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Old 12-11-2007, 07:45 AM   #1
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Default Steelers/Patriots II?

Possible Steelers-Patriots II sounds intriguing

Tuesday, December 11, 2007
By Ron Cook, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

It was two years ago that a big defensive end sat in front of his locker and wished for a second chance. The Steelers had just been spanked, 26-7, in Indianapolis on a Monday night by a Colts team that ran its record to 11-0 and looked as if it would continue its perfect season all the way through Super Bowl XL. "I'd love to get back here and take another shot at those guys," Kimo von Oelhoffen said, quietly.

This time, another big defensive end said pretty much the same thing as he pulled on his clothes before heading into the New England night. This was Sunday after the New England Patriots hung a 34-13 beating on the Steelers to go to 13-0 and move a step closer to NFL history. "I'd love to come back here and get another whack at those guys," Brett Keisel said.

Can history repeat itself?

Crazy as it sounds, don't rule it out.

No, I'm not guaranteeing a Steelers victory in a rematch with the Patriots.

Nor will Steelers safety Anthony Smith, presumably, not to mention thankfully.

I'm just saying it's not as impossible as you might think.

You probably remember that von Oelhoffen's wish came true and the Steelers made it back to Indianapolis in the '05 season. They beat the Colts, 21-18, in the AFC playoffs on their way to Super Bowl XL despite being 10-point underdogs. "A day ago, nobody wanted to give us a chance," wide receiver Hines Ward crowed afterward.

The pressure on the Colts that day was enormous. They came in with a 14-2 record and were the clear choice as Super Bowl favorites.

The pressure will be even greater on the Patriots next month. Can you imagine it if they finish the regular season 16-0, as expected, with victories against the New York Jets, Miami Dolphins and New York Giants?

The Steelers beat the Colts, at least in part, because they caught their offense off guard. They pulled a surprise with their blitz packages, sacking quarterback Peyton Manning five times. Manning had gone down only 20 times all season, just twice against the Steelers in that first game.

"Coach [Dick] LeBeau whipped up some new magic and gave them something nobody's seen yet," linebacker Larry Foote said that day.

That LeBeau thing is especially important to remember this week as the pain from that Patriots licking lingers.

The Steelers didn't get to Patriots quarterback Tom Brady one time Sunday, a big reason the incomparable Brady threw for an astounding 399 yards and four touchdowns.

It's also important to remember that Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor has been known to thrive on second chances against star receivers. He had a tough day shadowing the Patriots' Randy Moss, who had seven catches for 135 yards and two touchdowns. But he also had a tough day against the Colts' Marvin Harrison in that first game in '05, giving up an 80-yard touchdown pass on the Colts' first play. He bounced back strong in the playoff game, helping to hold Harrison to three catches for 52 yards.

"I'm always up for the challenge," Taylor said when asked if he would like to line up against Moss again.

It can't do anything but help Taylor to have All-Pro safety Troy Polamalu next to him the next time. Polamalu missed the game Sunday with a knee injury. He'll be welcomed back to the secondary with open arms, presumably in the home game Sunday against Jacksonville.

The Steelers can't forget that they did some good things offensively against the Patriots. Running back Willie Parker had 124 of their 181 rushing yards, their most since the third game of the season. They held a nine-minute edge in possession time. They didn't lose a fumble or interception, their lone turnover coming when special teamer William Gay inexcusably lost track of a punt and was struck by the ball.

"We moved up and down the field. We just didn't finish," Ward said.

Or, as Parker put it, "We beat ourselves."

Brady, Moss and the Patriots might argue, but who cares? It's important that Parker and the Steelers believe it if they play the Patriots again. They certainly believed it before that rematch against the Colts.

There is one caveat to all of this, of course:

"We have to get in the playoffs first," Foote said.

That still seems an almost certainty. The Steelers hold a virtual two-game lead over the Cleveland Browns in the AFC North Division with three games to go. A victory against Jacksonville would go a long way toward clinching the title.

"The ball is in our court," Keisel said. "We've just got to make the basket."

A division championship means a home game in the first round of the playoffs. A victory then sets up a trip to New England or Indianapolis in the second round.

I don't know about you, I'm hoping for New England.

