Sunday, August 29, 2010

My Little Ponies: Steelers Lose


The big story coming into this game was Dennis Dixon seeing playing time with the first team. In a strange turn of national programming, FOX snatched up the Sunday night game so that NBC could show the Emmy Awards. FOX usually covers NFC games, and shows it right off the start, going right after the Tebow vs. Ben storyline. The game being on FOX also meant that we had to tolerate Joe Buck and Troy Aikman the whole night.

Tomlin drops a great quote in the pregame: "The standard is the standard regardless of circumstance. The 11 on the field represent us."

Sepulveda tries to place one near the sideline on the kickoff but kicks it out of bounds giving Denver the ball at the 40. To make matters worse, Keenan Lewis, starting for Bryant McFadden, gets flagged for a late hit out of bounds on the second play from scrimmage, giving Denver great field position inside the 30. The Steelers don't stop beating themselves, taking a roughing the passer penalty on 3rd down. The Steelers stack it up on the first two plays from inside the 5. Denver spreads it out on 3rd and goal and runs a draw play to LenDale "Towel Stomper" White who plows in for the score.


Antonio Brown takes the kickoff from 5 yards deep almost out to the 20.

On the first play, Ben fires one to Wallace on a post, who makes a few moves upfield and takes it all the way down inside Denver's 35. Raise Some, who didn't actually break his arm this week (lest you believe Mark Madden and the morons at TIOPS), gets 2 calls, making a nice cutback and rumbling into the secondary on the second. Ben overthrows two passes on the next set of downs, bringing out the kick team.


The Steelers force another 3rd down, but Denver picks it up through the air on a quick-hitch. FOX shows a rainbow, almost tempting us to start calling the Denver the My Little Ponies. LeBeau calls up a few blitz plays, and the Ponies fail to convert on 3rd down.

Antonio Brown makes a rookie mistake and fields the punt inside the 5. He gets stacked up at the 3, starting the offense in a hole.

The Steelers show some good interior blocking and move the ball 10 yards on 2 carries to give the offense some breathing room. Two quick-hitters to Hines later, it's another first down. Arians busts out the hypocycloid set, and Ben hits Emmanuel Sanders with a nice pass to his back shoulder.

Second Quarter

Dennis "the Menace" Dixon comes in to start the second quarter. DTM gets pressured on a bootleg and takes off for a solid gain on first down. DTM stands in the pocket on 3rd down, but his pass to Wallace gets tipped at the line. Sepulveda pins the Little Ponies inside the 10.

The Ponies try to go downtown on 2nd down, and Gaffney drops the ball. The refs don't blow the whistle and Harrison picks up the ball, rumbling down the sideline. Kyle Orton tries to make a tackle and stays down after the play. Really Kyle? Going nose-to-nose with Harrison in a preseason game? Not a smart move. The refs conference and change the call on the field to incomplete (which was the right call). Brady Quinn comes in and gets destroyed by Ike on a corner blitz on 3rd down.

Dixon gets sacked on 3rd down but gets a second chance on a Denver penalty, giving us a first down. Dixon completes his first pass to Wallace on a slant, getting us to a 3rd and 2. Since we know that's a passing down, no one should have been surprised when DTM went to the air, hitting David Johnson out of the backfield to move the sticks. Off a great play-action, DTM rolls out and tries to force one to Spaeth in the back of the end zone with a guy in his face. Some Little Pony jumps up and makes a nice interception, toeing the sideline to stay in.

The Steelers give Denver another break with a personal foul penalty. Orton makes a nice throw on an out-route to Eddie Royal to convert a 3rd down. Keenan Lewis picks up another personal foul penalty, his 2nd and the Steelers 4th of the game. Coach pulls Lewis from the game and give him a well-deserved talking to. The Steelers get a break on an offensive pass interference call. Denver tacks on 3.


With 2:35 left on the clock, there appears to be a great opportunity for Dennis to run the 2-minute offense. However, both tackles take false start penalties, setting up a 1st and 20. Dixon takes a smacking on 3rd down while firing a throw to Mike Wallace on the sideline. Wallace can't pull it down in-bounds and it's punt city.

Willie Gay makes his first good play in 2 seasons, making a great play on the ball for an interception to turn things around, giving the Steelers the ball back with a minute and a half to play.

Moore makes a nice run on a draw to get close to the 50. DTM hurries things up and fires one to Spaeth over the middle. Moore pulls in a nice catch to move the troops inside the 30 with 40 seconds to go. After a smart throw-away, DTM hits Antonio Brown on a shallow cross who blazes across the field to the sideline, getting the first down and getting out of bounds. Trai Essex blows a block on a spin move and Dixon gets sacked on first down. Dennis stands in on 2nd down and gets an out-route jumped and taken back to the house.


The Steelers kneel it out to end the half. 


