Talk amongst yourselves
Click here to buy PDF version.
Click here to buy PDF version
Like our page on Facebook and get Football Outsiders links directly in your Facebook feed.
Official Account: @fboutsiders
Scott Kacsmar: @FO_ScottKacsmar
Ben Muth: @FO_WordofMuth
Aaron Schatz: @FO_ASchatz
Vincent Verhei: @FO_VVerhei
-- plus --
Ian Boyd: @Ian_A_Boyd
Bill Connelly: @SBN_BillC
Cian Fahey: @Cianaf
Brian Fremeau: @bcfremeau
Tom Gower: @ThomasGower
Bryan Knowles: @BryKno
Rivers McCown: @RiversMcCown
Chad Peltier: @CGPeltier
Andrew Potter: @BigHairyAndy
Rob Weintraub: @robwein
Carl Yedor: @CarlYedor61
This thread is for in-game discussion of Saturday's two playoff games: Pittsburgh-Indianapolis and Carolina-Chicago.
You can find discussion of the Saturday second round games here.
First! Go Bears! No disrespect intended to the Patriots of course.
1/6 of a genuflect
How dare you disrespect the Patriots by not including them in both discussions!
And in other news, I really need to remove that link from my posts.
you people making fun of the patriots are getting coal in their stockings next christmas!
NO RESPECT I TELL YA! >:(
5: Blame Tom Brady (genuflect).
Less than 24 hours until KickOff........
Here in Israel Middle East TV is showing the first three games, but due to the late hour (3 AM here) will show the DEN-NE game twice. (Genuflect replay?)
The paper says that the IND-PIT game is on both METV and Fox. Now I have to get my wife to let me have the TV.
CAR-CHI on ESPN.
20 MINUTES UNTIL GAME DAY!
HERE WE GO STEELERS HERE WE GO!
WHAT TIME IS IT?!?
PITTSBURGH STEELER TIME PITTSBURGH STEELER TIME
PITTSBURGH STEELER, PITTSBURGH STEELER, PITTSBURGH STEELER
WITH A BASEBALL BAT PITTSBURGH STEELER, PITTSBURGH STEELER, PITTSBURGH STEELER WITH A BASEBALL BAT
PITTSBURGH STEELER TIME
PITTSBURGH STEELER TIME
BIG BEN, BIG BEN, BIG BEN, BIG BEN
HINES WARD, HINES WARD, HINES WARD, HINES WARD
THE BUS, THE BUS, THE BUS, THE BUS
DUCE STALEY, DUCE STALEY, DUCE STALEY, DUCE STALEY
IT'S PITTSBURGH STEELER TIME
IT'S PITTSBURGH STEELER TIME
The 96.1 morning show owns.
Steelers: 4.0 YPC, 139 YPG
Colts: 3.7 YPC, 106 YPG Rushing Defense:
Steelers: 3.4 YPC, 86 YPG
Colts: 4.4 YPC, 110 YPG
Roethlisberger: 8.9 YPA, 98.6 Rating
Manning: 8.3 YPA, 104.1 Rating
Steelers: 6.3 YPA, 74.0 Rating
Colts: 6.8 YPA, 83.0 Rating
I know its absolute blashphemy to give an award to a losing player/team, but that play by Watson was by far the best individual effort I have seen in the playoffs. Lets hope SUnday brings more of this :).
To add to EV (13) - Yards per passing attempt:
Israel, he said that.
Hm. How intriguing.
Note that according to DVOA, both teams faced a schedule that was below average in everything but passing offense, to about the same extent.
Vash, I cannot believe you posted that song above without genuflecting on Brady. You will burn in football hell (Arizona) for this.
Vash (16) - That's what happens when I am up all night with two games and then go straight to work the enxt morning. Fortunately I don't do anything that requires a high degree of precision and alertness.
While it was disapointing to not be able to access this site during half of the NE/Den game yesterday, I wanted to say congrats on becoming so darn popular. Oh, and please get an upgrade before the playoffs next year :).
5 hours to game time! Here we go Steelers, here we go!
Are Troy Aikman and that bloke that looks like Niles Crane calling the Panthers @ Bears game tonight?
Just heard on TV that the Bears tailgaters have jello shots at their tailgate.
BOLD SPORTSWRITER PREDICTION: The Bears will lose because their fans drink girly drinks.
Oh yeah, go Steelers!
As a Colts fan, I feel there is a need for some sort of equal coverage here...
