in their previous two games. There's also been a bit of handwringing over the fact that Cinci outrushed us 120-103, but more than half of Cinci's yardage came on fluke plays by players who are NOT running backs (Corey Dillon had just 36 yards on 15 carries).
The jury may still be out on how long our defense will be able to sustain this level of outstanding play, but one thing is for sure: DeWayne Washington, whom I've always considered to be a very good player, has been utterly SUPERB this season. He humiliated Mark Brunell and Jimmy Smith; he owned Kneel O'Dummell and Ray Lucas. Aliki Smith and Scott Mitchell are simply his latest victims. Washington lead the team with 10 tackles (all solo, several for losses, several were drive-enders), and his demoralizing 3rd quarter pick of backup Scott Mitchell's very first pass led to a 13-0 Steeler advantage, officially ending any hopes for a Cinci comeback.
DeWayne was maligned a bit in seasons past, but more often than not, his troubles seemed a matter of dumb luck rahter than poor play. I can't remember who the opponent was last season, but a play that epitomizes DeWayne's run of bad luck was a sure interception in the endzone that slipped right through Washington's hands like a greased pig and miraculously ended up in the hands of the receiver. I'm sure you all remember the play... the damn ball looked like that magic bullet in the Zapruder film. How it got through DeWayne and to the receiver I'll never know... there had to be a second passer.
Conspiracy theories aside, suffice it to say that DeWayne Washington is very quietly having a Pro Bowl year. Will he get the recognition he deserves? I doubt it... maybe if he started wearing a ridiculous-looking derby, found God (supposedly), learned to dance, and wore a silver and blue uniform (scratch that... Deion is a Redskin now), he'd get an invitation to Hawaii. As it stands, I doubt he'll attract much attention. In any case, hats off to DeWayne. He gets my game ball for the week.
Jason Gildon (who lived up to his nickname of "the Magnet" on Sunday with a sack and a fumble recovery) and Levon Kirkland continue to play great ball. But it was the "bursting with potential" Joey Porter who truly shined among our linebackers against the Bungles. We've all been patiently waiting for Porter to have a break-out game, and he did it this week with a career-high 3 sacks, the final of which left Scott Mitchell (who, as we guaranteed in our pregame comments, saw significant action) sprawled helplessly in his own end zone with a load in his pants. Porter's safety upped Pittsburgh's lead to 15-0, and the stands started to clear.
Speaking of the fans vacating early, how can people do that? I mean, I would never dream of leaving before the final gun, win or lose. I guess that extra ten minutes of couch time at home doesn't mean as much to me as it does to some people, eh?
Now, let's talk offense (or lack thereof). I know this article is already too long to hold the attention of many of you, but I haven't touched the site for several days and I'm charged up.
Obviously, when people use the word "ugly" in reference to this game, it's directed at the offense. What's interesting in retrospect is that many of us (including myself) were surprised at our lack of production against the Bungles.
Folks, let's not be naive. As much improvement as the Steelers have shown, they are still nowhere near being a Super Bowl contender. Not yet. For that matter, you don't have to dig too deeply to discover most of us don't honestly believe our Steelers are a playoff contender yet, either, although we can't help but have faint hopes of playoff glory in the midst of the team's recent success. Plain and simple, the Steelers are a young, improving team with a legendary owner, a superb front office, a great coach, a good defense that shows flashes of brilliance, and a mediocre (at best) offense that at times is horrendous. A promising future, yes... but anything beyond a .500 season is highly unlikely.
I can't help but be concerned with the valuable time the Steelers are wasting on Kent Graham. He is not the future of this team... he's barely even the present. Get Kordell in there and let him at least TRY to get some chemistry going with our young wide receivers. Whether we keep him or cut him, Kordell Stewart is still our best QB at the moment.
If the QB controversy is troubling, the glaring lack of concentration demonstrated by our highly-paid pair of #1 draft choices at wide receiver is unbearable. Yeah, Graham's numbers were pretty anemic against the Bungles, and granted, he threw a few pretty awful passes. But he also made a number of outstanding throws that were flat-out dropped by Burress (who missed at least 2 easy catches) and Edwards (who was benched after he dropped a perfect pass from Graham on a crucial 3rd and long).
Am I missing something here? The actual act of catching the ball should be the easiest, most innate part of being a wide receiver. If a young wideout struggles with earning the offensive system or reading defensive coverages, I can understand it... but dropping perfect passes? Doesn't compute, folks. I think Burress, who had an awful day Sunday in spite of leading the team in receptions, will come around. Troy Edwards, on the other hand, is not only headed down the "Jamain Stephens" road to legendary bust status, he's behaving like a todler (and believe me, I know whereof I speak on that subject). I agree with Cowher's benching of Edwards... unfortunately, it does little to help our offense in the grand scheme of things. Edwards needs to get his head in the game and out of his... well, he needs to get his head in the game.
