Wednesday Apple Pie

It's another victory over Cincinnati and another visit from my favorite homeless rock star, Wesley Willis. Here he is again, in his infinite yet simple wisdom. <p>Casio Intro: 30 secs.<p> <I>I thought a 17-point lead was big enough.<A HREF=[PlayerNode:266942]>Corey Dillon</A> ran like a Bengal who'd been stabbed in the ass. At half-time, I yelled vulgar words at the television. I didn't yell at <A HREF=[PlayerNode:291804]>Kordell Stewart</A>.</p>

The Bengals almost beat us! The Bengals almost beat us! The Bengals almost beat us! The Bengals almost beat uuusssssssssss!

Jeff Reed kicked 3 field goals. Jerome Bettis scored two touchdowns. All the Campbell's Chunky Soup football players have got hurt. I like Progresso Soup better when I get to eat.

(in two part harmony) The Bengals almost beat us! The Bengals almost beat us! The Bengals almost beat us! The Bengals almost beat uuusssssssssss!

Casio solo: 1:31 secs.

The defense made me scream vulgar words at people. Chad Scott made a play to win the game. I thought a 17-point lead was big enough. Maybe I could sing at the Super Bowl.

(in three part harmony) The Bengals almost beat us! The Bengals almost beat us! The Bengals almost beat us! The Bengals almost beat uuusssssssssss!

Thank you Wesley. My feelings exactly.

Apple Six-Pack Review

  1. Washington 20 St. Louis 17 – The real issue of this game is that for the first time all year Steve Spurrier put the game in the hands of Stephen Davis and let him control the tempo of the game. Yeah, only Spurrier would forget about his Pro Bowl running back. Scratch that. Only Spurrier and Mike Martz would forget about their Pro Bowl running backs.
  2. Philadelphia 38 San Francisco 14 – The Niners had the Ruffles in front of them, but wanted the dip too. How a team with the defensive capabilities the Niners have lets Koy Detmer of all people beat them is one question that may forever go unanswered. The Eagles meanwhile went a long way toward dissolving the question that they're only competitive when McNabb plays. But, A.J. Feeley starts at quarterback next weekend. So the question will once again pop up in talk shows across the country.
  3. Tampa Bay 21 Green Bay 7 – While the Steeler defense was more dominant at times last year, they were doing it more with efficiency than big plays. This Buccaneer defense is just downright lethal. They force turnover after turnover and they're getting better. How scary is that? Derrick Brooks for Defensive Player of the Year. He's my pick.
  4. Oakland 41 Arizona 20 – The Raiders weren't going to blow this one. Is there a better quarterback in the game right now than Rich Gannon? Everyone talks about Favre, Vick, and Manning, but Rich Gannon for my money may be the best.
  5. Indianapolis 23 Denver 20 (OT) – One of my cast-mates heard me scream "Oh my God!" just before Midnight on Sunday. That's when Vanderjagt hit his 54-yard field goal to tie the game. I can't print what I said when he hit the 51-yarder into the wind and in the snow. It was kind of ironic that the further from the goal line the Colts were, the cleaner the field was. If the Colts had gotten a first down, Vanderjagt would have been kicking in much heavier snow.
  6. NY Jets 32 Buffalo 13 – The Jets are playing typical Jet football. It's not flashy and it's not pretty, but it's effective. However, if anyone thinks they have a chance at a Super Bowl then that's the illegal narcotics talking. Buffalo as I've thought all year is a year or two away from seriously contending.

Power Core Rankings Week 13

  1. Tampa Bay – "Battle of the Bays" proves that Gruden's got a great shot at the trophy.
  2. Atlanta No one wants to play against Vick in the playoffs.
  3. Miami Silenced many critics last week. But, wait till Fiedler gets back.
  4. Oakland – The Raiders look like the team from the first 4 weeks.
  5. Green Bay – Sunday would have been a different outcome if in Lambeau.
  6. Denver – I won't move them that far down. Two 50-plus field goals in the snow? Are you kidding me?
  7. Philadelphia – Their quarterbacks are falling like flies, but they keep winning.
  8. Pittsburgh Disaster almost struck Heinz Field. But that's expected when the Bengals come to town.
  9. New England The Patriots got a scare of their own from the Vikings.
  10. Indianapolis – Marvin Harrison is this generation's Jerry Rice.
  11. San Francisco – The Niners blow a big opportunity to stay in the bye week race.
  12. NY Jets – Wow. Officially the hottest team in the AFC.

