It was colder than a tin toilet in Siberia last night at Heinz Field. Cleveland strength coach John Lott went through 25 minutes of pre-game warm-ups clad only in gym shorts, sneakers and a t-shirt. A Pittsburgh Steelers fan one-upped him by stripping down to his boxers and doused himself with a bucket of water. Here's what else I saw:
Kellen Winslow blinked. After talking all week about how he wasn't scared of Joey Porter and the Steelers, Winslow embarrassed himself. At the end of the stretch period the self-described "soldier" ran straight over to Joey and tried to shake hands. Wussy move. Rightly so, Joey would have none of it.
In my experience, if you're talking about it, you're thinking about it. And if you're thinking about it, it's eating at you. And if it's eating at you, then it's probably true. When Kellen ran over to Joey, it became truth.
I have to rave about the Hogs. Last week I talked about the double teams and getting to second-level guys. You saw it last night. I have never seen 400 pounds of Ted Washington move backwards as fast and often as he did in this game. He got exhausted just picking himself off the ground. Marvel Smith told me after the game Ted was yelling at the LBers, and the LBers were yelling at Ted in the second half.
The key here was Jeff Hartings posting Ted by getting low, hands inside and "fork-lifting" to raise him up. Then Alan or Kendall got low on the hip of Washington. Next stop, a quick lunch at the Eat Dirt Diner.
Later, Jeff peeled back and gave Kamerion Wimbley a Heinz Field enema on Ben's bootleg. A classic slobber-knocker if I ever saw one.
There were some accidents on the field as well as the Parkway. Did anybody get the number of the truck that ran over Willie McGinest on a trap block springing Willie Parker on-his-way-to-a-rushing-record night? Oh, yeah, it was No. 66 and his call sign is "Big Red." Ten-four, good buddy.
Najeh Davenport crunched Browns Safety Brodney Poole on a run in the 4th quarter. With it being hunting season and all, I expected to see some camo'ed out hunter come along and tag Poole while strapping him to the hood of a car. If Poole wasn't road kill, I don't know what is.
Anthony Smith made his coming out party significant by blasting the WRs in the first half. It sure made those Brownie ball catchers a little short-armed in the second half. Great instincts on that INT were also displayed. But what would you expect from a Syracuse man?
Back to the Hogs. Kendall Simmons sacked and bagged more Brownies than a Giant Eagle bakery bag boy on Labor Day weekend. Paper or plastic, anyone?
Marvel Smith was marvelous on Ben's first TD pass to Nate Washington. Wimbley went for the Richard Dent dip and rip corner shot. Marvel kept his head back, punched and ran Wimbley all the way around the backfield. That extra effort allowed Ben, who had drifted to his right, to get the ball off. If Marvel doesn't make that play, and run with Wimbley instead of throwing him upfield, he would have taken the ball right off Ben's hand. Maybe even Ben's arm, too.
I almost went combustible. Those jet heaters on the sidelines have a sign that says stay back four feet for a reason. I'm talking away to someone when it was brought to my attention that my gloves were smoking. Four feet it is.
James Farrior showed what it means to keep your cool. After that blind-sider by Winslow, he easily could have ripped into the "soldier" and gotten thrown out or taken a penalty. But he kept his cool and knock-erated the Winslow on the very next play so he coughed up the ball. No doubt that was a fumble. Isn't getting your butt knocked off considered a football move?
By the end of the game I could have undergone 25 simultaneous acupuncture treatments and never even known it.