It could be really easy to pass this game off as nothing but another first game blunder, and as today wears on, I think I will be taking that approach. But, I will say that if Kordell continues to spiral downward through Sunday night, all of the Pro-Maddox Clan will be seeing their savior behind center very soon.
John Madden said it best after a Stewart sack turned into a fumble-return for a touchdown. He said, "When it rains it pours." It was a cliche to say the least, but very true. Stewart throws three interceptions (one off the hands of his receiver); Kendrell Bell leaves after the first series injured again; Jerome Bettis fumbles for the first time in 3 years; Plaxico catches a touchdown pass but steps out of bounds like only a rookie would do; Fu retaliates to some trash talk and picks up a 15-yd personal foul; the officials call a phantom false-start penalty on Wayne Gandy; Todd Peterson misses a 39-yd field goal; and Cowher gets tagged for a 15-yd penalty because he's trying to get the attention of the officials in order to challenge a ruling on the field. I should have brought my umbrella because it wasn't a rain, it was a downpour.
All of the above, except for Cowher's penalty and Bettis' fumble, occurred in the first half, yet the Steelers were only down 10 – 7.
Madden pointed out late in the game that the Steelers "Are a very good football team. They'll be back." He's probably right. Most national media that have jumped on the Steeler bandwagon conceded this game to New England. Push the panic button aside and look at the big picture. The Steeler season will not be determined based on this game, but on the next 3 following games. Pittsburgh, in that span, faces Oakland, New Orleans, and Cleveland. The Steelers must be 2 – 2 following the trip to Cajun Country or this season that seemed like a fairy tale will turn into a horror flick. And we'll all be able to point to the beginning of the end: The Horror in Foxboro.
The Week 1 Six-Pack Review
- Denver 23 St. Louis 13: Well, was I wrong! St. Louis looked lethargic, slow, and unprepared (Seems like Bill Cowher had a Master Class with them). It seems as though they picked up exactly where they left off. Mike Martz' ego finally caught up with him when he inexplicably went for it on 4th down while his team was well into field goal range - only down by three and had over a quarter and half to play. However, Denver isn't back completely until that offense gets fixed. Brian Griese had a horrendous start for the second half with two interceptions in two drives. Ed McCaffrey had a nice grab for a touchdown, but he didn't look like himself. All and all, Denver isn't this good and St. Louis isn't this bad.
- Tennessee 27 Philadelphia 24: What a great game. After a quick three and out to start the game, my buddy Brian (a passionate Philly fan) said the Eagles would find a way to lose the game, because "they suck for the first three weeks of the season." Philadelphia has horrendous problems in its offensive line. Yes, you saw right. That was Carlos Hall, Jevon Kearse's back up, who antagonized Donovan McNabb all game. Speaking of McNabb, he looked great for a while, but after the hits took their toll he started to resemble Stallone in Rocky 4. Derrick Mason looks like he's going to have a breakout year. You just don't throw on that Philadelphia secondary like Tennessee did and call it luck.
- Oakland 31 Seattle 17: The Raiders, after looking horrid in the pre-season, came out running. Seattle continues to be unable to stop the run. Mike Holmgren can't pin this loss on quarterback troubles because a healthy Trent Dilfer wouldn't have helped. I think I may have overrated Seattle, based on the way they finished last year. If this continues for the rest of the season, Seattle might be lucky to win 4 games. Oakland better realize that they won't run for over 200 yds against Pittsburgh, but stranger things have happened.
- NY Jets 37 Buffalo 31: This game looked frighteningly similar to the AFC Championship last year. Buffalo for the most part dominated this game, but the Jets, as they did last year, took advantage of small breaks and scored two returns, both by Chad Morton. For a minute I thought Jay Hayes was the Bills' special teams coach. Drew Bledsoe looks like he has All-Pro written all over him this year. With Bledsoe, Eric Moulds has the look of reviving his career ala John Travolta.
- Green Bay 37 Atlanta 34: The Falcons almost pulled of the big upset of the week. Sure, Denver's win was a surprise, but I never thought the Falcons and young Vick would hold up under the Lambeau pressure. Vick is looking like a future superstar in the league. His passes were crisp and his decisions were, for the most part, good. He did try to run a little too often, though. What surprised me most about this game was that the Green Bay defense looked like they had no idea how to stop Vick.
- San Diego 34 Cincinnati 6: Well, Cincinnati once again proves that they know how to ruin a good time. Just when the Bengals seemed to be gaining respect among sportswriters all across America, they pull the rug right out from under us. The Bengals continue to be as automatic as Sampras in his prime, Jordan in the final minute, Lemieux on a breakaway, and Armstrong in France – but not in a winning way..
The Power Core Rankings: Week 2
- New England - Is there any doubt now?
- Miami - Relax Dolphin fans…it was only Detroit.
- San Francisco - Didn't look too good in its win over the Giants.
- Green Bay - Wisconsin takes a deep sigh of relief.
- Oakland - Post-Chuckie era begins strong.
- Chicago - Jim Miller used to be a Steeler quarterback.
- St. Louis - Was it the thin air or the thick ego that did them in?
- Indianapolis - My Darkhorse survives week 1.
- Pittsburgh - I'll say it again: "The Horror in Foxboro".
- Philadelphia - Will Donovan McNabb live to see his 30th birthday?
- Denver - Big win last week, win in San Francisco would be bigger.
- New Orleans - Gruden left the Offense in the wrong Bay Area.
Missed Prime Opportunity (MPO) Score
Pittsburgh 6 - New England 2<