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mesaSteeler
09-12-2009, 08:22 AM
Steelers' Holmes shines under NFL spotlight
Saturday, September 12, 2009
By Ron Cook, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09255/997481-87.stm

A Michael Vick No. 7 Philadelphia Eagles jersey did what the Tennessee Titans' defense couldn't do Thursday night.

It covered Santonio Holmes.

We can spend the weekend debating the merits of Holmes' postgame attire and his showy public support of the NFL's most notorious dog-killing felon, but this point is inarguable: The Steelers' young wide receiver has turned into a star.

Seriously, Vick might want to be trendy and start wearing Holmes' No. 10 jersey.

"Santonio is a different player," teammate Hines Ward said this week. "The light has come on for him."

Certainly, the bright lights are shining on Holmes these days. I'm talking about the brightest lights that the NFL has to offer.

They zeroed in on Holmes in Super Bowl XLIII in February when he made a spectacular catch for the winning touchdown in a 27-23 victory against the Arizona Cardinals. That 6-yard reception with 35 seconds to go, along with his eight other catches for 125 yards that night, earned him membership in one of the most exclusive clubs in sports -- the Super Bowl MVP club. He became just the 38th member.

"I don't think there's any question that game made him a better, more confident player," Steelers offensive coordinator Bruce Arians said.

The bright lights were back on Holmes when the Steelers and Titans opened the new season at Heinz Field. Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger aside, he was the best offensive player on the lawn. On a night the Steelers did squat with their running game, they needed all of his nine catches for 131 yards and a touchdown to squeak out a 13-10 win in overtime.

Super Bowl hangover?

What Super Bowl hangover?

"My confidence is sky-high," Holmes said, echoing Arians. "I have no fear of anyone or anything on the field. I'm on fire right now."

It certainly looked as if the Titans' defenders were afraid to get too close to Holmes because of the potential for serious burns and permanent scars. Safety Michael Griffin was nowhere near him on his 34-yard touchdown catch late in the second quarter. Cornerback Nick Harper wasn't much closer when Roethlisberger threw an 11-yard slant to him on third-and-1 in overtime three plays before kicker Jeff Reed booted the pig through the uprights for the winning field goal.

"He didn't even practice for 2 1/2 weeks ," Arians said of Holmes. "I was a little worried the speed of this first game would be a problem for him. Shows what I know."

Good thing Roethlisberger knew better.

"He's my guy and I'm his guy," Holmes gushed. "He always comes to me and says, 'You've got to make plays for me. I'm going to keep coming to you.' "

Can you blame Roethlisberger?

After the two took their place in Super Bowl lore with that play for the ages to beat the Cardinals?

If your glass is half-empty, you're probably thinking Roethlisberger is cursed to be playing behind an offensive line that did nothing against the Titans to ease the simmering concerns about it. The pass protection was mostly OK -- when your quarterback heaves it 43 times, you're going to give up a few sacks and hurries -- but the run blocking was abysmal. The line couldn't budge the Titans' pile all night. The Steelers ran for just 36 yards, a lame 19 on 13 carries by Willie Parker.

But if you are a half-full person, [B]you have to be thinking Roethlisberger is blessed to have such terrific receivers. Besides Holmes, there's Ward (8 catches for 103 yards against the Titans), who is headed to the Hall of Fame. There's tight end Heath Miller (8 for 64), who might be the most reliable player in the NFL. There's running back Mewelde Moore (4 for 28), always a favorite target on third downs. There's even rookie Mike Wallace, who appears to have moved ahead of Limas Sweed as the No. 3 wideout and caught a 22-yard pass to set up Reed's winning kick.

Choices, choices, wonderful choices.

Roethlisberger needed to use all of 'em to beat the Titans.

He completed 33 of those 43 passes for 363 yards, giving the Steelers a 300-yard passer and two 100-yard receivers in the same game for the first time in five years.

Of course, it's nice to think the Steelers won't have to throw the ball 43 times every game. If they do, they won't win another Super Bowl. As Ward put it, "We're always going to be a running team." The good news is the line will make adjustments and be better, hopefully before the next game Sept. 20 at Chicago. The better news is few defenses in the league will be as formidable as the Titans' defense, which Roethlisberger described as "Baltimore-esq."

