Sunday, December 20, 2009

The 60 Minute Man: Steelers Win


There aren't even really words to describe just how awesome this game was. The Steelers played a good first half and scored right before halftime. Only 3 points were scored in the 3rd quarter. Then the teams put up 35 in the fourth. Unreal.

Big Ben threw for over 500 yards. Not only has that never been done in Steelers history, it's only been done 8 other times since 1960. Check out the list of QBs that Ben just joined.

Click to enlarge if it's too small to read on your screen.

Quite a list of quarterbacks 007 joins.
Note that the names Brady and Manning don't appear on that list.

The Steelers set a ton of records today. If we forgot some, we apologize.
  • Roethlisberger: Most passing yards in a single game in Steelers history
  • Ward: Back-to-back 1,000 yard seasons
  • Ward: First Steelers receiver to have six 1,000-yard seasons
  • Miller: Most catches by a Steelers tight end in a single season

Game Recap

Green Bay wins the toss and takes the ball. Can't blame them given the Steelers kick coverage lately.

Green Bay has one of the worst O-lines in the league, and LeBeau goes right after them with Cross-X A-Gap blitzes. Rodgers gets clobbered twice and the Pack goes 3-and-out.

The offense response, staying aggressive as 007 goes play-action and finds Mike Wallace 10-yards open downfield. He underthrows Wallace by 5 yards, but it's still enough for the 60-minute man to take it into the end zone for six.
Notice the Packer defenders nursing their scorch wounds.


The Steelers keep blitzing, forcing another 3-and-out.

The Steelers got the ball back for their 2nd possession of the game with less than 2 minutes gone off the clock. 007 goes play-action again and finds Miller down the seam for 23, but then threw 3 incompletions. Punt.

The first run of the game comes from Green Bay. Grant gets two carries then Rodgers goes play-action and hits Greg Jennings over Tyrone Carter who takes it to the house for 85 yards.


Hines steps up with two big catches on 3rd downs to keep the next drive rolling. Tone gets us down to the 2 and Raise Some does the rest.


Three-and-out city for Green Bay. There was a Packers fan sitting behind me at the game who wouldn't shut his trap the entire game. Every play was "come on big play!" or "interception!" - yeah, it got annoying as shit after about 2 drives.

Green Bay appears to force the first turnover of the game as Matthews sacks Ben around the backside and knocks the ball out, but Tomlin challenges and it gets overturned as Ben's arm was moving forward. I still can't believe we won that one. Punt.

Rodgers converts a 3rd and 10 with a pass to Driver.

Second Quarter

With first down just outside the red zone, the defense held for a field goal attempt. Mason Crosby can kick at Colorado and at Lambeau Field, but not at the open end at Heinz Field. Jeff Reed laughs. Packerfan is beside himself.

Arians goes to the well with a flea-flicker, but no one is open so Ben goes back to Mendenhall on a check-down. Heath gets called for a cheap hold, setting the drive back. Mewelde Moore drops a 3rd down pass that would have moved the chains. Punt.

Rodgers moves the Packers back into Steelers territory, but no further. Punt.

Ben gets sacked by Matthews again on 3rd down. Ugh.

Green Bay gets the ball back with good field position near the 50, and Rodgers picks the Steelers apart through the air to get down to the 15, then takes off on 3rd and 6 and scampers into the end zone.


Having seen both play this year, Green Bay made the right call going with Rodgers over Favre.

The Steelers got the ball back with 3 minutes left in the half and it was 007 time. Ben converts a 3rd down with a big time throw to Heath as the clock hit two minutes.

Two Minute Warning

007 guns one to Tone who takes it down to the 15. The Steelers get some help on a defensive penalty, but then Matthews sacks Ben again as Arians over-uses the 5-wide. The Steelers come right back out in a 5-wide set, but this time stack Moore and Holmes. Holmes runs a post to draw the coverage, and Moore runs a quick slant and 007 hits him in stride as he breaks through defenders for the score.
Mewelde parts the waters.
Chartlon Heston isn't impressed.


Green Bay is able to get near the 50 and takes a shot for the end zone, but Rodgers over-throws it.