Home teams: 18-4 (and counting) in the divisional playoffs in the last 6 years. How's about them apples? ;)
(Seriously, though. Here's hoping for an amazing game that's fun to watch. And a Colts win, of course.)
I got the Bears and Colts today, looking to go 4-0 for the weekend.
Troy Walters has a groin injury, and he may not be able to play.
Bears will be out Bryan Johnson, the starting FB and lead blocker for Thomas Jones.
Weather in Chicago:
40 degrees at gametime, but 20 mph winds.
#22 Maybe all of their fans are college kids under 21?
Jello shots? Weaaaaak.
Off to Primanti's.
See you ladies later.......
I think I just heard Mike Francesa on the NFL Now call a Bears WR "Mustafa Muhammad." Just wow.
LMAO! A Steelers fan just called and predicted "Steelers 21, Colts 10." Francesa told the guy he can host the show tomorrow if the Colts score 10 at home.
Here is hoping that the final is Colts 10 Steelers 0 then. (as a bonus I would win the spread and the under)
Sid: Amusingly, I have the Bears and Colts, too. Also going for 4-0 and 8-0 on the playoffs. How'd you do in the wild card?
I've gotta say, the Chicago weather is really letting the home side down... I mean, what is this? Middle of January, and it's a beautiful, mild, sunny day - you'd think it was October, for pity's sake. Where's the driving snow, the frozen turf, the howling lake winds? There's still time for it to get nasty, I suppose - Chicago weather is, after all, notoriously fickle, and there's almost five hours to go... but with the clear blue sky and chirping birds and gentle breeze, it sure doesn't seem like a blizzard's on the way. The Bears get shafted again, eh?
AN HOUR TILL KICKOFF!
what's up with all these silly Steelers pregame posts? Don't these people know that the 'wheels on the Bus go round and round'?
Heath Miller could have a real big game. He'll probably need to if the Steelers want to have a shot.
Now they're saying the wife stabbing Harper with a knife was just "playing around."
Harper will start.
Note to self: do not teach kids that knives are a toy. Especially when one of the breadwinners is a pro athlete.
I really can't wait to hear more about this. Some voodoo ritual involving KVO, I'm guessing.
I think Harper is officially one of the most bizarre news stories of the year.
Yes, up there with the Whizzinator.
I am on Field Pass, not TV. The guys say there are alot of Terrible Towels in the RCA Dome. Can someone confirm?
OK, quick predictions for tonight:
Colts 33 Steelers 20
Bears 13 Panthers 16
Did OK last night with Seahawks 26-10 (20-10) and Broncos 30-14 (27-13).
Need to Colts to win by 3+ from a financial perspective...
In all fairness, who hasn't accidentally stabbed their signifacant other while playing around with a knife? Heck, I've done it 4 or 5 times :-)
I like how they make a big deal about HDTV every game. I'm on a crappy old TV in Chicago, which has terrible reception. I have trouble reading NUMBERS when I'm charting, it's so bad. Hooray for HD!
Excellent fake reverse - Managed to get the ball all the way to the 16.
GO BEN GO
PIT seems to have suddenly come to their senses!
Heath Miller could have a real big game.
Re 41: The aanoucers on the Steelers radio broadcast estimated that there the same number of Steelers fans there today as there were at the last game in Indy. But they also noted that Steelers fans are holding their Terrible Towels by the corners rather than twirling them to make it look like there's more gold in the staduim. I'm not sure what that accomplishes though.
Who needs a running game?
steelers have come out with a similar approach to san diego when they played the colts
TOUCHDOWN ANTWAAN RANDLE EL
What a way to start that one.
Hey Aaron - I think Cowher read your preview.
Ben's passer rating 151.5.
Ben was nearly perfect on that drive. He was behind Randle El on the TD pass, and Antwaan dropped the opening pass, but it looked like Indianapolis was overwhelmed there.
And the Steelers start things off with a masterful drive. A Peyton Manning defense chokes in the playoffs again!
Very nice. Colts swarm, play the run the entire drive. They get tore up in the intermediate passing game.
This game might be different since the Steelers have a healthy Roethlisberger and practiced a silent count this week (Earlier they said the Steelers in their first game didn't practice a silent count once and the crowd noise really hurt them).
The Steelers this year seem to let up a couple deep pass plays a game.
Time to see if the Colts recognize that fact and just hurl it deep first play.
It's huge that PIT scored on that drive, because of the confidence factor (for Cowher, not the players).
Yay, now it's time to deal with Teret's Manning...
Uh, Tourette's, that is...
