Monday, October 01, 2007

Weekend Review

I promised a thorough review of the weekend, so here you go. For non-sports fans, I promise some good stuff at the end of this post. I’ll start with the Steelers, who lost their first game of the season, 21-14, against the Arizona Cardinals. First, thanks to everyone for giving their comments and suggestions about how and where I could watch Sunday’s game during the engagement party. I was able to watch much of the first half at the party and most of the second half at a house. The Steelers obviously did not play their best, and I’m worried about the health of Troy Polamalu, Casey Hampton and Bryant McFadden. I was also disappointed by the offensive line as Willie Parker only had 37 yards rushing, the Cardinals had 4 sacks and it seemed like the line had about a half dozen false start or holding penalties. Ben Roethlisberger’s interception in the end zone while the team was on the Arizona 2 certainly did not help.

However, to put this in perspective, it’s not a terrible loss. Arizona has a decent team, and the Steelers were playing on the road. Let’s be honest, this was the Super Bowl for former Steelers coaches Ken Whisenhunt and Russ Grimm. I’m sure they have been preparing for this game since they got hired by the Cardinals. Plus, if the Steelers are going to lose a game, losing to an NFC team is much better than a defeat against a division rival or even against an AFC team. Conference wins and losses are factored into playoff tie-breakers. So now, let’s see how Mike Tomlin and the team respond to their first loss.

Two final notes from the game. Actually, two Arizona players. I had mixed reactions watching Larry Fitzgerald make incredible catches and seeing Steve Breaston return the punt for a touchdown. I really, really like both of those guys. Fitzgerald was amazing to watch when he was at Pitt, and I hope he turns out to be one of the best wide receivers in NFL history. Breaston is from Woodland Hills High School, so I’m glad that he’s representing his alma mater well.

I also had the opportunity to watch my first Pitt game of the year. After seeing Pitt get crushed by the University of Virginia, let’s just say that I am not planning on re-arranging my schedule to see another game this season. At the end of the first quarter, Pitt trailed 27-0 and had seven penalties, a botched on-side kick and a fumbled kick-off return. The offensive couldn’t move the ball and the defense couldn’t stop Virginia. The best part of the first quarter may have been ESPN’s interview with the Virginia Cavalier. With the game out of hand, the announcers also discussed how Thomas Jefferson was an anti-Federalist.

Overall, I had a lot of problems with the coaches in this game. Pitt ran this “Wildcat” formation where the running back lines up at the quarterback position about a dozen times. Maybe you run this formation once or twice a game to throw off the defense. Pitt has a freshman QB; let him try to pass the ball and run the offense. Don’t put the QB out as a wide receiver when the running back is never going to throw the football. Virginia knew this and stopped Pitt every time. On 3rd and 8, let the quarterback play quarterback! I also was not happy with Virginia coach Al Groh. Virginia was leading 37-14 with only a few minutes remaining and ran a fake field goal for a touchdown. That is simply running up the score, and my opinion, was classless. I guess Virginia was still upset losing to Pitt in 2006. Pitt Blather has much, much more on this game.

I’ll write more about fantasy baseball (damn you Dontrelle Willis) and fantasy football (damn you Brian Westbrook; actually damn you gametime decisions!) another time, but I wanted to finish with Vanilla Ice. As expected, I did not see him on Friday night; however, Arjewtino’s friends did. Great story and pictures!

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