Saturday, October 30, 2010

Steelers Game Day 7 - @ New Orleans Saints

Big week in the Big Easy. Last time you hear big easy was probably that dude or chick you went to hook up with when you were drunk when you thought they were hot. It happens to everyone. Don't worry, it's ok. Steelers roll into basically what is a huge Halloween party for Sunday night. Like the people there the Saints will be trying to impostor a real football team. Luckily the Steelers ARE a real football team.

Last Week:

Pittsburgh 23, Cleveland 22
Passing: Roethlisberger: 19/27, 302 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT
Rushing: Mendenhall: 15 car, 37 yards, 0 TD
Receiving: Ward: 7 rec, 131 yards, 1 TD


Cleveland 30, New Orleans 17a
Passing: Brees: 37/56, 356 yards, 2 TD, 4 INT
Rushing: Ivory: 15 car, 48 yards, 0 TD
Receiving: Colston: 10 rec, 112 yards, 1 TD


Offense (rank in NFL)

Total Offense
Pittsburgh: 300.7 yards/game (26th)
New Orleans: 371.9 yards/game (7th)

Passing
Pittsburgh: 181.8 yards/game (26th)
New Orleans: 279.3 yards/game (5th)

Rushing
Pittsburgh: 118.8 yards/game (11th)
New Orleans: 92.6 yards/game (26th)

Points
Pittsburgh: 22.8 points/game (t14th)
New Orleans: 21.0 points/game (21st)


Defense

Total Defense
Pittsburgh: 299.3 yards/game (4th)
New Orleans: 288.4 yards/game (3rd)

Rush
Pittsburgh: 63.7 yards/game (1st)
New Orleans: 108.7 yards/game (16th)

Pass
Pittsburgh: 235.7 yards/game (24th)
New Orleans: 179.7 yards/game (3rd)

Points
Pittsburgh: 13.7 points/game (1st)
New Orleans: 19.7 points/game (13th)




If that doesn't get your jacked up then nothing will.

The Saints have this half assed saying "Who Dat"


I mean when you seriously hear Who Dat I really think it is a cheap knock off of what the Cincinnati Bungles say "Who Dey. No lie when I first heard the Saints say this stupid shit I actually thought they were making fun of the Bungles and I laughed. Then I realized they were serious and realized it was horribly stupid.
Who Dat Nation? Did that get founded a year ago? Give me a break.

When I hear Who Dat this is what I see, and what they should be using:


Nuff said.

Ironically both of these teams are Black and Gold. The Saints have this:




Who is this joke?

The Burgh has Wiz:



Wiz by a mile. Doesn't take just Super Bowls for him to care.

To the game.

The Saints have been struggling this year. A Super Bowl curse? I am starting to become a believer in this more and more. I thought it just might be the Steelers laying an egg but two times with them and now the Saints struggling pretty bad it is coming into focus. Considering the NFC is about as strong as a teenage boys ability to keep it in his pants they have a pretty good chance of making the playoffs.

The Steelers and Saints rarely meet. They have only met two times since 2002 and they have split the two games they had played with the Steelers winning the most recent.

2006:

and 2002:

You know what those two score amount to? They amount to as much as a two goal lead in hockey. You know what a two goal lead in hockey amounts to, the same thing your teenage daughters date telling you he is going to keep his hands off your daughter. In other words, not a damn thing.

Everyone treated the Saints last year as if they had the best defense in the league. Far from it. They were very opportunistic and got a lot of turnovers, which is going to make them a good defense. Darren Sharper played unreal football last year. This year? Not so much. The Saints are 26th in the NFL against the run and in the NFL that isn't going to win you a lot of games. Furthermore when your quarterback is giving the ball up like New Orleans prostitutes are giving up STD's then you have a real problem. And no I am not talking about your personal problems New Orleans fans, I am talking about your football team. Take it easy.

The offense for the N.O. is still pretty good. They can be dynamic and put up points in a hurry. Drew Brees does a great job getting rid of the ball as he has only been sacked 11 times on the season. In comparison the trio of Ben Roethlisberger, Dennis Dixon and Chuck Batch have only been downed 12 times. Jesus we have played a lot of quarterbacks.

The Saints have some pretty good skill players they can go with. At wide receiver they are one of best teams in the NFL with a lot of speed and a lot of youth, which makes them very dangerous. The quartet of Marques Colston, Lance Moore, Devery Henderson and Robert Meachem make it very easy for them to run the spread offense and chuck the ball around, as they did last week to the tone of 56 attempts. The Steelers pass defense is going to have its work cut out for them especially if LaMarr Woodley and Brett Kiesel can't go. This is going to be a big game for Will Gay because he is going to be on the field a lot as I expect the Saints to throw a ton so the nickel package is going to get a lot of snaps.

Poking around a lot of other Saints blogs and message boards I am really seeing fans that think that this team is in serious trouble of not even making the playoffs. I mean do they realize they are playing in the NFC? This is a conference that has the Tampa Bay team, who the Steelers just took to the woodshed, talking about being the best team in the NFC. The Saints will make the playoffs if not just by default. Still a lot of people not happy about how the team is playing and they are worried. Inconsistency is the big word tat is being thrown around the town. That is true. The Saints look like world beaters on one drive and that look like the Broncos against the Raiders on the next drive. Who knows what we will see.

Much more to talk about but I am busy. I have what they call a "real job".

Prediction: Steelers 31, Saints 27

Hit it.

Penguins Game Day 12 - @ Carolina

The Penguins are a day off just flat laying an egg against the Philadlephia Flyers last night. Really hard game to watch/listen to as I was traveling during the third period of play.

What more can you say about the Penguins power play? They are 0 for their last 21 (I think) and that isn't going to help. Pile on top of that anyone not named Crosby or Malkin is making nothing happen when we talk about forwards it has been a long season so far even though the Penguins are 5-5-1.

MAF has been shaky, and last night he gave up a real softie to break a 1-1 tie, but you can only blame him so much. How many 2-on-1's has he stopped the last two games? Probably 100. Scoring only 1 and 2 goals a game is not gonna win you a lot of games even if Jesus Christ himself was in net.

Gotta get two tonight.

Do it.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Penguins Game Day 11 - vs. Philadelphia Flyers

Philadelphia Flyers

7:00 p.m., Consol Energy Center, Pittsburgh, PA

The Penguins finally return home after a road trip that saw them look really great at times, and really shitty at times. It is what it is. Too bad it is too late for this team to start to gel and get good. Oh wait, it's only the 11th game of the season? You don't say. Here I thought Brent Johnson hasn't given  up a goal in 20 games played and MAF was smoking cigs on the ice while teams scored 100 goals a game on him. Crazy how that works.

Tonight MAF will be between the pipes and he needs to be. I know I have talked to a few people who think they should play Brent Johnson, and while I agree with that to an extent, some have to realize that Johnson is not the answer this season. MAF needs to get into that big game groove and although it might take him a little while to get into it he will be just fine. Fleury has never been described as a stats goalie, so I am not really sure why people care about his stats.

I would much rather have MAF great late than early. Sure Tim Thomas looks unreal right now, but when he crashes and burns the last 20 games of the season you are going to realize that he isn't worth the water in that water battle he takes a drink out of when he gives up a softie. You know it is going to happen. You can set your watch to it.

It is the Flyers. You know what to expect. I hate those guys.