No, one of the papers wrote that that the Steelers have only given up four or five passes over forty yards all year and that includes Chad Johnnson in garbage time in the first game.
Did he just say that three men were shagging Harrison?
PIT D has been terrible against everything - run, pass - against everythiin Q1 of almost every game this year.
Throwing off the back foot? Who let the wrong Manning in the locker room today?
did enberg just say that three steelers were "shagging" marvin harrison?
that might explain a lot. :)
And the defense holds for one drive.
(writes in notebook: "game over")
3 and Out!! Could this actually become a good game?
#70: Stop. Now. Please.
ARE runs straight ahead on a punt return? Am I dreaming?
Just got in to watch the Colts go 3 and out. Was that their first series, and how did the Steelers move the ball?
how did the Steelers move the ball?
The old Pats strategy... put in the blocking tight end, and throw play action to him.
Ouch. Bad luck.
Sorry Steelers fans. Perhaps I should go out again...
Just as I was going to say the Colts can't get any pressure with their front four, Freeney comes through and hits Ben, causing him to throw a pick.
What a break for the Colts, things were looking like they could get ugly.
(erases notebook entry)
79, its not your fault.
We all know its 70s.
A: Where is that stat about Big Ben beinigbetter while under tackle now?
B: Did I jsut see Tommy Maddox smiling as Big BIen walked back to the bench, god I hate this guy more everytime I see him.
Ben's passer rating 108.1
Yeah, that sucks. Get hit from behind and the wobble goes right towards a defender. Let's see what Indy does with it.
#81 *suggests using word processor*
Just seen a replay, and Marvel Smith is still trying to get his bearings Freeny put a magnificent spin move on him.
And as I post about the spin move, Dierdorf shows it on commentary.
I think the spin move is the only "move" Dwight Freeney ever does.
Roethlisberger 7/9 for 95, Manning 0/4?
What the hell is going on here?
doesn't freeney also do a good "liability against the run"?
Ah.. there's the stupid dancing Randle El we all know and hate...
But he got lucky, and there was penalty on Indy, so it's all good.
#89: It is. I see a lot of linemen just push him back and let him spin. He's overrated because teams seem to not pay attention.
Granted, he is very talented. But I'd take Peppers or a couple others any day.
RE 89, Freeney said as much in an interview. It's either a speed rush to the outside or a spin to the inside. Can't fault him for using what works, I guess.
Don't get scared Bill - just keep throwing the ball.
I'm not sure, but I think the garbage stat about PIT passing in Q1 arises from them throwing so few passes in Q1 (unless near the goal, in which case they count for TDs)
I love Dick Enberg....announcers like Him, Keith Jackson, Al Michaels, Harry Kalas (phillies fan here) that I have been listening to since I was a kid cannot be allowed to die.
Shades of Troy Edwards in the '02 AFC Championship.
the Colts are playing as if someone stabbed them in the knee
I love the call to Dan Kreider so the safeties can't get up to make the stop.
Mr. Wife Beater is down.
Looks like she got her revenge.
Long pass, and a penalty!
WTF? Face mask on the DEFENSE?
the Colts are being punished for disrespecting NE
George, they will NEVER call an offensive face mask; not that Ward grabbed him, just pushed the mask.
The 1st quarter steelers thing is more that the Steelers establish a lead early on and then control the game with short safer plays and runs and defense.
All those picks after the 1st quarter are probably more a result of games where they have to play catch up.
The way Parker is running, I think we'll see a lot of the Bus.
(rewrites notebook entry)
Any questions? (part deux)
Bob Oates has been saying for two years that if PIT just ran the NE offense, they would be unstoppable.
Ben is 120.5.
Vash - Ward grabbed a heckuva lot more facemask than Sanders did. If that's a 15 yarder on the defense, then they should have been offsetting.
Bob Oates has been saying for two years that if PIT just ran a pass-first offense, Roethlisberger would be unstoppable.
Agree with that. Not even Parker can match the Colts' speed, especially when the guys are in the backfield so quickly.
While Ward was pushing on the defender's face mask, the defender (Sanders) reached for Ward's. Probably should have been a 5 not a 15 though.
Harper's knee looked like it was going to hurt whether or not he had been stabbed. Ouch, bent sideways more than it should have.
Wow. Just impressive work by Big Ben so far. His passes have been spot on, both on fades and hard throws. Wow. I'm really impressed.
On D, I'm not as impressed by the Steelers as I'm unimpressed by Manning. He's bouncing around, happy feet, doing bad throws, miscommunication - yikes. They're not looking good out there.