Missed Prime Opportunity (MPO) Score

Pittsburgh 5 Cincinnati 5

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 2002 - 03 Regular Season MPO record: 5 – 5 – 1

Week 13 Mini - Preview: Pittsburgh at Jacksonville

This mini-preview is simple - "Remember the Titans." Jacksonville is the last of the former AFC Central teams, teams that are still ticked off at the Steelers, that Pittsburgh will face this season. Pittsburgh has won in Jacksonville only once in the all-time series.

5 Keys to the Game

  1. Stop Fred Taylor: After the way Corey Dillon ran on Sunday, Taylor's got to be licking his chops.
  2. Jimmy Smith vs. Chad Scott: The winner of this battle is more often than not on the winning team.
  3. Bettis Often, Bettis Early: Jerome hasn't run well against the Jags in close to two years.
  4. Beware Of the Desperate Team: If Jacksonville loses, their season is officially over.
  5. Case of the Missing Plaxico: Burress needs to assert himself after two quiet weeks.

Outlook: Sadly, I like Jacksonville in an upset. I just see Jimmy Smith having a typical big day.

Apple Six-Pack: Week 13

  1. St. Louis at Philadelphia: Game of the Week. Before Donovan McNabb got hurt, I didn't see how the Eagles could lose. Now I don't see how they can win.
  2. Tampa Bay at New Orleans: This is the Saints' last chance to stay in the hunt for the division title. Too bad they're catching the Bucs at the absolutely worst time.
  3. Tennessee at NY Giants: Both teams suffered jarring losses at the wrong times. The Giants are now two games behind Philly and Tennessee fell a 1/2 game behind Indy. The winner stays on the track to the playoffs.
  4. NY Jets at Oakland: Both teams are coming off great wins. They're playing their best football of the season, at the right time of the season. My bet is on the Raiders. But, I'm not a betting man.
  5. Denver at San Diego: The Broncos spanked the Chargers in their last meeting, and the Chargers got spanked last week. At least the Broncos don't have to worry about Stplaying on prime time, where they are 0 - 4.
  6. Miami at Buffalo: Miami looked unstoppable last week at home against the Chargers. The Bills are falling back to reality fast and are sobering up to the fact that the playoffs are becoming a distant dream. If the Bills lose, they're out as far as I'm concerned.

Apple Playoff Watch

Becks (Just Plain In):

AFC Division Leaders (in order of seeding): Miami, Denver, Indianapolis, Pittsburgh
NFC Division Leaders (in order of seeding): Tampa Bay, Green Bay, San Francisco, Philadelphia
AFC Wild Cards: San Diego, Oakland
NFC Wild Cards: Atlanta, New Orleans

Yuengling (Could Be In):

AFC: NY Jets, New England, Tennessee, Cleveland
NFC: NY Giants, St. Louis

Coors Light (Probably Won't Be In):

NFC: Washington
AFC: Kansas City, Jacksonville, Buffalo

Natty Lite (Definitely Not In):

AFC: Baltimore, Houston, Cincinnati
NFC: Carolina, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Minnesota, Seattle, Arizona

Thoughts assisted by Yuengling:

  • You gotta love those Orange jerseys the Broncos unveiled on Sunday night. I hope they use them again.
  • I read a great note in the USA Today about the Campbell's Chunky Soup commercials possibly being cursed. Terrel Davis started the commercials and a knee injury ended his career. Kurt Warner did a commercial and was hindered by finger problems for the past year and a half. Jerome Bettis bowls in his commercial, and he injured his knee this year. Finally, Donovan McNabb will miss the rest of regular season. He'll have a lot of time to eat his soup. Coincidence?
  • Yes, that was Kris Brown kicking a 51-yard field goal with room to spare in Houston. That doesn't mean that he'd kick well for the Steelers had they kept him. It just means the new start revitalized his career. Sometimes that's all a player needs.
  • I can't believe anyone would start Marc Bulger over Kurt Warner. Warner silenced his critics by going 15 – 15 to start the game against the Redskins. The real problem is that Marshall Faulk is the most horribly under-used talent in the game.

--The Steel Apple

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