Memo to Fox Sports: Never let Troy Aikman broadcast his former team again.
During the third quarter of the Pittsburgh Steelers 20-13 dismantling of the Dallas Cowboys, I sat in stunned silence as Aikman made the absolutely ridiculous claim that the Dallas defense was outplaying the Steelers top ranked unit. What game was he watching? Maybe he took one too many blows to the head during his playing days and has forgotten that Jerry Jones no longer signs his paychecks. Hey Troy, you’re paid to be an unbiased commentator, not serve as an unofficial P.R. person for an overhyped and undertalented team.
There’s no denying our offense was downright brutal for much of the game. That would be surprising to anybody who has watched exactly zero Steeler games this season. Indianapolis and Washington also stymied the Steelers so am I to believe they are top defensive units as well? Or maybe, if I wanted to speak the truth and not try to heap undeserving praise on a mediocre team, I would just admit the Steelers are terrible at moving the ball.
Offensive Coordinator Bruce Arians is an absolute unmitigated disaster as a play caller. I’ve tried to spread the blame around but in this case he deserves all of it. Don’t even start about the offensive line. They gave up ZERO sacks in the first half when QB Ben Roethlisberger was seldom even touched. Dallas made halftime adjustments which combined with the Steelers almost total abandonment of the run in the 2nd half led to the defense pinning their ears back and getting after Ben to the tune of 5 sacks. It’s hard to blame them when our O-Coordinator practically faxes our game plan over to the other team with his obvious and unintelligent calls.
Perhaps the most frustrating aspect of Arians’ regime is his continuing refusal to run the ball. Mike Tomlin did the smart thing by deferring the kickoff, thus ensuring the Steelers would have the wind at their backs in the 4th quarter. However, when Pittsburgh was going the other way, Arians repeatedly dialed up pass after pass into the stiff swirling winds. This same wind caused Skippy Reed to miss an easy FG and both punters to have miserable days but evidently Arians wasn’t paying attention to any of that. Or maybe he was and like Wile E. Coyote, he figures there’s no questioning a sooper-genius.
It wasn’t even like our running game was performing poorly. Both Willie Parker and Mewelde Moore were churning out positive yardage and probably would’ve chewed up turf and clock had they been given more of an opportunity. Arians doesn’t seem to comprehend you have to be patient with 2-3 yard carries because sooner or later you wear down the defense which opens up the entire playbook. Maybe the clown was absent the day they taught that in Offense 101.
The Blitzburgh Defense once again performed magnificently in totally humiliating Tony Romo and the rest of Dallas’ alleged Pro Bowl caliber talent. I wonder how many unemployed Texans had to sit home in their mothers’ basements rapidly clicking on NFL.com to send 13 of these bums to Hawaii last year. Dallas had FOUR turnovers in the first half, which I guess in Aikman World isn’t as good as the two the Steelers had, but in reality showed who had the superior defense. Romo once again proved to be an equal opportunity choker as evidently there is no stage too big nor any game too important for him to stink out the joint. Hey GQ, if you’re gonna play like crap, at least bring Jessica.
The downhill slide began on the first possession when S Troy Polamalu picked off an errant Romo pass. This continued throughout as Romo made poor decisions, failed to make his reads, and was wildly inaccurate all game long. His lone TD pass to Terrell Owens, who likewise was shut down by Can’t See Me Ike Taylor (leading ultimate team player T.O. on another of his whiny crybaby jags on the sidelines), came as a result of a nifty scramble away from the pass rush which bought the WRs about two and a half minutes to get open in the end zone. Rookie RB Tashard Choice had a pretty good game running the ball although most of that came from the D showing too much respect to the pass. When the Steelers wanted to stop him, like on a crucial 4th and 1 play, they had no problems doing so.
The game was tied 3-3 at halftime when the Steelers should’ve been up by about 20. In the 3rd quarter, the teams continued to match ineptness for ineptness on offense although the Cowboys managed to start moving the ball with the aforementioned Choice. They still didn’t manage much in way of points except for a long field goal and the chintzy TD to Owens. The Steelers finally managed to put together a drive late in the quarter, ignited by a 47 yard bomb to Santonio Holmes (3-82). They got the ball to the Cowboys 1 and then failed on four straight plays to punch it in. It didn’t appear to be the Steelers day.
Luckily, with our defense, turning the ball over deep in enemy territory isn’t the worst gamble to make. They put the hammer down and forced a punt, which Holmes broke for a 35 yard run back. Again, the offense stalled and we settled for a Skippy Reed FG. Dallas did nothing on the next possession and we took the ball back with about five minutes left. Big Ben worked from the No Huddle, which should be renamed the No Arians since without him to call the wrong plays we actually began to move the ball. Ben converted a crucial 4th and centimeters to keep the drive alive and two key catches by Tiffin Thunder Nate Washington (4-58) set us up at the Dallas 6. Heath Miller caught a little dump off to tie to the game right before the two minute warning.
Dallas took the ball and it was time to see how clutch Tony Romo could be. He immediately answered his critics by handing the ball to Choice. Gutsy, man. On his next play, he manned up enough to actually throw the ball. Unfortunately for him, he threw it to CB Deshea Townshend, who returned it back the other way for a Pick Six. Game set match. So once again Romo proved to be anything but Mr. Clutch and once again the Blitzburgh defense snatched victory from the jaws of defeat.
All is right with the world.