On behalf of the Pittsburgh Steelers fan base, otherwise known as Steeler Country or BlackNGold Brigade or Picksburg Stiller Fans etc…, I urge you to take this letter seriously. I have but one plea to make and some supporting comments.
I respect the fact that you know more about football than I do, analyze more game tape than I do and actually played the game, whereas, alas I did not (I was not big enough in high school nor am I big enough now. But, that's another story. I do like pick-up games, though. I'm usually drafted first or second because of my speed.).
But, back to my point for writing this letter, I urge you, please, PUH-LEAZE, don't screw up this season.
I understand that my plea is quite vague, but herein come the supporting comments.
1. First, unless we are leading by 21 points or more, playing at home against the Ravens and are safely into the 4th quarter of play, please do not under any circumstances let Jerome Bettis lead a ball control offense. I understand that you probably wanted him to get some reps and wanted to save Duce Staley the pounding, but had the Browns any offensive spark, they might have climbed back into the game. This is what we (being the fan base) call the Prevent Offense. As you saw on Monday night, Jeff Fisher did not go into the Prevent Offense while the Packers subsequently imploded. I will admit that while Fisher's inane use of the half-back pass while leading by 21 points was an unsportsmanlike act that will come back to haunt his team, Fisher did not sit on the lead.
2. Second, please continue to involve Plaxico Burress in the passing game. The more involved he becomes, the easier it will be to keep his head in the game. Besides, Ben Roethlisberger being a rookie will need his deep wide receiving unit running on all cylinders.
3. Next, will you have a sit-down man-to-man chat with Ricardo Colclough? He doesn't seem to understand how to return kicks without severely under-protecting the ball. This is a time bomb waiting to explode in big games.
4. You may, as the season progresses, think that it will be necessary to guide Ben Roethlisberger with a heavy hand. I ask you not to and let the young man continue to grow by using his uncanny maturity and natural instincts.
5. Finally, when Tommy Maddox starts practicing again, please quell all rumors early and often about his return to the starting lineup. In fact, please state this week that Ben Roethlisberger is the starter from this point forward.
Thank you for your time and for God's sake, beat the crap out of the Cowboys this week.
Apple Six-Pack Recap
1. NY Giants 26 Dallas 10 – Not to point out any sort of irony, but that's Timmy Lewis who is coordinating that defensive unit that is forcing turnovers and playing spirited ball in New York. But, the real key for this team is the fact that a so-so offensive line has turned into an above average group protecting Kurt Warner and opening holes for Tiki Barber.
2. St. Louis 33 Seattle 27 (OT) – Where was that vaunted Seattle Seahawk defense? Apparently they were too busy trying to figure out why they were getting torched by Marc Bulger. Here's the thing about the Rams that will hold true for the rest of the year - Every once in a while, Bulger and that offensive will score at will and every once in a while they will struggle.
3. Tennessee 48 Green Bay 27 – Holy butt-kicking, Batman! After Tennessee's first two series you just knew that the Packer defense had no wish to be out there. In fact, at times it looked like a junior varsity girls powder-puff team had held a seminar in tackling during the week. I'll say this, there was no fight in that defense even if they did run their mouth every time they stopped Chris Brown for 2 – 3 yard gains; that was perhaps the most embarrassing aspect of that game. As for Favre, I'm not going to say he's washed up, but more often than not his wide receivers ran the wrong routes, refused to go up for the ball or totally gave up on a route. Mike Sherman won't last the season and neither will Ray Rhodes. Favre may not come back either. Oh the cheese is quite rotten in Wisconsin this morning.
4. Denver 20 Carolina 17 – So at 3:45 pm on Sunday I get a call from Jason "The Bronco Fan". He says, "Guess where I am at?" I say, "Where?" He says, "I'm in Invesco Field MotherF#$%#$! But Griffin isn't playing and I'm nervous about this game." I say, "No need to worry, Carolina is completely overrated." Well, the Panthers played hard, but an injury to DeShaun Foster made Jason's first trip to Invesco memorable.
5. Indianapolis 35 Oakland 14 – There goes Kerry Collins, the most overrated quarterback in the league, making the Colts defense look like the Bears of '85. Well, maybe not that extreme, but could he overthrow his receivers more? As for the Colts, there is got to be some anxiety in Mudville when the team continues to struggle with their goal line offense. Edge James continues to have trouble pounding it in from the one. Oh, he gets there, but it takes him 2-3 attempts to get in.
6. Detroit 17 Atlanta 10 – Remember that trade I executed in my fantasy Sportsline league that involved Roy Williams? Well, I started Williams over Plaxico and with my usual luck in most leagues, Williams goes down with injury and Plaxico has his best game of the season. Ugh.
Power Core Power Rankings (Top 12)
- New England Patriots – The mark has been set for future dynasties. Yes, I used the "D" word.
- Philadelphia Eagles – Bye week.
- Indianapolis Colts – The only real threat to the Patriots…well maybe the Jets too.
- Minnesota Vikings – The Vikings now only have the Lions to contend with.
