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83-Steelers-43
11-06-2006, 02:34 AM
Taylor has one of his worst games as a Steeler
Monday, November 06, 2006

By Gerry Dulac, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Ike Taylor began the game wanting to be mentioned in the same breath with Denver's Champ Bailey, who might be the best cornerback in the NFL.

He ended the game being mentioned in the same breath with Dewayne Washington. Not to mention being publicly challenged by his coach.

"Mama said there would be days like this," Taylor said.

That day came yesterday at Heinz Field, and it came in a game when Taylor and the rest of his teammates were reminded by the Broncos how far they have slipped since last year's AFC championship game.

Taylor, the team's top cornerback, watched Broncos receiver Javon Walker catch six passes for 134 yards, including two 10-yard fade passes for touchdowns. That doesn't include Walker's 72-yard touchdown run on a reverse in the third quarter, the play that effectively gassed the Steelers in a 31-20 defeat at Heinz Field.

Afterward, Taylor stood at his locker and answered every question thrown at him. Unlike the throws to Walker, he handled every one, never backing down.

"It's tough, especially when you see the guys around you fight, snap in and snap out," Taylor said. "But as a corner, that has to be one of the worst days you can feel."

Being assigned to shadow the other team's top receiver is nothing new for Taylor. He has followed Miami's Chris Chambers, Cincinnati's Chad Johnson and Oakland's Randy Moss this season, and did not allow a touchdown against any of those receivers. Against Moss, considered among the most dangerous receivers in the league, Taylor allowed just two catches for 20 yards.

But, against Walker, who was acquired by the Broncos in a draft-day trade with the Green Bay Packers, Taylor looked little like the cornerback who signed a five-year, $22.5 million contract before the start of the regular season. And he looked especially defenseless on the type of play for which he is best-suited to defend -- a fade pass that Walker converted into two touchdowns.

"Just one of them games, man," Taylor said. "Not too much I can explain. You got to respect him. He is a good receiver ... can't take nothing away from him. But, for me, it was definitely one of them games."

Then, he added, "It's a first-time ever. A lousy feeling. It hurts."

It didn't take long for the Broncos to go right after Taylor.

On their first play from scrimmage, quarterback Jake Plummer pump-faked and threw a 38-yard pass to Walker to the Steelers' 25 to set up the first touchdown. Three plays later, Plummer threw a 16-yard pass to Rod Smith in the back of the end zone, a play in which cornerback Deshea Townsend had perfect coverage but failed to break up the high throw.

Then, it was right back at Taylor.

After Santonio Holmes fumbled the ensuing kickoff, the Broncos needed just three more plays to make the score 14-0. Plummer threw a 10-yard touchdown to Walker in the right corner of the end zone, victimizing Taylor on the same throw the Broncos ran one play earlier.

"It was a good ball, but, still, in all, it was one of those days," Taylor said. "There's not too much I can explain."

When the Broncos did it to Taylor again, beating him with a 10-yard touchdown to Walker in the fourth quarter to make the score 28-17, even coach Bill Cowher was at a loss for words.

Asked if one of Taylor's strengths was high-pointing the ball, Cowher said, "It was."

But, on this day, Taylor was outplayed by Walker.


"Until we find a way to play the ball, we're going to keep getting those plays thrown at us," Cowher said. "Until we show an ability to stop those plays, we will see them week in and week out."

The Steelers have been victimized by four other jump-ball touchdowns this season, three involving Townsend. He was beat for a 30-yard touchdown by Cincinnati's T.J. Houshmandzadeh, a 9-yarder by San Diego's Malcolm Floyd and a 15-yard touchdown by Atlanta's Michael Jenkins, all in which he had tight coverage. Taylor was beaten on a 15-yard jump-ball touchdown by Bengals wide receiver Chris Henry.

"Those are things that people do down in that area of the field," Cowher said.

"Every week the teams know what [defense] we're getting in," Townsend said. "We have to do some situations to help us out on the outside ... to look for the jump ball."

That, though, wasn't the end of Walker's heroics.

After the Steelers cut the deficit to 28-20 with 8:13 remaining, Plummer needed only one play to go after Taylor again. Using a perfect play-fake and rolling to his right, Plummer hit Walker in stride for a 61-yard gain to the Steelers' 18, setting up a Jason Elam field goal.

It was the final indignation for Taylor, who wasn't able to separate one big play from another.

"They all hurt," Taylor said. "That's what I pride myself on. That's what the defense prides itself on, not giving up big plays, and today I gave up the big play."



http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/06310/736058-66.stm

MJ5150
11-06-2006, 02:38 AM
Nice article, thanks.

I felt so bad for Ike. He was making me sick, but I also knew this was a one game deal. I've had bad days like this. I'm glad I wasn't fired after one of them.

-Mike

Preacher
11-06-2006, 02:40 AM
WOW... An article speaking about how bad the CB's are...

Imagine that. About time!

BigDuke6
11-06-2006, 11:44 AM
Ike just hasnt had a good year. His play has not justified the big-dough he got this off season. He has not been the all mighty "shut-down" corner he was supposed to be. But thats typical of most of the Steelers this year. Am I blaming 2-6 on Ike ? Not solely, but he certainly has contributed.

Atlanta Dan
11-06-2006, 12:15 PM
Being a good cornerback is all about having amnesia about your bad plays (as long as you do not have too many of them).

Even as great a CB as Mel Blount was driven to the bench after being torched by Cliff Branch in the 1974 AFC Championship. I agree it is too early to give up on Ike, but given the $$ the Steelers have paid out for him we will be seeing him for several yers, so we need to hope for the best.

Saints Fan
11-06-2006, 02:29 PM
Ike is a great CB, he is celebrated over here in Lafayette, Louisiana all of the time. Go Ragin Cajuns.
I wonder if Colston is gonna light him up on some of those fades this coming weekend. We shall see, we shall see.

R2sojr
11-06-2006, 02:31 PM
this a one game thing??/...ikes been being used all season by opposing wr's....

steelfan 92
11-06-2006, 06:30 PM
he got beat 3 times on on the same play, pathetic. he's our best db but he still always gets beat.

Blitzburgh
11-06-2006, 08:00 PM
Funny how everyone has selective amnesia when it comes to CB's ....especially Ike.

Nobody started a thread to congratulate Ike when he stonewalled Chad Johnson this year ... nobody gave him props for keeping Randy Moss in check .... not even a mention for making Chris Chambers non-existant .....

Yep ... no love for the man who every week .... is the lucky recipient of getting to cover EVERY teams best WR.

Here's something some of you need to learn real fast .... Ike is one of the premeire CB's in the league ....is he top 3 ? .... no, probably not ... not yet, but he's still young and learning and mark my words .... he will be there.

Even the best CB's have games like Ike had yesterday ... ask Champ Bailey after last year''s AFC Championship game.