There's a huge line for the bathroom. I talk to some people about how people used to pee in the sinks at Three Rivers. I also share one of my favorite stories from the old stadium. In the last game against the Redskins, I saw a guy leaving the bathroom stuffing a toilet seat up under his jacket. People were stealing all kinds of things that day, but a toilet seat? That's disgusting. Pretty much everyone in line agreed with me. And got a good laugh out of it.

Third Quarter

Ben gets sacked to start the quarter, but Raise Some makes up for it with a big catch down the sidelines. Green Bay challenges and loses. We're not going to sink to the level of making a Challenger joke here. That'd just be wrong.

The Steelers come out with the hypocycloid set, and throw it to Logan for the first time (the other 3 times we used the formation, we threw it to Tone on a slant route). Nothing really comes of it and we have to punt.

Green Bay goes 3-and-out again. Packerguy still won't shut up. He tries to ask us why we sucked so bad the last 5 weeks. I tell him it was poor situational football.

Mendenhall shows why he is the best back on the team, taking a short pass and turning it into a 25-yard gain. Parker gets 9 yards on back-to-back carries as he almost breaks one the second time. 007 hooks up with Hines over the middle to get into the red zone. Mendenhall scores an apparent touchdown, but it gets called back on the worst call since Alexander Graham Bell's time. A sack and a screen pass later, it's field goal city.

Reed shows Crosby how it's done at the open end.


The Steelers pick up their only sack of the game on a jailbreak as the Packers line decides not to block anyone. Rodgers bails his team out, exploiting Carter and Clark's inability to cover anyone. The Packers start putting a few first downs together as the quarter ends.

Fourth Quarter

The Steelers hold to third down once again, but Rodgers throws a fade pass for their big tight end Jermichael Finley who eats Clark's lunch.


At this point, you could feel it starting to happen. There was a bit of an air of inevitability in the stadium.

007 reminds us there's still a game to be won and goes play-action. Hines and Holmes are both open and Ben goes for 86 who makes an unreal catch.

Parker comes in and Arians goes to the motif offense. Thankfully, Heath can't be covered by anyone, and he converts the 3rd down. The Steelers crap on themselves in the red zone, but Reed is money in the bank.


This seemed like an ideal time for Renegade, but they run DVE ads instead. Thankfully, Green Bay takes a time out after first down, giving the video booth a mulligan on Renegade. The crowd is totally into it, but the defense looks lethargic about hearing the awesome rock of Styx.

Rodgers takes advantage, going after Gay twice, then Ryan Grant takes a draw play for 25 yards, beating Ty Carter in the open field to the goal line.
Carter was agonizingly slow out there today.


Not to be outdone, 007 brings the boys back. When things look bleak on 2nd and 18, he goes down the left side for Hines who somehow makes a catch with a defender all over him.

Ward had catches of 29 and 54 yards on back-to-back drives in the 4th quarter. How huge is that? Wow.

The offense doesn't do anything else and settles for a field goal. Seeing the difference between Crosby and Reed today reminds you why the Steelers might just re-sign Jeff. He's apparently the only kicker in the league who can kick here.


Packerfan is beside himself that they held us to 3. He yammers on about how they just need a few first downs and a field goal.

Tomlin plays the odds and goes for an onside kick. I don't know the exact numbers, but here's a rough estimate: 60% of "surprise" onside kicks are successful. Our defense had only stopped the Packers 50% of the time. It would have worked if Ike had waited 2 seconds to touch the ball and allowed it to go 2 more yards. It was a bad situational call, but it worked out in the end because it gave the Steelers a chance to get the ball back with time left on the clock.

The defense holds to a 3rd and 1, but Rodgers goes spread and hits Finley, who was being "covered" by Carter for 10 yards. Big Snack blows up a run and the Steelers use a timeout to preserve time. On 3rd and 18, Rodgers hits Jones wide open at the 5. I still don't know who was supposed to be on him, but no one was. Touchdown.

Green Bay goes for two and converts, making it a 6-point game.


Packerfan can hardly contain his glee that the Packers scored a touchdown rather than a field goal. A poor kick return puts us back at the 14. The first thought to cross my mind is that Ben took us 88 yards to win the Super Bowl, so 86 is totally doable.