Just for the theater of it.

And just to be able to tell Ward, "Hey, at least one guy is giving you a chance."

Crazy as that sounds.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07345/840722-87.stm
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Old 12-11-2007, 08:40 AM   #2
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Default Re: Steelers/Patriots II?

I was at the game and saw it on TV after, I can tell you that Ike Taylor played very well Sunday. He was not responsible for the blown coverages by Smith.

The defense overall played very well. The Pats took advantage of our two backup safeties. Ike was all over the field making plays, he was making tackles for the safeties that were out of position. The defense was all over Brady, but he was dumping it off quick to Welker. It was Carter (backup SS) that was responsible for Welker on the majority of those passes in the 2nd half, including the TD to Welker in the 2nd half. Ike ended up closer to Welker on that TD than Carter was.

It was Smith that was terribly out of position on the two long TD passes. So the Pats took advantage of our two backup safeties, it happens. I just don't understand how noone was jamming Welker at the line. The defense was bringing great pressure but Brady was getting rid of the ball quickly to Welker. How is it that we do not get right into Welkers grill at the line.

I guess what I'm saying is that the final score was more lopsided than the game itself. Take away the two long TDs that were because of blown coverage, take away the rediculous gaffe on the Pats punt that fell short and hit a Steeler, and it is a different game. The defense made them work for everything else ALL NIGHT!!

Once again the playcalling left quite a few, if not all of us scratching our heads. But I think we played very good on both sides of the ball, with the exception of the gaffes. As we all know you cannot make mistakes like that and expect to win against very good teams.

We can definetely win a rematch, but will we, thats the question. It will take more discipline, more intensity, and in my opinion better coaching. Players need to be on point, adjustments need to be made when thier killing you with the short pass, and you run the damn ball when your 1 yard from the goalline.
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Old 12-11-2007, 09:06 AM   #3
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Default Re: Steelers/Patriots II?

Just one thing about Ike. He was caught looking into the backfield on the play action fake just like every other Steeler behind the LOS. It wasn't just Smith.

Moving on, if it happens, it'll take an even greater effort out of the Patriots. It's very difficult to beat a good football team twice in one year.
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Old 12-11-2007, 09:15 AM   #4
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Default Steelers/Patriots II?

First time poster here so hello to all Steeler fans.

Two things in response to the article.

First, the Steelers will most likely have to go through Indy first before another crack at New England as they will most probably be the #3 seed.

Second, once the playoffs start I honestly feel at that time that the pressure will be less on the Pats than it is now. Everybody in the world has been gunning for them to be the team that knocks them off. They have been each team's Super Bowl week in and week out. Especially when on the road under the most hostile circumstances.

However, once the playoffs start everybody will be in the same boat because it's going to be one and done so the pressure will be on everyone to win. It won't be about breaking a streak as it's been up to now. It will be about survival and advancing. That's what each team will be playing for and thinking about. If one team should be the team that beats them and hands them their only loss (if they finish 16-0) then that will be icing on the cake but I don't think that will be the focus of any team preparing to play them. The playoffs are the playoffs. It's win or go home. Everyone plays with that same pressure and urgency therefore everyone plays wearing the same target.

The Patriots are the only team, and have been the only team, for weeks now trying to preserve a record that hasn't been done in over 30 years. That's pressure. An unbeaten regular season. Then they'll be a 3 game (if they go all the way) playoff season for them and two of those will be in Foxboro. Again, I really believe once the playoffs start there's pressure on all teams. Up to now some teams have played the Pats with little or no pressure on them and some with nothing to lose.
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Old 12-11-2007, 11:15 AM   #5
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Default Re: Steelers/Patriots II?

Right now I'm more worried about our position in the playoffs, if we can hold on to it? More so than a rematch with the patriacheats.
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Old 12-11-2007, 12:09 PM   #6
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Default Re: Steelers/Patriots II?

Quote:
Originally Posted by pmanning View Post
First time poster here so hello to all Steeler fans.

First, the Steelers will most likely have to go through Indy first before another crack at New England as they will most probably be the #3 seed.
Hi pmanning and welcome!