The Penguins potential lines:

Forwards
Chris Kunitz - Sidney Crosby - Pascal Dupuis
Arron Asham - Mark Letestu - Evgeni Malkin
Matt Cooke - Max Talbot - Tyler Kennedy
Mike Rupp - Craig Adams - Mike Comrie

Defense
Paul Martin - Kris Letang
Alex Goligoski - Deryk Engelland
Brooks Orpik - Ben Lovejoy

Goaltender
Marc Andre Fleury


The Flyers potential lines:

Forwards
Ville Leino - Daniel Briere - Scott Hartnell
Andreas Nodl - Mike Richards - James van Riemsdyk
Darroll Powe - Claude Giroux - Jeff Carter
Jody Shelley - Blair Betts - Nikolay Zherdev

Defense
Matt Carle - Chris Pronger
Kimmo Timonen - Braydon Coburn
Sean O'Donnell - Andrej Meszaros

Goaltender
Sergei Bobrovsky

Glad to see the Flyers paid Zherdev $2 to skate on the fourth line with Jody Shelley. I mean it isn't like they could use a real goaltender or anything.

Should be interesting to see Asham playing on the second line AND playing against his former team. This is gonna be awesome.

The Stats:


Do it.



Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Penguins Game Day 10 - @ Tampa Bay Lightning

Tampa Bay Lightning

7:30 p.m., St. Pete Times Forum, Tampa Bay, FL

Big game against a pretty surprising team tonight in Tampa Bay. Ryan Malone is going against his former team (again) and Adam Hall (who?) is also going against his former team.

Aaron Asham should make his return to the ice for the first time as a Penguin.

I got nothing.

The Penguins probable line ups:

Forwards
Chris Kunitz - Sidney Crosby - Pascal Dupuis
Mike Comrie - Mark Letestu - Evgeni Malkin
Matt Cooke - Maxime Talbot - Tyler Kennedy
Mike Rupp - Craig Adams - Arron Asham

Defense
Paul Martin - Kris Letang
Alex Goligoski - Deryk Engelland
Brooks Orpik - Ben Lovejoy

Goaltender
Marc Andre Fleury


Tampa Bay probable line up:

Forwards
Martin St. Louis - Steven Stamkos - Steve Downie
Sean Bergenheim - Vincent Lecavalier - Teddy Purcell
Adam Hall - Nate Thompson - Dana Tyrell
Ryan Malone - Dominic Moore

Defense
Matt Smaby - Randy Jones
Brett Clark - Victor Hedman
Mike Lundin - Pavel Kubina
Michael Vernance

Goaltender
Mike Smith


And the stats:


Do it.

Emmanuel Sanders Named AFC Special Teams Player of the Week.


Seems like the Steelers have a player named player of the week pretty much every week doesn't it. I guess this is what you get when you pay the officials off and the fix is in for the games. Manny Sanders has been named the AFC Special Teams Player of the Week after a pretty steller game against the Dolphins.

Actually some might actually be surpised that Sanders won the award seeing that he fumbled away the first kickoff of the game. Despite that fumble on the kick off he was really good. Sanders returned a kick back to the Dolphins 48 yard line to set up the winning drive after the Dolphins took a two point lead just moments before.

All told on the day Sanders returned five kicks for 144 yards. For you people at home that aren't good at third grade math that chalks up to a 28.8 yard average. That does include the fumble so it was really a good day for Sanders. On the kick return that I mentioned above he just missed taking it back to the house for a touchdown. How sweet would that have been?

On the year Sanders has returned eight kicks for a 25.8 yard avearge. I know this is a player award but props need to be given to the special teams unit. Last year the Steelers had a hell of a time returning kicks but this year is much different and it is all thanks to the whole unit. Overall on the season the Steelers rank fifth in the NFL with a 28.1 average return on kickoffs.

Here We Go

Monday, October 25, 2010

Sunshine Love. Steelers 23, Dolphins 22

If it is raining at your house or apartment right now there is a good chance that they are actually the tears from the Miami Dolphins fan base (which only consists of like six people so don't worry about flooding) or bloggers. The game today was, to put it bluntly, was horribly nerve wracking to watch. I think that I literally lost six years of my life just from watching the game today. If you had the feeling at the beginning of the game that it was going to be one of those games then I would be willing to bet that 99% of Steelers Nation would have agreed with you.

As Mike Tomlin will say on Tuesday "Style Points don't matter in the NFL." Amen Mike. This was ugly, really ugly. The Steelers got some huge luck at the end of the game with the Ben fumble (which we will get to later) but when it game down to it the offense, defense and special teams stepped up big time and did what they had to do. It wasn't going to be easy for every win this year. What separates average teams from great teams is that the great teams find ways to win games like this. It is what you have to do in the NFL and the Steelers got it done.

If you wanted to take a look at the exact wrong way to start a football game look no further than how the game started for the Steelers. The first terrible thing that happened was that Manny Sanders fumbled the opening kickoff. That led to a Dolphins field goal. Well, whatev right? I mean its only three, lotta game left and the offense will be better than last week and...blah. Ben is getting taken down and fumbles the football. You have to be f'in kidding me. The Dolphins take over at the Steelers 13 but can only manage another field goal.

On the real the defense really saved the ass of the offense and special teams. The Dolphins got the ball in and around the red zone twice in the first couple minutes of the game and the defense shut the door and pretty much threw up the bird to the Dolphins offense and put up their force field and shut the door. If that game starts out 14-0 Dolphins then the Steelers probably don't win the game. Actually when they hit the second field goal I texted a friend (Dolphins fan) and told him that not scoring a touchdown on either of those were going to cost Miami the game. It did.

The Steelers bounced back and got a Skippy Reed field goal and then Hines Ward does what he does and caught a touchdown and just like that the Steelers were up by four after a terrible start to the game.





The Dolphins came back and tacked on another field goal after the defense stopped the Dolphins again in the red zone. That was just kinda how the first half went for the most part for Miami. Then it happened. There was a huge return by Manny Sanders and that set up the Steelers right around midfield. First play Ben drops back and drops a dime on Mike Wallace for a 53 yard touchdown. I mean Mike Wallace had the DB 13 yards off him, he ran a nine route and just ran right by the DB.




Just pure speed. This was Ben's reaction:

"Suck it haters"

The Steelers were lookin good now. Ben was getting comfortable and shit was starting to click. Too bad it didn't last all that long.

The Dolphins answered on their next drive. Davone Best caught a pass and weaved his way into the end zone. I guess it helps when Troy blitzes you can literally bear hug him and tackle him. But don't worry, the Dolphins fans will talk about how terrible the refs were towards them. Jokes.

The second half of the football game was pretty mud for both teams. Trading field goals and just jobbing around like nothing was going on. Both teams moved the ball a little bit and just couldn't get shit done.

The Dolphins actually took the lead with some time left and it was gut check time for the Steelers. Luckily Manny Sanders stepped up again. Dude returned kicks well all day (sans opening kickoff) busted anohter one off and gave the Steelers great starting position in Dolphins territory. After a few plays the Steelers were faced with a third and five. Not a good spot on the field but Ben dumps it off to MeMo and he takes it all the way to the Miami 14.

That is when it got silly. Third and goal, BA draws up a QB draw from like the four yard line. Love it. Great play call. Ben dives for the end zone and they rule that he broke the plane before the ball came out. Touchdown (that is very important that they called it a touchdown, play dead). Well it turns out Ben fumbled before he got into the end zone. So the touchdown was off the board, but they couldn't figure out who recovered the fumble. Since it was ruled a touchdown the play was dead so they had to give the Steelers the ball on the half yard line. The Steelers kicked the field goal.