Still, isn't it great to know the Steelers have Roethlisberger for those games when they can't run the ball? "When rubber meets the road, he's at his best," coach Mike Tomlin said. "In those moments, he sees [the field] with great clarity."

And isn't it comforting to know the Steelers have those receivers? Especially Holmes, who looks to be the franchise's next great one? I'm thinking Roethlisberger will play an awful lot of pitch-and-catch with him this season.

It seems only right that the No. 10 Steelers jersey is going to be a really big seller.

No. 10 is a really good player.

"I have no fear of anyone or anything on the field. I'm on fire right now." -- Santonio Holmes

Ron Cook can be reached at rcook@post-gazette.com. More articles by this author
First published on September 12, 2009 at 12:00 am

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09255/997481-87.stm#ixzz0QtVXLT47

steelpride12
09-12-2009, 08:26 AM
Holmes was a great pick up in the draft and once again the Steelers keep the tradition alive of having great players come out of our first round. Holmes has speed and finesse and his route running is excellent this early in his career.
Other than when he gets in trouble this kid is something special and will contribute to many wins and playoff appearances. Who knows maybe another ring!

Kal
09-12-2009, 08:39 AM
Its amazing. Last year during the regular season I would have classed Holmes as distinctly average. However on the back of his SuperBowl performance (even ignoring the winning catch he was superb) and his start to this season (plus words coming out of camp) there's a case to be made that he could be the breakout wide receiver this year.

If the running game continues to struggle and the Steelers continue to rely on Big Ben's arm to win games, then conceivably Holmes could have the kind of season you'd expect to see out of the Greg Jennings/ Roddy White type season

Fire Haley
09-12-2009, 08:41 AM
There is no doubt he is now the Steelers, and Ben's, #1 WR.

stillers4me
09-12-2009, 08:51 AM
Love Tone and all, but he needs to just catch the ball and walk away. Stop doing the "I'm so awesome" stuff he did the other night. He's got alot of footballs to catch........

HometownGal
09-12-2009, 08:59 AM
I already have my Santo jersey - got it last year for Christmas! :thumbsup::tt03:

I agree with stillers4me here - don't be diva-esque. Just keep playing hard and catching those pigskins from Ben. :drink:

X-Terminator
09-12-2009, 09:42 AM
I already have my Santo jersey - got it last year for Christmas! :thumbsup::tt03:

I agree with stillers4me here - don't be diva-esque. Just keep playing hard and catching those pigskins from Ben. :drink:

Sorry, but I have to disagree with you both. "Diva-esque" is what headcases like T.O., Ochosucko and Brandon Marshall are. Santo is nothing like those guys. Not even close. So he likes to do his little thing when he catches balls...not a big deal, IMO. Football is supposed to be emotional and fun. Let the guys have some fun out there - within reason, of course - and not be robotic all the time. That gets boring.

LambertLunatic
09-12-2009, 09:47 AM
I already have my Santo jersey - got it last year for Christmas! :thumbsup::tt03:

I agree with stillers4me here - don't be diva-esque. Just keep playing hard and catching those pigskins from Ben. :drink:

I have my #10 jersey also. Unfortunately, the name on it was misspelled. Instead of being spelled H-O-L-M-E-S, it's spelled S-T-E-W-A-R-T.

Fire Haley
09-12-2009, 09:58 AM
Love Tone and all, but he needs to just catch the ball and walk away. Stop doing the "I'm so awesome" stuff he did the other night. ..

Oh, like when Jerome used to shake his head and pump his legs every time after he ran for a 1st down?
Like that?

HometownGal
09-12-2009, 10:02 AM
Sorry, but I have to disagree with you both. "Diva-esque" is what headcases like T.O., Ochosucko and Brandon Marshall are. Santo is nothing like those guys. Not even close. So he likes to do his little thing when he catches balls...not a big deal, IMO. Football is supposed to be emotional and fun. Let the guys have some fun out there - within reason, of course - and not be robotic all the time. That gets boring.

