Time for this critic to shut up

After two weeks of disparaging the Pittsburgh Steelers' offense at every opportunity, Jim Wexell has finally been silenced after Ben Roethlisberger told him to shut up.

PITTSBURGH -- Ben Roethlisberger's comment after the game was as crisp as his passes during the game: "We put up 35 tonight, so it kind of showed people and kind of shut the critics up that we can score points when we have to."

Hear that? I have to shut up now. But who needs to run at the mouth anyhow when so many others will do it for you?

So here are some of the more interesting comments made in the wake of the Steelers' 35-24 playoff win over the San Diego Chargers:

* Russ Grimm from the front of the Steelers' bus before it left for the 2005 AFC Championship game in Denver: "If anyone here is scared, get the **** off now."

(Obviously, this was mentioned by someone else Sunday in an attempt to figure out the Arizona Cardinals' success.)

* Ryan Clark when asked if he could audible out of the doomed fake punt: "Yeah, I could have, but I wasn't going to. No way. I got the call from the sideline and as I walked back on the field I already had my mind made up."

* Willie Colon on his continued problem with illegal formation penalties: "Those calls are ********. But I don't want to say anything. Oops, I guess I just did."

(Don't worry, Willie, the league can't fine you for calling officials asterisks.)

* A longtime journalist on Mike Tomlin's personality: "There's no Bill Cowher in him. Mike's a good guy to deal with. He understands the adversarial position he has to take with the media, and he does it with class. There's a lot of Chuck Noll in him."

* Kordell Stewart is called a "Quarterback Expert" on ESPN2. After another panelist said that beating a team three times in one season is "almost impossible," Stewart was asked if that gives Baltimore the advantage: "It may give them something to fight for, but what more do you need?"

(Since 1960, the team with two wins is 14-8 in the third game; since 1980, 11-7. Two-win teams playing at home for a conference or league championship are 4-1. The Steelers are 2-0 playing for a 3-game sweep, with both occurring against the Cleveland Browns, A.K.A. the old Ravens.)

* Former Ravens coach Brian Billick, appearing on "Mike & Mike in the Morning", on the upcoming Steelers-Ravens game: "I thought Pittsburgh gained more from that bye week than any other team that had the bye. They look healthy. Ben Roethlisberger looks healthy. Willie Parker looks healthy. That's as healthy as I've seen those two individuals and that team all year long. ... That bye week to me plays an even bigger factor now that Baltimore's had to fight through an additional game. They're playing in Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh looks on rhythm and healthy. They're going to be a formidable team."

(Because of a hurricane in the gulf the second week of the season, the Ravens have played 17 consecutive weeks. Pass-rusher Terrrell Suggs has a sprained shoulder; running back Le'Ron McClain is hobbled by a sore ankle; cornerback Samari Rolle has an injured groin.)

* Skip Bayless, the cock-sure analyst for ESPN2, didn't like the Steelers' performance against the Chargers: "It's not time to crown the Pittsburgh Steelers. You can throw the football on Pittsburgh's defense, even at Heinz Field, after dark, in the cold. ... I'll give you this, Roethlisberger was outstanding on third down, but, hey, when San Diego got the ball back, they moved it. I don't think the Steelers are invincible on defense."

(After a week of being used as the universe's tool to motivate the Steelers' offense, I'm happy to allow Skippy the honors this week for the defense.)

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