I didn't want it to be this way--mostly because, unless your team is constantly terrible (*cough cough buccos*), it's hard to wring a laugh out of failure. And friends, I knew something was going to go wrong. The weird weather in Denver was an ill wind indeed, and Rockies fever was contagious. Finally, the SNIFNIA commentary asking if the Steelers are in the same league with the Colts and Pats sealed the deal. The jinx was ON.
I'd like to think I'm not superstitious, but I know some bad mojo when I see it, so I made sure to wear my Yoi and Double Yoi shirt, which in its debut contributed to the solid drubbing of the Seahawks, just in case. The shirt was not enough.
Let's look at the breakdown:
Ben: This was a tale of two Benjamins: it was the best of times and the worst of times. The game began with a nearly flawless first drive, started the second quarter with a bang and ended strong. In the middle of these slices of heaven however was a nasty Rex Grossman filling. I don't know if Ben went to Chicago or just ate a Chicago-style pizza, but some of the long bombs were vintage Sexy-Rexy-style terrible judgment, which is particularly frightening because Dre Bly was hawking balls like picks were on senior discount. Seriously, did he eat Champ Bailey and take his powers? 2.5 helmets out of 5 for half a great game and half a terrible one.
O-Line: The offensive line looked terrible last night. Now, here's the $64,000 question--is the line not holding, or is Ben taking too long (and as a subset, are WRs not getting open downfield)? I think it's a little of columns A, B and C. It WAS clear however that the line was only giving enough time for quick outs to be successful, and that's a recipe for a one-dimensional game. As far as the running game went, there wasn't a lot happening up the middle, but they did spring Willie for some nice gains. I'll be tough and say 2 helmets out of 5. Feel free to disagree.
Fast Willie and the Dumptruck: Is the name of a buddy comedy that I would totally go to see. Willie's numbers are deceptive for this game. Yes he was held to 93 yards, but he also had his biggest receiving game to date. Additionally, last night illustrated that a good passing game is critical to a good running game, and when the passing game opened up, Willie had some great gains. However, I expected more on the ground against the worst run defense in the NFL, even if they DID eat their Wheaties Sunday morning. As for Dump? Well...Big Ben had more yards...3 helmets out of 5
"Tim" Spaeth: There when he needed to be, not there enough to get called the right name. 4 out of 5
Heath Miller: Always Mr. Consistent. 4 out of 5 and needs the ball more often.
THE D: Just another example of how schizophrenic these Steelers were last night. The D made big plays occasionally, but also had a series of mental mistakes that ultimately cost the game. Letting the Broncos get into field goal range after back-to-back TDs was inexcusable. Jay Cutler burned the D with mid-range passes all night, to Brandon Stokley in the first half and then to Brandon Marshall and Glenn Martinez in the second. Confidential to Steelers secondary: Beware guys named Brandon. Seriously though, this looked nothing like the team that had otherwise allowed only 5 touchdowns all year. When Jay Cutler looks like John Elway, there is something very very wrong. 2 helmets out of 5. I'd have gone with the dreaded ONE HELMET were it not for the key interceptions by Smith and Foote, and holding Travis Henry to 51 yards.
NBC camera guy: 5 helmets out of 5, as in get him five, and make sure he wears them all at once.
Soooo, the shirt is .500, which might mean that it has no magic powers. I refuse to test it any further. I can't take a 50% chance that the Steelers might lose next week. I owe it to the nation to retire the shirt to civilian (non-game-day) duty only. But in honor of that 50%, the half a good game and half a bad, I pronounce yesterday's effort a 2.5 helmets out of 5. Thanks for letting me ride the pony, and if you're still bummed, keep away from sharp objects. And remember, there's a light at the end of the tunnel, a light which is vintage Bungles. Now I need to find a new shirt...