Friday, January 02, 2009

Cleveland v. Steelers: The Good,
the Bad & the Ugly

What with a bye week for the Steelers, and the New Year's holiday converging we decided to take our sweet time in putting together a post, vis-a-vis the game last Sunday, but you can be absolutely certain that it will have been worth the wait.

The Good
  1. As it turns out, Ben Roethlisberger was just fine. The moment that scared us the most was when the Steelers' medical group removed Mr. Roethlisberger's face mask while he laid on the field ~ typically that is a sign of something quite serious. However, media reports on Monday indicated that he was wandering the halls of the hospital while he was there, and he wasn't there for nearly as long as many of us thought he would be. Questions do linger as to how much practice time he will see this week, but there seems little doubt (at least at this time) that Mr. Roethlisberger will be ready to play on January 11th.

  2. Though the Pittsburgh ground game has been MIA for much of this season, there is nothing that will cure those ills like going up against a team that is (barely) playing out the string for a coach who had been packing up his office for weeks; and the 176 yards rushing for the Steelers was their best performance since the week one total gained against Houston (183 yards). Additionally, the second half performance of the Pittsburgh ground attack (i.e. 97 yards rushing) gave us hope for the playoffs despite the fact that we should know better.

  3. There is nothing better than be able to relax during the first weekend of playoff football thanks to a bye week!
The Bad
  1. Ben Roethlisberger has to quit turning the ball over inside the red zone ~ in the Steelers' three most recent games Mr. Roethlisberger has turned over the football inside the opponents 25 yard line three times (12/14/08: a fumble at the Baltimore 24, 12/21/08: a fumble at the Tennessee 7, and 12/28/08: an interception at the Cleveland 23). Also, while we are talking about turnovers, Mr. Roethlisberger's ratio of touchdowns (17) to interceptions (15) would seem to cry out for a renewed emphasis on successfully running the football.

  2. The struggles of the defense to stop opponents from running the football continued. Cleveland's 106 net yards on the ground marked the third consecutive game in which the Steelers' opponent has crested the century mark. Moreover, after having given up 732 rushing yards in their first eleven games combined (a per game average of 66.55 yards), they have given up 552 yards in their last five games (a per game average of 110.4 yards).
The Ugly
  1. Another concussion for Ben Roethlisberger? He may be fine to play on January 11th, however we are becoming concerned about the long-term impact on his health and well-being. The issue of traumatic brain injury is one that we have looked at a few times, and this injury has much of the mainstream media ~ including New York Times ~ asking "[w]hat are the long-term implications for him? It’s not just the rush to get him back for the playoffs. There are great concerns about these things."

    Additionally, from a purely football perspective, the Steelers have a great deal of money tied up in the young quarterback, and one can only wonder what the cumulative effect of so many brain injuries (we believe that this is concussion number three for Mr. Roethlisberger) will be.

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