There were still 2+ minutes on the clock and all the Dolphins needed was a field goal. They needed about 40 yards after the kickoff and they came nowhere close. Four and out. That is what a big time defense does. When it is crunch time they bury you. Plain and simple. Ballgame.




My thoughts:

- The call was a good call. Dolphins fans and writers are going to be all over this, but the fact of the matter is that the play was blown dead. Plain and simple. He fumbled, he was not in the end zone, but that is what was called on the field. When the official singled touchdown the play was dead.They could try and figure out who had the ball in the pile, but we heard reports from the Steelers locker room where a few players said Jon Scott had the ball and he was fighting for it but then the officials came over and said it was touchdown so he dropped the ball there. Something anyone would do if the OFFICIAL TOLD THEM it was a touchdown. Does it suck for Miami? Yea, sucks real bad, but that didn't cost Miami the game. The refs did prevent the Dolphins from not being able to score in the red zone. They did not prevent the Dolphins from not getting a first down when they were down by one with 2+ minutes to go in the game. Get over yourselves.

- MeMo finally showed up. It is about time. He has been mud this year but he came up with HUGE runs and catches today that gave the Steelers a chance to win that game.

- The injuries are not good. Aaron Smith was lost to a torn tricep, LaMarr Woodley was out with a "tweaked" hammy, Kiesel was out with a hammy, Flo Adams was out with an ankle injury. It was not good. The defense suffered but was able to gut it up. Hopefully we get some better news on Smith, but from all accounts it looks to be a season ender. Smith is one of the guys on the team we can't afford to lose. He might be the most underrated player in the NFL and he will be sorely missed if he is in fact done for the year.

- Manny Sanders showed me a lot today. He did a really poor job of protecting the ball on the opening kick off and he could have easily let that bother him the rest of the day and mailed it in. He did far from that. Manny made a huge third down catch to convert and returned five kicks and averaged almost 30 yards a return. That is pretty legit and a huge bounce back.

- Ben was ok. He still looked pretty rusty and didn't really connect on a lot of throws. He did throw for 300 yards and made some big plays, but he still had issues. He fumbled three times, although only losing one, but that is what you get. He tried to extend a few plays and tried to get rid of the ball when he was "in the grasp" and fumbled it a few times. I am ok with it. We get way more good than bad when he does that stuff but that doesn't mean it isn't frustrating when he loses a fumble. He should start getting into a groove so it will be interesting.

- Heinz Ward is a freak. Dude was just cash money all day. Seven catches for 131 and a touchdown. What a beast. That is all.

- The run game was mud. This is probably why the Dolphins kept it close because the line didn't give much and Mendy just didn't have it today. If we had a QB like Favre or Sanchez there is no way in hell we win that game. Ben is a warrior. To be fair half of our line is out and Flo was hurt and we had like 6 people playing right guard today. Jesus what a mess.

- I will give the Dolphins some props. They are a better team than I thought. They didn't have enough, but it is what it is. Henne gave them a chance to win. He did much more than I thought he would.

- Most know that I am a big Ike Taylor supporter. A lot of people give him a lot of shit because they don't think he is very good. Well today he shadowed Brandon Marshall and held him to five catches for 57 yards. I don't know about you but that is pretty good. He was especially good down in the red zone and was like white on rice with Marshall. Excellent game by Ike. Swaggin.

- The Steelers are 5-1. Unreal.

- Halloween night in New Orleans. Buckle up.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Penguins Game Day 9 - @ St. Louis Blues

St. Louis Blues



8:00 p.m., Scottrade Center, St. Louis, MO

After what was probably the best hockey game of the young NHL season the Penguins got a blow of air before they go from Nashvillege to St. Louis to take on the Blues tonight.

The Blues are a pretty strange team. Before this year most of you probably didn't even know the Blues exsisted. They are in a heavy baseball and football city and without winning they fall by the wayside and pretty under the radar for those people who really don't watch the NHL to any extent.

A little more after the line ups.

Here are the Penguins possible line ups

Forward
Chris Kunitz - Sidney Crosby - Pascal Dupuis
Mike Comrie -Mark Letestu - Evgeni Malkin
Matt Cooke -Maxime Talbot - Tyler Kennedy
Eric Tangradi - Craig Adams - Mike Rupp

DefensePaul Martin - Kris Letang
Alex Goligoski - Ben Lovejoy
Andrew Hutchinson - Deryk Engelland
(Brooks Orpik)

Goaltender
Brent Johnson

Here is the possible Blues line up:

Forward
David Perron - David Backes - T.J. Oshie
Andy McDonald - Patrik Berglund - Brad Boyes
Alexander Steen - Jay McClement - Matt D'Agostini
Brad Winchester - Vladimir Sobotka - B.J. Crombeen

Defense
Eric Brewer - Roman Polak
Barrett Jackman - Alex Pietrangelo
Carlo Colaiacovo - Erik Johnson

Goaltender
Ty Conklin/Jaro Halak


Roster Notes:

- It will be very interesting to see who the Penguins face in net. A lot of times coaches will let players (goaltenders more often) play against teams they used to play against or goaltenders playing in their own down. Ty Conklin was a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins a few years ago so it would seem if he was going to get the start in goal tonight. On the other hand Jaro Halak was monster against the Penguins in the playoffs last season and won the series for the Canadians. Montreal repayed Halak by shipping him to St. Louis because lord knows that the Habs don't want a good goalie to play with them, they'd rather have average at best Carey Price. Jokes.


- In the same respect the Penguins will most likely start Beej against the Blues. Beej was a part of the Blues system for five season at the NHL level. In 2001-02 Beej won 34 games for the Blues, but then he was given away.

- No word when I was typing this post out but Brooks Orpik is supposed to make it back for the game tonight. I am assuming this will be a game time decision, but it is sure a good sign that players are starting to come back. Word was that we might see Staal back this road trip. Actually as I was typing this our it was just reported that Brooks Orpik WILL play and Aaron Asham has a good chacne to go on Wednesday. Tight.

The stats:



Do it.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Steelers Game Day 6 - @ Miami Dolphins

The Steelers go down to Miami fresh off a Browns beat down to take on the Dolphins. Another warm weather game for the Steelers, but I think they are ok with that. Go check the scores against the Titans and Bucs if you don't believe it.

Big road game that starts a serious four game stretch for the Steelers. After this they go to New Orleans then to Cincinnati then home against the Pats. This four game stretch will show us a lot about the Steelers and what they are made of. Should be good.

Lets get into it:



Last Week:
Pittsburgh 28, Cleveland 10
Passing: Roethlisberger: 16/27, 257 yards, 3 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Mendenhall: 27 car, 84 yards, 1 TD
Receiving: Wallace: 3 rec, 90 yards, 1 TD

Miami 23, Green Bay 20
Passing: Henne: 23/39, 231 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Brown: 19 car, 73 yards, 0 TD
Receiving: Marshall: 10 rec, 127 yards, 0 TD


Offense (rank in NFL)
Total Offense
Pittsburgh: 291.2 yards/game (28th)
Miami: 347.8 yards/game (12th)

Passing
Pittsburgh: 160.2 yards/game (28th)
Miami: 232.2 yards/game (13th)

Rushing
Pittsburgh: 131 yards/game (9th)
Miami: 115.6 yards/game (14th)

Points
Pittsburgh: 22.8 points/game (10th)
Miami: 17.8 points/game (24th)


Defense
Total Defense
Pittsburgh: 296.6 yards/game (6th)
Miami: 311.2 yards/game (9th)

Rush
Pittsburgh: 63.6 yards/game (1st)
Miami: 109.4 yards/game (16th)

Pass
Pittsburgh: 233 yards/game (24th)
Miami: 201.8 yards/game (12th)

Points
Pittsburgh: 12 points/game (1st)
Miami: 22.4 points/game (23rd)

Pittsburgh is back down to the Sunshine state. Just a few weeks after they bent over the Tampa Bay Bucs they will be in Miami to take on the Miami Dolphins. The Dolphins are a pretty interesting mammal. I mean they look pretty sweet if you get to see them out in the ocean, right?

