Wednesday Apple Pie

Okay, before we break out the Iron City, let's all remember that the Steelers defeated the Bengals. I know these same Bengals upset Pittsburgh last year in overtime, 26 - 23, but let's be honest. Cincinnati is purely awful. It's almost as bad as the musical ramblings of Wesley Willis.

For those of you who don't know who Wesley Willis is, he is the homeless man in Chicago who was offered a record contract. His music has become a favorite of Frat Parties and High School keggers across the country. So, if Wesley wrote a tune about Cincinnati, it would go something like this:

Music Intro recorded on 1980's style CASIO :15 secs.

(spoken) This is the worst team in professional sports. They are bad. They are worse than the Detroit Lions. They are a bad team.


(spoken) Mike Brown is the worst in the league. I like Football, but not the Bengals. They are bad. Their fans yell words that are vulgar.


Music Interlude still from a 1980's style CASIO :45 secs.

(spoken) A bengal is a big cat in the jungle. It likes to eat people. It would eat me, but I would stab it in the ass. There are no bengals in Ohio.


(spoken) Rock over London, Rock on Chicago, EA's in the game

But, back to the game as I digress.

It was nice to see Jerome Bettis break a few long runs. It can only help his confidence. It's apparent that the Steelers won't win anything without his help. The line looked more cohesive than they have all year, and remember, this defense isn't all that bad. They've got decent talent and good linebackers led by Takeo Spikes.

Corey Dillon did break out a few larger gains, but the Bengals fell behind so early that he was reduced to playing defense by running down Casey Hampton in the second quarter. Therefore, I won't say that the defense completely shut him down. For the most part Farrior and Foote stayed in their lanes, especially on those patented Dillon sweeps.

Perhaps the most embarrassing moment of the game came in the second quarter when the Officials blew a routine measurement by lining up a full yard BEHIND the original line of scrimmage. The Bengals started first and 10 from their own 43 and on 3rd down just reached the 47-yard line. But, the crew measured from the 42 and the Bengals appeared then to make the sticks by a full yard and change. Cowher, storming off the sidelines, demanded an explanation while the crew had none. The problem was that the first down signal was already given and why would the officials ever admit to a mistake?

Then again, admitting mistakes is a hard thing to do in the NFL. Mike Brown still won't admit that he's destroyed the Cincinnati franchise for the foreseeable future.

Or as Wesley Willis would say: Rock over London, Rock on Chicago, it! Today!

The Week 6 Six-Pack Review

  1. Green Bay 28 New England 10: Mike Sherman, missing 5 starters from the defense, put the game into the hands of Ahman Green and the Packers rolled over the champs. You've got to wonder what has happened to the Patriots these past 3 weeks. Well, even that "genius" Bill Belichick has had no answers for the downslide. Just goes to show how quickly the giants fall in the NFL. If you told me Bret Favre would throw for less than 150 yards and the Packers would win going away, I'd tell you the Rams would start the season 1 - 5.
  2. Miami 24 Denver 22: One of the classic games you'll ever see. Two 50+-yard field goals in the last minute. Two playoff-bound teams scratching and clawing for every yard. It was a tale of two halves for Brian Griese as, after being picked apart by the Bronco quarterback in the first half, Jason Taylor and the Miami defense wore down the Bronco offensive line and beat up Griese in the second half. You have to give Griese credit; he hung in there like a man. In the end though, Denver blew the game by missing too many opportunities in the first half, most notably Mike Anderson's fumble at the 1 and the holding penalty that nullified Jason Elam's field goal attempt on the last play of the first half. My buddy, Jason the Bronco Fan, is in denial.
  3. San Francisco 28 Seattle 21: Talk about being abused. Shawn Springs may want to pick up his jock strap at the door c/o of Terrell Owens. Owens still complains too much for my taste. I've been preaching for 5 years now that Mike Holmgren just can't win in Seattle. They don't have a quarterback and the defense has not been consistent. Will somebody finally believe me?
  4. San Diego 35 Kansas City 34: Oh, if the Chiefs had any sort of defense, they'd be unstoppable. They remind me a ton of the 2001 version of the Rams - Incredible offense, but complete lack of defensive capabilities. The Chargers, on the other hand, continue to ride LaDainian Tomlinson. He and Drew Brees should keep the Chargers competitive for the next couple years, barring injuries. Yes, Marty-ball works unless it's against the Broncos or in the playoffs.
  5. Tampa Bay 17 Cleveland 3: The only team falling faster than the Patriots right now are the Browns. This is the first game where they were outright blown right off the field and it couldn't have come at a worse time. This loss coupled with Pittsburgh's division win puts the Browns in a pretty deep hole heading into Week 7. On the other hand, the Bucs are playing incredible defense. Derrick Brooks is running away with the Defensive MVP trophy. They look quicker than in recent years. It could be that the offense continues to get better as each week passes.
  6. New Orleans 43 Washington 27: New week and the Saints find a familiar formula to win. They allow the opposition to get a glimmer of hope and then...BAM, a big play follows. This week that role went to Michael Lewis and his two returns for touchdowns. The only thing that bothers me about the Saints is the fact that they are allowing teams to get back into games. The Redskins, after 4 first quarter turnovers, should not have been able to come back. This could prove fatal to the Saints as January roles around.

