Sunday, November 27, 2011

Picking Palko: Steelers WIN


The Chiefs come out as expected and run, run, run. They pick up a few first downs and Palko is able to convert a 3rd down with a strike to Bowe down the middle to get them in field goal range. Troy makes a tackle at the knees of some giant dude and stays down.

Could be bad news bears. 

Thankfully, the defense holds to 3.


Ben comes out trying to prove his thumb is just fine. He hits AB for a big 3rd and long conversion then fires one in to Heath in triple coverage. Hines gets a couple looks then Ben goes downtown for Brown on the right sideline for a big gain to get us down to the 8. Wallace drops a touchdown on first down when he tries to make a sliding catch. On second down, Mewelde Moore gets a carry and breaks through the line but Tamba Hali swats it out from behind and the Chiefs recover in the end zone.
That's exactly what we can't do against the Chiefs. We're the better team but we CAN'T let them hang around by turning the ball over.

The Chiefs keep grinding it out, but Palko can't handle a snap from under center and Keisel falls on it to give us the ball right back.

After two runs, Ben scrambles out of pressure and dives for the sticks. The ball comes out but he is ruled down by contact. Todd Haley decides to challenge the call. Ed Hoculi delivers a dissertation why it wasn't a fumble. After the end of the Baltimore game when Tomlin couldn't decide whether or not to kick, it's obvious he has no faith in Suisham to make anything over 40 yards. The Steelers go for it on 4th and 2 and Ben makes a vintage Ben play, eluding guys in the backfield then finding Redman in the flat who makes a few moves and picks up the first down. What a play by Ben. Sadly, a holding penalty and a sack put an end to the drive.

On the first play, Palko tries to go deep and throws it right to Ike Taylor who brings it all the way back to the 6.

2nd Quarter

The Steelers take over at the 6, but go with the motif offense and Ben can't connect with Sanders on the fade. Suisham ties it.


Tyler Palko responds to his defense coming up with a stand by throwing one right into the arms of Ryan Mundy. There was no receiver even close to Mundy. Palko sucks.

The Steelers get the gift of two defensive penalties, one nullifying a 3rd down sack, to move us inside the red zone. Ben hits Mendenhall out of the backfield and he skitters down inside the 5. Ben makes a vintage Ben play to fake the nuts off a linebacker then floats one to Weslye "My Parents Can't Spell" Saunders in the back of the end zone for the score.

Great catch and toe-tap by Saunders for his first NFL touchdown.


The Chiefs go 3-and-out because they're afraid to let Palko throw.

Ben takes a shot deep for Wallace and almost hits him in stride 55 yards downfield. The ball bounces off of Wallace's hands and falls incomplete. What a throw by Ben, even though it was incomplete. The drive stalls out and Kapinos booms one. 

Palko completes another one over the middle to Breaston on pretty much the same play he hit Bowe on earlier. The Chiefs grind their way into field goal range. They have a kicker who can make kicks from over 40.


Mewelde Moore gets a chance to atone for his earlier fumble, getting a check-down then plowing his way through the line to move the sticks. Arians tries to get cute and have AB throw the ball, but he gets pressured in the backfield. Ben throws a big block to get AB free and he is able to pick up a few yards on the ground. Sanders moves the sticks on a WR screen as the clock hits two minutes. Sanders snags a tipped ball out of the air to move the chains and get us into the fringe of field goal range. Suisham nails it from 49.



Maurkice Pouncey out with a stomach virus. Polamalu out with concussion-like symptoms.

I would say "barf" but Pouncey is doing enough of that for everyone.

Third Quarter

The Steelers come out with a chance to stretch out their lead and put the game away, and they looked ready to roll, mixing runs and passes with Hines converting a 3rd down. But then Ben gets greedy and tries to take a shot downfield for AB. Ben badly underthrows the ball and the safety comes underneath and makes the interception. Brown was covered too. No need to try to force that when we were driving.

Thankfully, the Chiefs can't do anything and give it right back.

Mendenhall gets us across midfield, but a holding penalty pretty much ends the drive.

The Chiefs start to move the ball when they convert a fake punt on 4th and 1. They utilize the No Huddle to keep the Steelers from calling exotic blitzes and are able to march up to midfield but Jason Worlids steps up and brings down Palko for his first sack of the season to end the drive.

Ben zips one to AB down the sideline to get things rolling as the quarter ends.

Fourth Quarter

After the Steelers failed to put the Chiefs away in the 3rd quarter, you were understandably a little worried heading into the fourth. And with the ball at midfield, rather than being aggressive, we go passive with the motif offense. The Puntfest continues.

The Chiefs running-back-by-committee lands on Thomas Jones for this drive and he grinds down the Steelers defense and carries the Chiefs into field goal range. Mr. Irrelevant connects, cutting the lead to 4. Ugh.


A holding penalty on the kickoff gives us the ball at the 12 with a little over 7 minutes to play. A long scoring drive would've put the game away. After Ben converts a 3rd down to AB, the drive stalls out and we have to punt with 4 minutes left.

4 minutes on the clock and down by 4, Tyler Palko takes the field. That sinking feeling in your stomach gets worse as Palko converts a 3rd and 4 to Aliquippa and Pitt alum Jonathan Baldwin. Will Gay makes another big play stopping Dwayne Bowe in his tracks on 3rd down, but Palko comes back and stands in under pressure and hits Bowe over the middle to convert a 4th and 7. As the clock ticks under a minute, the Chiefs move across midfield and thoughts of 2009 start to creep back into your head. Thankfully, the Chiefs suck. He throws one up for Bowe and Bowe makes a bush league effort to not even extend his arms and try for the ball. Keenan Lewis makes a HUGE play, jumping up and snagging the interception as the ball flies over Bowe's head.

Victory Formation.


Players of the Game
Offensive Game Ball: Antonio Brown
Defensive Game Ball: Ryan Mundy

Honorable Mentions:
Hines Ward
Weslye Saunders
Ike Taylor
Max Starks
Jason Worlids
Brett Keisel
Cameron Heyward
Keenan Lewis

Mr. Yuck Sticker of the Game

Not Putting the Chiefs Away

This was a bad team that we let hang around, and once again, put our defense in a situation where they had to make a play to seal the victory. The 4-minute offense has not been a highlight of Tomlin's tenure as head coach. We did get a win, and at the end of the day, we're 8-3, but we need to have that killer instinct and not let teams hang around and have a chance to win late in the game.

Final Thoughts

  • This was about an ugly a win as it gets, but at the end of the day, we're 8-3. We're a half game back in the division race and have a 2-game lead in the wild card race.
  • Great game by Ryan Mundy filling in for Troy.
  • Jason Worlids has played better each week. It will be great to have LaMarr back, but Jason has really stepped it up, particularly in run defense.
  • For all the talk this week about Hines being "demoted", he led the team in catches with 4 (Brown also had 4).
  • Antonio Brown has developed into one of the best, if not the best, 3rd down receiver in the league. He gets open and makes the big catches.
  • This one was ugly, but an ugly in is still better than a loss. A win is a win is a win.

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