Wednesday Apple Pie

Okay, let's get one thing straight. The Steelers, regardless of game plan or intention, never had a prayer of winning that game in Baltimore. Not with the level of intensity that they walked on the field with.

It didn't matter that the team tried to incorporate Plaxico Burress into the game plan, the Steelers weren't going to win any game against any team by playing their worst overall performance since a 55 – 0 drubbing by the Cleveland Browns in 1989.

That may sound a little over-the-top, but when the best thing that happened in the game was Tommy Maddox leaving with a major injury, not many detestable performances can pass Sunday's slop fest.

It was an ugly game, about as ugly as the Olsen twins when they were on Full House. There were 15 penalties in the first half with about as many commercial stoppages. Within that period of time we saw 3 illegal motion penalties on the Steelers. That same illegal motion problem the Steelers had during pre-season has continued to manifest itself during the regular season.

What is so hard to understand about this rule? While in motion, if the player makes any movement forward, illegal motion will be called. That means if Hines Ward is running parallel he must turn without moving one inch forward. Now that might be a bit extreme but the ticky-tackiness of the penalty calling in this game was ridiculous.

Ridiculous doesn't begin to describe, however, the problems on the offensive side of the ball. Once again, the Steelers are showing a lack of patience running the ball. Last week, while leading, the Steelers started to attack through the air when it was obvious that they just needed to continue pounding the ball up the gut. This week, the Steelers tried to prove the discredited theory that the way to quiet a hostile crowd is not by an extended, time-sucking drive, but instead a quick three and out.

Regardless, the youngsters and newbies on this team got a quick, painful lesson on just how intense and prepared a team must be to dethrone a champion. The Steelers perhaps should have paid attention to Mother Nature, for any animal that feels its life is threatened will turn on its attacker and defend itself. The Steelers thought this animal would turn and run with its tail between its legs, only to get stung because they weren't prepared to fight.


Apple Six-Pack Recap

1. Carolina 28 Kansas City 17 – First the Chiefs defense can't stop anyone and now their offense isn't clicking right. The Chiefs got a gift when the Jaguars beat the Broncos, but all of a sudden this has become the Broncos' division to lose.

2. Indianapolis 31 Tennessee 17 – As I said above, animals that are threatened will fight back and the Colts sure fought for this victory. The big play was Chris Brown failing to convert on 4th and inches inside the 5 while Tennessee held an early 7 – 3 lead.

3. Dallas 19 Cleveland 12 – Well it wasn't pretty, but the ‘Boys got the job done. Kellen Winslow Jr's promising career was waylaid by a broken leg. What is it with Cleveland first round picks and injuries? Say goodnight Butch.

4. Seattle 10 Tampa Bay 6 – Shaun Alexander wasn't 100 percent, but the Bucs have such a lack of offense right now that it didn't make a difference. Wasn't Tim Brown brought in for offense? Isn't Tim Brown at least 50 years old? You do the math.

5. Philadelphia 27 Minnesota 16 – This game was over when Daunte Culpepper fumbled on the 1-inch line. There is no way in that situation that a veteran quarterback can fumble. Lot's of yards, but very little conversion for the Vikings.

6. Oakland 13 Buffalo 10 – The Raiders keep Mike Mularkey still looking for his first win as a head coach. Drew Bledsoe's stock continues to decline at an alarming rate. Travis Henry couldn't find holes and Rich Gannon didn't look great again. Two very mediocre franchises that seem to be running in circles.