Not that it should be just an afterthought, but the loss of Witman due to a broken leg could have a real impact on our running game. Just had to get that in there.
Next week, revenge against the now emotionally beaten, mentally drained Cleveland Brownies. This time, the momentum and emotion is in OUR corner. Gonna be a sweet one, folks.
Webmaster, McMillen and Wife
Fan Smak & Analysis|
The following articles are listed in the order they were received (with the most recent entries at the top). This isn't a "guestbook" format... I read and manually insert every message, so you may not see your submission show up immediately. Thanks a million for your comments, people!
Submitted by Robert Hamer|
I have to admit, i was nervous about this one. I endured many of our forgotten mid 80s teams, you know the ones, that seemed to play hard against tough opponents only to lose against pushovers. I'm happy to just see another W... Now I'm nervous about Cleveland. Can't wait for the PASTING we're gonna bring to the Ravens! REVENGE IS SWEET!
Submitted by Barry Fox
bill cowher please help me understand why graham is starting qb. as far as i'm concern you could have kept tomczak.come on. we better beat the brownies. we better not play mess around just because we are at 500. maafala will be the fullback. hey anyone still think huntley can carry the load 25-30 carries a game. i won't run graham out of town because he has not thrown any int's,but i hope some of those receivers or should i say receiver will start making a impact soon or maybe it's time we try shaw at wr. plaxico should hold the ball all week like omar epps until he start making more catches than drops. if you don't know what i'm talking about rent the movie video the program you'll love it.
Submitted by Tommy "Fleetwood 'N' Julio" Coleman
15 points ahhh 13 actually! One TD against the worst team in the league?
Bill, Come on man, stop with the personal FEELINGS crap and let the Special K flow! The Teddy Grahams are stale and you seem to be the only one who couldn't see that or can you?
Again with the "pull Graham at the goal line" then when it does not fool ANYONE...AGAIN you put him back in after the penalty, for what.Josh Miller could go in and hand off.
Note to Kevin Gilbride; "SHOVEL PASS/Option
There is no "can't lose your job because of injury rule! Written or unwritten,so don't even try it!Wasted chance to keep the momentum going from the last two games...NICE!
This D, like last year at this point, is outstanding.How long can it last when you keep dinking around with a Lumbering Offense.
Props to the Bus, he is trying.
Tim, if there is a vote give mine to Dwayne Mt. Washington,playing his ass off.
Submitted by Jon Pasterick
I think like most Steeler fans I'm getting a little spoiled. Three weeks
ago I would've appreciated ANY win, even one against the Bungles, no matter
how it happened. Now, I'm glad they beat the Bengals on Sunday, but there
is SO much room for improvement off that lackluster offensive performance,
it's tough to be totally gleeful about it.
First off, kudos to the D. Awesome in every department. Not that it was
difficult against that "offense" the Bengals have. Seeing Scott Mitchell
come in was comical. As if Joey Porter wasn't having enough success against
a mobile QB like Akili Smith, putting that sloth of a human Mitchell in
there was too easy. Mitchell is about as mobile as The Thinker, but not as
smart. BTW, it's good to see Joey stepping it up. Hopefully he will
continue to do so against better offensive lines.
Now to their offense. Not nearly as impressive. In my mind, blame goes
first and foremost on the shoulders of Kevin Gilbride. Two consecutive
games of running the ball 40+ times, two dominating victories, two huge
running performances. And he abandons all of that against one of the worst
rushing defenses in the league in Cincy. That Bettis got 100 yards on such
limited opportunities is testament to how bad that Bengals defense was.
Nine rushes in the first half was a joke.
Apparently, Gilbride had come to the conclusion that not only was Graham
back from injury, but in the two weeks since his injury, he had become
Johnny U. Gilbride continues to resist the notion of play-calling suited to
the personnel he has. It doesn't matter who is QB for the Steelers, neither
guy is good enough to have a pass-happy offense. What about Kent Graham's
performances thus far in his career convinced Gilbride he was so much better
than Stewart that he could throw 50 times a game? Furthermore, with the
stone-handed combo of Burress and Edwards, what does it matter how good the
QB is anyway?
The bottom line is that this team's bread and butter is the running game.
That is what the Steelers personnel is geared to. That's what they do best.
In the Steelers system, the running game sets up the passing game, NOT the
other way around. After the last two games, how Gilbride can't get this
into his head is beyond me. But if he can't, then maybe he should go back
to the candy-ass Jaguars, and he can throw to his heart's content. (By the
way, the Jags look a hell of a lot more like a "rebuilding team" than the
Steelers do now, don't they, Carnell? Good career move on Lake's part.
