Hines Ward said pre-game that he really wanted to be physical with DeAngelo Hall and wear him down. On a sweep to Ward's side, he planted Hall, dropped him like a bad habit. That started some yakking and Ward, I think, accomplished what he set out to do.
The Steelers were backed up to their own 12 yard line in the first quarter, I moved to the end-zone to get a good view of the line play. Big Chris Kemoeatu had just entered the game. An inside rush by Johnathan Babineaux on Chris with Jeff Hartings sitting heavy to his left caused Ben to zig to his right, followed by a zag to the left and then he hit Jerame Tuman on a 21 yard completion. That's some radar Ben's got in his head. That "zig and a zag", as Myron used to say, moved him out of harm's way with split second timing.
The chop blocking by the Falcons started to wear down the patience of Casey Hampton in the second quarter. After tumbling to the ground with G Tyson Clabo, who snipered Casey from behind, Big Snack got up and went ballistic. Hamp started to chase Clabo, who was then hoofing it back to the huddle on the hop. The he argued with the Ref, but it fell on deaf ears. It makes you wonder how long the D will put up with this before they start to take matters into their own hands.
There is a world of difference between a chop block and a chip block. Verron Haynes looked like a mortician when he laid out DE Patrick Kerney of the Falcons on a second quarter third down play with a beautiful chip. The first part of Kerney to touch the ground was the back of his head.
Three quarters of the way through the game, the Falcons running attack has been kept in check. A good deal of the reason why are those two DE's of the Steelers. Smith and Kiesel both held the point of attack, and played low using their hands on the backside to keep the choppers off their legs. Into the fourth quarter though, you could see the fatigue starting to wear on these guys. Travis Kirschke subbed well, but with Rodney Bailey a healthy scratch, chasing Vick all game wears anybody down.
I parked my keester in the end-zone again just before Ben took that shot to the kisser. Even a NASA radar won't help when you're staring down the barrel of a fast closing "perfect storm". A twist up the middle between Chauncey Davis and Grady Jackson resulted in a three way collision between Davis, Patrick Kerney, and Ed Hartwell, with Ben at the epicenter.
Job one on that twist is to stop the penetrator (Jackson) from getting into the gap. If he gets there, then you've got a mutant pass rusher coming around the corner (Davis). Simple rule of pass pro. Something going away, something's coming back at ya. There are times when, as a (and it happens to everybody) pass blocker, you have to tackle your man. This was one of them. Better to take ten yards than a ten minute game delay while they're giving smelling salts to somebody.
If anybody has more "competitive" speed and sniffs the end-zone better than Hines Ward, I'll buy you lunch. Hall is twice as fast as Ward. Didn't look like it on that 70 yard TD run, did it?
With 7:10 to go in the fourth quarter, on a third and six from the Pittsburgh eight yard line, Troy Polamalu shows the greatest display of closing speed I've ever personally witnessed. He knocked Vick out of bounds, almost to the wall of the stands, and held him to a one yard gain. I swear Troy was moving so fast his hair was horizontal. If only he could have done that one more time.
Yep, Nate flinched.