Sunday, September 20, 2009

Obama Bowl: Steelers Lose


Let's set the record straight here. We're not going to throw Jeff Reed under the bus. He's come through for us a bunch of times in the past, and he probably will again in the future. So, for the record, the space under our bus is still empty. We didn't throw the running game there, and we're not throwing Reed there either.

Chicago wins the toss and elects to receive.

The Bears come out and show their strategy early: short passes to runningbacks and wide receiver screens. The Steelers play it well and force a 3-and-out.

Parker gets the first call of the game and looks tentative, but picks up 5. Ward comes open across the middle and starts things rolling. Tone jumps in front of Heath and pulls one in to convert a 3rd and 12, then Heath snags one down the seam to get across the 50. Ben keeps working it through the air and goes to Tone and Hines to get inside the 10. The Steelers work it down to the goal line, but Moore can't get in on 3rd down. Inches away, Tomlin elects to go for it. Ben goes play-action and rolls out. With the path to the end zone blocked, he flings one and Matt Spaeth pulls it down in the back of the end zone for the score.


Chicago's dink-and-dunk offense comes back out and goes 3-and-out.

Parker leads the way with two solid runs as the quarter runs out.

Second Quarter

Ben picks up where he left off and converts another 3rd and long with a nice pass to a wide open Hines Ward across the middle. Ben goes play-action and looks for Wallace down the sidelines but get hit in the head as he throws, and the ball comes up short and gets picked off. If that's any other quarterback in the league, they throw a flag for a blow to the head. Just saying.

Cutler had plenty of time to sit on the bench up to this point, so he figured he should actually show up and play. He leads the Bears to a few first downs, but the drive stalls out after a holding penalty.

Ben starts to get things rolling again, but a false start on Willie Colon puts us in 3rd and even longer. Superman For. The. Win. Did he really kick it 58 yards in those conditions?

Scott Green, moron extraordinaire, famous for screwing up numerous calls in the Steelers-Chargers 11-10 game last year, bit us in the ass on the next drive. With the Bears pinned back at their 3, Harrison gets flagged for a questionable roughing the passer call where he got pushed into Cutler. Later in the drive, Green bails out the Bears on a 3rd down with a terrible defensive holding call on Timmons. Cutler keeps dinking and dunking his way down the field, and eventually works it down inside the 10. On 3rd and goal, Cutler looks left then fires one back to the right between Farrior and Carter to some backup tight end to tie things up.



Tense times. We had a few chances to stretch out the lead and didn't do it, then let the Bears get back in the game.

Third Quarter

Arians obviously didn't do too much thinking during halftime, because the Steelers came out totally flat and went 3-and-out.

Superman booms a 57-yarder.

LeBeau, unlike Arians, obviously imparted some wisdom on his defense, as they got some of their best pressure of the game and forced a 3-and-out.

Ben gets stuck in another 3rd and long, but is able to convert with a pass to Mewelde Moore who gets a generous spot to move the chains. Spaeth makes another nice catch down the middle to get us to 3rd and 1. Resident moron Arians decides to call a pass rather than a run and Ben gets stormed in the pocket and sacked.

The Steelers defense seemingly has the Bears line on their heels, and two false start penalties put the Bears in 3rd and very long, but Cutler hits Earl Bennett on a receiver-screen that he takes for a 15-yarder to move the chains. Vomit. The Steelers defense gets the message and is able to hold after that.

Mendenhall gets his turn in the rotation, and makes his first highlight of the season. He catches one out in the flat, then falls over. But with no one around, he is able to bounce up then cut back across the field and turn it up for a 13-yard gain. Some joke for the Bears takes a penalty on the next play, moving the Steelers across midfield. On a bread-and-butter play (LG pull) Mendenhall bursts through a hole in the line and charges upfield. He doesn't quite have the burst on the sloppy field to outrun a linebacker and is dragged down at the 2 after a 40-yard rumble. When the Steelers were watching film of the Bears, they must have seen an opening for QB-rollouts, because the 2nd one of the game on the goal line is called, and Ben takes it in for the score.


Matt Forte is able to grind out a first down for the Bears on the next drive. The defense stands tall again, and Harrison brings heat off the edge, causing Cutler to step up into the waiting arms of Aaron Smith. For some unknown reason, the Bears try to run on 3rd and 13. Nothing doing. Punt.

