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November 15, 2010 - Ray Eckenrode
BLEEDING BLACK AND GOLD
A VERY BRADY SUNDAY
QB regains form, helps Pats bury Steelers
It was over when:
+ Although the Steelers teased getting back into the game throughout the fourth quarter, this one ended for all intents and purposes when suddenly skittish Jeff Reed duck hooked a 25-yard field goal attempt late in the third quarter that killed a momentum swing the Pittsburgh defense had started.
Play of the day:
+ When Hines Ward was injured on an uncalled helmet-to-helmet hit on a defenseless receiver on the last play of the first period, it threw the Steelers offense into a funk it didn’t recover from until it was too late. Ward’s absence highlighted the lack of chemistry between Ben Roethlisberger and rookie Emmanuel Sanders and also just how far Antwan Randle El’s pass catching skills have deteriorated.
+ For as badly as Reed has kicked, he’s still probably the best option out there for Pittsburgh through the end of the season. The free agent kicking field includes a bunch of journeymen, none of who has kicked at Heinz Field, except for Kris Brown, who’s likely to come available when Nate Kaeding is back with the Chargers. You want to bring Brownie back?
+ A lot of analysts have been quietly whispering that the Patriots might have been frauds as the AFC frontrunners, but it was the Steelers who looked the part Sunday night. But don’t throw in the towel just yet. As mentioned above, Ward’s injury really hurt the Steelers offense and just as critical was the absence of Lawrence Timmons in the second half. If there’s a formula out there for the Steelers, it involves staying in the AFC Wild Card picture and hoping Aaron Smith and Brett Kiesel are well enough by mid-December to help the team peak late.
Paralysis by analysis:
+ We took this one in from a sweet suite at Heinz Field so were were spared Mssrs. Michaels and Collinsworth.
+ After the Patriots challenged the catch on the play where Ward was injured, it had to be an uncomfortable time under the hood for Referee Carl Cheffers, who not only had to rule the pass incomplete, but watch a dozen or so replays showing his crew missed the unnecessary roughness penalty on the play.
@dougkeklak: My god, there’s another quarter in this game?
@15MinutesBlog: If you’re keeping score at home, Troy Polamalu hasn’t made a play in six weeks.
@Sportsguy33 (Bill Simmons): The hat trick for Rob Gronkowski! I'm whipping my hat collection at the TV. PS: This was one of the great Brady games ever.
We were right:
+ Um, lessee, uh, oh – We were right when we said we had no feeling for this year’s Steelers team and you should bet the other way. But be forewarned, we’re putting an end to this nonsense and picking the Steelers to win every game from here out.
We were wrong:
+ The Patriots young secondary, rather than being a liability, set the tone for the game early by dishing out some punishing hits, even though at least one was illegal.