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Old 10-08-2007, 01:34 AM   #1
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Default Known to drop a ball or two, Taylor comes up big

Known to drop a ball or two, Taylor comes up with big pick in first half vs. Seattle
Monday, October 08, 2007
By Gerry Dulac, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

If they kept statistics for dropped balls by cornerbacks, Ike Taylor might be in a league of his own. He would be the original manos de piedra, the Roberto Duran of his time.

It is not a category to which Taylor wants to belong.

Taylor and former coach Bill Cowher used to count the number of interceptions he would have had, if only Taylor could manage to catch the ball. They got up to 13 in the 2005 season and realized Taylor would have been just one shy of the single-season record held by Dick "Night Train" Lane.

"Coulda, shoulda, woulda," Taylor said yesterday after dropping what would have been two more interceptions against the Seattle Seahawks.

But a funny thing happened after Taylor let those potential picks get away in the first half: He came up with the game-changing play right before halftime, and he did it by stepping in front of Seahawks receiver Ben Obomanu at the goal line and making an interception as time expired.

Honest.

No bobbles. No drops. Just a clean pick.

Then he got up, ran off the field and headed for the locker room, hoping he wasn't dreaming.

No hands of stone this time.

"It's about time," Taylor said. "I had already dropped two and I was saying the same thing -- it's about time. It's very frustrating when you drop 'em because you give the offense another opportunity when that happens."

The Seahawks never really had a chance after that.

That was the only time they managed to get past the Steelers' 45 in a 21-0 defeat at Heinz Field, and they did it by moving 69 yards on six plays to the Steelers' 14, thanks to passes of 30 yards to Obomanu and 22 yards to tight end Marcus Pollard. Throw in a 15-yard penalty against safety Anthony Smith for a low hit on quarterback Matt Hasselbeck and the Seahawks had a chance -- albeit their only one, as it turns out -- to cut into the Steelers' 7-0 lead.

But, on second down, there was Taylor, sitting in a cover-2 defense, cutting in front of an out pass for Obomanu and making the interception to end the first half.

When the Steelers started the second half with a 17-play, 80-yard drive that consumed 10 minutes, 17 seconds, the Seahawks were, in the immortal words of Dave "Tiger" Williams, done like dinner.

"To let them get down there and have them come away with nothing was key for us," cornerback Deshea Townsend said.

"They at least thought they might be coming away with three [points]," defensive end Aaron Smith said. "To come away with zero sucks the momentum out of them."

"It takes away everything," defensive end Brett Keisel said. "They go into halftime with any points, they're going to feel like, OK, we still have a chance. But they go in with that interception, then they come out and our offense goes 17 plays and drives it down their throat and scores. Then [the defense] goes three-and-out and we come back and score again. That's it."

Indeed, the Seahawks ran just three offensive plays in the third quarter and didn't touch the ball again till 10:06 remained in the fourth quarter. By that time, the Steelers had built a 21-0 lead.

All because Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren wanted to take one more chance to score a touchdown with seven seconds remaining in the first half.

And all because Taylor finally held on to the ball.

"We were in cover-2 and I had outside leverage, the flat, anything outside over there," Taylor said. "I didn't think [Hasselbeck] was coming that way because my guy did slant and then came back. I didn't think he was going to throw the ball."

Taylor had two other chances before that to intercept Hasselbeck: Once on a deep pass to receiver Deion Branch in the first quarter, another on a deep ball to Obomanu in the second quarter. In both instances, Taylor got two hands on the ball ... and dropped it.

That is nothing new for Taylor, who had only five interceptions in 64 previous regular-season games.

But interceptions against the Seahawks are nothing new, either. Taylor had a big one in the second half in Super Bowl XL, intercepting Hasselbeck at the Steelers' 5 with the Steelers leading, 14-10.

"If I would have to do it all over, of course I'd like to get three interceptions," he said. "But that one down by the goal line was big."

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07281/823756-66.stm
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Old 10-08-2007, 01:59 AM   #2
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Default Re: Known to drop a ball or two, Taylor comes up big

he needs to get some new gloves and they need to stand him in front of a jug machine for a couple days. but today he was outstanding. watching it in person, i got to see his blanket coverage.
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Old 10-08-2007, 07:41 PM   #3
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Default Re: Known to drop a ball or two, Taylor comes up big

His pick changed that game....it was HUGE.
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Old 10-08-2007, 07:45 PM   #4
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Default Re: Known to drop a ball or two, Taylor comes up big

Nice job, Ike!!
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"We're not going to turn our backs on him," Ward said. "We're going to treat him like our brother. We're going to accept him back and be very supportive of him and help him get through this. In this locker room, he's still our quarterback."
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Old 10-08-2007, 07:51 PM   #5
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Default Re: Known to drop a ball or two, Taylor comes up big

Pics or no pics he played an outstanding game and was a huge reason for the crybabies laying a very impressive EGG!!
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Old 10-08-2007, 08:22 PM   #6
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Default Re: Known to drop a ball or two, Taylor comes up big

Ike easily could have had 4 picks yesterday.
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Old 10-08-2007, 08:33 PM   #7
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Default Re: Known to drop a ball or two, Taylor comes up big

Further proof that in 2006, Ike= Cowher's scapegoat. Ike was never a "Cowher" guy. Yes, he didn't play well, but his he wasn't the only problem with the team. In fact, he was the only player benched.
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Old 10-08-2007, 10:25 PM   #8
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Default Re: Known to drop a ball or two, Taylor comes up big

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Originally Posted by Edman View Post
Further proof that in 2006, Ike= Cowher's scapegoat. Ike was never a "Cowher" guy. Yes, he didn't play well, but his he wasn't the only problem with the team. In fact, he was the only player benched.
I am not sure I would agree with that.

Ike was horrible last year... as was the rest of our CB's. He got what he needed, a wakeup call.

Now he is back, and doing very well. Good for him.
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Old 10-08-2007, 11:55 PM   #9
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Default Re: Known to drop a ball or two, Taylor comes up big

Ike Taylor was clearly the best player on the field in the first half
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Old 10-09-2007, 12:42 AM   #10
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Default Re: Known to drop a ball or two, Taylor comes up big

Ike's always been my boy. Even last year I knew he was one of the best. He is one of the fastest corners in the league and the only reason he doesn't play receiver is because of those hands... He can't catch as is very obvious...

In high school Ike played defensive end, saftey, corner, running back and kick returner. At Lousiana - Lafayette he was a running back as a junior and only switched to DB in his senior year... With such little college experiance at the position he has played fantastic at the pro level.

Ike is in my opinion one of the best fourth round picks the Steelers have ever made.
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