Wednesday Apple Pie

I'm sorry Kimo Von Oelhoffen. I'm sorry for writing a nasty little article this past off-season urging the front office to cut you. I didn't think you had much left in the tank. In fact, I thought you'd be dead weight and on the bench by this time. But you know what? You've proven me wrong. And for that, I'm sorry.

The stats don't lie Kimo, and I know when I've been proven wrong. Not many people would know that Kimo is quietly having his best season as a pro. His best season ever in fact. He's already surpassed his career high for sacks in a season with 5 (the most he ever had was 4 in 1999 and 2001). He's set to break his career high in tackles also. He has 28 solo. The most he's ever amassed in a season was 38 solo tackles in 2000. He's already matched his season output of a year ago.

But, more importantly, Kimo has been the most consistent lineman on the defense this season. He and James Farrior, two players not drafted by the Steelers mind you, are leading this defense with their solid play week after week.

And I wanted to cut him. What was I drinking that day?

Speaking of Farrior, this guy was drafted by a little known football coach by the name of Bill Parcells. In fact, Parcells thought enough of the guy to make him a first round pick. He may come close to breaking his career record for total tackles set in 2001 with 143.

So, as you see this season might be a supreme disappointment, but two very deserving players are quietly amassing career numbers. So, go buy a jersey with the name Farrior or Von Oelhoffen, you'll not only be one of the cool kids, but you'll be supporting two of the top players on the team.

Apple Pix-Six: Week 12 Review

1. Green Bay 20 San Francisco 10: What a wacky, wacky world the NFL is this season. The Niners who thumped Pittsburgh last Monday night couldn't muster any offense in a loss to the Packers. Green Bay on he other hand continues to breathe down Minnesota's neck.

2. Philadelphia 33 New Orleans 20: The season ends dismally for the Saints. Once again, the team was expected to challenge for a playoff spot and once again, they fall out of the race before the last quarter of the season begins.

3. Dallas 24 Carolina 20: Cowboy Matt, I have a story for you. Two years ago a young hungry team that was left for dead ran rough-shod over a weak AFC Central and weak schedule to finish 13 – 3 and have home field advantage in the playoffs. They lost in the championship game. The story is called "Pittsburgh Steelers 2001"; your boys should be studying every last minute detail of that story.

4. Miami 24 Washington 23: It didn't matter that the Skins fumbled away a chance at getting the ball back and kicking a field goal. The Dolphins were pumped, the crowd was going crazy and there was no way Tim Hasslebeck was going to get the 40 yards needed for a chance to win.

5. Baltimore 44 Seattle 41 (OT): Okay, so the Ravens either had 30 more seconds or at least were given one extra timeout. Either way, the Seahawks are now in a wild card position because their defense couldn't stop Anthony "All-Pro for a Day" Wright. That's the saddest fact of all.

6. Cincinnati 34 San Diego 27: And the Bengal train continues running. Look, the winner of this division must overcome the Steelers. The Bengals will have their shot on Sunday. Baltimore must wait until the final week of the season. Say what you will, but the Bengals must prove that they have what it takes by beating Pittsburgh.

Apple Pix-Six: Week 13

1. New England at Indianapolis (GOTW): Lots of great games this week, but this one tops the list. The Patriots can gain the tiebreaker over the Colts and have a virtual stranglehold on the #2 seed in the AFC because they already own the tiebreaker on the Titans. The Colts on the other hand must win to keep their divisional title hopes alive and to keep pace with the Titans.

2. Philadelphia at Carolina: Okay Philly, your turn. Dallas took care of business therefore the Eagles must respond in turn with a victory. Carolina now must hope for a win over the Eagles and then for the Eagles to knock off Dallas in Philly. That would give Carolina the #1 seed.

3. Miami at Dallas: The last time this scenario occurred, the Dolphins improbably won in the snow off a missed field goal when Leon Lett touched the live ball in the endzone. If Ricky Williams can control the ground the Dolphins will have a chance. That's a big "if".

4. San Francisco at Baltimore: Baltimore barely survived last week's home game against Seattle. They also may once again barely survive this week's contest. The Niners must reconnect to the offense that Tim Rattay was easily conducting up and down the field.

5. Minnesota at St. Louis: This game has "playoff implications" written all over it. Both teams are in the hunt for their division. Both teams are also in the hunt for a wild card, but I doubt both teams will make the playoffs.