This from the most trusted source in all of college paper writing, Wikipedia:

Dolphins are marine mammals that are closely related to whales and porpoises. There are almost forty species of dolphin in seventeen genera. They vary in size from 1.2 m (4 ft) and 40 kg (90 lb) Maui's Dolphin, up to 9.5 m (30 ft) and 10 tonnes (9.8 LT; 11 ST) (the Orca or Killer Whale). They are found worldwide, mostly in the shallower seas of the continental shelves, and are carnivores, mostly eating fish and squid. The family Delphinidae is the largest in the Cetacean order, and relatively recent: dolphins evolved about ten million years ago, during the Miocene. Dolphins are among the most intelligent animals and their often friendly appearance and seemingly playful attitude have made them popular in human culture.

You know all of that is true because:




Oh, wait, what? You mean we aren't talking about those dolphins? On man.

Well now that I have refocused my line here... I guess I can talk about this football team they say they have in Miami.

So the University of Miami, they also call it the U.

Wait, that isn't it either? They have more football? Is it Florida State? No? Jesus they certainly don't have an NFL team do they? Oh they do? Shit.

(frantically searches the google machine to find out)

Well I'll be damned, they do have a team. The Miami Dolphins. I was wondering why they would have college stats in the NFL section when I was looking up the stat comparison above.

Ok, well when I look at this Dolphins team I really just see a pretty average team. They don't do anything great and they are not incredibly weak in any one area. Just average. What kinda surprised me when I was looking over stuff about them is that they are 0-2 at home this year and 3-0 on the road. You don't see that too often. Most of the time you see that reversed, but hey, I will take it.

Since 2001 the Black and Gold are 4-0 against the Teal team from down south. To be honest that really doesn't mean anything but I still like to say it to kind of seem like I am hyping the Steelers up. You know how it is. The Steelers are also 7-3 in their last 10 games, that also means something.

Clearing the best chance that the Dolphins have to win on Sunday is for Brandon Marshall to touch the football, as many times as possible. 10 catches is a lot for a receiver, but if Marshall has 15 then will be right in line where they need to be to win the football game. Despite catching 37 balls for almost 500 yards this season Marshall only has one touchdown catch. You know Marshall is going to catch balls and you know he is going to gain some yards, just keep him out of the end zone.

When talking about keeping Marshall out of the end zone just think back to when the Steelers played the Falcons earlier in the year and what they were able to do with Roddy White. White was targeted 20+ times and he made his 100 yards, but they were all underneath routes and he didn't find the end zone. That should be the key for the secondary. He is going to make his catches, just don't let one or two of them get behind the secondary.

The Dolphins have a decent running attack with a few players that can actually run the rock. While Ricky Williams isn't what he used to be he is still a pretty good running back, especially since he isn't be relied upon to be the top back in the system. Ronnie Brown is the other back in the system and he carries the ball a little bit more than Williams does and he also runs the teams wildcat package. If you remember back a few years it was the Dolphins who got the party started in the NFL with the wildcat and it was Ronnie Brown that ran all over the place with it. Now that it has been around for a while teams know how to defend it better, but it will still be a weapon.

The Steelers didn't see too much of the wildcat against the Browns because James Harrison decided he didn't want to play defense against it any more and knock out Josh Cribbs, but I have a feeling the Steelers will see some of it Sunday. Brown isn't as dynamic as Josh Cribbs in terms of athletic ability, but he has a better sense of how to find the gaps, being that he is a true running back and not a receiver. I think the Steelers should be ready and even though they aren't the best against defending the wildcat they will get the job done. We all know if there is one thing the Steelers are good at is stopping the run.

Stopping the run means that once again a quarterback is going to have to beat the Steelers. While I think that the Dolphins might be able to move the ball on the ground a little bit more than most teams we have played but then again I just don't think of Chad Henne as anything more than a slightly above average quarterback. He does what he needs to do and gets the ball to Brandon Marshall. On the year Henne is completing 63% of his passes for 1,195 yards, 7 touchdowns and five interceptions. Not going to blow you away but still not something you can just shrug your shoulders at. Can Chad Henne beat the Steelers himself? Meh, probably not.

The underrated part of this Miami Dolphins team is their defense. They can play some football. If Ben Roethlisberger was still suspended and it was Chuck Batch back there I really don't know if I would feel real great about the game on Sunday. Sadly, for the Dolphins, Ben is playing on the football field on Sunday, bad news for Miami.

Cameron Wake is pretty much the real deal. Outside of any linebacker from Pittsburgh, and Clay Mathews, Wake might be the best linebacker in the NFL right now. He has just been lights out good. Wake has six sacks, which ties him for fourth in the NFL. Now, before we go out and get all worked up about him, lets put some of this in perspective. He has three sacks in his last game against Green Bay. That is still pretty legit but skews his numbers pretty significantly. Still, this will be a good test for the offensive line, again, to see if they can keep Ben clean. To be fair the Steelers offensive line has only got their quarterback sacked nine times, the entire season. To put that in perspective the Jay Cutler got sacked by the Giants defense nine times IN ONE HALF.

Part of keeping our quarterback clean has been getting back to the running game. More touches by Rashard equals less sacks. This offensive line is better at run blocking than it is at pass blocking so it should work to the Steelers advantage. There can also be a strong case made that Rashard Mendenhall is the team MVP so far this season. The line has been giving him a few creases and he has been taking full advantage. Rashard is tied for sixth in the NFL in rushes of 20+ yards with four of them and averages 99 yards per contest, fourth in the NFL. That isn't saying that it is all Rashard, because it is not. The line is doing their job and Rashard is reading the blocks and making teams play, even with eight in the box.

Ben is going to do what Ben does, play good football. He came back last week and was pretty solid with his play, but he was visibly rusty. He is still going to have some rust this week but you best believe it is not going to be like last week. He will be sharper and he will get into a groove much faster this week. Last week it took him a half to kind of find some timing and find a groove, but it should not take him nearly as long this week. Mike Wallace seems to be very happy that Ben is back and now the Steelers have that home run threat. Twan is doing a nice job of working the underneath route and Hines is just doing what Hines does so it should be a pretty good offensive week. It will also be a nice test against a pretty good defense.

James Harrison is angry, and that is not good for Miami. He is pissed because he was fined and he is going to take it out on Chad Henne and company. He will have his work cut out for him because he might be matched up against Jake Long. Long is a very good lineman that has really come into his own and he is going to be very tough to beat, but James is mad. There is also the thing of having LaMarr Woodley and Lawrence Timmons. You can't have Jake Long block them all so it will be intersting.

I will also be looking to see if the Dolphins are going to try and take a book from Baltimore and max protect most of the game. I didn't get to watch the Browns game a ton, but I know when the Steelers played Baltimore the Ravens were keeping tight ends in and giving help to Flacco when he went back to pass to give him time. Basically they were keeping more people in to block than the Steelers had rushing. It will be interesting if the Dolphins try to push that and see what the Steelers secondary can do.