Third Quarter

DTM comes back out to start the 3rd quarter and moves us down the field with passes to Moore and Ward to pick up first downs. Then it's DTM time. He rolls out and uses his feet to get by a defender then takes off in the open field, moving the ball all the way down to the 26. A 3rd down holding penalty puts us on the fringe of field goal range, but DTM almost converts it, firing a ball between 2 defenders to Tyler Grisham who makes a great diving catch to get us into a 4th and 1. After a timeout, the Steelers line up in a power-I to go for it. I love seeing a fullback in there and agree with the decision to go for it, but absolutely hated the play call. Arians decides to call a play action and roll Dennis out, where he is surrounded by 30000 ponies who bring him down well behind the line of scrimmage. Gag city.

If you weren't through vomiting over the 4th down play call, Denver puts God's Own Warrior Tim Tebow into the game, giving Joe Buck and Troy Aikman the opportunity to fawn all over him all over again. GOWTT can't convert a 3rd down to a wide open receiver, and it's punt time.

Lord Byron comes into the game and doesn't do anything. Punt.

GOWTT completes 2 passes against the Steelers JV defense then Denver goes to the ground to move the ball inside the 20. Two tipped passes later, it's field goal time.


A Defensive Pass Interference call gives Leftwich his first 1st down of the game. Dwyer almost gets blown up in the backfield but runs between 2 defenders and rattles off a nice run down the sideline out to  midfield.

Fourth Quarter

Byron gets sacked when Denver sends more blitzers than we have linemen, then Dwyer gets stuffed on a draw play on 3rd and long. Punt.

Crezdon Butler shows up and jumps a route, picking off Tebow and almost taking it back to the house, just barely stepping out of bounds on the 5.

Arians tries to call an inside slant on 1st and goal, a play that just begs to be a pick-6, but luckily it falls to the turf after Battle gets lit up. They finally decide to pound the rock, and Dwyer bounces one to the outside, taking it in for his first touchdown.


Just when you think things might turn around, My Little Ponies run a pitch play and Renauld Williams overruns the gap, allowing the Pony to scamper all the way down to the 5. GOWTT throws a touchdown pass that gives the choirs of Seraphim boners.


Homestead Charlie comes in for his first action of the preseason. Dwyer powers up the middle for 17 tough yards where he just keeps moving his legs and moving the pile. On the next play, he gets around the corner and gets out in the open field to move the Steelers down to the 35. Charlie makes a great pass down the sideline to Justin Vincent on a scramble, then gets a bonus on a roughing the passer penalty. Homestead Charlie fires one to Antonio Brown across the middle for the score to get the game back to 10.


Brady Quinn comes in for Denver. Renauld Williams atones for his earlier missed tackle by sacking Quinn on 3rd down, forcing a punt.

Batch gets smoked, but stands in to complete the pass out to Emmanuel Sanders for a solid gain. On the next play, someone made the wrong read as Batch throws a come-back route but both receivers run fly routes, leaving only a defensive back to catch the pass and take it back to the end zone.


The Steelers go into run-out-the-clock mode, running 3 times.

Thanks to a good return and some penalties, Denver gets the ball inside the 10 with a minute and a half to go. Rather than do the classy thing and just take a knee, McDaniels decides to try to punch it in and run up the score. The JV defense stands strong on 3 running plays, keeping My Little Ponies out of the end zone.

Game Over. 

McDaniels is a douchebag for running plays there.

Players of the Game
Offensive Game Ball: Maurkice Pouncey
Defensive Game Ball: Willie Gay

Honorable Mentions:
Ben Roethlisberger
Jonathan Dwyer
Crezdon Butler
Lawrence Timmons
Mike Wallace
Antonio Brown
Ike Taylor

Mr. Yuck Sticker of the Game

Once again, far too many on the Steelers. 4 Personal Foul penalties against the first team defense is just unacceptable. The Steelers need to settle down and just play ball. Coach made a good move benching Keenan Lewis after his second personal foul penalty, but the defense needs to play more disciplined.

Final Thoughts
  • Too many mental errors tonight, the Steelers just didn't look ready to play.
  • Emmanuel Sanders needs to come back to the ball on his hitch routes. The INT could have been prevented if Sanders comes back for that ball. He ran the hitch then stopped instead of keeping his inside position on the defensive back.
  • Never feels good to lose a game, but remember, this was just preseason. 
  • Waaay too many penalties tonight.
  • Steelers Quarterbacks took a pounding tonight. We need to protect them better.
  • Maurkice Pouncey is a beast. If you watched his hand work tonight, they're incredibly fast. Consider, this was Pouncey's first game against a 3-4 defensive front. Most of the pressure tonight was from the outside, Pouncey did a solid job up the middle.
  • Good to see Willie Gay get a pick. Hope he plays like that in the regular season.
  • Crezdon Butler and Anthony Madison both had really good games. Chances are only one of them make the roster though.
  • Hopefully Potsie is okay. He took a helmet-to-bare head hit after losing his lid.
  • The Steelers have to cut the roster down to 75 players by Wednesday.
  • Short week before our next game on Thursday night against Carolina.

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