No hockey score jokes. No ripping on the offenses. No historical analysis of how low-scoring the game was.
You're not getting any of that in this Tuesday afternoon edition of Monday Morning Chrysler New Yorker.
At the end of 60 minutes, the Steelers finished with 3 more points than the opposition. That equals a win, no matter who the opponent was. The 3-0 shutout moved the record to 8-3.
Tale of the tape: Persevering the elements. Underlying theme: Ridiculous defensive game.
The stats weren't gaudy, but the team weathered the storm (literally and figuratively), kept the dolphins at bay and did just enough to win.
One more thing before I get into specific performances. What was up with ESPN rooting for marine mammals? Were they trying to side with the winless Dolphins? I mean, they kept playing that ridiculous Seal song at every commercial break. Seals...Dolphins...conspiracy?
Bennifer. Aside from the early interception, Ben did everything right given the poor weather and turf conditions. He didn't force long passes, which was critical without San Antonio in the lineup. Ben repeatedly threw 3-5 yard passes, which resulted in high percentage receptions that slowly moved the sticks. Sure, nearly every drive stalled, but that can be contributed to the potholes and standing water on the field. Ben reprised his "Game Manager" role, and let the game come to him. When he absolutely needed a drive to win the game, he produced. 4 of 5 motorcycle helmets for the conservative play.
RBs. I was a little confused by the RB system we used against the fish. With the awful weather, I was expecting to see more of Najeh early, letting Willie benefit from a worn-down defense. No knock on Willie, who put up solid numbers on a less-that-desirable field of play. However, when Najeh finally was used, he sputtered on a drive-ending 3rd down, and finished with 3 carries for 2 yards. Willie picked p the RB corps with 24 carries for 81 yards. Willie played well, Najeh did nothing. I'll give 3.75 out of 5 motorcycle helmets since Willie went over 1,000 rush yards for the 3rd consecutive season.
Hines. #86 played out of his mind all game. He was catching everything thrown his way, and on a sloppy night, caught 9 passes for 88 yards. That's huge in a game like this. Had this been a typical, 24-21 game, Hines' stats would've been something like 10 catches for 160 yards. There was no breaking long gains in the rain, and every catch was critical. He extended a few drives that should've resulted in a punt, and was clearly the go-to-guy. 5 of 5 motorcycle helmets. Couldn't ask for more out of Hines.
D. For those doubters who love to complain about the 3-0 win, the Steelers D pitched their 2nd shutout of the season. Add that to 3 other games in which the opposition scored a touchdown or less. All Miami needed was one drive for a score in order to win the game or at least force overtime. The D didn't allow that much. Tyrone Carter subbed for Troy perfectly, and he, James Farrior and Larry Foote were on acid all night. James Harrison continued his Monday night dominance with another sack in front of his predecessor, Joey Porter. Sure, Jeff Reed recorded the game's only points, but the D won the game. 5 of 5 motorcycle helmets. Sick game.
Bengals next week. We are Dey.
Love and prayers to Sean Taylor and his family. My buddy lives in Gaithersburg, Maryland and is a huge 'Skins/Sean Taylor fan. The news made me sick, and the mainstream media's reports about this has turned my stomach. I'll dedicate a post to this later.