Hats off to the Steelers. Last night I watched NFL Matchup, and this was basically exactly what they said they needed to do to beat the Colts - come out, pass, keep pressure off Ben and put pressure on. Basically what Aaron said. Looks like it's coming true.
Wow, did Reed actually put one in the endzone?
And a sack of Manning!
Nice start! The how-to-win, the Steelers way.
Miller is boiling.
(no disrespect to the Patriots of course)
See Vanderjagt? THAT'S why they want somebody else to do the kickoffs.
And KVO gets to the QB.
The speed of the game is very high right now. Roesthlisberger is playing masterfully, but if the Colts can keep playing at this speed, I see more turnovers coming. They are definitely getting through the line and applying pressure, which he's been handling well, but you don't keep handling it well forever.
Manning looks very rusty. His throws aren't just off, they're way off, and his mechanics have looked bad on a few of them. He's going to need to shake it off pretty quickly.
And that's why you go straight ahead.
And why the Colts are so bad on returns.
So wait.. which Manning is playing today??
#122: I'm not sure it's rust. the Pats and the Chargers both got to him, shook him up, and he turned into "just" a good quarterback. The trick, it seems, is to throw in 5-man rushes at odd angles. That's what I saw from the Chargers in all the highlights of pressure they put on him, at least, and I'm pretty sure that's what Belichik did most of the time when they kept playing them.
That and bizzare 2-linemen formations.
3 and out
3 and out
5 and out
3 and out
I wonder if the Colts had a stretch like that ever in the regular season
WE WANT SORGI!!
OBVIOUS pass interference uncalled.
Does anyone really think the Colts won't at least make it interesting. This game has the makings of being one to remember
Want blown PI call, Pats fans? There you go. Even the announcers called it.
Manning isn't great, but is his line normally this bad? Thet're getting whipped right now.
Holy crap, Nick Harper's back in the game?
I thought his knee got McGahee'd!
This is the reverse of the Pats game crew here.
Uncalled blatant PI, earlier on 3rd and 3, Randal El was clearly grabbed and nearly tackled and it was uncalled.
so this is what the back of the woodshed looks like.
126: Colts @JAX:
Colts Drive Chart
Began # of
15:00 5:44 IND 24 12 54 Interception
06:09 1:00 IND 30 3 9 Punt
00:40 0:51 IND 32 3 9 Punt
10:40 1:04 IND 10 3 4 Punt
06:28 1:57 IND 20 6 26 Punt
02:21 0:50 IND 27 3 9 Punt
12:43 2:04 IND 8 6 7 Punt
06:59 2:20 IND 29 5 18 Punt
02:26 8:59 IND 12 17 88 Touchdown
05:41 3:51 IND 43 9 34 Field Goal
Diedorf says "the ball floated..."
I say it was a bad decision to throw to Wilson and he's lucky not to be picked again. Terrific punt coverage BTW.
And their first 4 drives @SD:
Began # of
12:16 1:13 IND 15 3 -5 Punt
09:13 0:55 IND 25 2 -3 Interception
08:18 2:02 IND 26 3 8 Punt
01:56 1:41 IND 11 3 7 Punt
Yes. As I have said for 3 years, the Colts O-line is really that bad. They have gotten dominated by quality defensive lines regularly.
The bigger problem right now for the Colts, though, is that the receivers can't get open. Other than the Harrison crossing route (and what the hell was the one hand garbage on an easily catchable ball?), I haven't seen an open receiver.
Gardocki is awesome, but every time he punts, we have to hear about his never having had a punt blocked. Give it a rest already.
Anyway, Parker has had one successful run the whole game, I believe. He's getting stuffed repeatedly.
Good thing Ben didn't complete that pass to Tuman, or the Steelers would've lost like 3 yards.
Finally, it's looking a little like the SD game.
Could I get some credit for my contention that Manning tends to struggle more against 34 defenses?
Actually, I think it was the only throw he had there. Lower, it hit the under cover man. It was a risky throw, and it was a close play for both the offence and defence.
HE PUT THE BALL DOWN BEFORE HIS KNEE HIT! SOMEONE PICK IT UP!
anyone point out that after aaron schatz's article in the new york times today about the colts' strategy of not blitzing, they get burned big by blitzing on 3rd and 10 (huge reception by hines ward, setting up the 2nd TD)? somewhere TMQ has a huge smile...
Well, the defense played well for a quarter....