6. Denver at Oakland: The Broncos are fading fast and Jason the Bronco fan cannot be happy. Emails to him regarding the fiasco against the Bears went without a response. I take that to mean he probably downed a few Bass Ales and called it a night.

The Complete Power Core Rankings: Week 13

  1. Kansas City – Survived another spirited effort by the Raiders.
  2. Tennessee – McNair hurt. This means the Titans are ready to roll on to the Super Bowl.
  3. New England – Kicked around by Houston before getting serious.
  4. Green Bay – May be the best team in the NFC right now.
  5. Indianapolis – Last year's Colts team would have lost Sunday.
  6. Dallas – A little razzle-dazzle never hurt anyone, Bill Parcells.
  7. Philadelphia – Didn't mess around with the Saints.
  8. St. Louis – The Rams make it too close for comfort in the desert.
  9. Carolina – Still 6 – 1 in the NFC.
  10. Miami – The Dolphins win an ugly game. That's good. Ricky Williams needs 5000 carries to break 100 yards. That's not good.
  11. Seattle -- Mike Holmgren's team better hope they don't have to play on the road in the playoffs.
  12. Baltimore – Extra time gives Baltimore new life.
  13. Minnesota – Yes they won, but they beat the Lions. That is not saying much.
  14. Cincinnati – Won in San Diego, but the big test is this week in Pittsburgh.
  15. Tampa Bay – Nothing like the Giants to bring back the winning ways.
  16. Denver – Broncos were supposed to be better with Jake Plummer.
  17. San Francisco – The Niners can't seem to get a winning streak going.
  18. NY Jets – No offense until the last 30 seconds.
  19. Pittsburgh – Did everything they could NOT to win, but still won.
  20. Buffalo – Eric Moulds is overrated in my book.
  21. Chicago – Big win in Denver. Improbable win in Denver.
  22. New Orleans – Does Joe Horn have a clue this year?
  23. NY Giants – This team needs a makeover at the top.
  24. Cleveland – 5 turnovers won't win you a game against Temple. Well maybe Temple.
  25. Houston -- The Texans play hard for an expansion team. The same can't be said for the team just ahead of them in the rankings on both accounts.
  26. Washington – Steve, your team should have won.
  27. Jacksonville – Wonder what Fred Taylor would be like on a good team?
  28. San Diego – Same question about LaDanian Tomlinson.
  29. Oakland – They played with guts, but that receiving corps is too old (sans Jerry Porter).
  30. Atlanta – Even with McNair, the Falcons couldn't hang with the Titans.
  31. Arizona – Gave the Rams a run for their money.
  32. Detroit – Is this a JV team?

Fruits of Labor (stock is rising)

  • James Farrior – 14 more tackles and quietly the best player on defense. Remember Bill Parcells drafted this guy.

Rotten Produce (stock is falling)

  • Tommy Maddox That's a Kordell Stewart-level game Tommy. What's going on? Is the gun done? Okay, no more rhymes.

Missed Point Opportunities (MPO)

TeamPittsburghCleveland
Drives4th Drive (Punt after 1st down at CLV 28)2nd Drive (Penalty on Punt Return for TD)
5th Drive (Missed FG)3rd Drive (FG)
6th Drive (FG)4th Drive (Fumble after missed FG)
7th Drive (Punt)7th Drive (TO on downs)
8th Drive (FG)8th Drive (INT in endzone)
9th Drive (Fumble in PGH territory)
11th Drive (INT)
Score57

Season MPO Record: 4 – 7

Wisdom From the Girl Apple

Girl Apple: Happy Thanksgiving you silly boy.

Apple: You too. I'm thankful that the Steelers didn't get swept by the Browns.

Girl Apple: That's nice.

Apple: And you?

Girl Apple: The season will be over soon and I'll get you back on Sunday afternoons.

Apple: No seriously.

Girl Apple: I'm thankful you have so many good people reading your articles.

Apple: Yeah, they are a good bunch of fans. They've grown to like your wisdom.

Girl Apple: Really? Well that's kind. By the way, when the Steelers play this Sunday, it will be okay to cry if they lose.

Apple: Really?

Girl Apple: Yes, any girl will melt when they see their boy crying over football.

Apple: That's the best wisdom yet!


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