There are no style points in the National Football League. No matter how the Steelers beat the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday night, they beat the Kansas City Chiefs. They kept pace with Baltimore, and their 8-3 record keeps them in contention for the top seed in the AFC. Having said that, Jesus was that game terrible. Abominable. Verging on unwatchable. Here are 7 reasons why:
7. Troy Polamalu might have just hit a wall. And, unfortunately, he hit it with his head. He's only 30, but it's like a neanderthal, living in a cave, fighting the elements, clubbing wild animals on the head for food kind of 30. His reckless, dangerous tackling form - combined with explosive speed and instincts - makes him great, but it also makes him a perpetual injury risk. And that guy Polamalu hurtled into head first in the 1st quarter wasn't a running back or a tight end. It was 6-6, 290 pound tackle Steve Maneri. Seeing Polamalu stay down after that hit, then watching him looking dazed on the bench, streaks of silver lining his once jet black hair, it didn't feel right.
6. The defense continues to underwhelm opponents. The 3 interceptions don't mean anything. If you don't intercept Tyler Palko at least three times, you're just not trying. Here's the thing. The Steelers defense consistently sets the tone for games by giving up lengthy, time-consuming scoring drives as soon as it hits the field. I can't tell you how many times this has happened this season because I'm not looking it up, but it happened again on Sunday. Against Tyler Palko.
5. Tyler Palko. Never have we seen a quarteback gesticulate so wildly in the direction of his receivers to suggest they are somehow at fault for him underthrowing them by 20 yards. Truly impressive. Consider that Dwayne Bowe failed to make any effort to catch Tyler Palko's final pass just to see Tyler Palko's reaction. As NBC's Chris Collinsworth noted, Palko was "throwing sliders" out there. Come to think of it, having to listen to Chris Collinsworth only enhanced the unpleasantness of being subjected to 4 quarters of Tyler Palko.
|"This one is coming right to you, Ike."|
4. General Ben won't leave any man behind, but he sure leaves a lot of plays on the field. In 15 years when NFL Films rolls out a highlight package of Ben Roethlisberger's stellar career, we'll see lots of plays like his brilliant Olé of an oncoming rusher and feathery pass to Wesley Saunders in the back of the endzone. We won't see him throwing into double coverage or winning games 13-9 when they should have been 30-9. I wouldn't trade him for anyone except Aaron Rodgers, but the man makes greatness look pretty crappy sometimes. All credit to Finesse for identifying the frustrating Ben paradox on this podcast.
|"Yep, my arm is still attached. Good to go."|
2. Mike Tomlin and his staff had an extra week to prepare for Tyler Palko and almost lost.
1. This game was better than Ambien. Finesse fell asleep while listening to the game on the radio, woke up while it was still going on, turned it off, then went back to sleep. Which is why I'm writing this recap, because lord knows I didn't want to.
The Steelers host Cincy next week. The Ravens get Cleveland. And you know Baltimore is going to lose one of these.
|"We are definitely going to lose one of these."|