When the Steelers play the Raiders, the announcers go to great lengths to remind us of those classic matchups of the 1970's, when John Madden roamed the sideline, Jack Lambert drank steroids out of a Gatorade bottle during games, and half of the NFL's fan base wasn't alive or was too young to remember those games. Nonetheless, the optics of a Steelers-Raiders game can't be beat, if only because quarterbacks in silver and black helmets look great throwing groundballs to their receivers. All in all, a nice 35-3 win for the Steelers -- if you claim to be a good team, then you should comfortably beat the mediocre teams at home. Some reaction:
--At some point, the refs are just going to have to start announcing 15-yard penalties for "being James Harrison." He is the Matt Cooke of the NFL -- he gets no benefit of the doubt and is presumed guilty because of his number and reputation. The hit he had on Jason Campbell that led to the called-back Ike Taylor pick-6 was textbook -- square on the chest and followed through all the way to the ground. Awful call.
--Speaking of textbooks, Jason Campbell also had a textbook day, if that textbook was Introduction to Horrendous Quarterbacking. He finished 7 of 19 for 71 yards. Have you ever seen someone so remarkably below average? Baseball has the Mendoza line -- named for Mario Mendoza -- which is defined by Wikipedia as the "threshold of incompetent hitting" and is used for anyone batting below .200. Well Jason Campbell just inspired the Marathon Line for football quarterbacks. Why? His QB rating was 26.2.
--Artistry wondered this morning how anyone could buy Richard Seymour's explanation that decking Ben Roethlisberger after the whistle was "a natural reaction" and that he's just trying to "protect himself" out there. He almost knocked Roethlisberger's head off for no apparent reason. "That wasn't very nice," Artistry said. "Way to make me feel sympathy for Ben Roethlisberger."
--I had to listen to Bill Hillgrove-Tunch Ilkin-Craig Wolfley call for the first half of the game on Sirius. Hillgrove is a legend in Pittsburgh so I hate to be negative, but here's a rough transcript of a typical Hillgrove call:
Ben back to pass! He rolls right! Throws! It's Mike Wallace! In for a Steelers touchdown! No, they're saying he dropped it! Oh no! He dropped it!! No, wait, now they're saying he's in! Touchdown? Waiting for the call here...What's the ref going to call!?!? It's intercepted and the Ravens are running with it down the sideline!!!
--Back to the Steelers. A time machine performance from James Farrior today - that's fantastic linebacking. Same goes for James Harrison, although his performance Sunday does nothing to make me retract my prediction that his career will end by being led off the field in handcuffs.
--Let's go around the NFL. Manning and Brady operate on a different plane than the rest of the QBs in the league. I know Manning had 3 picks, but his TD passes are works of art....What would be a more depressing game to go to now -- a Cleveland Cavaliers game or a Minnesota Vikings game?....Why do columnists end their columns with giant paragraphs where all the sentences are separated by ellipses?.....Big win for the Redskins over the Titans, helping the Skins get closer to their destiny of being 8-8 for the next 4 years....New Orleans may be back....If Larry Fitzgerald just stayed home for the rest of the season, could anyone blame him?....Would be nice to still have Santonio. Why did we trade him again?
--Enough of that gimmick. Let's get to the real news. Pens have a joke schedule coming up. 8 of their next 10 games are against teams .500 or below and the others are against the Rangers and Columbus. These are the stretches during which divisions are won. 20 points on the line. No reason not to get 15 of them.