In the end I think the Steelers got this on lock. Steelers 27, Dolphins 16

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Penguins Game Day 8 - @ Nashville Predators

Nashville Predators

8:00 p.m., Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, TN

The Penguins are back in action after it seems as if they have been off for weeks and weeks at a time. There isn't too much to report on this game as it should be ho-hum.

Word from the boys at The Pensblog last nigth was that you could find tickets for as little as $17 to get into the game and you could get good lower bowl seats for around $40, including fees. Shit, I pay that much just to park for a Steelers game.

The big note you will hear from this game is that MAF is going to get the start. Lord knows the first goal he gives up they will scream for Beej to be in for the rest of the year. I dunno how I feel about this. On one hand I want to see Marc get back in there and get into a groove but on the other hand you gotta play the hot hand, nomatter how many days off he has had.

From the sounds of it Brooks and the walking wounded are getting some ice time (yes, including Staal, he is still on the team) and should be back periodically. Staal's injury seems to be going a lot better than expected so that is good. Why is this importatnt? Well, not only because some good players are close to coming back, but it is going to start to put some heat on the guys that are up and they will have to play better to stick. That is good for the Penguins.




Penguins probable line up

Forwards
Chris Kunitz - Sidney Crosby - Pascal Dupuis
Mike Comrie -Mark Letestu - Evgeni Malkin
Matt Cooke -Maxime Talbot - Tyler Kennedy
Eric Tangradi - Craig Adams - Mike Rupp

Defense
Paul Martin - Kris Letang
Alex Goligoski - Ben Lovejoy
Andrew Hutchinson - Deryk Engelland

Goaltender
Marc Andre Fleury



Nashville probable line up:

Forward
Martin Erat - Colin Wilson - J.P. Dumont
Jordin Tootoo - David Legwand - Joel Ward
Steve Sullivan - Cal O'Reilly - Patric Hornqvist
Sergei Kostitsyn - Nick Spaling - Jerred Smithson

Defense
Ryan Suter - Shea Weber
Francis Bouillon - Kevin Klein
Shane O'Brien - Cody Franson

GoaltenderPekke Rinne



The stats:
 
Do it.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

My Interview with Steve Braband

I got to talk to @stevebraband (Steve Braband) recently to discuss his celebrity status at ESPN, how he got there and how he reps the Burgh.

First off, Steve is a great guy for doing this. He went over and above for an amazing interview, and although he has probably told the story 1000's of times he was nice enough to sit down with me and put it down so most of you can see it.

Without wasting anymore time here is what Steve had to say:

1) So you work at ESPN and are a pretty big deal, we know that you were the man in a lot of commercials so give us an idea of how you got that role and what went into getting it.


Well first things first, I am the farthest thing from a pretty big deal here at ESPN. I like to think of myself as "just that guy" who has a pretty cool job. I would much rather be considered a fan first than an on-air presence ... which is maybe why I dont have my own TV show. That ... and I don't know how to fist pump.
Anyways, that was somewhat of a smooth segway to answer your question. In the summer of 2008, the company held tryouts for someone to be the focal point of the SportsCenter AM ad campaign - to make a long story short - I applied alongside 250some of my co-workers (my tryout videos are on youtube by I'm not linking them cause it's horrifying to watch), and after two different auditions, they picked this guy. Main reason why, is I guess that I came across as a regular joe-schmoe fanboy.






They wanted someone who wouldnt try to be a sportscenter anchor, but would talk about the Steelers (sports) non-stop and be willing to get pied in the face without knowing.



It was awesome to say the least - 2 weeks of me having a blast and being on the tube. I'd do it every year if I could. Those commercials helped me transition into my role with the WWL today and helped as a super awkard ice breaker when people introduce me to their friends "Remember that kid ... who was live on ESPN... and wore a big clock!?!?" "Uhhh...yeah....."

2) Being originally from Pittsburgh do you bring some of the black and gold spice to Bristol?

Yes. Very much so. I am known as a passionate Steeler fan. Many people who are "on-air" have to be fair and not biased - not me. In most of my situations at work, I am very obnoxious about my Pittsburgh love. Quick story - Two years ago, my buddy Pat (@PatMuldowney on Twitter) and I went to the Steelers - Pats game in Foxboro. Never in my life have I had more fun at a football game. Advice for all fans (especially Steeler fans), go to an away game as the enemy. Great feeling when you smack the other team. By the end of the 3rd quarter, our section was all Steeler fans and we were chanting Here We Go Steelers as Mr. Patriots sulked his way out of Foxboro, wiping his tears away with his Tom Brady jersey.

I also try to attend a Pens-Bruins game once a year (Boston is less than two hours away). Walking into that arena in a Crosby jersey is a great feeling. Especially when we win. Two years ago, after the Red Sox where eliminated from the playoffs by the Tampa Bay Rays, I got a bunch of crap in the restroom (no pun) for wearing my Crosby jersey. I slowly broke out in a B-J-UPTON chant and silenced the crowd. An older gentleman told me I should probably "leave now." That made my evening.

I am slowly trying to spread the hockey/Pens love to the area as well. This town misses the Hartford Whalers more than Joey Porter misses playing for winning teams (wooo), so I am encouraging them to join the Pens bandwagon.

3) There are parts of every job that go unnoticed, or the unglamorous tasks, give us an idea about a few things that you do during a normal day for ESPN that some might not realize.

Well for starters, I edit mostly all of my stuff. Editing is fun as hell, but it can also be very annoying when you have to look at yourself on film and figure what to cut. I hate my voice right now. No way I could work in the cartoon buisness. Heh? Seriously though, it's tough. I have learned a lot from it however - you know what works and what doesn't. If anything, it's a great skill to have and I encourage anyone that asks me about working here is to "learn how to edit video." It helps get you own your stuff and put your stamp on your work. Make sense?

4) If you can give us your top three moments since you have been up there with ESPN.

3. This (some of my best work)

2. Sounds dumb, but ever since I understood comedy, Adam Sandler was my hero. He was up in Bristol promoting Grown Ups (aka "Me and My Buddies Make Fart jokes for 90 Minutes") and I didn't get the chance to talk to him or do in an interview, but the comedy gods were smiling down on me as Mr Sandler strolled through the news room, waving to people and he patted me on my back and said hello. So dumb, but yet, so awesome to see the guy i've quoted a million times.

1. The commercials ... and yes I am lumping all 268 into one category. I got pied in the face, hung out with future criminals



and dominated Bristol for two straight weeks - all on LIVE TV. They ended two years ago this past August and I miss it every day.

The only way I could beat that, would be taking a kung fu class from Greg Lloyd with LaMarr Woodley, Max Talbot, Geno, and Wesley Snipes while Metallica plays For Whom The Bell Tolls during my live one hour television special entitled "Yinz on My TV and What Not"

5) You get to work with a lot of pretty cool people up there and get to meet some athletes and well know people. Who are some of the best you have worked with over your time.

The best athletes that come through are usually the ones that are lesser known. Saints Super Bowl hero, Tracy Porter was awesome, Willie McGinest (all though he was a former Brown) let us call Warren G on his cell phone (unreal) and Sam Bradford was a super nice dude. The best are the guys you see on a daily basis up here and work for ESPN. Marcellus Wiley might be the coolest guy known to man. Herm Edwards ... man ... whenever Coach Herm is present in the newsroom, productivity goes up 100%. He just has this presence of awesomeness.

All the anchors and ESPN on-air talent are great people. Everyone is willing to help and I have received feedback from some on what they like and what they didn't about my on-air work - very supportive atmosphere. Trey Wingo is quite the nerd though. Kidding. I owe that man a lot, I watched him growing up as a kid on SportsCenter and now I ask him for advice and joke around with him in the newsroom. Surreal to think that actually happens.