- Denver Broncos – Quentin Griffin is overrated.
- NY Jets – Can look forward to Week 7 in New England.
- Pittsburgh Steelers – An efficient win that was made a little closer by a couple of fumbles.
- Seattle Seahawks – I'm dropping them 4 spots because of the terrible clock management.
- NY Giants – All of the sudden here come the Giants.
- San Diego – Yeah, they're up here because they are flying so far under the radar.
- Detroit – Big win against the overrated Falcons.
- Atlanta – Loss won't hurt them in the long run because they won't have to worry about contending for a wild-card.
1. Seattle Seahawks at New England Patriots (GOTW) – I still think Mike Holmgren is a horrible GM. I also think that meltdown at home will inevitably hurt this team's shot at home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. But, you know what? I think they're gonna win this week. I still can't believe 2 months ago I chose this great match-up as a GOTW and it actually is in most circles, THE GOTW.
2. Carolina Panthers at Philadelphia Eagles – You know, this is a must win for the Panthers and I'm sorry to say it's not going to happen. Sorry fans but the Panthers were just another one-hit wonder from the NFC.
3. Kansas City Chiefs at Jacksonville Jaguars – After starting 3 – 0, the Jaguars have dropped their past two in a row with the defense failing them. When a team starts a quarterback as raw as Byron Leftwich, the defense can't fail or the team falls with it.
4. San Diego Chargers at Atlanta Falcons – Two of the most electrifying players in the NFL suit up against one another. Michael Vick and LaDanian Tomlinson lead two teams poised to contend for their divisions. In Atlanta's case, the division may be theirs already by default, and the Chargers need only contend right now with the Denver Broncos.
5. Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns – With a loss, the Bengals would fall to 0 – 3 in the division and their season will be over at the mid-way point of October. The Browns on the other hand can't lose this game or they will begin to fall out of the wild-card hunt. Oh, Week6 and the playoffs already become an issue.
6. Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions – The Packers are done. Stick a fork in them. The Lions will just provide the inevitable and the quicker it happens the quicker Bret Favre can think about retiring.
Seeds Of Wisdom From the Girl Apple
Girl Apple: So you want me to go to Blondies with you to watch the Steelers play the Cowboys?
Apple: My buddy John and Cowboy Matt will be there. The Cowboys are going down.
Girl Apple: Now play nice.
Apple: No really...Big Ben is going to pass all over that team.
Girl Apple: Remember what Han Solo said, "Great shot kid. Don't get cocky."
Apple: Yes but...oh...okay that's your wisdom, huh? The team can't let this run get to their head. Just like Luke Skywalker shooting down lowly tie fighters, we only beat bad teams.
Girl Apple: You said it. I didn't. Don't get cocky, but never apologize for winning.
Girl Apple: Do what the Rebels did. Just keep fighting.
Apple: Well, let's hope that the Steelers do just that.
Apple's Fantasy Football Results
TheDallasCowboysSuck 131 Les Locos Leprechauns 178: Record (2 - 3) Next Week vs. The Sweatin Sopranos Leprechaun (3 – 1)
I think its time to start benching Clinton Portis…never thought I'd type those words.
The Woodside Geminis vs. The Mudsharks (Night): Record (4 – 0)
2 weeks ago, the Geminis defeated The Mudsharks in the first of their back-to-back series in overtime 31 - 30. Can the league leading Gemini make it a clean sweep? As with last week it will be close, but the Geminis should have a win. A touchdown or two from Donald Driver would help out a ton though.
DCFB 83 The 41st St. Premonition 73: Record (2 – 3) Next Week vs. The Axis of Evil
When Roy Williams went down with injury, my scrappy, hard-luck team was on the ropes. And then Chris Brown turned an 18-point deficit into a 10-point win over the league-leading Premonition.
- I know that Jeff Fisher doesn't want to sit on a lead, but that was a ridiculous, embarrassing insult when he ordered a halfback pass with the Titans leading by 21 in the second half against the Packers. He should be ashamed.
- I think even without Ricky Williams, the Dolphins have no excuse for the absolutely horrendous quarterback play.
- I was thinking that Seattle would have a great shot at going into Foxboro and beating the Patriots, but after their last minute meltdown, the Patriots won't lose a game until visiting Pittsburgh.
- I understand that Bill Cowher was trying not to overkill Duce Staley late in the 4th quarter, but Jerome Bettis' inability to get first downs could come back to haunt a future game.
- Speaking of not trying to overkill running backs, Herm Edwards had that exact thought this week when he tried his best not to run Curtis Martin. The problem was Martin's backup, Lamont Jordan, didn't get any rushes so instead of saving Martin, Edwards just decided to abandon the run for the most part. Because of his choice, the Bills had a chance to win the game because the Jets couldn't run out the clock.
- 16 teams now are on pace for double-digit losses. The gap is growing.
- Apparently Deion Sanders is allowed to play by mid-90's rules and hog-tie the wide receivers without penalty. This guy is a joke.