I'm not talking about what Santo does after he makes a catch or scores a TD. :doh: I'm talking about some of the comments he makes, i.e.:

"My confidence is sky-high," Holmes said, echoing Arians. "I have no fear of anyone or anything on the field. I'm on fire right now."


While it's great to see him so confident, I don't want to see him over-confident. Over-confidence can sometimes come back around to bite ya in the ass.

Fire Haley
09-12-2009, 10:09 AM
He's fine. I LIKE a WR with fire.

It's Ward's attitiude that needs fixing - getting all swollen-headed and fumbling the ball on the 5 yd line - imagine if it was Santonio that pulled such a selfish stunt.

He'd be crucified for life.

AllD
09-12-2009, 03:09 PM
Holmes needs to speak and act like he's been to the mountain top already instead of beating his chest after each catch. It is distracting from the team by emphacizing your individual accomplishments. All Swann and Stallworth did was dump the ball over their backs or spike it. Then they would high five and jump in the air and point #1.

fansince'76
09-12-2009, 03:13 PM
Sorry, but I have to disagree with you both. "Diva-esque" is what headcases like T.O., Ochosucko and Brandon Marshall are. Santo is nothing like those guys. Not even close. So he likes to do his little thing when he catches balls...not a big deal, IMO. Football is supposed to be emotional and fun. Let the guys have some fun out there - within reason, of course - and not be robotic all the time. That gets boring.

I see Hines making a first down signal after a lot of his catches as well. But he's given a pass for it.

fansince'76
09-12-2009, 03:16 PM
Holmes needs to speak and act like he's been to the mountain top already instead of beating his chest after each catch. It is distracting from the team by emphacizing your individual accomplishments. All Swann and Stallworth did was dump the ball over their backs or spike it. Then they would high five and jump in the air and point #1.

He's only following his mentor:

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Question is, why is it not only acceptable, but a "riot" when Hines does it, but when Santo does it, he's a "diva?"

stillers4me
09-12-2009, 03:24 PM
He's only following his mentor:

02f809wc8Oc

Question is, why is it not only acceptable, but a "riot" when Hines does it, but when Santo does it, he's a "diva?"

I don't think some of you are getting the point. Holmes didn't do alot of it before (at least the way he did the other night.). I'm cool with an occasional chest thump. But Thursday night, Santonio did it after every single catch. He has an awesome game. Maybe it was just the excitment of the first game after the Superbowl and things going well with his game. I just hope he can learn to act like he's been there before and celebrate on the big ones. I'm sure he'll have plenty of chances.

Hell, Hines even grins ear to ear when someone decks him. :noidea:

fansince'76
09-12-2009, 03:37 PM
I don't think some of you are getting the point. Holmes didn't do alot of it before (at least the way he did the other night.). I'm cool with an occasional chest thump. But Thursday night, Santonio did it after every single catch. He has an awesome game. Maybe it was just the excitment of the first game after the Superbowl and things going well with his game. I just hope he can learn to act like he's been there before and celebrate on the big ones. I'm sure he'll have plenty of chances.

Hell, Hines even grins ear to ear when someone decks him. :noidea:

I personally hate all the extracurricular crap after routine plays myself, regardless of who does it. But if you're going to call one player out for it, call them all out. Fact remains Hines gets a pass for things that Santo gets criticized for. Hines shoots his mouth off in the press (sorry, he has done it routinely over the years), he's given a pass for it. Santo does it, and he's "talking out of turn."

shinoff2183
09-12-2009, 03:44 PM
Dont bother me much who does it as long as your playing good, dont throw a pick and celebrate, and dont get all crazy with it. I see no problems.

X-Terminator
09-12-2009, 04:12 PM
I'm not talking about what Santo does after he makes a catch or scores a TD. :doh: I'm talking about some of the comments he makes, i.e.:



While it's great to see him so confident, I don't want to see him over-confident. Over-confidence can sometimes come back around to bite ya in the ass.

I don't have a problem with that either. I want a WR to be confident in his abilities, because it makes him a better player. When he starts donning "HOF" jackets on the sideline, keeping a "Who can't cover me" checklist in his locker or accusing his QB and TE of running secret plays so that he doesn't get the ball, then I'll start to worry.