Well, now that the post-pats celebration is a-foot, I bet that heel Wes Welker feels toe-tally bummed. The team that everybody thought was a shoe-in to win it all was just not meant ti-bia. So sad for them.
What a journey. We started these playoffs by beating the best quarterback in the history of the NFL, Got through round two by beating the best coach in the history of the NFL ( yes, I vomited when I typed that, but yaknow, it takes smarts to cheat that often and only get caught once…) and all we have to do now is beat the best franchise in the history of the NFL ( not to mention the best safety) to get to the Super Bowl. I was rooting hard for the Ravens to win, because while they are more talented than Pittsburgh overall they do have a habit of playing down to their competition, and there is no team in the NFL that capitalizes on their opponents miscues (while avoiding miscues of their own) more efficiently than the Pittsburgh Steelers. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that we’ve overcome our biggest hurdles already. The two best teams in the AFC will play for a trip to the super bowl this Sunday, and we will need to be even more perfect against them than we were last time to win this one. With Polamalu on the field, they are the best defense in the NFL since the legendary Bears defenses of yesteryear. (And that isn’t conjecture, as most of my statements tend to be. J Check the stats.) We will need to keep them on their toes all day and I’m sure Rex is already preaching ball security.
Having said that, I feel pretty good about our chances. We’re hitting our stride at just the right time, as a defense and as an efficient offense. I was rooting for a six seed super bowl from the moment the playoffs started, though my bracket had it as an Eagles/Jets bowl. At this point, I don’t care which team we face in the big game so long as we get there. I’m not very good at ‘keys to the game’ posts and I’m sure other people will do it better, but here are the obvious ones, at least to me.
-Don’t abandon the run game. Yes, the Steelers are the toughest team in the NFL to run on, but they are also pretty darn tough to pass on if that’s what they are expecting. Keep them guessing all day.
-Sanchez can’t overthrow his targets the way he has at points in the last couple of games. Tipped balls in the vicinity of Troy Polamalu always get picked off. ALWAYS.
-Ball security. Ball security. Ball security. Nuff said.
- Identify Polamalu. On every single play. See bullet point 2. Also need to be aware of him blitzing.
-Defensively, we just need to keep playing the way we’ve been playing since the regular season ended. Roethlisberger will turn the ball over and the Steelers O-line is hurting right now. Mendenhall is a tough runner but he hesitates sometimes before he gets a full head of steam going. We need to tackle him before it happens.
- Watch those screens and quick hits. Mike Wallace can turn a three yard pattern into a twenty yard gain in a heartbeat. Give him no space, and double team him often. He isn’t polished enough yet to dominate a game if the defense doesn’t let him.
- And as fans, we just need to stock up on good grub and hope that the game doesn't come down to Nick Folk kicking in the toughest stadium to kick in in the NFL. Right?