6) Working in media relations myself I know that it is a lot of long hours and tough work. Although your spot is more upbeat than mine is there still are some long days right?

Yeah man - long days are the norm. Week 1 of the NFL season was crazy. When I was in LA for the ESPYS, sleep was out of the question. 2-3 hour power naps were the norm. It fly's by however, you're running a million miles an hour and doing stuff you love, hanging out in the sports world. "Long days" in the sense that they are "brutal" and "painful" happen as well ... but you got to suck it up and as Jay-Z says (and Cotter @OFTOT quotes after Steelers losses) it's "...on to the next one!"

7) So do you have long term aspirations to stay at ESPN?

Yeah man. The company is awesome. One of the most over-looked and underated aspects of this job - is that there is a TV.AT.MY.DESK. Not many jobs in the workplace allow you to keep an eye on an afternoon baseball game or SportsCenter. During the World Cup, the newsroom was like a bar. It's weird to think we get paid for this.
I got a lot of work to do though if I want to stick around and continue to do some of these funner things. There is so much talent here and within this company that you got to be prepared and ready for anything. If they want to keep me on the squad, I'll give it 110%. How is that for a horrible sports pun?!?

8) Anything else you want to talk about really in this one.

Yes I'd love to talk about the current economic climate. Kidding. I seriously truly believe the Steelers are the team to beat in the AFC. Complete bias aside. There isnt a running back in the league that can run on the defense (ask CJ) and with Ben hopefully playing like a man possessed (think - Incredible Hulk) we could be in for an awesome run. Also, never ever forget, as much as it sucks, and as much as our owner likes skiing instead of signing free-agents - LETS. GO. BUCS.

I guess the law requires me to mention the Pens as well. They'll be fine. Chill out yinz. Trade Console.

9) Most importantly when are you getting me a job at ESPN? ha

Tomorrow. You can be my lacky. Pick me up a sausage egg and cheese scmuffin from Sheetz (not applicable in Bristol) and I need 68 pictures of Louis Lipps. I would actually love to be in a position to make ESPN become a headquarters for anything and everything Pittsburgh sports. The world needs more Pirates highlights on their television.



I just wanted to say thanks again to Steve. It was real cool to talk to him and if you are not following him on Twitter then you need to get your head checked. He does great work and he is a better person.

Go Pittsburgh.

Lawrence Timmons Named NFL Defesive POW

After a week which included posting 11 tackles, two sacks and an interception the Steelers Lawrence Timmons was named to the NFL Defensive Player of the Week after the Steelers 28-10 win over the Cleveland Browns. Are we noticing a trend here of players being named DPOW? I think we are.


For the year I am of the opinion that LT has been the Steelers defensive MVP. The strides he has made since last year are pretty remarkable. While he was good last year he was not at this level. He is making this defense that much better.

Right now LT is tied for fourth in the NFL with 59 tackles, three sacks, one interception, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. He has been a monster in the run defense which is first in the NFL, giving up a league low 63.8 rushing yards per game. Beast.

Good award for what has been an underrated player this year.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Thank You Sergei Gonchar

During the Penguins 5-2 win over the Ottawa Senators at the CEC tonight the Pens put together a video thanking Sergei Gonchar for his time spent with the Penguins. IT was showing to a standing ovation from the Penguin faithful and was much deserved for a player that was a huge part of the makeup of this team.  Thank you Sarge!

Downin The Browns: Steelers 28, Browns 10

The more things change, the more they stay the same in the "rivalry" between the Steelers and the Browns. The more things change is pretty much referring to how many starting quarterbacks the Browns seem to have every single time they play the Steelers and the more they stay the same part refers to, well, you know, the Steelers winning.

Looking at the stats you might not think that the Steelers were as dominant as they were, and really when you think about it they really weren't dominant for much of the first half. The Steelers only held a slim 7-3 lead going into the half before flipping the switch in the second half and putting this game away and making the great Steelers Nation faithful feel pretty good about the weekend.

A few tidbits about the game that I want to hash over. Didn't get to see the complete game because I was on the road (again) and was resorted to watching some online feeds that were not ideal while everyone around me was salivating at how good the Packers were even though they are an average football team. I am going to be able to watch the Steelers on an actual TV this coming weekend which will be a nice reprieve on Sunday.

First thing is first, this was Ben's first game back if you were born just today. The first series Ben had the football he moved the team down the field and really was looking ok, and then it happened, a pick. If you were thinking of the worst way Ben could start the season after being suspended then this was it. All the haters were probably grinning ear to ear. The pick I would chalk up to mostly rust because the read was good, the ball just sailed on him a little bit. I know the CBS crew tried to say it was a bad read but if you watch the play again it was a good read, MeMo was open, Ben just left it high. It happens. The Browns got the ball and got a field goal out of it so all was not terrible.

The nice part about the pick was that we got to see how Ben was going to handle the adversity. I think he did alright. He ended up with a pretty decent line at the end of the day: 16-of-27 for 257 yards and three touchdowns to go with the pick. If you told me that is how his first game would end up coming back I would take that any day of the week. You could immediately see the difference in what having a quarterback that can stretch the field had. The Steelers had three passing touchdowns in the first four games of the season, Ben had three touchdown passes yesterday. I guess Batch should still start though right?

As good as the passing attack was, the running game was just as good for the Steelers. Rashard Mendenhall has been a stud all season. The final line only shows 27 carries for 84 yards, but his numbers were much bigger than that. He is running with a purpose this year and is showing that he is progressing as a back and can be relied on to make the big plays when you need it. Ike Redman also had a pretty big day for the Steelers with 31 yards on only six carries and continued to be good in the short yardage situation. He has shown he can be reliable and he is tough as nails, rarely getting knocked off his goal on the first hit. Nice to see.

You can't really talk much about the skilled offensive weapons the Steelers have without talking about the big uglies up front. The offensive line again didn't surrender a sack against Big Ben. Sure, Ben got hit a little bit but the line was giving him enough time to throw. Ben is going to hold the ball a long time and even though a lot of the sacks that he takes are on him, the line is going to take a lion share of the blame. They are doing the job and getting it done, even without arguably their best man from last year, Willie Colon. Pouncey has been a massive upgrade over Justin Hartwig and they just seem to have found a groove and a comfort level that has allowed them to play good football. The rushing game has also been a huge benefactor of the offensive line. There were some gaping holes in yesterdays game and that combined with Mendenhall's continued skill at reading defenses and holes and things are looking good.

If you are looking for me to talk about James Harrison then you can just click this link and read what I wrote earlier today. That is all.

The defense was nasty again. Sure they gave up a good chunk of yards to the Browns but it really was indicative of how well the defense played. They picked off Colt McCoy twice and sacked him five times while holding the Browns rushing attack to only 70 rushing yards. Pretty good day if you ask me. Lawrence Timmons continues to have a great year. Two sacks, 11 tackles and a pick. All in a days work for a Pittsburgh linebacker.

My last parting show is actually some props for the Browns. I was skeptical about Colt McCoy going into the game, and frankly didn't think he would make it through the whole game. With Josh Cribbs out that left pretty much nobody else to take snaps and he was going to have to make plays for the Browns. I was pretty surprised at how well McCoy played. He did look like a rookie, but he was still able to make plays and pick up some yards and first downs for the team. Although he made some mistakes he played pretty well in his first start. We'll see how that lasts.

That is about all I have for this game. Focus on Miami now.