007 never backs down from a challenge. The Steelers seem poised to flush their season away after a sack, a short pass to Heath, and an incompletion. On 4th and 8, 007 buys some time with his feet and hits Tone coming across the middle of the field with a linebacker in coverage. Tone pulls it in and turns it upfield for a 32 yard gain. Starks, who had his worst game of the season, gets called for holding on first down near midfield. The Packers return the favor with a defensive penalty. The Steelers get backed into a 3rd and 15, but 007 just will not be denied. In a formation they haven't used all year, Heath splits out as the only receiver to Ben's left. Heath can not be covered by a corner back. Hell, Heath can't be covered by anyone. Ben exploits it and Heath makes a great grab on the sidelines for 20 yards and a first down.

With 32 seconds to play and 36 yards to go, you start to believe that it might happen. Ben gets sacked but it's nullified by a defensive holding penalty. 007 goes right back to Heath over the middle to get the ball to the 19. The Steelers use their last timeout with 18 seconds to play.

007 goes for Wallace down the seam on first down, but he can't hang on. Not sure if we would have been able to spike the ball in 13 seconds there. Ben air mails one out of the back of the end zone on 2nd down. Three seconds left. Third and 10 from the 19. All or nothing.

Ben does his Ben thing and eludes pressure, rolling to his left...

All the other receivers are on the other side of the field, with Mike Wallace one-on-one on a corner. The corner has inside position on Wallace and Ben guns it to the outside. Wallace comes back for the ball...
What a picture.

Now that's a 60 Minutes man

The booth wants another look at it just to be sure.
Tension mounts, but gets alleviated when the camera crew does an awesome job of finding a photographer with a snapshot of the touchdown.

The refs come back out.

Survey says....


Reed comes out for the extra point to win the game.

Players of the Game:
Offensive Game Balls- Ben Roethlisberger and Mike Wallace
Defensive Game Ball- Casey Hampton

Honorable Mentions:
Heath Miller
Hines Ward
Santonio Holmes
Rashard Mendenhall
Mewelde Moore

Mr. Yuck Sticker of the Game
Our Secondary
What is there really to say? These guys got shredded today. Rodgers finished just shy of 400 yards passing. There were coverage breakdowns all over the place. The only redeeming play made was Deshea's breakup in the end zone. Clark and Carter got burned up and down the field. We need some safety help badly. Willie Gay has been afraid to tackle ever since he got run over by Adrian Peterson.

Final Thoughts
  • Mike Wallace scored touchdowns on our first and last offensive plays of the game.
  • Ben was 29/46 for 503 yards, 3 TD and 0 INT with a 121.9 passer rating.
  • Ward: 7 catches for 126 yards
  • Miller: 7 catches for 118 yards
  • Holmes: 3 catches for 77 yards, including the 4th down conversion which was huge
  • Mendenhall: 6 catches, 73 yards
  • Wallace: 2 catches, 79 yards, 2 TD. Rookie of the Year day for Wallace.
  • No doubt that Mike Wallace wins the Joe Greene Award this year as Steelers Rookie of the Year.
  • Apparently, it's a rule in the NFL that it's not holding if it's against James Harrison
  • Anyone who wants to consider Charles Woodson for Defensive Player of the Year, look at how many holding/pass interference penalties he had today. He looked like Nick Lindstrom out there.
  • It's great to get a win.
  • A lot of teams in the playoff hunt lost. We're right back in the thick of things.
  • Great performance by the offense, but they still need to fire Arians. One game doesn't rectify a bad body of work.
  • Mendenhall only had 11 carries today. Meh.
  • Looks like we're going to have to make some amendments to our "Decade in Review" posts.
  • Lots of Green Bay fans in the stands today. Saw some people downtown selling $80 tickets for under $50.
  • Tomorrow's Ron Cook article: Ben holds the ball too long.
  • Apparently, this was the first 37-36 game in NFL history.
  • How good is Jeff Reed at Heinz Field? There's one reason to sign him, because we sure as hell aren't building a dome.
  • Green Bay had to call in a medic to the locker room after the game to deal with the 3rd degree burns their defensive backs had.
  • THAT is why you never leave a game early.

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