Sunday, January 2, 2011

AFC North Champions. Steelers 41, Browns 9.

The Steelers wrapped up the 2010-11 season with a beat down in Cleveland. Beat down would be a kind word to talk about how bad this game really was for the Browns. I would say that I feel bad for those poor bastards, but I don’t really care. This was the 14th win in the last 15th tries against the Browns. What a joke. This isn’t a rivalry. This was getting owned, again. The way the Steelers can out to this game you would have thought this was the divisional round of the playoffs. Unreal effort from the black and gold. Every time they touched the ball in the first half they scored points. They didn’t punt until the second unit was in part way into the third quarter. The Steelers went into the half up 31-3. They coulda scored 100 if they wanted. For real.

No bad injuries and the Steelers are playing some of their best football of the season. Just an unreal effort today. Eric Mangini will likely be out of an NFL coaching job tomorrow. Can’t say I am shocked. Cleveland defensive coordinator Rob Ryan lauded his defense on New Years Eve about how good they were playing. Today they looked lost and confused. What a joke.

General Thoughts:

-First thing is first. 12-4, AFC North Champions, bye week. Suck it haters.

-The bye is huge for this team. There might not be a team that needs it more than the Steelers. Troy can rest. Aaron Smith can rest. Everyone can rest and get those bumps and bruises worked out. The Steelers got 10 days off for this game and look at what happened. They looked great. They get 13 days off before their next game and they should be just the same. Sure a lot of people will talk about rust but that means nothing to me. This team needs the rest and they got it.

-This was a complete game from the Steelers. Offense, defense and special teams. There was no letting up on the gas and they made sure they gave Cleveland no glimmer of hope and went for the kill shot in the first quarter, and got it. Last year the Browns would have hung around and made this a game. This is a different team this year. They are ready for the playoffs.

-The first series each team had was a microcosm of what was going to go down the rest of the day. The first series had Troy Polamalu intercepting a pass that Ben Watson couldn’t handle. The Steelers get the ball and first play was play action. Mike Wallace. Cash.

No idea what T.J. Ward was doing on that play. Do you think Cleveland even watched film? I don’t. They couldn’t of. One on one with a corner on Mike Wallace. Must be a masochist.

-Speaking of Mike Wallace, how is this dude not in the Pro Bowl? He picked up 105 receiving yards, on THREE CATCHES. Unreal. 35 yards per catch today. For real? 35 yards per catch. With his 56 yard touchdown catch on the first play of the game Ben and Mike became the all time leaders in Steelers history with eight 40 yard touchdown passes for a season. Pretty sweet huh.

-For those of you that wanted to trade Ben Roethlisberger I hope you realize now what you were saying. Ben was kept spot clean because of the combination of good line play and good pocket awareness. Byron Leftwhich came into the game in the early third quarter and the first play he gets sacked. The Steelers win seven games at most if the Dixon/Leftwhich/Batch trio and Ben was elsewhere. Ben was pretty much having his way with the Cleveland defense (no pun intended) and the Browns had no answers. He led the Steelers on four straight touchdown drives and a field goal drive in their first five possessions. He went 15/23 for 280 yards and two touchdowns. Silly good. Ben did no make mistakes and has stretched his streak of not throwing an interception to 158 attempts which is the longest streak of his career. Not too shabby. Although he was not around for the first four games Ben took a lot of shots this season and the week off is going to be great.

-The defense was unreal impressive today. They were all over Colt McCoy and gave him about a second to throw when they dropped back to pass. The Browns wanted no part of blocking the Steelers and it showed. The Steelers recorded four sacks and had five QB hits, picked off three McCoy passes and forced two fumbles. They held the Browns to only 225 total yards and only 43 rushing yards. That is a dominating performance. Even Anthony Madison got into the act with an interception and one of the sacks. For a better part of the second half the back ups and they didn’t skip a beat. This is easily the best defense in the NFL and they shut down the Browns.

-I wasn’t really sure that Troy should have came back to play, but man was he effective today. Started the game off with an interception and even was part of the goal line stand where he jumped over the line just as the ball was being snapped and almost had Colt McCoy. What an athlete. He seemed to be moving pretty well and the extra week will most certainly help him so I guess it all worked out well. I guess the Steelers staff would know best about his health and the last thing they would do is retard his progress of getting better.

-Antwaan Randle El threw another touchdown pass today. Although it was only a three yard toss to Hines Ward it was well worth it. Mind you this was while the Steelers were up 31-3 in the third quarter. Mike Tomlin cares not for what you think about running up the score. It was El’s sixth touchdown pass and he is now 22-of-27 passing. That is ok in my book.

-Nice job by the offensive line today. They might not be the best, but they got the job done. They kept Ben Roethlisberger clean and gave him some time to throw. Granted the Browns pass rush sucks but still they gave up eight sacks to this Browns team last season when Cleveland spoiled the Steelers playoff hopes during that five game losing streak.

-Ziggy Hood has been good this year. When Aaron Smith going down he had to step and he has. He hasn’t been getting a lot of pub, but for someone that plays on the defensive line of the 3-4 the less you hear about them the better. His had a sack today and you could tell he was zoned it. With an aging defensive line having a youngster able to step in and play productive football. It was good stuff.

-The Browns mailed this game in a week ago. They wanted no point of this game. Mangini will be fired and probably rightfully so. They were down 14-0 and went for a field goal that was extra point chip shot distance away. The Steelers offense was moving and they basically gave up. Never really contested the game and everyone just looked like they wanted to get out of there. Colt McCoy doesn't seem to be the answer and they just look like a lost football team. That being said I think I am being pretty nice and easy on them. Man.

Not too much left to say. Dominating performance and after a tough few games for the Pens and the Winter Classic loss it was a much needed pick me up for the Steelers.

It might be slow on here for the next week. I will get some things up that are playoff related and try to put together a playoff preview and possibly a playoff podcast with some other bloggers. If there is anything you guys want to see just put it in the comments.

As always leave your thoughts in the comments.

The road to the Super Bowl starts now. Get your minds right.

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