Monday, January 24, 2011

Steelers 24, Jets 19

J-E-T-S! Jets! Jets! Jets!

Ah, go %@#& yourselves.

My beloved Steelers pulled it out, 24-19 over Rex Ryan and the Jets, and now it's on to Super Bowl XLV in two weeks in Texas.

I'm terrified of the Aaron Rodgers and the Packers, who beat the Bears 21-14 in a game that wasn't even that close, but I take great pleasure in the fact that the Steelers and the Packers, two of the NFL's oldest and most respected franchises, will be playing for it all in Cowboys Stadium, given how much I despise Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys and everything about that wretched franchise.

Jones thought this was his year, of course, and that the Cowboys would be playing for a championship right at home in his new mega-monstrosity. They stunk, and they won't be, and now it's time for Pittsburgh and Green Bay to get it on.

But that Jets game...

What a first half. The Steelers were simply dominant, going up 24-0 and then taking a 24-3 lead into halftime. But I was worried. As good as the running game was, behind Mendenhall, the passing game wasn't there, and I was sure the Jets would pull it together and make a game of it. And on their first drive of the second half, the Jets rolled for a TD, a 45-yard pass from Sanchez to ex-Steeler (and MVP of the Steelers Super Bowl win a couple of years ago) Holmes after cornerback Taylor slipped.


While the Steelers couldn't do a think on offence, with Roethlisberger having a bad game (and the team's Pro Bowl rookie center, Maurkice Pouncey going down to injury in the first half, yet another blow to an already-depleted o-line), the Jets were moving the ball. They didn't have much of a running game, but Sanchez wasn't buckling under the pressure and recovered from a bad first half to lead the Jets down the field. The Steelers' D, which wasn't getting much pressure on Sanchez, held firm inside the five, stuffing Tomlinson on fourth down, but a bad snap led to a safety. 24-12.


And then the Jets marched down the field again, and, on a nice play that saw Holmes set a pick to free up Cotchery, made it 24-19 with just over three minutes to go.

I was a wreck already. Now I was on the verge of completely falling apart. I was completely overwhelmed. Resignation was already setting in. I couldn't even muster much anger.

But the Steelers held on.

To run the clock out, they just needed to make a few first downs. Roethlisberger kept the drive going with a pass to Miller, their sure-handed tight end; it was behind him, but he caught it. Later, on a crucial third down, Roethlisberger, facing pressure, rolled out and found Brown, one of the Steelers' promising young receivers, the guy who made the huge 58-yard catch against the Ravens last week, holding the ball against his helmet as he ran down inside the five, setting up the Steelers' winning TD, for the first down that sealed it.

No, he didn't have a great game, but, when he needed to Big Ben did what he does so often, making a play seemingly out of nothing.

And that was it. Ryan threw his headset to the ground, Big Ben took a few kneels, and now the Steelers are off to their record eighth Super Bowl, having won a record six.

With all the injuries this year, with all the issues they've had on the o-line, with Big Ben's four-game suspension and a young group of up-and-coming receivers, it's amazing they've made it.

Just amazing. I thought they were a pretty weak 12-4 team, and it looked the Patriots were the best team in the AFC, and I wasn't exactly confident they'd get past the Ravens and Jets, but here we are.

They did it.

The Packers are peaking right now and will likely be the clear favourites to win the Super Bowl, but I'll start worrying about that game tomorrow. For now, I just want to enjoy this.

I love the Pittsburgh Steelers.

I've watched pretty much every minute of every game this year, and I read as much as I can about them. I was at the first game of the regular season, in September, an OT win at home over Atlanta. The whole year has been incredibly intense.

And now it's on the Super Bowl! How awesome is that?

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