Just to give fair warning, we’re only going to have about half a Smorgasbord today. I fucked up something in my back this morning… it’s not major, but I’m not well. I can’t extend my middle finger at an Eagles fan without a fair amount of discomfort. I don’t feel like sitting here all day. And I’ve got only one wingman and one winglady today anyway, so I’m probably going to bail after the early games. My apologies.
On Countdown, they’re discussing the quarterbacks taken in the 2004 draft, and the guys are asked to rerank them if they were drafting right now. Michael Irvin and Tom Jackson leave the order the same: Manning, Rivers, Roethlisberger. Mike Ditka, thinking outside the box, lists three players he’d take first: One was Rex Grossman (drafted in 2003), one was Matt Leinart (drafted in 2006), and I didn’t hear the third, but I’m guessing it was either Johnny Unitas or Chris Leak. Ditka’s a clown.
Rex Grossman, meanwhile, is visiting the studio today. Jaws is making some point about how the league has to protect quarterbacks, and he has Grossman stand there, posed in a throwing motion, while Jaws touches him around the abdomen and chest. Grossman keeps his eyes focused on something in the distance, completely unwilling to make eye contact with Jaws, whose hand has been on Grossman for over thirty seconds now. When they called him and asked him to do the show, I bet they didn’t tell Rex that Ron Jaworski would be fondling his nipples for an extended period of time.
Now ESPN’s replaying one of their old Make-A-Wish segments, one where a kid who underwent heart surgery visits Tedy Bruschi at Gilette Stadium. There’s a time for long, sappy segements like this… it’s Tuesday night on Outside the Lines, not minutes before kickoff. In addition, this thing is months old… the kid in question has his damn driver’s license now. This is one of the few things in the world that could drive me to voluntarily watch Terry Bradshaw.
Unless Rogaine is more powerful than I think it is, Jim Nantz will be bald in five years. Thank you, Hi-Definition.
In pre-game warmups, Troy Polamalu has his hair balled up in the back. It’s not completely stuffed under the helmet, there’s just a bound-up tuft poking out. I think he should go with more of a Princess Leia look, pulling his hair out of the earholes of his helmet, and then winding it up in spirals on the side.
Why don’t the Steelers have anyone on their roster who can field a punt? If they just brought Tim Brown out of retirement and told him, “fair catch everything,” they’d probably have a better record by a game or two. Santonio Holmes drops one, the Falcons pick it up, and Michael Vick and Alge Crumpler convert it into six points.
It probably shouldn’t bother me as much as it does, but this new Jay-Z song is not a song… it’s a Budweiser Select commercial. Sorta rubs me the wrong way, but… it’s not like I have the strength of conviction to not buy the Jay-Z unretirement album. Jay-Z’s corporate whoring is contributing to my low self-esteem.
By the way, Polamalu’s hair is down now… and I just wonder if that’s a decision he struggled with. You know, his hair’s a big part of who he is… he might’ve honestly felt like he wasn’t being true to himself if he didn’t wear it the way he’s always worn it.
Update across the bottom of the screen: “Cincinnati, R. Kelly: 1 catch, 9 yards.” If he scores, someone’s getting peed on.
If you’ve noticed that I haven’t said anything about the Chargers yet… it’s because there’s nothing nice for me to say. It’s very early, but they don’t look like the same team today… sloppy, uninspired play on both sides of the ball. This is looking like a big-time trap game.
Troy Polamalu intercepts of a Michael Vick pass… Polamalu will get a ton of credit for it, and he should, it was a very good play… but it was also classic Michael Vick. The Steelers blitzed the hell out of him, Vick made some excellent moves to get away, and had options downfield that were, at best, covered one-on-one, and he makes a terrible throw in about the only place that a defender could possibly get to it. There are very few quarterbacks who could’ve gotten away from that rush… but there are also very few quarterbacks who would’ve made a throw that bad.
Tom Brady is forced out of the pocket by the Bills pass rush, and he scrambles around until it’s clear that he’s not going to get out of it… he sort of takes a knee, giving himself up. Two Bills dive on top of him, completely unnecessarily… and three penalty flags hit the ground before they even finish hitting Brady. I might be wrong, but I don’t think those three flags would’ve come as quickly for any other quarterback in the league. I think one of the refs even threw it at the defender and yelled, “Get off him, jerk!”
