Thoughts on a big weekend of football:
As a Steelers fan, I’ll take any win, though this one tastes a little funny after Carson Palmer’s injury. Jon Kitna stepped in and played admirably, but the Steelers defense made the adjustments at halftime and dominated the second half. Also, it seemed as if the blown field goal had an impact on both teams. It gave
Many people were expecting the Steelers to win, including perhaps the NFL and the TV networks. The schedule for next week was announced before the games today, awarding
Assuming he recovers from knee surgery, Palmer vs. Ben Roethlisberger will be a battle to watch for a long time. Big Ben showed the composure that he was lacking in his playoff debut last year, rallying his team from two 10-point deficits and playing turnover-free football. When the Steelers’ running game was bottled up early, Roethlisberger made the throws he had to. Also, Pittsburgh’s offense is at its best when it mixes in a few trick plays, like Jerome Bettis’ attempted throw into the end zone (which was incomplete but perhaps kept the Cincinnati defense off-balance on the next play, a touchdown), and the Randle El to Roethlisberger to Cedrick Wilson touchdown pass. Those plays keep the defense honest and allow the running game to flourish.
I’ve admired Palmer for going to
Another young quarterback, Chris Simms, actually played quite well in his playoff debut against a good defense. After some early mistakes, he put his team in a position to win and they came close to tying the score on Edell Shepherd’s touchdown that wasn’t. Three times this week – counting the Rose Bowl – a receiver caught a pass and appeared to lose the ball just after their second foot came down, and all three times it was ruled incomplete. At least the calls were consistent.
The two big college football stories this weekend also involved quarterbacks. Simms’ successor at the
I’ll take credit for 2 ½ of my picks – I correctly predicted the Steelers’ and Redskins’ victory, coming within range on the scores. And I had
Gut feeling: the four home teams win next week. But I’ll think long and hard about the visitors – especially