|The 2009 Season Sleeps With The Fishes...|
|Written by Cotter|
|January 04, 2010 10:47|
There will be all kinds of descriptors thrown out today to try and characterize the end to the Steelers 2009 season.
But I doubt too many of them will be anything resembling complimentary.
And frankly, that's pretty fair.
The Steelers returned all but two starters from last year's Super Bowl winning squad.
If you can't even make the playoffs with that kind of "fire power," that's sadder than Troy Edwards's career.
But I'm not going to sit here and cry about it like this is some Dashboard Confessional song.
There's no crying in Steelers blogging.
While a lot of people like to spend their 500 words or so pointing out every failure the Steelers had, and chiding both the team and fans for thinking they had a chance, I'm just going to stick to the usual recapping methodology and close the book on the 2009 season, with optimism for 2010.
Just one thing before I delve into the thick of this week's recap - I'd like to throw out a major thanks to Steve for his role around here this season. In the three plus years of OFTOT's existence, I've never had any other contributors besides myself and of course, my slow adultedness. Domski filled in here and there when I had to study for finals or just needed a break from teh interwebs, but OFTOT's never really had more than one voice.
To be honest, it's pretty much next to impossible to find someone else whose writing can integrate more or less seamlessly with your own (which is kind of amazing when you write like a fifth grader). But Steve came up huge from day one.
I wasn't sure what to expect when I asked him to come on board. I knew his personal blog made me piss myself on a regular basis, and I figured that same piss inducing editorial wizardry would translate well on the "pages" of OFTOT. But I had no idea how awesome it'd be to have him as the Robin to my Batman (or maybe that's the other way around?).
So Steve, thanks a bunch, meng. This place wouldn't be the same without you and your extensive lexicon of "colorful" metaphors. Your contribution was more epic than the Star Wars trilogy. Or at least more epic than the Three Men and a Baby trilogy, anyway.
Now that we've gotten the bromance out of the way, let's move right along to the final 2009 installments of the "Things That Were Awesome," "Things That Were NOT Awesome," and "Things That Made Us Wish We Were Partying With Ricky Williams."
Bring your green hat...
Things That Were Awesome:
1. Big Zen
"So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit -- It's when things seem worst that you must not quit."
For those of you who don't know, those are the final two lines of former Miami of Ohio Head Coach Terry Hoeppner's favorite poem, "Don't Quit." As you probably know, Coach Hep had a huge impact on Big Ben's career, and if you've ever watched America's Game: The 2008 Steelers, you'll know that Ben has at least this portion of the poem committed to memory.
Ben was the embodiment of this yesterday.
18/27 for 220 yards and three TDs...but most importantly, favoring his throwing arm on the final drive, he led a 14 play, 83 yard, 5:36 drive, going 3 for 3.
Sure, playoffs were potentially on the line, but the Steelers were up 27-24 and needed a lot of help even if they did win. Ben could've easily sat on the sideline and watched Dennis Dixon hand off to Willie and Rashard for five minutes.
But nope, not Ben.
Winners always want the ball.
Oh yeah, his 1st down run where he faked a Dolphins corner right out of his shoes, Jordan style was a thing of beauty.
2. The Wood
The Wood only had three total tackles yesterday, but two of them were sacks, the 2nd of which took the Dolphins out of field goal range with the score 17-10 going into the half.
Dude ended the season tied for 3rd overall in sacks, but I think it's safe to say he also ended it 1st overall in badassedness.
Over the last eight games, there wasn't one in which he didn't have at least half a sack.
In fact, he recorded 11.5 of his season total 13.5 over those eight games.
All hail, Mr. December!
3. So THAT'S What a CB INT Looks Like
I had pretty much forgotten, since they hadn't had one all season.
Two yesterday = holy shit.
Plus, one in the 4th Quarter, by Ike Taylor?
I can't believe there's no visual evidence on the internets that this actually happened.
4. Hines Ward
In case anyone forgot, Hines played this game on not one, but TWO bum wheels (at age 33) yesterday.
Yet, he still managed to lead the team in receptions, with EIGHT for 61 yds (including all three of Ben's throws on the "final" Steelers drive).
If you look up the word "animal" in the dictionary, one of the definitions should read, "Hines Ward."
5. Mike Wallace
The Steelers 2009 rookie of the year showed us all one more time why he's worthy of that award.
Only two catches, but one spectacular 54 yarder for a TD, which you see above.
Among the top five rookie receivers, Wallace ended the season with the fewest total catches, yet he was tied for the lead in TDs, technically 3rd in total yds receiving, 1st in catches of 20+ yds, 1st in catches of 40+ yds, and he had the 2nd highest 1st down percentage as well as the highest average yds per reception.
The only difference between him and the rest of these clowns?
Harvin, Nicks, Maclin and Britt were all 1st round picks.
Wallace was a 3rd.
How do you like him now?
Things That Were NOT Awesome:
1. Going 2 for 6 in the Red Zone
I'm not saying they should score TDs on every red zone opportunity, though that'd be helpful.
I'm just saying if they did yesterday, we'd have been looking at 42 points instead of 30.
Of course, only eight teams in the league scored more than 28 yesterday.
Scoffing at 30 points out of the Steelers offense is just silly.
2. Giving Up 14 pts in the 4th Quarter
See "Things That Made Us Wish We Were Partying With Ricky Williams" #3.
Miami had just cut the lead to three (27-24) with just over eight minutes left in the 4th Quarter.
Three plays later, the ball's on the ground, being recovered by J Peezy at the Steelers' 13 yard line.
I can't believe I'm about to say this, but thank God for Ryan Clark.
Why isn't this under "Things That Made Us Wish We Were Partying With Ricky Williams," again?
4. Two Holding Penalties on One 4th Quarter Drive
You've outdone yourself this time, Willie.
5. Shut Up
If it takes you any more than 30 seconds to "ponder how it all went wrong," you obviously didn't watch the Steelers in November.
Here, this should help...
Things That Made Us Wish We Were Partying With Ricky Williams:
Pat White went down like a sack of potatoes.
I'm glad to hear it was apparently only a concussion, but ouch.
With 5:30 left in the 1st half and a seven point lead, having just picked off Chad Henne at the Dolphins 41 yard line, I'm not sure it was the right time to pull some half cocked trickery like having Santonio Holmes try and throw a pass.
Even still, if you were going to ask a WR to throw that ball, why not Hines Ward?
It was intercepted?
How could that fool proof plan possibly NOT work??
Two TDs in less than five and a half minutes, thrown by Tyler Thigpen?
That's about as embarassing as making Bruce Gradkowski look like Dan Marino...
Oh right, that's just the signal for holding.
Good thing this was during a football game or that kind of gesture could really be taken out of context (I'd link this to something illustrative, but no)...
How'd that work out for you?
Other Things That Are Only Marginally Related:
1. For the record, we're proud of the way the Steelers fart too...
2. Stefan Logan, beast mode...
3. I'm sure this will make many of you pretty happy...
4. Man, that's bleak...
5. Hey, can you ask Jesus how the Steelers lost to the Browns for me?
So guys, I know you all want to add your take to the final official recap of the 2009 season...
Let's have it!
Here we go, comments, here we go!
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