WOW GOOD CALL MANNING STRUGGLES VS 3-4 ESPN HASN'T BEEN RUNNING THAT NONSTOP EVERYTIME THEY PLAY A 3-4 TEAM.
135 - I was thinking of that game too, but was too lazy to look up the drives... thanks.
Re 125: I'm sticking with the rust argument. His mechanics were off on throws even when there wasn't someone right in Manning's face. On this drive, he's been setting up better and the ball is no longer getting away from him on his throws. I suspect Manning will be throwing accurately for the rest of the game.
His line is absolutely getting whipped, though.
Thought there should have been a late hit there
Huge diference between 3 and 7 here...
I've only just tuned in, but the Colts look like they've made some adjustments (give James some runs, through to TEs: beat the blitz) and are hammering them pretty hard.
(PS: thought the commentators saying james had 3 carries for 5 yards and hence was shut down was pretty stupid)
I like how PIT gains 2 yarsd on the 'equivalent' penalties.
On a related note, why is defensive holding 5 or 15 yards, while offensive holding is 10?
That last post may not have made much sense.
What I meant was - have the colts changed the playcalling to shorter stuff (Manning seemed pretty harrased on the only other colts drive i saw), or has the exectution just improved?
That's lame. Only half the distance on the PIT penalty, so after a false start and an offside, it's further away.
Maybe they should change the rules so that the false start on the offense there would only be penalized however much it is possible for the defense to be penalized. Or something like that, that equalizes the effects of the penalties.
It's a combination of adjustments and Manning settling down. He just wasn't throwing accurately on the first three or so series. The Colts defense is playing pretty well, honestly, but Roethlisberger has been superb.
Wow, that was a terrible play to run on 3rd and goal.
Holding Indy to a FG there was huge.
That defensive offsides really hurt the Colts. It took it down to the two-minute warning, meaning keeping the clock running had some value, and gave Indy a shot to score with a running play.
Should that have been 2 down territory there?
Boo. Pre-snap, it looked like James could have run up the middle.
What the steelers need now is to get points on this final drive and punch them in the gut. Then, hopefully, the customary steelers second-half defence-getting-better will be able to stop the late-game Manning-going-berserk.
Disappointing 3rd down call....but the field goal IMO was the right call in this case.....psychologically they couldnt have gotten no points from that drive
1. I don't think it's fair that a penalty on the defense is 1/2 the distance if it follows a penalty on the offense. Let the offense get back to where it first started.
2. What is Indy doing kicking a field goal?
I really like the officials' seemingly conscious decision to just let them play today.
No weird personal fouls, not a lot of penalties called in general.
I normally don't like Dierdorf, but he's calling a pretty good game here.
If you're catching a screen 3-4 yards behind the line of scrimmage with 1:20 left in the half, why not just drop the ball?
THROW DA BOMB
It's pretty weak that they just sat on the ball after the penalty. Show some balls, Cowher.
Man, I wish more teams would try Hail Mary's at the end of the first half. Let the clock tick down low so if there's a pick or something, there's little or no time left to do anything, and then just air it out.
Right call by Steelers on running out the clock in the 1st half
#165: I was thinking the same thing.
Ben is 105.6 for the half.
Manning is 71.8.
Okay, Indy settled down and started doing what they do right. That looked a lot more like what I was expecting. This is very reminiscent of the SD game, except that Indy appears to have woken up a lot earlier.
Still astounding and impressive work by Big Ben and co. Especially Big Ben - he's been under pressure almost all day and has been acccurate and good with most of his throws.
I think it might be a mistake by the Steelers to not try to score at the end of the half. If they would have called timeout after that third down play by the Colts, they would have had 1:55 and two timeouts to get more points. Against this Colts offense, I would want to be up by as much as possible.
How about an onside kick to start the second half? Whaddya guys think?
That was a good call.
Also, how did the ref miss that blatant pass interference on Randle El? He was right there!
The refs have been pretty bad this postseason. Reminiscent of the MLB playoffs.
#172: Agreed. I'm sitting here with one of the best defences in the league, which is awesome in the second half, with an offence that has looked great when it wasn't interfered with, and I'm still terrified.
The Colts are amazing.
Oh, no. We're getting not enough Bronco's respect now.
What's Champ's number, so we can genuflect approriately?
Re: your 3-4 contention.
It is really about the linemen, not the scheme. If you could point out games where Manning had lots of time and couldn't locate receivers who were open, you would have evidence that the scheme was the critical element.
