My local deli/convenience store is a block away from my apartment in Queens. The Korean dudes that run it love talking sports, and always get Steelers/Penguins/Pirates news from me when I come in. Before any and every season, I predict all of the local teams are going to win a championship, which has sorta become a running joke. Yes, even with the Pirates. I looked like a genie when the 2009 Super Bowl and Stanley Cup rolled around, so I have more credibility than most of the shmucks that frequent the store who try and act like informed fans.
It's pure fan optimism that makes me expect the absolute best every year, but Tomlin gets it.
"The standard is winning," Tomlin said. "The 11 on the field represent us. They're capable, and they embrace it."
Since we're talkin' credibility, far be it from me to doubt guys like Kevin Colbert and Mike Tomlin. They've both experienced great personal success with the Steelers and they've earned our respect and appreciation. They get the right guys for the job year in and year out and don't settle for mediocrity. It shows.
Steelers over the Bucs, 38-13.
I'm comin' off like a total fanboy with the 3-0 start, cos I'm finding it hard to give harshly-critical ratings. What the heck am I supposed to be upset about? I'm not one to shy away from giving someone like 0 or 1 of 5 helmets for noticeably visible struggles. But at this point, I'd just be the jerk pretending I'm somehow smarter than you. We all see the success on the field, so my ratings reflect that.
Charlie Batch: Here's what I said last week. "Offense does anything even remotely competent and we're looking at an absolutely complete team." Charlie came through huge in response yesterday. 12 of 17 for 186 yards, 3 TDs (including 2 40+ yard scores) and 2 picks. He also had that sweet career-long 24 yard run where he exploded through 2 would-be tacklers rather than sliding like a wuss. The defense helped minimize the sting of his first pass going for an interception, and the second one was meaningless. 4 of 5 motorcycle helmets for ol' reliable. That's about as perfect a game as I could imagine from Charlie. He deserves the praise.
Mendenhall: 19 carries for 143 yards and a TD. Plus a career-defining spin move. Has there been another Steelers RB in recent memory who has used the move with more frequency and efficiency as Mendenhall? I don't play Madden much anymore but back when I used to play more often (Playstation 1 into Playstation 2-era), the spin move was one of my favorites. I'd even use it way too much in Blitz 99 or whatever and that game made you about 100% more likely to fumble if you used it more than once on any single run. I just wanted to tell Rashard that I appreciate his spin moves. They look so cool. 4 of 5 helmets.
Defense. Oh look, the defense played like cyborgs again. This is getting pretty boring to type every week, but incredible to watch happen. This is the 2nd straight week that the Steelers played an away game where the home team made Pittsburgh dress in the black unis to cause issue with intense late-September heat in Tennessee and Tampa. You should never want to play against the Black jerseys, let alone actually choose that scenario. You've dressed your visitors for your funeral. This D is playing lights out, and bringing back the warranted terror that those Black jerseys represent in a big way. 4.5 of 5 helmets.
Cheap Trick: Some car commercial came on at the beginning of the game. It used a a modified version of Cheap Trick's Dream Police. It was for some green car or something, and they changed the primary lyrics to Green Police. I don't know, I don't pay attention to commercials. Whatever, but I went and played the original cos it's so much cooler. The Steelers immediately started scoring at will. And then I had to close my browser to refresh a stream of the game and when the tabs opened again the song started back up while Brett Keisel was destroying sanity. 5 of 5 helmets, Cheap Trick. I'm cool with you sticking around for the immediate future of this season:
Ravens come to Pittsburgh next week. But will they leave? oooooooOOOOOOooooooo
(thanks to Doug for the banner pic)