Hines Ward catches a Ben Roethlsiberger TD pass, and then mockingly breaks out the Dirty Bird in the endzone. They don’t still do the Dirty Bird in Atlanta, do they? I don’t think I’ve seen that in over five years… was this specifically designed to taunt Jamal Anderson for some reason? By the way, whatever happened to Jamal Anderson?
The Chiefs are pressuring the hell out of Phil Rivers… their defense today is weird. It’s like they’re blitzing six or seven on every down, and dropping the rest into deep coverage. Pretty clever by the Chiefs… when the Chargers throw, they do usually like to go downfield. The intermediate things, the slants, outs, hitches… they’re all there for the taking, but they’re making it difficult to get the ball there with pressure and hands in passing lanes.
Despite the Steelers disastrous 14-0 start to this game… I think this is a team that’s officially “back.” Ben Roethlisberger has led a couple of touchdown drives and looked as sharp as ever. I really think, for the Steelers, it’s as simple as Ben Roethlisberger playing well again. I wrote a few weeks ago that I thought the Steelers early struggles were all about him, and I’m feeling pretty good about that call right now. I’m sure there are other factors, like Polamalu getting healthy, for one… but when Large Benjamin is on, the Steelers are a different team.
The Chargers have shown up in their pretty pink panties today. That’s three first quarter turnovers… a Tomlinson fumble, a Rivers interception, and a Rivers fumble. Larry Johnson just ran through Antonio Cromartie like he was his girlfriend. 20-3, Kansas City. If anyone feels like burning down Arrowhead Stadium, don’t let me stop you.
Ben Roethlisberger’s forgotten the snap count twice today. I don’t know what to attribute that to, other than Roethlisberger just not being that bright of a guy. Meanwhile, the Steelers have 14 first downs to the Falcons 1.
And the Falcons break out the onsides kick here with a few minutes left to play in the half. Not bad, Jim Mora Jr… that’s the sort of thing that can win you games you aren’t supposed to win. Perfectly executed.
The Falcons ended up scoring off the onsides kick, and then Steelers took it right back at them, getting another quick, efficient touchdown drive out of Ben Roethlsiberger. Nate Washington caught the touchdown pass, and did some sort of little dance… of course, Hines Ward ran up behind him and tried to mimic Washington’s dance, but didn’t have any idea what he was doing. Washington looked good. Hines looked like he briefly lost control of his limbs.
I might be the last one to realize this, but Damon Huard is a pretty good quarterback. I knew he had good numbers, but I assumed it was because the Chiefs really limited what he could do, throwing mainly only short passes. But that hasn’t been the case today. He’s been good at avoiding the rush, staying calm in the pocket, and firing the ball downfield… I dislike him very much.
Ben Roethlisberger’s down, and he’s not moving. He dropped back, took a helmet-to-helmet hit, which send his helmet back crashing into another guys’ helmet… he’s face down and motionless. Before that hit, I’d have bet anything that the Steelers would win this game. Charlie Batch, however, does not give me the same vibe.
I think I just heard someone yell, “put that in your pipe and smoke it.” That’s just not something you hear every day. It even predates the Dirty Bird.
Roethlisberger is being carted off, just as Charlie Batch trots onto the field. I’d like to make some crack about how Ben Roethlisberger’s goofy, expressionless, likely-concussed face… but he sort of always looks like that.
You know, this has sort of turned into an all Steelers/Falcons edition of the Smorgasbord… I’m sorry about that. I think I purposefully avoid saying too much about the Chargers, because I don’t want this to just be about my team… and the only other game I can see well is Patriots/Bills, which is exciting as watching a live broadcast of a Pat Buchanan prostate exam. And this Steelers/Falcons game has been pretty captivating… not much I can do about it.
Hined Ward loses a shoe in the middle of a 70-yard touchdown catch and run… and this is a very big happening here. I’ve heard the word “shoe” about 903 times in the last 10 seconds, and I don’t think people are even celebrating the touchdown run, just the remarkable accomplishment of a man running with just one shoe. I even heard someone say the words “wardrobe malfunction,” which sort of make me want to punch that person in the face. I feel like I’m being left out of the excitement, though, so I just start yelling the word “shoe.” They’re right, this is awesome.
