[image via steve]
Yo the Steelers are going to the Super Bowl. Not sure if you heard. Me? I'm ecstatic.The first AFC Championship win I ever watched was at some family friend's house cos I was relatively young and they had a big-screen tv. Colts sucked. After that, I was in college for Steelers/Broncos and pretty much hugged my best friend/roommate Bob while trying not to punch each other in the face cos we were headbanging and thrashing so hard. Most recently, I spent Steelers/Ravens by myself in my apartment cos superstition dictated as much. Last night I was in my apartment watching with a buddy. No clue what all that means. I think I'm just excited and blessed to have seen 4 AFC Championship wins in my lifetime.
Packers/Bears was a laugher early, and the Bears made it interesting late. While watching that game, I was hoping for a Steelers game where I wasn't as stressed as Bears and Packers fans. And the Steelers complied for like 80% of the game. Yeah, the Jets got to within 5, but time had pretty much run out on any major comeback, seeing that they saved their best quarter (by point totals) til the 4th, and even then only got 9 of the needed 14 points to tie. And then Antonio Brown ended the game again.
Big Ben: O NOES, Ben had his 3rd-lowest playoff QB rating and the Steelers have won all 3 of Ben's lowest-rated playoff games! THAT DEFENSE! BEN IS THE ONLY QB THAT BENEFITS FROM HAVING OTHER TEAMMATES! 10 of 19 for 133 yards and 2 picks is a sucky stat line. Fortunately, there was so much more to this game. The 1st pick wasn't really his fault, and he'd definitely like another shot at the 2nd. And even with the low yardage total and turnovers and safety, Ben still looked pretty focused. That's been his thing over the last 8 or 9 weeks. I've never seen Ben as dialed in to seemingly-insignificant plays as he has been of late. That overturned Heath catch/bobble was lobbed nicely and he's been avoiding the costly mistakes. It's easier to swallow the safety and 2nd pick when you have a sizeable lead. But this game still happened, and it is on Ben to rebound. 3 of 5 motorcycle helmets. He's the only one getting less than 5 full helmets. We just won the AFC. Deal with it.
Mendy: Here's the reason we can all live with a meager Ben performance. 27 carries for 121 yards and a rushing TD. Mendenhall was possessed on a number of early runs, and has been showing a Heath Miller-like tendency to get hit and stretch forward for an extra yard or 2. He's been gaining yards after contact, which is nearly a pinnacle for any RB. At one point, 40-some of the 50-or-so yards he had early in the game were after contact. I'd research the exact numbers but you know me. 5 of 5 motorcycle helmets.
Defense: They don't stop. Like, ever. If they weren't forcing punt after punt, they were forcing fumbles and taking them to the house. And Troy P. hasn't made the play in each of our postseason wins. That's balance. And also a 2-week motivation tool for Troy leading up to the big game. Aside from the pretty-sick Tone TD, what else did they give up? Nothing too crushing. The offense finally spotted them a big lead. They did everything they could to hold it and ended up with the W. 5 of 5 helmets. I hope they like cheese.
Cheap Trick: Another week of playing Dream Police prior to or at the start of each half. I played it like 10 minutes before kickoff to pump myself up. Then again as the 2nd half was starting. Luckily, the Steelers were never really down and in desperate need of a score. We've had that scenario a few times this season and Cheap Trick performed admirably when called. However, it was more than comforting to know that the good vibes the song has unofficially brought the Steelers this year were good enough to stake an early lead against the Jets the second time around. 5 of 5 motorcycle helmets. 12-3 on the season. The Dream Police have become the Black and Golddust for a new generation. All we need is one more win to complete the transition.
[gif blatantly stolen from tpb]
See you in Dallas in 2 weeks, Green Bay. You better come ready.
(thanks to Doug for the banner pic)