What we have seen, however, is an offense that struggles when the offensive line gets the crap kicked out of it. San Diego, Miami in 2003, New England in the playoffs -- the common element is a great pass rush from the down linemen. And of course, when you can't handle the linemen, blitzers get there even easier.
There is one thing about the 3-4, though. The teams which run it seem to have DEs playing on the offensive tackles who are very strong and much more physical than the players who play DE in most 4-3 defenses (more often speed rushers). The Colts are a finesse offensive line. They get manhandled by stronger, more physical lines. Perhaps any connection you see to the 3-4 is really a function of the type of linemen who keep having position meetings on top of a pile with 18 at the bottom.
I'm headed to the gym to sweat away some irritation.
"really like the officialsâ€™ seemingly conscious decision to just let them play today. No weird personal fouls, not a lot of penalties called in general."
Are you watching the same game I am? Colts are getting hammered by the flags. Pitt did have the no call PI, but Indy had the Phantom FM. So totally blown calls are one for each team at this point.
The background music to Punt/Pass/Kick is Chameleon. I played that as a request at a gig once. What a great song.
I don't know if I equate a possible phantom false start with a no-call on a 35 yard pass that essentially took at least 3 pts off the board.
178: The replay showed an OBVIOUS facemask. Were you watching it, or were you too busy typing?
I thought Polomalu caught that tip under the new rules... it didn't move after it hit the ground... he controlled it all the way?
One of Manning's calls at the line sounded like "96 Cowboys...hut"
That was the kind of defensive start the Steelers needed after letting Indy march the length of the field for that FG.
Now, the offensive really needs to get a score. They haven't done much since the first two TDs.
OK, the Colts offense struggles against the 3-4. Part of it is the line, and part of it is Manning. Blame is always shared.
I just feel like my contention is borne out again and again.
Noooo, stop calling for respect for the Broncos. Keep them "under the radar" until the day after the Super Bowl.
178, 181: There were two obvious facemasks in that play.
I think it was "96 Double"
It's cruicial for the Colts that the Steelers don't score here.
B: Yes, it did look a lot like offencive facemask. Of course, that's called maybe twice a year, so calling for it is really silly, especially when the other guy is using the facemask to push him out. That's why it was a 15 yarder instead of a 5.
Ok, I hate to say it, but it's time to get away from Parker with regards to the running game. He can't get anywhere when the backfield is in his face instantly. At least Bettis can run some of those guys over.
Please leave Bettis in. Please.
Steelers driving in their opening possession of 2nd half.
Waiting for a trick play here...
what if Joey Porter was right?
That was hilarious.
The electronic first-down line just came up over a picture of the crowd.
Transition to announcers talking about "Barry Froster".
Bettis wouldn't get past all these Colts in the backfield. Parker is doing alright.
That's a pretty bad early whistle... stupid QBs
Big stand by the Indy D.
You want to save Bettis for the 4th quarter. He's your closer. Running him now would tire him.
Nice helmet lead on a QB that's on the ground.
197: Recovered by Miller anyway.
Ben is 103.8.
That "phantom" FM was worth a whopping 7 yards.
I was 2-1. I didn't pick TB-WAS, but I did pick the Giants for my loss.
It's amazing how you can always count on Gardocki's streak being mentioned repeatedly every Steelers game. The radio guys, the TV guys, everyone.
RE: The facemask call early on. I agree that it should've gone against Ward, but the WRs always seem to get the benefit of the doubt.
He never went forward! That's a safety!
Field position though...
An open field runner doesn't get the benefit of the doubt... in fact a lot of times if they are getting pushed back and falling it's ruled a fumble.
It's a little inconsistent as the crew normally calls foward progress for clock purposes well, but not on fumbles like that.
Time to see what this Colts O can do!
That was a SAFETY!
Why not Challenge?!?!?!
Colts get lucky. Steelers get field position.
204: Have you ever seen a facemask called for a stiff-arm? I haven't.
Replay shows it was a good call by the ref. But oh so close. Randle El ran FORWARD on the return. Amazing.
Okay guys, you've got to score on this drive.
Looked like the ball was barely over the plane when Manning was hit... how come the ref gave the offense the benefit of the doubt?
I remember seeing Emmitt Smith get called for a facemask on a stiff arm in '94 or so, but that's the only one that I've seen.
Wow, Colts are officially up you-know-what creek, not sure if they brought a paddle. This would be reason #8,563 why I don't gamble.
Oh, are Bettis's parents in the stands? I had no idea.