By the way, Warrick Dunn wears a big-ass silver chain around his neck when he’s playing. Is this something new? That’s even more likely to get you fucked up than a cascade of Samoan hair exploding out of your helmet. That can’t be safe.
There’s a dude here in a Plaxico Burress Steelers jersey, which isn’t that strange, in and of itself. I understand, you bought a jersey, the guy left, you don’t want to buy another one. I’m OK with that. But it’s also a #88 Burress jersey, when Plax wore #80 in Pittsburgh. That, I can’t explain.
LaDainian Tomlinson throws a third-and-goal touchdown pass to Brandon Manumaleuna, which officially makes Tomlinson/Manumaleuna a more dangerous passing combination than Harrington/Chambers. The Chargers, once down 20-3, have tied the game at 27.
SIXTY-TWO, MOTHERFUCKER. Incredible… the Pats/Bills game was over in record time, so they switched it to the end of Bucs/Eagles… and Matt Bryant just hit a 62-yarder for Tampa Bay win. Amazing.
The Chargers defense holds the Chiefs… and they’ll take possession with 1:49 to play. IT’S PHILIP TIME. Eh, that doesn’t really work, does it… IT’S RIVERS TIME. That’s not doing it for me either. I’m excited, though, even if there’s no good way to express it.
You know, I’ve gotta give some credit to Michael Vick… I made fun of him a little bit earlier in the week, but… he’s made the throws today. He’s thrown one interception that was his fault, and he was pretty shaky early, but… he’s been able to buy himself some time and make some good throws. I don’t know why the Steelers have opted to limit their blitzes today, but Vick, to his credit, has made them pay for it.
Rivers takes two consecutive sacks… and it is neither Philip Time, nor Rivers Time. There’s just something off about this team today… the offensive line hasn’t been good, the defense hasn’t been good… I don’t know what the deal is, but it’s making me sad. Regardless, we’re still tied with the Chiefs on the road, after a three-turnover 1st quarter.
Ben Roethlisberger is back on the sidelines for the Steelers, in street clothes. He still has the black strips under his eyes, though… if that’s not a ringing endorsement for the interior illumination of the Georgia Dome, I don’t know what is.
Here comes Lawrence Tynes to attempt the game winner for the Chiefs… from 48 yards, it’s up, and it’s good. But HEY-O! We’ve got a false start penalty. It’ll be Tynes again, this time from 53… and you dirty son of a bitch. You were supposed to miss that one. I’m glad Matt Bryant’s 62-yarder will overshadow yours. Choke on some haggis, you Scottish prick.
And here comes Atlanta’s Michael Koenen to become the third hero kicker of the day thus far… from 56 yards, it is no good. But… Troy Polamalu gets a bullshit call for running into the kicker. So they’ll try again from 51 yards, and this time, it’ll be Morten Andersen. I know it’s five yards shorter, but come on, it’s still Morten Andersen… isn’t his limit like 40? Predictably, it comes up way short.
Incidentally, there’s a Falcons fan sitting at the very front of the room, directly in front of the television, who stood up just as the ball left Anderson’s foot. No one behind him had any idea whether or not the kick was good… if you absolutely have to stand up, then just stay home. A Browns fan sitting in front of us just turned around and told The Juice that he’s rooting for the Steelers now, because that douchebag did that. I imagine it would take something pretty powerful for a Browns fan to start rooting for the Steelers… the Falcons fan is an asswipe, no doubt, but I’m not sure that’s warranted.
In overtime, Michael Vick makes an excellent play to get away from a Polamalu blitz, and then lofts a touch pass to Alge Crumper for a big gain… say what you want about Michael Vick, but no one else in football would’ve made that play.
And here comes Morten Andersen for a much shorter attempt, and this one’s cash. Falcons win in overtime.
The Chargers and Steelers games sort of mirrored each other… on the road, they both fell behind quickly, then eventually caught up and were beaten by a field goal. I’m absolutely certain that the Steelers are a better team than the Falcons, depending on the health of Ben Roethlisberger… and I’m equally confident that the Chargers are a better team than the Chiefs, depending on them pulling their heads out of their asses the next time they play.