Power Core Power Rankings (Top 12)

  1. New England Patriots – Workman-like win, although the Cardinals kept this one close.
  2. Philadelphia Eagles – We've seen this every year, McNabb looks great early.
  3. Indianapolis Colts – They should be 2 – 0.
  4. Seattle Seahawks – Seattle doesn't have enough offense without Alexander at 100%.
  5. Minnesota Vikings – Some dumb errors by Culpepper doomed this team.
  6. Green Bay Packers – Can you say Mulligan?
  7. Denver Broncos – So which failed? The running back or the system?
  8. NY Jets – Can Curtis Martin find holes without Kevin Mawae?
  9. Carolina Panthers – Big win against a reeling Chiefs team.
  10. Baltimore Ravens – This team will rely too much on defense.
  11. Pittsburgh Steelers – I do think they were outplayed, but that was an aberration.
  12. Dallas Cowboys – From 10 on down these teams are all interchangeable.

Apple Six-Pack

1. Green Bay Packers at Indianapolis Colts – What a nice, fun match-up for Week 3. The Colts and the Packers. Two teams who, if they'd found a way to make a few plays in the 4th quarter of their respective playoff losses, could have met in the Super Bowl.

2. Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals – The Bengals sure made things too close for comfort against an underwhelming Miami Dolphin squad. Joe Theismann seemed to be in love with Carson Palmer during that final drive. Look for the Bengals to beat the Ravens on the fact that the Ravens officially have no pass offense now with Todd Heap out.

3. Dallas Cowboys at Washington Redskins – So here's the deal. Both teams are 1 – 1. Both teams will be chasing the Eagles all year. Both teams have huge holes. But, if that Redskin defense can clean up its act, the Redskins should win the game.

4. San Francisco at Seattle Seahawks – The Seahawks will win this game going away and with that, grasp the NFC West with full force. The Rams sure don't look like they are going to pose any problem to Mike Holmgren.

5. Jacksonville Jaguars at Tennessee – Don't look now, but Pete Prisco's favorite team on the planet is 2 – 0 and looking mighty mediocre on offense. That run defense is pretty special though, but come on, Steve McNair's going to get injured soon, which means he'll be playing up to his potential.

6. Philadelphia Eagles at Detroit Lions – That's right, you go 2 – 0 and you get in the Six-Pack. Welcome to the Pack, Detroit. It's nice you've stayed this long, but I'm thinking I won't see you again this year.


Seeds Of Wisdom From the Girl Apple

Apple: Ugh, that was ugly.

Girl Apple: Your Steelers lost?

Apple: They got their rear-ends handed to them.

Girl Apple: Oh I'm sorry.

Apple: We also lost our quarterback so now our rookie first round draft choice will start.

Girl Apple: Oh. Big Ben as you call him.

Apple: Yeah.

Girl Apple: Well that should be exciting. You know, sometimes change is a good thing.

Apple: That's what we thought 3 years ago.

Girl Apple: And what happened?…

Apple: We started winning again.

Girl Apple:So?

Apple: We may start winning again! That's a great seed of wisdom.


Apple's Fantasy Football Results:

TheDallasCowboysSuck 143 IPeeOnSteelers 129: Record (1 – 1) Next Week vs. Sweatin' Sopranos (2 – 0)
My 3-headed running back monster of Clinton Portis, Shaun Alexander and Quentin Griffin combined for 11 points. Not good at all.

The Woodside Geminis vs. The Darkside (Night): Record (1 – 0) 2 weeks ago, the Geminis defeated the Dogs of War 52 – 44.

Spider's Savages 87 DCFB 72: Record (0 – 2) Next Week vs. McEwans Export (1 – 1)
I should have started Chris Brown. I should not have released DeShaun Foster. What's worse yet, Todd Heap and Edge James are out for a few weeks. I'm not feeling very good at all.


Bites

  • Dear Mr. Porter. SHUT UP. Please.
  • Alan Faneca said it correctly. To paraphrase: "Everyone must raise their level." That means you, Mr. Burress.
  • There is no reason why Duce Staley should not have at least 14 carries by the end of the first half. He is tough enough and strong enough. He's the horse Cowher's been looking for.
  • Look for the Steelers to win in Miami this week. They'll force the Dolphins to win it in the air and I doubt the secondary is that bad. As for offense, we'll see a lot of Duce early and often to try to wear down that defense.

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