The Power Core Rankings: Week 7

  1. Miami - Outplayed overall by Denver, but a win gives them the top spot...for now.
  2. Tampa Bay - This is not the same team that lost game 1 of the season in overtime.
  3. Green Bay - The next team to run all over the Patriots.
  4. New Orleans - Michael Lewis is the first play since 1977 return a punt and kickoff for a TD.
  5. Oakland - The 1972 Dolphins record survives another year. Gift cards can be sent c/o Marc Bulger.
  6. San Francisco - Should run away with the NFC West.
  7. Philadelphia - McNabb's back must be hurting him from the 1-million-plus pound weight he's carrying on his shoulders.
  8. Indianapolis - This week it was Baltimore that they let come way too close. Still, 4-1 is 4-1
  9. Denver - Doesn't fall far because of the way they played. To bad Brian Griese had too many Kordell moments.
  10. San Diego - Brees took a big step forward for himself and the Bolts.
  11. New England - You can just hear Micky yelling "Get up Rock! Get up you Bum!"
  12. Kansas City - If that defense could just stop someone.

Missed Prime Opportunity (MPO) Score

Pittsburgh 1 Cincinnati 4

An MPO is when a team fails to score while in scoring range or doesn't take advantage of major swings in momentum (i.e. major penalties/turnovers/settling for field goals in successive series/inability to seal a game with first downs). These are killers because a team only gets so many opportunities.

An MPO Score is like golf: It's best to score low. When a team score's low, it usually wins the game. It's remarkable how accurate it can be.

Pittsburgh's 2001 - 02 Regular Season MPO record: 2 - 3

Week 7 Mini - Preview: Pittsburgh vs. Indianapolis

The Steelers return to Prime Time at home, where the Steelers haven't lost on Monday Night in the Bill Cowher era. If they can control the line of scrimmage, they should continue that streak. This shouldn't be a problem as the Indy offensive line is horrid right now.

5 Keys to the Game

  1. Take Edgerrin James out of the Game: He isn't running well, which is partly due to his injury and the offensive line woes.
  2. Pound Bettis: Jamal Lewis ran well last week. Bettis should have another 100-yard game if the Steelers keep patient.
  3. Force Manning: The Steelers need to make Manning try to make the perfect throw every time. If they do, INT's should be aplenty.
  4. Deeper Kickoffs: The Colts will score points if they're allowed to start beyond the 35 every series.
  5. Plaxico Effect: Burress had a season-breakout game last week and made it look easy. He needs to do it again.

Outlook: I like the Steelers by a touchdown to win a pretty ho-hum match. The game is not sexy at all, but there should be a few big plays to keep the masses tuned in.

Apple Six-Pack: Week 7

  1. Tampa Bay at Philadelphia: Game of the Week. Two of the best teams in the NFC meet. The big matchup in this one will be Derrick Brooks versus Donavon McNabb. Look for the Eagles to win a close game behind McNabb's playmaking ability.
  2. Denver at Kansas City: The best rushing defense in the NFL meets Priest Holmes. Something has to give and I'm betting the Broncos will come out smoking the porous Kansas City defense.
  3. San Franciso at New Orleans: The other two top teams in the NFC face off. I'm not convinced the Saints can keep this pace going throughout the season. The Niners need to prove that they can beat a top tier team.
  4. San Diego at Oakland: The Raiders can't afford a division loss and the Chargers can't afford a second division loss. For the time being, every game in this division has huge implications.
  5. Buffalo at Miami: Both teams barely survived last week. The difference is the Dolphins stole one at Denver while the Bills just got by the Texans. But, when these two teams meet, all bets are off.
  6. Washington at Green Bay: The Redskins need a win to stay in the Wild Card hunt. They'll be hard pressed to get one this week. Spurrier will get to see a real quarterback in action.

Thoughts Assisted By Yuengling

  • The hit on Chris Chambers was one of the most brutal you'll ever see on live television. He was out before he hit the ground.
  • Congratulations to WVU grad Mark Bulger for his first win as a professional quarterback.
  • Tim Couch may be looking for a new team come the off-season.
  • Speaking of that hit on Chambers one more time, Kenoy Kennedy did his best impersonation of a torpedo on that hit. I'm very disappointed in the Denver fans for booing the referee's decision to penalize the hit. He should have been ejected.
  • Surprise, surprise, Mark Brunell was knocked out of a game.
  • No one is happier than my buddy Teddy who doesn't need to dress up in drag, put on a fat suit, and sing. At least he doesn't have to yet.
  • Jon Kitna pulled more than a few "Kordell Stewarts." Most notably, throwing off his back foot on Lee Flower's second interception.
  • I'd like to thank the many Steeler fans I met in Jacksonville. As some of you know, I'm touring right now as an actor. I saw over 15 Steeler fans and only 2 Jacksonville fans at the Roadhouse Pub that I visited.

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