(Greg M. Cooper/US Presswire/ESPN.com)
Dudes. Is there any feeling more satisfying than seeing the Steelers run their mouths, and then get schooled all day long by the Patriots?
It's happened a few times already this decade. Hasn't failed to tickle me yet.
I was a little worried prior to this game, given how scary the Pittsburgh defense was supposed to be, and given how shaky the Patriots defense has been at times. Especially when you factor in the rougher sledding the Pats had had the last two weeks against tougher opponents in the Eagles and Ravens (damn bird teams).
But first, I forgot that because I and the rest of the world were underestimating the Patriots defense, this was creating the most favorable conditions for Rodney Harrison to go on an ass-kicking tear, because if there's one thing Rodney Harrison loves, it's feeling like people underestimate him while he's playing. Don't know why, but that's just how the strange and brutal machine that is Rodney Harrison functions. And it was of course No. 37 who came through with the final stop of a goal-line stand at the 1 to preserve a second-half shutout of the Steelers today at Gillette Stadium.
Also, there was the matter of Anthony Smith, who stepped forward to eagerly claim the title of Goat early on in the week with his moronic on-air guarantee of a Steelers win.
Especially since it came to my attention that Gillette was overrun today by Terrible-Towel-waving Steelers cretins, I could not be more overjoyed to see them all go down in a blaze of defeat.
I wrote a whole bunch about how much I love the Patriots defense tonight and totally forgive them for all the weeks they only didn't lose 'cause the Patriots had scored a googleplex of points over at MVN. Over here, I think it's time to show Tommy some (more) love.
Bill Belichick gave the players two days off from physical contact in practice this week, and Brady's fresh arm showed. He hucked the ball 65 yards in the air at one point and another time threw an absolute rifle shot to Randy Moss in the back of the end-zone so whistling fast that even Moss couldn't hang on to it. At this point it feels like Tom Brady can do with a football what Josh Beckett can do with a baseball--his ability to thread passes through defenders and hit a receiver in stride seems that fine.
And, of course, the O-Line. I personally think they haven't gotten nearly enough credit for the fantastic performance of the offense this year, overshadowed as they are by Moss and the other wide-reciever acquisitions as well as the spectacular year Tom Brady's having. And not to take anything away from Brady--when you spread the field as wide as the Patriots are wont to do with all the passing weapons at their disposal, you are counting on Brady's extreme mobility and 6th sense in the pocket to make up for the gaps in protection--but many's the game I've watched played by other, less successful teams this year and thanked God for our offensive line.
I have the offensive line on my mind right now especially because I'm reading a fantastic football book (I know! A rarity!) called The Blind Side, by Moneyball author Michael Lewis, which focuses on the evolution of football over the last two decades as exemplified by the evolution of the left tackle position. (Our left tackle is, of course, my boy Matt Light.)
Before tuning in to the Patriots game, CBS was showing the Tennessee--San Diego game that had started at 1:15. Throughout the game I watched as Phillip Rivers was mashed to a fine paste by a hell-sent tandem of DE Kevin Vanden Bosch and defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth, who overran the San Diego left tackle and guard with extreme prejudice. The league seems full of trash-talking, out-of-shape oafs who can't put their blocks where their mouths are, and all year long our front line has played silently together as a unit. Believe me, I'm busily constructing my Tom Brady Shrine as we speak, but those guys are also due much of the glory--even though they won't get it.