Parker comes out and keeps up the momentum in the run game with a 13-yarder. The running game showed improvement this game, but instead of just being flat out bad like they were last week, they were maddeningly inconsistent. Parker gets stuffed for nothing, but Ben is able to convert another 3rd and long by lasering a pass to Tone to get down to the 26.

Fourth Quarter

The offense starts the quarter rolling, as Parker goes for 6 then Tone pulls one in on a quick slant to get down to the 13. The incredibly unoriginal Arians goes run-run-pass, and Ben gets sacked after some terrible attempts at blocking on 3rd down. Reed comes out for a very makeable field goal, but pushes the 38-yarder wide left.

Cutler comes out and capitalizes. He leads the Bears down the field, including a big pass to a wide open Greg Olsen down the middle. Inside the 10, the Steelers defense forces a 3rd down once again, but Cutler fires one to Johnny Knox in front of Tyrone Carter for the score.


With a little over 6 minutes to play, this was Ben time. We'd seen him do it before, and we were ready for him to do it again. Lead the team down the field on a 5-minute drive and bring home the victory. Ben starts working out of the no-huddle and hooks up with Hines for a first down to get things started. Mewelde Moore rips off a 15-yarder to get across midfield as the clock ticked under 5 minutes to play. After two incompletions and a penalty, Ben is able to convert a 3rd and 5 with his feet, stretching out for the first down. After a run gets stuffed, Ben hits Wallace who goes out of bounds rather than fighting for the sticks, setting up a 3rd and 2. Arians thinks he's coaching the Green Bay Packers and tries to go for the killshot, but the ball goes through Santionio's arms in the end zone and Jeff Reed trots out onto the field again. This one isn't even close and is wide left all the way. Don't know if he slipped or just made a bad kick.

Lonliest man in America.

With 3:18 left, you had that sinking feeling in your stomach that things were looking bad. Matt Forte gets a swing pass in space, and there's a spark of life when Harrison knocks the ball out from behind, but Chicago is able to recover because Greg Olsen is well-practiced in grabbing loose balls. After the two-minute warning, the defense has Chicago in a 3rd and 4 and brings some heat. Cutler lobs one off his back foot, but Devin Hester makes a fantastic leaping catch to pick up the first down. Things looked grim as the clock ticked down. Forte got a few carries to move it closer. The Steelers used their last 2 timeouts. Robbie Gould, out of Penn State, came out with 20 seconds left and did what Jeff Reed could not.


Logan fumbled on the kickoff return and that was all she wrote.

Players of the Game:
Offensive Game Ball:
Ben Roethlisberger
Defensive Game Ball: James Farrior
Honorable Mentions:
Rashard Mendenhall
Hines Ward
Matt Spaeth
Ike Taylor
Daniel Sepulveda
Aaron Smith

Mr. Yuck Sticker of the Game

Missed Field Goals
No explanation needed.

Final Thoughts
  • Like Coach said, Jay Cutler is very good at fitting balls into tight places.
  • Scott Green might be one of the worst officials in the NFL.
  • The Bears were 7/14 on 3rd downs. The Steelers were 6 of 12.
  • Is it just me, or are we better on 3rd and long than 3rd and short?
  • Arians is the least inventive play-caller in the NFL. No, we're not throwing him under the bus, we've hated his play-calling for a while.
  • Houston averaged 2.2 yards per carry against Tennessee today. Anyone who threw our running game under the bus after last week, don't let the door hit you on the way out. Tennessee's run defense is that good...and their pass defense is that bad.
  • Both of Chicago's TDs came on passes in front of Tyrone Carter. Does Polamalu make those plays? Just asking.
  • Sepulveda averaged 54.3 on 3 punts. Holy hell.
  • O-line looked a little better, but still inconsistent.
  • Don't hurt yourselves falling off the bandwagon. Seriously people, this is the NFL, losses happen, get over it.
  • Jeff Reed will probably never have to kick at Soldier Field again in his career, thank goodness.
  • Bring on the Bungles.


Zachary said...

Good post. I would have liked to have seen Jeff make the field goals, but better to get bad game out of the way now than later in the season.

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