I disagree with Dierdorf that it wasn't a safety, but on the other hand, aside from the 2 points, both plays would have had the same result.
In fact, you can even argue that the two points won't matter much, so I can understand Cowher for not challenging.
With all that said, the Colts are effectively screwed.
207: It would have pushed the Steelers back 5 yards. It was a 28-yard punt that put Indy at the 9.
I think I need to see some more shots of Bettis' parents in order to feel satisfied.
GO BUSSIE GO
Writing g-a-m-e in my notebook...
The wheels on the bus...
Even the wife and the friend love Bettis, and they're Packers and Redskins fans, respectively.
Anyone think that the Colts will stop Bettis here? 21-3 leaves the Colts a mountain to climb.
I started this game rooting for the Colts, but they're looking totally incompetent right now. I'm actually starting to enjoy the meltdown...
At the very least, the guys in the media who said the Steelers had no chance will have to shut up (even if Indy wakes up). Especially the ones who said the Steelers couldn't win if Ben threw more than 20 times a game. I'm amazed at how well the Steelers are playing.
Bad time for Indy's O-line and D-line to melt down.
Touchdown Bettis! Oh man, Lil'Ronnie must be so bummed right now. :(
More domestic fun:
Me: "Wow, Cowher actually looks happy."
Me: "... you have a point."
Touchdown John Henry Johnson!
I've seen it called a few times when the offensive player grabs the facemask like that. I'm not talking about a typical stiff arm. The Hines Ward play was not a normal stiff arm.
oh goody. we get to see the manning face 2 weeks in a row. i am a happy man
It's a good think the Colts have a good defense to finally go with their great offense....
Pittsburgh came into this game ridiculously well-prepared.
When you think about it, though, it makes sense. As soon as they grabbed the #6 seed, they knew they'd play Indy if they won their first game. So they effectively had two weeks to get ready. Indy only had one.
I don't know about the Steelers 0, but Francesa must be sweating if he has any recollection at all of what he said.
Someone needs to make these media clowns back it up. Salisbury needs to walk to Washington naked, and Francesa needs to let this Pitt fan host the show.
A lot of these Colts turnovers are debatable, but they sure are getting the benefit of the doubt with officials calling things down and incomplete and such instead of fumbles.
That drive, IND knew that Ben wasn't going to throw the ball, and they still didn't sell out until the goal line. What is Dungy thinking?
I admit I should lose my Man Card for not realizing the Steelers-Colts game was at 1 p.m. instead of 4:30 p.m., but WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON HERE? 21-3?
Looked like a fumble on the kickoff.
If the officials are going to call an offensive player on top of another player "not down" when he pops in for a TD or gains positive yardage, why aren't they consistent and calling it "not down" when he fumbles while on top of another player?!
Officiating in the NFL has sucked all year... and it's going to ruin the playoffs...
Ahhhh..... Soooo close to a pick....
Nice play, Troy.
Manning just kicked the punt team off the field.
Manning is overruling Dungy. What just happened?
I guess we just saw why Polumalu doesn't do double duty as a wide-out...
Manning has bigger you-know-what's than Dungy... wow!
Indy has to be the only team in the NFL where the QB can overrule the coach on 4th down without even having a conversation.
Big call by Manning to overrule his Head Coach. If they don't get this, it's over.
And they pick it up. Brave, brave call. Manning earned that one I think.
I know it worked, but I can't believe a QB flat-out contradicted his coach like that. I'm sorry, that's giving too much authority to a player. Dungy and him had better have words after this drive, no matter what happens.
That is a playoff moment right there. Wow.
I didn't think going for it was the right descision there, you have the whole 4th quarter, and your defense has been good if they don't have a short field to defend.
Well, Tourette's waves off the punt team, and completes the pass to convert on 4th down.
If they hadn't converted....
234: I was just looking back at that.
Looks like they may have a new guest host.
Even though it worked, I can't believe Dungy let his quarterback overrule him. Who's in charge here?
Smart choice by Manning. But if I were Dungy, I'd be pissed at my QB doing that.
Manning's right, the Colts almost had no choice but to go for it.
Tony Dungy just got punked by his quarterback. What other team in the league would so completely and obviously disregard their HC like that?
Holy Crap, that whole sequence with Manning and the punt team was amazing. As a Steeler supporter, I don't know whether to be impressed or confused or upset or all three.
Well that was exciting. To go from the shotgun on 4&2 though.. bit of Manning arrogence there..
