Welcome to the this year’s first installment of Know Thy Enemy. You may notice another Know Thy Enemy running on another Pittsburgh Steelers site, a site I started and a feature I began writing five years ago. Obviously those uncreative hacks can’t think up their own material so they’ve decided to coast along with my leftovers. Accept no cheap substitutes!
For the newbies, Know Thy Enemy is my weekly catch-all post where I preview the Steelers’ upcoming game. I analyze the team’s opponent, look at how they match up, and also give a final run down of key injuries for either side. So without further ado, let’s get to it!
The Denver Broncos handed the Steelers what was undoubtedly one of their most embarrassing playoff losses ever last season. Even defensive mastermind Dick LeBeauis still shaking his head over how last season ended. Ordinarily when a team engineers a magical playoff run which culminates in a franchise’s biggest win in nearly a decade, they spend the off-season building upon what got them there. John Elway, VP and de facto GM of Denver, went the other way. He tore it all down and decided to start over.
STEELERS DEFENSE vs BRONCOS OFFENSE
Of course Elway’s biggest move was jettisoning the man responsible for all his team’s magic, Tim Tebow. They were comfortable giving up on the Messiah because they were able to acquire a Football God. Peyton Manning, fresh off a season lost to serious neck surgery, was cut loose by the rebuilding Colts. Elway pounced and thus ended the Tebow Era in Denver.
The history of superstar QBs leaving their original team at the twilight of their career isn’t pretty. Joe Namath stumbled through a forgettable season with the Rams and Johnny U finished up with an unmemorable run with the Chargers. Joe Montana had slightly better results with the Chiefs (including a memorable overtime playoff win against Bill Cowher‘s Steelers, thanks to some inept punting from Mark Royals). Much like riding the Thunderbolt at Kennywood or making love to a woman, the second time is never as good as the first. Preseason reports were Manning looked every bit the Manning of old but experiencing the same level of success as he had with the Colts, where he won 12+ games in eight of his thirteen years, would definitely be a case of defying history. Read More »Know Thy Enemy: Denver Broncos
The mood in Pittsburgh is not good. How seriously do we take our Steelers football? The day after each of our two Super Bowl losses, a figurative dark cloud hangs over the city. I currently live in the ‘burbs but I was still going to CMU when Neil O’Donnell threw we lost Super Bowl XXX. Taking a bus through town from my off-campus apartment, I had never seen more somber expressions in my life. It was positively funereal.
Now that we’ve had a few days to digest what has to be the most devastating non-Super Bowl loss in Black and Gold history, it’s time to focus on the off-season. Before closing the book on the 2011 campaign, though, here are a few quick tidbits that surfaced over the past couple days.
— Pittsburgh’s esteemed Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, made good on his bet with the mayor of Denver by Tebowing for the local news media. Everybody knows the Boy Wonder is a diehard fan so I’m not surprised he made a city-to-city bet on a Wild Card game. I am a bit surprised by the stakes. What if the Steelers had won? Would Denver’s mayor have to break his foot, then do body shots with a skanky coed? Read More »Aftermath Of A Devastating Steelers Loss
The Pittsburgh Steelers suffered one of their most heartbreaking losses in recent memory yesterday, losing 29-23 to the Denver Broncos. Tim Tebow was absolutely masterful, throwing for a career best 316 yards and basically humiliating the NFL’s top ranked defense by making them look like a bunch of amateurs. Any doubts about Tebow’s ability to play quarterback should finally be put to rest. He repeatedly burned the Steelers secondary on big pass plays while showing the strength and maneuverability in the pocket of a young Ben Roethlisberger.
Meanwhile, the actual Big Ben put forth a valiant effort, particularly in the fourth quarter, but was a shell of himself for most of the game. Much like last week against Cleveland, Ben struggled in the early going, making terrible throws and displaying absolutely no mobility thanks to his sprained ankle. He rallied a bit in the second half, leading the team on two long scoring drives to force overtime, although once again it was a story of too many missed opportunities.
