Wednesday, September 23, 2009

NFL Second Weak

So much for the elite teams: New England, San Diego and the Pittsburgh Steelers all lost their second game of the season (as did the elite USC in the college ranks.) The Steelers loss in Chicago was the kind of anomaly that either doesn't mean anything or looks like the kind of bad luck that stalks a season. When the Super Bowl MVP drops a pass in the end zone, and one of the most reliable kickers in the league misses not one but two field goals, all in the decisive fourth quarter, it demonstrates again what Mean Joe Greene used to observe, that NFL football is in part a dice game.

Old timer Steeler fans may be remembering the 1976 team: arguably the best Steelers team ever, but hounded by bad luck at the end of the season, losing both its key backs for the playoffs and not even making it to the Bowl that it won the previous two seasons, and would win twice more.

On paper Sunday's game looked like an improvement--more of a running game, better OL play, Ben was efficient as well as proficient--but all that didn't result in more than two touchdowns. Plus the defense had its problems, and Pittsburgh sportswriters were finally noting that the defense allowed the Cardinals to score two touchdowns in the fourth quarter and come back to take the lead in the Bowl last year, before the last minute heroics. It's going to take a better effort all around in the first division game in Cincinnati this weekend. The Bengals put up impressive points and won their second game, after all.

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