That was like buying a ticket on the Titanic.)
That all said, I'm glad I can gripe about a Steelers win. Three weeks ago,
I wouldn't have thought it possible, and it goes to show how much improved
this team has gotten in the past few weeks.
Keep the train rolling, guys. (More importantly, keep THE BUS rolling,
Submitted by Ken Hoffmaster
How Else can you say the "Bungles" SUCK!!! Our best play was the 77 yard pass. After that, well, we all know it was "punts-burgh". but hey, a win is a win. Next up, Cleveland Clowns!!! Here We Go STEELERS, Here We Go!!!!!
Submitted by Thomas Parrotte
Hey Tim, Hope you had a great time at TRS. That was oddly reminiscent of opening day, only in reverse. One long scoring play and a ton of defense. Joey Porter continues the lineage of absolute studs that line up at OLB. An ugly game, but a win is a win. Three in a row, soon to be four. Can't wait for the Browns. Revenge is a dish best crammed down the throat of your opponent.
Submitted by Joe Roberts
Mac and Lovely Sandy,
This game was definitely one of the NFL's worst this week. I'll borrow my comments from my favorite spaghetti western.
The Good-The Steelers won and Jerome Bettis kept on trucking. Hines Ward also showed why he's the Steeler's best WR.
The Bad-The Bungles, who else? Moeller High School in Cincinnati could beat this team. Geez, you'd think with all the high first round picks they've had this decade they'd at least be mediocre by now.
The Ugly-Kent Graham's passing. 13 completions in 33 attempts are Mark Malone type numbers. Thank God our opponent was the pathetic pansies from just across the Kentucky border. Cowher needs to make Kordell the starter. Forget his poor performances at Three Rivers in the past. Kordell certainly couldn't do any worse than Graham did today.
All in all, today was a win. Nothing more and nothing less. Certainly nothing to brag about. The Steelers made it to .500 but they won't go over with another performance like we saw today.
Submitted by Keith "KT" Thomas
It was good to break our losing record at Three Rivers Stadium, and it
was good not to drop one to the Bengals at home for the third straight
And it is ALWAYS good to pitch a shutout. (Hell, not even the much
vaunted Miami defense did that a couple of weeks ago.)
The quality of play on the offense did disturb me though. After coming
out like a house of fire for a quick strike touchdown, the offense took
off the next three quarters, and it again looked like Josh Miller might
be an offensive MVP again.
Dick LeBeau did a good job of coaching against our run offense, and
Graham and the receivers did a good job of self destruction in the
passing game. Bettis did not have as much room to run in as he has in
past games, but he still gutted it out a 100 yard game. What's more,
Bettis ran quite effectively in the fourth quarter when we needed him to
run up the clock.
Kent Graham looked awful. The receivers didn't help, with Plaxico's 3-4
drops, and I seem to remember Edwards, and Malcolm Johnson with a few
drops. This offense couldn't seem to convert a third down today.
Clearly, the failure to convert third downs, the drops and the penalties
cannot be repeated next week if we are to avoid dropping three straight
to the clowns.
But, today, in the end, it did not matter. Today was a day that belonged
to the defense.
I really like how this defense is starting to come together. I would
have liked to have seen crisper tackling earlier in the game, but such
musing seem rather silly when one considers the overall defensive
This defense is starting to play aggressive and focused football in a
way I've not seen in a long time. Jason Gildon is playing like a man on
fire. Joey Porter is starting to show some of that on-the-field
presence that he flashed last year. If Porter continues is development
and Gildon stays on this streak, these two could do some damage.
Dewayne Washington is making quarterbacks and receivers pay alike. Chad
Scott seems to be erasing receivers from the game plan. Levon Kirkland
play with both ankles injured is nothing short of inspiring. Earl
Holmes is showing why he congratulated Bill Cowher for drafting him. Oh
yeah, Lee Flowers and Bret Alexander are playing pretty well too.
On a day when the offense seemed destined to go 3-out, the defense stood
tall. Corey Dillon, yet another all-pro rusher, was effectively
neutralized. The pass rush showed marked signs of life. Turnovers were
forced, and drives were stalled.
I like the way Jason Simmons and Hank Poteat have played on special
It was nice to get a win, a divisional win, at Three Rivers Stadium. It
was nice to get to .500. And after the ugly loss during week two in
Cleveland, it is going to be nice to welcome Cleveland into Three Rivers
Stadium, one last time.
PS To my buddies Paul and Ed in Cincinnati. What was LeBeau thinking
when he pulled Akili Smith? Smith wasn't playing great but he was
playing better than Kent Graham. And to put in Scott Mitchell...?
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'99 total 78-59
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