Penguins Game Day 7 - vs. Ottawa Senators

Ottawa Senators

7:00 p.m., Consol Energy Center, Pittsburgh, PA

The Penguins are back in action after an off day, and a win over the Flyers, to play back at home in the CEC. The Pens finally earned their first win in the CEC with an overtime win on Friday, so we don't have to worry about that anymore. Thank God.

Sergei Gonchar makes his return to Pittsburgh. Gonchar was a mainstay in the lineup for the Penguins for what seems like forever. He was here before the resurgence and he was a huge reason for the success of this team since. If you are at the arena and they do something for Gonchar then you better stand up and scream. I will be standing in my Wisconsin based apartment clapping. Gonchar is a stand up guy and a great hockey player. If you sit besides someone that boos please pull there jersey off their back and tell them to get the hell out of the arena. I know there will always be fans like that, but they have no business being there in my opinion. Let Sarge know how much we appreciate him. Thank you Sarge.

The other big story is that Brent Johnson is going to [probably] be in net tonight for the Penguins. If you follow me at all you know I am a huge supporter of Marc Andre Fleury, and I still am. He is the future and he is our best chance of winning a cup this year. No doubt about that. With that being said Brent Johnson has the hot hand. No idea how long it will last, not idea what will come of it, but with a bunch of games all in a short amount of time here you might as well ride the strong hand. No problem with it, things will sort out and MAF will be back in the pipes playing well soon enough.

Ray Shero is a beast for resigning Johnson. Detroit doesn't even have one competent goaltender. Jokes.

The Penguins lineup:

Forwards
Chris Kunitz - Sidney Crosby - Pascal Dupuis
Eric Tangradi - Mike Comrie - Evgeni Malkin
Matt Cooke - Maxime Talbot - Tyler Kennedy
Mike Rupp - Mark Letestu - Eric Godard

Defense
Paul Martin - Kris Letang
Alex Goligoski - Ben Lovejoy
Andrew Hutchinson - Deryk Engelland

Goaltender
Brent Johnson



The Senators lineup:

Forwards
Milan Michalek - Jason Spezza - Daniel Alfredsson
Ryan Shannon - Peter Regin - Alex Kovalev
Jesse Winchester - Mike Fisher - Nick Foligno
Jarkko Ruutu - Chris Kelly - Chris Neil
DefenseMatt Carkner - Chris Phillips
Sergei Gonchar - Chris Campoli
Brian Lee - Erik Karlsson

Goaltender
Brian Elliott
 
The stats:
 

Do it.

James Harrison Is A Bad Mo Fo

So after a long weekend of work I finally got home in the late night last night. I have already read most of what was on ESPN and I always like to go to a few places to get a round about assessment of what people think about the Steelers. One of the places I went last night Yahoo Sports. This is what I found on one of their NFL wrap up pieces:


If that isn't some good stuff there I don't even know what is. James Harrison is so bad ass that during the bye week some people that control the player pages on Yahoo Sports actually went out of his/her way to find out that James Harrison went buffalo hunting.

You  might think this is not important, but you would be dead wrong. Harrison transferred going buffalo hunting to the football field yesterday. Harrison knocked both Josh Cribbs and Mohamed Massaquoi in one quarter of play. Cribbs and Massaquoi are not buffalo, but I am pretty sure they feel like they had been hit like one.

I wouldn't be surprised if Harrison killed a buffalo with is bare hands after blitzing them from the front side.

What a human.

Recap later tonight.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Steelers Game Day 5 - vs. Cleveland Browns

Finally the team is back in action. Is there anything worse than watching terrible preseason games, getting that tease, then playing a few real games then having a bye week. I don't know about yinz but last week was so hard last week not to watch the Steelers.  Well, they are back. They are pissed. They will be hungry.

Before we get to the recap, take a look at last week and the stats this year:

Last Week:
Baltimore 17, Pittsburgh 14
Passing: Batch: 12/21, 141 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Mendenhall: 25 car, 79 yards, 2 TD
Receiving: Randle El: 2 rec, 50 yards, 0 TD

Cleveland 23, Cincinnati 20
Passing: Wallace: 18/30, 184 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Hillis: 27 car, 102 yards, 1 TD
Receiving: Boldin: 6 rec, 60 yards, 0 TD


Offense (rank in NFL)
Total Offense
Pittsburgh: 269.5 yards/game (29th)
Cleveland: 301.4 yards/game (25th)

Passing
Pittsburgh: 136 yards/game (32nd)
Cleveland: 198.6 yards/game (22nd)

Rushing
Pittsburgh: 133.5 yards/game (8th)
Cleveland: 102.8 yards/game (22nd)

Points
Pittsburgh: 21.5 points/game (10th)
Cleveland: 15.6 points/game (30th)


Defense
Total Defense
Pittsburgh: 289 yards/game (4th)
Cleveland: 343.2 yards/game (21st)

Rush
Pittsburgh: 62.3 yards/game (1st)
Cleveland: 120 yards/game (23rd)

Pass
Pittsburgh: 226.8 yards/game (20th)
Cleveland: 223.2 yards/game (18th)

Points
Pittsburgh: 12.5 points/game (1st)
Cleveland: 19.4 points/game (13th)

It's Browns week! Um, yea, doesn't have the same effect as my last game day does it? Just saying Browns feels kinda dirty doesn't it? It does to me.

This will be a brief game day as I am pulling this all together in one sit down, but there really isn't all too much to say about this game. Just the main headlines and you don't have much else. When it boils down to it this is a very winnable game for the Steelers and a great opportunity to get back in sync after a bye week.

Oh yea, guess who's back:

That's right bitches. Ben is back.

Just for some context, this is what we had:





And this is what we now have:

Hate on haters.

So word is that former Texas Longhorns quarterback Colty McCoy is going to start for the Browns. Good Christ. Rookie quarterback against the top ranked rush defense. I know you are probably saying "Cory, what does rush defense have to do with how a quarterback is going to do. Let me explain. When you make a team one dimensional it is very hard for that said football team to win the game. You stuff the run early and you force the quarterback to beat you. So thus, stopping the run game will force Colt McCoy to beat the Steelers.

Does Colt have it in him? I mean he was a prolific passer at the University of Texas for four year so he defiantly has talent. The real question is does he have the talent around him? I am doubting that. Outside of a lineman (and I mean like one lineman) and Josh Cribbs there isn't much there on the offensive side of the ball for the Browns. Lets not forget that he is playing not just against the best defense in the NFL, but he is playing against Dick Lebeau.

You might see something like this when Silverback comes off his end position on a third and medium:




You might be laughing (because that is funny as hell) but truly James Harrison has done that to quarterbacks before. Ask Vince Young.

On the real thought, there isn't much there for Colt McCoy to throw to. Hillis might be some help on the ground game but he is banged up and their wide receivers are pedestrian at best.  Ben Watson is their big target. Watson is the Browns tight end and you can probably expect him to catch a few balls. Tight ends seem to have pretty decent games against the Steelers and with Watson being the top target I can see him catching a few balls.

Outside of Watson there is Josh Cribbs and Chansi Stuckey. Cribbs will probably see more work in the backfield and  Stuckey is marginal at best.

Cribbs will mostly be used in the wildcat. Earlier in the week he was spouting off abotu how they could run wildcat all game if they had to and he would be fine with that. He also said he likes to get hit and he won't mind taking a lick. Good luck with that Josh. To be fair the Browns have had success with Cribbs in the wildcat against the Steelers. I would expect that the Steelers worked extra on that since they know they will probably get more of it than usually with a rookie quarterback in the wings.