Yes, the Steelers will most likely have to go through Indy, but if you will recall, they've gone through Indy before.

I agree - when the playoffs open, the slate is wiped clean and a team's regular season record goes out the window. The pressure is indeed intense and the Steelers, Colts and Pats have been exposed to those pressures before, so that is a bit of an advantage going in.

Good luck to you and the Colts (except when and if you play us - LOL!)
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Old 12-11-2007, 12:21 PM   #7
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Default Re: Steelers/Patriots II?

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Originally Posted by HometownGal View Post
Hi pmanning and welcome!

Yes, the Steelers will most likely have to go through Indy, but if you will recall, they've gone through Indy before.

I agree - when the playoffs open, the slate is wiped clean and a team's regular season record goes out the window. The pressure is indeed intense and the Steelers, Colts and Pats have been exposed to those pressures before, so that is a bit of an advantage going in.

Good luck to you and the Colts (except when and if you play us - LOL!)
Thanks Gal. Good luck to you guys as well. I've always been a casual fan of the Steelers. Growing up Jack Lambert was my favorite player in the NFL. It's always been a great organization with rabid fans.

Pitt at Indy would be a great game.
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Old 12-11-2007, 12:22 PM   #8
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Default Re: Steelers/Patriots II?

Besides the Colts and the Steelers, I'd like to see what the Jags can do against the Pats in the Playoffs.... those teams will probably have the potential to meet before the Colts or Steelers see them (unless the Steelers end up in the 4 or 6 seed spots). I my guess would be that the Pats will be the most "flat" for their first game. (winner of 4/5 seed).
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Old 12-11-2007, 01:24 PM   #9
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Default Re: Steelers/Patriots II?

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Besides the Colts and the Steelers, I'd like to see what the Jags can do against the Pats in the Playoffs.... those teams will probably have the potential to meet before the Colts or Steelers see them (unless the Steelers end up in the 4 or 6 seed spots). I my guess would be that the Pats will be the most "flat" for their first game. (winner of 4/5 seed).
Try as I might Counselor I just cannot hate New England. I don't really hate any team to be truthful. Having watched football for many years now I can only marvel at what New England is doing and for the most part at the ease in how they're doing it.

To this point, week 13 or 13 games, I have not seen a team that looked this strong. They have had only about 3 close games which is unbelievable. To date they've played each of the other first place teams in the AFC and beat both San Diego and Pitt by more than 20 while beating Indy at home. In addition they beat Dallas at their home by more than 20 also. They've beat Cleveland who is in the playoff hunt and it wasn't even close. Buffalo who is in the playoff hunt has lost twice to them by lopsided scores.

I mean, those are some pretty good teams on your schedule to have remained unbeaten. I'm not going to research this but I think I read that the year the Dolphins went all the way but finished their season 14-0, that they played only one team that had a record of over .500 before their three playoff games. If that's accurate then compare that to what this Patriot team is doing and to think that before game 16 is over they're probably going to have put up the most points in the history of the NFL, the biggest point differential, while Brady throws for more TD's than anyone that has ever tossed a football in the NFL.

All this is hard not to admire. At least for me. If it happens I'm glad I was around to see it.

I think there are other teams that can beat them. Any team can be beaten. But it's going to have to come on that "given day." They are the best team this year. Every team and fan base that talks about weaknesses and blueprints has lost to them. Probably the three best teams, the 4 best if you want to include San Diego, have already played and lost to them. Indy, Pitt, Dallas, San Diego, put in any order you want. That group is 0-4 with two having lost at home.

The Patriots might have to do the unthinkable to go 19-0. And that's to beat three of those teams twice each in the same season. If that happens then anyone could not have a bone of objectivity to not say what they've accomplished is most probably the greatest thing ever done in the NFL. The hardest thing. There wouldn't be a close second for one season. I don't care how much someone hates them or Belichick.

Should be interesting. Six games to go and really only one true road game. Four at home. One in New York (Giants) . One at a neutral site.

I don't think you're going to see 'flat" New England team. Someone is going to have to go out and beat them.
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Old 12-11-2007, 01:50 PM   #10
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Default Re: Steelers/Patriots II?

They gotta get there first. That's all that needs to be said.
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