Ok Pittsburgh Steelers fans, stop crying. Yes, you were playing with without your leading tackler, safety Ryan Clark and you were without All-Pro Center Maurkice Pouncey too. It is true that you didn’t have your number one RB Rashard Mendenhall and Ben Roethlisberger was admittedly playing on one leg. Adding to the walking wounded Lamarr Woodley had to come off the field after every other play and Casey Hampton had to leave with a knee injury. Lawrence Timmons, Brad Keisel and his beard all spent the majority of the game watching from the side lines too. That’s football, shit happens.
It’s not like Pittsburgh didn’t catch any breaks though, the Denver Broncos had a few bumps and bruises too. Brian Dawkins couldn’t go for the Broncos; Von Miller had to play with a cast on his hand forcing him to switch sides of the field and Tim Tebow’s favorite target Eric Decker was lost on a crossing pattern on the first play of the second quarter. And with 8:12 left to go in the 3rd quarter, Mike Wallace clearly dropped a backwards lateral from Roethlisberger that was recovered by Denver. The officials blew the whistle in error and in doing so blew the call like Monica Lewinsky in the oval office. Forget about the whistle preventing the fumble recovery from being returned for a TD, Denver would have already been in field goal range taking overtime out of the question.
One of the things that Mike Tomlin could have done to make things easier for the Steelers was not play Big Ben down the stretch. Tomlin was greedy however and wanted the number two seed. That gamble backfired like Altanta’s Mike Smith going for it on a forth and inches (DOH!) as the Steelers didn’t get the number two seed and Big Ben didn’t get to rest his ankle either, only aggrevating the injury more.
The Steelers had people step up though as in large part the back-ups played well. Ryan Mundy, Ryan Clark’s replacement was all over the place yesterday making tackles, in pass coverage and causing fumbles. With the Steelers down seven with the Broncos driving late in the game it was Mundy who caused the Willis McGahee fumble resulting in the Roethlisberger to Jerricho Cotchery tying score.
The Steelers got greedy once again again in overtime as noted defensive guru Dick Lebeau had safety Ryan Mundy walk down into the box before the snap. That pre-snap move left safety Ike Taylor one on one with Demaryius Thomas. All Thomas had to do was cross Taylor’s face to the inside and the middle of the field was wide open. The Steelers were not going to let Denver run the ball in overtime and challenged Tim Tebow to make a throw. Tebow made the play and the the rest is now history. Tebow haters and Steeler Nation now have egg on their face and other than whining and complaining about things that no longer matter, there isn’t much that can be done about it.
The funny thing about Tim Tebow’s on filed performance is that for all his timing and accuracy problems in the passing game, he delivers a surprising accurate deep ball. Tebow was just 10 for 21 on the game but for 316-yards. 31.6 yards per completion is unheard of!
Sorry Steelers fans, while you were clearly the better team, your coaches collectively gambled and lost. Good for the Denver Broncos and good for their fans too. And good for the Christian kid Tim Tebow and for Tebowites around the world that could be found Tebowgaisming 11 seconds into overtime. It’s nice to know that God was watching the NFL this Wild Card Weekend. If God is watching NFL Playoff Games, he’s probably watching other things too.
The founder and former owner of MC3 Sports Media, Mike Cardano is the Sr. Business Administrator for RotoExperts and the Executive Director here at TheXLog.com. You may email Mike @ firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @MikeCardano. Listen to Mike on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio with Scott Engel and the morning crew Tuesday mornings at 10am ET.