Not that Ben got much help from his teammates. As I predicted, the offensive line had all kinds of trouble keeping him upright. Ben was sacked five times with Robert Ayers, who at one point threw Max Starks five yards backward like a crash test dummy, notching two sacks to lead the team. Tomlin eventually saw enough and brought in Jonathan Scott to relieve Mad Max but there was more than enough blame to go around. Elvis Dumervil and Von Miller picked on Marcus Gilbert all day while Doug Legursky‘s errant snap cost the Steelers a shot at a field goal to close out the first half. They did a good job run blocking, with Isaac Redman running for 121 tough yards on 17 carries (Rashard Who?), which is about the only nice thing I can say about their performance. Read More »Wild Card Recap: Hail Tebow
Much digital ink has been spilled this week previewing the Wild Card match-up between the Denver Broncos and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Most of the attention has centered around the two quarterbacks who’ll face off on Sunday. Will Ben Roethlisberger‘s messed up ankle be feeling better by game time? And how is Tim Tebow going to fare in his first career playoff game?
Before we worry about all that, let’s look at the big picture. The bookies have the Steelers listed as an eight point favorite and most media types are penciling this in as a victory for the Black and Gold. Even members of Steeler Nation, a notoriously pessimistic bunch, seem confident of a happy outcome. And it’s understandable, what with Denver losing three straight to end the season and backdooring into the post-season.
Not to throw a wet blanketTerrible Towel on all the optimism but keep this in mind. Since 2000, five teams with records of .500 or worse have made the playoffs. Four of the five won at least one playoff game. Most recently was last year’s Seattle Seahawks, who became the first team in NFL history to win a division with a losing record (7-9). I think we all remember Marshawn Lynch going all BEAST MODE on the 11-5 New Orleans Saints to seal their Wild Card victory.
Three days from now that is exactly where our boys in Black and Gold will be, and I guess I’m saying I like our chances compared to the alternative(s) that could have been bestowed upon us. Unlike Chris, I have a certain degree of disdain for Tebow his Highness, mainly rooted in my utter disdain for the “Media Tidal Waves” that like to make something out of nothing. Tim Tebow took the field behind perennially incompetent Kyle Orton. I mean, they had superfans buying damn billboards asking for Tebowmania to begin. Anyone who didn’t expect some degree of improvement would be likened to a fool, and that’s exactly what it was, a degree of improvement.
WHAT A STREAK OF DIVINITY FATHER TIM!!! You beat seven teams that are watching the post-season from their local watering hole this year!!!
Tim Tebow is an average NFL quarterback. I am not jumping on the bandwagon of his unconventional style, as I don’t think it differs much from the last “Unconventional Wave” of Miami chewing on the the wildcat formation (Where did that get them?). Denver has a running threat behind center that has yet to prove he can throw the ball consistently. The only thing that he has proven is he is a better option than Kyle Orton. Hell, I would take my chances with Byron “One-Game” Leftwich before Orton. Read More »Sound-Off: Taking The High Road
A Sunday isn’t a Sunday without the Pittsburgh Steelers. Unlike the last time I had a weekend without my beloved Black and Gold, at least my computer didn’t seize the opportunity to give me the middle finger. In fact, I was able to enjoy a stress-free Sunday of NFL action. And in the process it gave me a chance to size up the AFC Playoff picture.
It appears that Tim Tebow is a man of destiny. And that destiny is placing him and his Denver Broncos on a collision course with the Steelers.
The Steelers currently sit at 10-3, the same record as the Baltimore Ravens. I didn’t bother watching the Ratbirds this week because everybody knew they were going to hammer the gutless Colts. Instead, I kept an eye on our other AFC North rival, the Cincinnati Bengals. Cincy lost a heartbreaker to the Houston Texans when somebody named TJ Yates led Houston 80 yards in the final two minutes to score the game-winning touchdown. The loss was killer as it dropped the Bengals from the second Wild Card slot to a game behind the New York Jets. I know that box I posted above says they’re also behind the Titans but that’s only if they finish in a three tie as Cincy holds the head-to-head advantage after beating them a few weeks back. Read More »Pittsburgh Steelers On Collision Course With Tim Tebow