Monday, September 22, 2008

Monday Morning Quarterback

If it’s Monday morning, it must be time for the Monday Morning Quarterback, or as Mike Schmidt used to refer to it, the thrill of victory and the agony of reading about it the next day.

When exactly did the Steelers become a finesse team? They seemed to play right into the Eagles’ hands.

When I think of the Steelers, I always think of smash-mouth, in-your-face running the football.

I expected the Steelers to come out Sunday and try to run Tony Parker right down the Eagles’ throats. Never happened. Instead, for some reason the Steelers pretended they were Joe Montana and those legendary 49ers teams. They decided to put the game on the right arm of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

If the Steelers had an advantage in the game, it would appear to be their huge offensive line teeing off on the smaller, quicker Eagles defensive line. Instead they looked to establish their passing game. All they established is that they could not handle the bewildering array of blitzes unfurled on them by Eagles defensive wizard Jim Johnson. It was Johnson who took a lot of heat for not putting much heat on Tony Romo last week. He didn’t make the same mistake two weeks in a row.

By the time it was over, a battered and bruised Roethlisberger had been sacked nine times and given way to backup Byron Leftwich.

The impressive win for the Birds did not come without a cost. Brian Westbrook left in the second quarter and did not return. An X-ray was negative, but he will have an MRI on it today.

It was easy to see the difference Westbrook makes in the Eagles offense. Without him in the lineup, everything begins to get clogged up.

But on this day, their defense bailed them out.

In fact, their offensive MVP just might have been punter Sav Rocca. The veteran of Australian football unfurled a dazzling display of punts in the second half that completely changed Steelers’ advantage in field position and then kept them pinned deep in their territory.

Now it’s on to a Sunday night contest in Chicago.

Oh, and did you hear that the Phillies won, while the Mets were losing? The Phils now lead in the NL East by a game and a half.

As far as Monday mornings go, it could be a lot worse.

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