Wednesday Apple Pie

Coming away from the closer-than-it-should-have-been win against the Oakland Raiders, the Pittsburgh Steelers have reestablished their style of football: running the ball patiently, passing infrequently and playing overly-conservative after leading by 10-points or more.

If you subscribed to Billyball in the late 90's then you'll love this type of football. Well, maybe not the overly conservative part, but I digress. The problem that many fans and fantasy geeks, including myself, perceive is that the supremely talented wide receivers on the team are back to playing secondary roles while the running game gets the focus. This wouldn't be a problem if we fans and fantasy geeks hadn't grown accustomed to the air-it-out mentality of the last two seasons. Hines Ward was a gimmee for 15 points a game last year in my lowest scoring league.

However, perhaps this is a good thing in disguise. It's not as if the Steelers were overly successful the past two years with this air mentality. Yet fans across Steeler nation were upset that Tommy Maddox (whose welcome ran out in an unprecedented 10 months) didn't throw for close to 200 yards. If I remember correctly, except for the fumble, Tommy didn't throw an interception, nor did he make any glaring error in decision-making. As far as I was concerned, with 22 opportunities Maddox did what he was supposed to do: put the Steelers into a position to win.

The last time the Steelers were a dominating force they were punishing opposing defenses on the ground and then adding insult to injury with an air attack. That was in 2001. That was 3 years ago. That was Jerome Bettis in his prime. That was before the "injury" against Minnesota. That was when Troy Edwards was throwing blocks and running screen passes. That was when the Steelers were underrated and overlooked heading into the season. But, most importantly, that was when Kordell Stewart was throwing for 150 – 170 yards a game, if he was lucky, with no interceptions.

So, this intro to Apple Pie, short as it may be, serves up a brief reminder. Sometimes in the NFL less is more and, in the case of the Steelers and Billyball, less is definitely more.

Apple Six-Pack Recap

1. New England 27 Indianapolis 24 – How do the Colts have first and one late in the 4th quarter and not score? How does Peyton Manning make a rookie mistake and get sacked on the final drive to push the field goal from gimmee to questionable? How does Marvin Harrison disappear? The Colts' big-time players let them down in this one.

2. Green Bay 24 Carolina 14 – The Panthers rushed for 4 yards in the second half. What is worse news is that Steve Smith is gone with a broken leg. Over-rated or just under-prepared?

3. Tennessee 17 Miami 7 – Oh, the Dolphins have no shot at the playoffs this season. With a new quarterback controversy, no running game and Zach Thomas and Jayson Taylor venting on "Outside the Lines", this team is unraveling, which will lead to Dave Wannestedt's dismissal. And that's the good news.

4. Cleveland 20 Baltimore 3 – Two surprises here - Jamal Lewis gains less than 60 yards and the Browns win. However, this reminds me a whole lot of Buffalo blowing out the Patriots in week one last season; its all smoke and mirrors.

5. Minnesota 35 Dallas 17 – Cowboy Matt was an angry soul on Sunday. You know, I knew the Cowboys were in trouble when the botched snap on a field goal opportunity capped an impressive time consuming drive into the 2nd quarter.

6. Denver 34 Kansas City 24 – Is Quentin Griffin that good or the Chiefs defense that bad? I expect the latter to hold true. I know I picked the Chiefs to win the whole thing this year, but that was because I bit into the Gunther Cunningham hype. I think I might have been wrong.

Power Core Power Rankings (Top 12)

  1. New England Patriots – Barely survived, saved by another Colts implosion.
  2. Philadelphia Eagles – T. O. doesn't necessarily spell Super Bowl.
  3. Minnesota Vikings – Yeah, big jump here, but I just love what they did to the Cowboys.
  4. Indianapolis Colts – That loss could cost you home-field advantage.
  5. Green Bay Packers – Huge win in Carolina as Favre looks for one last shot at glory.
  6. Tennessee Titans – Workman-like day for the Titans but the real test is this weekend.
  7. Kansas City Chiefs – Ugly loss. Priest scores three times and they make Quentin Griffith look like an all-star.
  8. St. Louis Rams – A little too close for comfort against the Cardinals.
  9. Seattle Seahawks – Alexander is the only way this team makes the playoffs.
  10. Pittsburgh Steelers – That secondary has some growing pains, but at least they made plays.
  11. Denver Broncos – I'm still not sold on Griffith. Let's see him run against a real defense.
  12. Washington Redskins – Remember, I said this team would make the Super Bowl.

Apple Six-Pack

1. Carolina Panthers at Kansas City Chiefs (GOTW) – Both teams come off horrible losses and terrible defensive and offensive displays (Priest Holmes aside). The question is whether the Panthers have enough offensively, with Steve Smith gone for the season, to keep up with the Chiefs.

2. Indianapolis Colts at Tennessee Titans – The Titans got a gift from Edgerrin James when he fumbled away the Colts' chances of upsetting New England. Now they have a chance to go two games up on the Colts and put the pressure on Tony Dungy to get his act together.

3. Cleveland Browns at Dallas Cowboys In Week One, both teams performed counter to the expectations placed on them during the pre-season. At some point though, either the Browns will falter or the Cowboys will rise. I'm betting on the Cowboys.

4. Seattle Seahawks at Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Another away game for Seattle and another test. Shaun Alexander may not be involved in the game, which is a big loss for the Seahawks. They can't afford to have him miss much time or St. Louis will snatch the division.

5. Minnesota Vikings at Philadelphia Eagles – The Eagles looked mighty impressive imposing their will on an under-talented, woeful NY Giant squad. The big test here will be whether the Eagles secondary can handle Randy Moss.

Buffalo Bills at Oakland RaidersIn Week One, both teams suffered last second losses. For the Bills, it was a last second touchdown and for the Raiders, a last second field goal. However, the Raiders defense should be able to easily put the clamps on the weak offensive unit that the Bills trot.

Seeds Of Wisdom From the Girl Apple

Apple: The Steelers won! It was closer than it should've been, but they won!

Girl Apple: Ugh, I'm not feeling well, do we have to do this now?

Apple: But, the Steelers won!

Girl Apple: But, silly, didn't they win last year on opening day?

Apple: Yes.

Girl Apple: And what happened?

Apple: Well…I don't to talk about that.

Girl Apple: So then maybe you shouldn't talk about the win.

Apple: I shouldn't talk about the win.

Girl Apple: A win's a win.

Apple: A win's a win.

Girl Apple: These aren't the droids you're looking for.

Apple: These aren't the droids we're…hey…watch it. Just more seeds of wisdom from my Girl Apple.

Apple's Fantasy Football Results

TheDallasCowboysSuck 161 vs. IPeeOnSteelers 148 - Record (1 – 0): Next Week vs. Los Locos Leprechauns (1 – 0)
This game came down to whether Bret Favre and Ahman Green could make up my 50-point cushion. They couldn't. Donovan McNabb gave 49 points.

The Woodside Geminis (night) (In-House League, 8th season, finished last at 3 - 9): This game was played too late for results to be published.

69th St. Ruperts vs. 61 DCFB 56 - Record (0 – 1): Next Week vs. Spiders Savages (1 – 0)
In the same vein, I needed 5 more points from Farve here to win the opener. What's worse is both Chris Brown and Travis Henry are banged up. I sure hope Edge James stops fumbling away his touchdown chances.

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