I would talk about the Cleveland defense, but I don't really care.

Prediction: Steelers 31, Browns 10. Colt McCoy somehow escapes alive. Not sure how.

Here We Go.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Penguins Game Day 6 - @ Philadelphia Flyers

The Penguins square off against the Flyers. Another shoddy game day since I am not around.

Here are the lines for the Pens:

Forward
Chris Kunitz - Sidney Crosby - Pascal Dupuis
Eric Tangradi - Mike Comrie - Evgeni Malkin
Matt Cooke - Maxime Talbot - Tyler Kennedy
Mike Rupp - Mark Letestu - Eric Godard
Defense
Paul Martin - Kris Letang
Alex Goligoski - Ben Lovejoy
Andrew Hutchinson - Deryk Engelland

 
And for the Flyers:
 
Forward
Dan Carcillo - Mike Richards - Jeff Carter
Scott Hartnell - Danny Briere - Ville Leino
James van Riemsdyk - Claude Giroux - Nikolay Zherdev
Jody Shelley - Blair Betts - Darroll Powe
Defense
Chris Pronger - Matt Carle
Kimmo Timonen - Braydon Coburn
Andrej Meszaros - Sean O’Donnell

Word is Carcillo is a healthy scrath. What a hack.

Do it.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Penguins Game Day 5-@ New York Islanders

Penguins Islanders tonight. I haven't been by internet all day so this is your game day.

Bing scores twice. Penguins win by three.

Rick D is in net for New York. If he lasts a period uninjured I'd be shocked.

Do it.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Mike Kelly Will Lower Ray Lewis' Taxes

Watching the Penguins on NHL Center Ice I get to see FSN and Pittsburgh commercials which I don't normally see. That is when I saw this gem (pardon the shoddy quality and sound but hey, it works):



Mike Kelly wants Ray Lewis to pay lower taxes.

This ad specifies that it does not push for on candidate but it is hitting the target market. If you want someone to do something and your taret market is in Pittsburgh you should tell the people that Ray Lewis is doing the exact opposite of what you want.

If you ask me this is unreal marketing. Ray Lewis is still a huge dbag. That is a fact.

50 Years Ago To The Day: Bill Mazeroski

50 years ago to the day Bill Mazeroski hit the most famous home run in Major League Baseball history. Maz etched his name in baseball history when in Game 7 he hit a game-winning home run off New York Yankees pitcher Ralph Terry in the bottom of the ninth inning.

As a kind this is stuff you dreamed of. When you are growing up you play this scenario in your head and you practice what you would do. Amazing.

Maz is the real deal. What a great day for the Pirates.

Penguins Game Day 4 - vs. Toronto Maple Leafs

Toronto Maple Leafs

7:30 p.m., Consol Energy Center, Pittsburgh, PA

The Penguins come back to the CEC after getting their first win of the season in New Jersey. In case you didn't really catch it Nic from PSAMP was there and gave us this gem:





Unreal fist pumps.

Well today the Penguins are back on the grind at home, looking for that first win in the new digs. MAF is back in net. I wasn't sure our new starting goalie (Brent Johnson) needed a day off after one playing in one game. Or that is at least what I expect to hear if MAF gives up a goal tonight.

Stoosh went unreal on The Pensblog for his weekly column. Great read.

Well the Canada media is in the house today and is pretty much freaking out that we have a new arena. I wonder if they realize, outside of today, that Pittsburgh even has a hockey team? Doubtful. The Leafs are 2-0 coming in so obviously they will be playing for the Stanley Cup in the next couple of weeks. Just like the Penguins are still eliminated from the playoffs after two games, but the Penguins won their last game so we are Cup Champions again. Jesus this is hard to get a grip on.

The Pens probable lines:

Forwards
Chris Kunitz - Sidney Crosby - Pascal Dupuis
Eric Tangradi - Mark Letestu - Evgeni Malkin
Matt Cooke - Max Talbot - Tyler Kennedy
Eric Godard - Craig Adams - Mike Rupp

Defense
Paul Martin - Kris Letang
Alex Goligoski - Derek Engelland
Andrew Hutchinson - Ben Lovejoy

Goaltender
Marc Andre Fleury



And for the Leafs:

Forwards
Versteeg - Bozak - Kessel
MacArthur - Grabovski - Kulemin
Sjostrom - Brent - Armstrong
Orr - Zigomanis - Brown
Defense
Beauchemin - Phaneuf
Kaberle - Schenn
Gunnarsson - Komisarek

Goaltender
Gustavsson


A few notes about the lineups:

-Orpik and Michalek are again not in the lineup. No word really on how long either will be out but that doesn't stop a ton of people from throwing it around as if it is the end of the world.

-Colby Armstrong is coming back to the Burgh. Should get a nice ovation from the fans. Everyone here loves him and he was Sid's bff when he was here before

-Mike Zigomanis also returns to Pittsburgh. He wasn't a Penguin for a long time (due to injury) but when he played he was a really nice player to have. Fourth line guy but was cash on faceoffs. If there is a big faceoff late in the game he is going to take it and has a great chance of winning it. It will be nice to see him on the ice again. Wish the Penguins could have kep thim.

-Gustavsson is making his first start in the pipes tonight. Lets light him up


The Stats:

Monday, October 11, 2010

Penguins Game Day 3 - @ New Jersey Devils

New Jersey Devils


4:00 p.m., Prudential Center, Newark, N.J.


Who plays games at 4 in the afternoon on a Monday? I mean does the NHL want to promote its game. I mean lets face it the Devils don't draw a lot of people in general this isn't a big deal, but I kind of want to watch the game on TV, not on my computer screen at work. Whatev.

The Penguins are 0-2. I think with one more loss they are eliminated from playoff contention. Stupid. Get real people.

The Penguins haven't beat the Devils in like 18 years. Need it today.

Paul Martin goes back to his former team. He said he expects to get booed, if there is enough Devils fans there. Doubtful.

I do not like Marty Brodeur. He gave up five in 15 shots against the Capitals on Saturday. His GAA is above five. And we are the ones bitching about our goaltender?

I am actually a huge fan of Zach Parise. I think he is a really good player and just seems like a stand up guy. Too bad he has to play with a douche like Kovaljoke.

Here are the lines for the Penguins:

Forwards
Chris Kunitz - Sidney Crosby - Mike Comrie
Eric Tangradi - Mark Letestu - Evgeni Malkin
Matt Cooke - Maxime Talbot - Tyler Kennedy
Mike Rupp - Craig Adams - Pascal Dupuis/Eric Godard

Defense
Zbynek Michalek - Brooks Orpik
Kris Letang - Paul Martin
Ben Lovejoy/Deryk Engelland - Alex Goligoski

Goaltending
Brent Johnson

For the Devils:

Forwards
Zach Parise - Travis Zajac - Ilya Kovalchuk
Patrik Elias - Jason Arnott - Jamie Langenbrunner
Brian Rolston - Dainius Zubrus - David Clarkson
Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond - Rod Pelley

Defense
Andy Greene - Henrik Tallinder
Anton Volchenkov - Mark Fraser
Colin White - Matt Toarmina
Alexander Urbom

Goaltender
Martin Brodeur

Rolston and Volchenkov are both being looked at and it seems as if they are "unlikely to play". Good.

Not sure about Brodeur. If he doesn't go (why wouldn't he) it would be former Penguin Johan Hedberg. Whatev. Light it up.

Here are the stats:

Here is a nice parting shot. This is what is at stake today: