Tuesday, January 25, 2011



Wow. What a season this has been. We're incredibly thankful just to have been along for the ride.

How great is it to be a Steelers fan? Seriously. Fans of other teams around the league would probably give their left nut to play in an AFC Championship game, let alone host one. The Steelers have now played in 8 AFC Championship Games since 1994, 7 of those have been at home. I was talking to some people before the game, and there were a lot of people that have been to most of those, myself included.

Before the game, I said to the guy next to me, "We can run on this team. Mendenhall had 99 on 17 carries last game. Imagine what he could have done with 25 carries?"

Question answered.


Wiz Khalifa kicks things off with Black and Yellow.

The Jets win the toss and defer. Stupid Jets fans start up a J-E-T-S chant because they won the toss. That was about the only thing that went well for them in the first half.

Martina McBride sings the national anthem after a delay so that television can catch up. Nothing like announcing for fans to remove their hats in sub-20-degree weather then saying "Oh, we have to wait for Jim Nantz and CBS to come back from commercial break." Yeah, the NFL really cares about their ticket-buying fans.

The Steelers come out and put together one of the greatest drive in AFC Championship Game history. Rashard Mendenhall, behind the Steelers offensive line, just dominated the Jets defense, which was the #3 run defense in the league. The drive gets a kick-start when Cromartie gets flagged for a penalty. Ben barely had to throw because of how freaking good the line and Mendenhall was. The Steelers get within striking distance and Ben goes for Heath inside the 5. Heath makes a diving grab, but Rex challenges and Heath bobbled the ball when he hit the ground. The crowd was pissed, but it was the right call. Two plays later, Ben shows who the best #7 in the state is by taking off on 3rd and 12 and diving forward to pick up the first down. Ben hits Hines to move it down to the 1 when disaster strikes.

Maurkice Pouncey stays down after the play and grabs his lower leg. Uh-oh. While he's down, the crowd starts a "POUN-CEY, POUN-CEY" chant. Amazing. What a display for a rookie. Pouncey limps off, not even putting weight on his leg. Shit.

Bronco Legursky comes in to play center. Bart Scott couldn't wait to get run over by Rashard Mendenhall at the goal line.


15 plays. 92 yards. 9:06 off the clock. What a drive.


The Jets get the ball with under 6 minutes to go in the quarter. Sanchez converts a 3rd down then the Jets pick up more yardage on two penalties. The Steelers defense locks it down after the Jets cross midfield. 

The Steelers take over and Mendenhall goes right back to work. He picks up 31 yards on 3 carries. What a first half from Raise Some.

Second Quarter

The Steelers get near midfield and get the benefit of the Harrison Rule when Sanders gets clocked in the head by a Jets defender. Clearly a shot to a defenseless receiver, but the Jets fans in our section thought it was the worst call ever. Mendenhall gets it to 3rd and 1 at the Jets 32 but Redman gets stuffed. Tomlin opts to go for it on 4th and 1 and inexplicably calls a pass play. The pass bounces off Mendenhall's hands and gets picked off.

The Jets go 3-and-out and Weatherford shanks a punt.

Ben goes play-action and takes a shot deep for Wallace who has a step on Revis. Ben underthrows the ball, giving Revis the opportunity to get back in the play.
So close.

Even though the deep ball didn't work, Mendenhall  did some serious damage, bouncing one down the sideline for 35 yards down the sideline. Isaac Redman comes in and grinds his way down to the 5. I love the way Redman runs. Never stops moving his legs. The offense can't punch it in but Suisham converts.


The Jets go 3-and-out again. LOLJets.

Ben makes two big throws to Heath and Manny Sanders to move us into scoring territory. Raise Some has a great chance to score when Ben hits him on a swing pass, but he slips when he tries to cut at the 2. Two plays later, Michael Vick Ben Roethlisberger takes it in.


The defense comes out feeding off the momentum of the offense. LaMarr Woodley brings the pain, keeping his postseason sack streak alive.
What a picture.

Two plays later, Dick LeBeau shows why he is the best defensive coordinator in the NFL, drawing up an insane blitz where Ike and Willie Gay come from Sanchez's blind side while Troy is manned up on Tone on the outside. Ike comes in untouched and knocks the ball out of Sanchez's hand. Big Play Willie Gay scoops it up and takes it back TO THE HOUSE.


The booth reviewed the call, but his arm wasn't moving forward (and the ball went backwards, so it wouldn't have mattered if his hand was moving forward).

The Jets take over with 1:13 left in the half. To be honest, no one would have been surprised if they just kneeled it out. Hell, Sanchez's arm was just dangling off his shoulder after he got hit by Ike. Instead, Sanchez comes out hitting Brad Smith and Dustin Keller on some underneath routes to move the Jets into field goal range. Sanchez takes two shots deep for Holmes and Edwards but neither connect. Nick Folk hits a field goal.



That was probably the best half of football the Steelers have played in years. The Jets had about 8 minutes in time of possession and 1 rushing yard in the first half. But there's a reason games are 60 minutes, just like why the Super Bowl Trophy isn't handed out in September.

Third Quarter

To their credit, the Jets didn't abandon the run game even though they were down 21 points. Greene busts a 23-yarder to get their drive going, then Tone makes as appearance on his patented 3rd down slant route. Sanchez goes play-action on the next play and chucks it downfield for Tone who has two steps over Ryan Clark and is able to pull it in for the touchdown.

Ike Taylor fell down on the play. It happens.


The offense sputters, going 3 and out but catching a break on a roughing the punter call. Moore makes a 3rd down grab and gets upended by Cromartie but still moves the chains. The drive goes to hell when Ben fumbles a snap then makes a bad throw for a wide open Manny Sanders that gets picked off. Sanders was wide open at the 5. Ben threw it to the inside and it got picked. If he throws that for the pylon it's an easy 6.

The defense holds the Jets to another 3-and-out.

Arians comes out with the run-run-pass motif offense, and Ben is able to convert two 3rd downs with his feet. 
Yes, I said feet. Calm down, Rex.

The offense moves into Jets territory but then backtracks when Ben gets sacked twice. Those were the only two sacks of the game, so all in all, it wasn't a bad performance by the line.

Sanchez hits Edwards on a post route across the middle to get their drive started.

Fourth Quarter

You felt that knot in your stomach start to grow as the fourth quarter started. We've been to this rodeo before. The Jets had all the momentum, and they were moving the ball. Sanchez used a lot of short passes to move the Jets down the field. Slowly and methodically picking the Steelers defense apart. Greene converted a 4th and 1 to keep the drive alive. The Jets eventually got down to the 1, but the defense stacked it up and shut down LT on 4th and goal from the 1.
Big-time stand by the defense

The best part of that drive? The Jets were in no hurry to score and wound up taking 8 minutes off the clock.

The Steelers took over with 7:44 to go, but were backed up at their own 1. Ben can't handle a snap from Legursky and falls on it in the end zone for the safety.

Ugh. Not this again.


Sanchez gets the ball back and goes to work on our defense again. He hits Edwards for a big gain to get into Steelers territory. The defense holds to another 4th and 1, but Sanchez converts, going to the air and hitting Edwards on a slant route. The Jets pick things up after that, going to a no huddle offense with under 5 minutes to play. The Steelers do a great job keeping the Jets receivers in bounds and keeping the clock rolling as the Jets pick their way down to the 11. Sanchez converts a 3rd down with a quick out to Keller then goes to Cotchery on the other side on what looked to be very close to a pick play.


The Steelers bring out their hands team to defend against the onsides kick with 3 minutes to play, but the Jets opt to kick it deep to Antonio Brown, who rips off a 27-yard return out to the 41. That return was simply huge. It meant, at the worst, the Steelers would be able to pin the Jets back around their 20 if they had to punt. The Jets had 3 timeouts, so the game was far  from over.

Mendenhall stuffed. Timeout.

Knowing that 2 first downs would win the game, Tomlin and Arians decide to go for it. Ben hits Heath to move the chains. The Jets use their second timeout.

Mendenhall gets 2 more carries and gets 2 each time as the Jets use their last timeout and the clock hits 2:00. Big-time decision. Run the ball and pin the Jets deep with 1:20 to go and no timeouts? Or pass the ball and try to win the game while risking the clock stopping on an incompletion?

Ben comes out and spreads the field, reminiscent of the Jaguars playoff game in '07 when they ran a QB draw and punted in a similar scenario. Not this time. Ben rolls right and lobs one up for Antonio Brown who goes down and gets it to secure the win.

6th round draft pick out of Central Michigan makes the two biggest catches of the postseason.





Hines Ward and James Harrison literally climbed into the stands and were celebrating with the fans. How awesome is that?



Players of the Game
Offensive Game Ball: Rashard Mendenhall
Defensive Game Ball: Ike Taylor & Willie Gay

Honorable Mentions:
LaMarr Woodley
Antonio Brown
Doug Legursky
Ziggy Hood
Casey Hampton
Ben Roethlisberger
Heath Miller

Mr. Yuck Sticker of the Game

Port Authority of Allegheny County

I hate to put a blemish on this great game, but the Port Authority service after the game was downright horrid. The Wood Street T station was packed but we still had to wait almost a half hour for a train to come. I know the Port Authority is broke and everything, but you would still think they'd put more trolleys out the night of the AFC Championship Game. And if not more, at least the ones with 2 cars so that they can fit more people and it's not like a sardine can of winter coats inside.

Final Thoughts

Tomlin summed it all up perfectly, we have nothing else to say:

1 comment:

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