Have you seen the Colts this season? Peyton overrules Dungy all the time. And he has to- Dungy doesn't have the guts to make the calls necessary to win in the playoffs. That's why Tampa got rid of him.
Alright, all of you thinking that girl in the Colts' jersey looks 10, raise your hands.
Umm.... why didn't they do this at halftime?
On the other hand, maybe it slows down the Colts O after converting the 4th down...
Do you think the NFL muted the crowd noise on the Punt, Pass, Kick winners?
One of the joys of watching it in the past was seeing the home team boo kids wearing an opposing team jersey....
Yes, let's kill the momentum right now and introduce the kids. Criminy. What do we have a halftime for?
Wow, Indy needed that one.
6 on that blitz. Too many. Use the 5-man blitz, LeBeau. Use the 5-man blitz!
I don't think we're done here just yet.
TD Dallas Clark. Manning overrules Dungy on 4th & 2, and 2 plays later he throws the TD to Clark. Game On!
OH MY GOD-
If the Colts somehow manage to pull this off, that play is going to replayed on highlight reels forever. The Legend of Manning has just been made.
And now it's a TD Colts.
Brandon Stokely... you are no longer the fastest white Indianapolis Colt...
What a play!
Manning has turned into the Incredible Hulk.
"Punt Team make Hulk angry! Hulk throw far! Hulk crush puny football team!"
Whether the Colts win or not, anyone care to guess whether or not the 4th & 2 will make TMQ this week?
And if this is 4th & inches Cowher has his own decision to make.
It's only five yards, but that was just ATROCIOUS officiating right there. I mean that takes the cake.
That Manning Moment reminded me ever so slightly of the Elway helicopter 3rd-down scramble in Super Bowl XXXII, after which I said: "You know, I think Elway might want to win this game."
How can you not call any penalty on the 4th and 1?
Colts got screwed...
Brave call by Cowher as well. Has this just turned into an "I'm a bigger swinging dick than you" contest?
I'm sure by the time this post appears, the sentiment will have been repeated many times, but what a truly bizarre and horrible piece of officiating. If it's really true that none of the Colts D-linemen made contact, then there has to be a flag thrown when Starks stands up out of his stance, and then you can decide whether he was drawn into the false start. The one thing you can't do is pretend nothing happened.
I think it is fair to say that NFL refs are afraid to make calls against home teams during the playoffs.
I will try to get numbers for you, but that 4th and inches offsides thing was silly.
Jerome Bettis REALLY is incredible at getting the extra yard.
Wow, Sergeant Slaughter's decided to grow a pair. I'm impressed.
NFL officials are so incompetent... the Steelers should've punted by now!
#278--c'mon this is a perfectly fair, equitable solution. For a Pop Warner game...
I'm hoping for 21-10, just for the sake of what happens with the guy who made the prediction in #31.
The officials' approach on that 4th and inches reminded me of hockey refs waiving players out of a face-off. But's that's a legitimate option in hockey.
is the punt/pass/kick competition only open to white kids?
I doubt Cowher goes for this one.
I understand Cowher's Cowher, but how can you *not* call a play action there?
that 4th and 1 play was many things, but a no-call was NOT one of them
Good delay of game there. Is somebody on the Steelers' staff reading FO?
I thought it was a smart play by the Steelers RG, to stand up as if drawn.
Their LG did flinch though (which I didn't see initially).
I've never seen officials change their flag after they have a conference though (the PI penalty yesterday... the side-judge didn't throw a flag... he was closest to the play).
I'm glad the Steelers took the Delay of Game penalty. I really don't understand the whole "wait till 1 second, then call timeout" thing. What's the problem with simply snapping the ball with the playclock at 1?
All the shots of Colts sideline personnel make them look like they've essentially given up on this game - this kind of "been there, done that" face.
Tony Dungy's looked like he was about to cry since Manning blew him off.
I know this is an incredibly subjective, non-FO thing to say, but this really does just strike me as a team of losers. They need someone like Marvin Lewis to come in and "change the culture." I hate to be another guy piling on the Colts, but those sideline shots were pathetic.
Does Marvin Harrison have ANY friends? I mean people who enjoy his company, and just like hanging out with him?
(272) for Post of the Year.
Rolling on the ground is a football move?
To be fair, he lost the football because he accidentally kicked it with his knee, not because he didn't have control.
Nice interception, Troy, but really, you're the last person I'd ever want to see running with the ball.
Paging Tee Martin, paging Tee Martin .......
Ugh. Okay, 7 minutes left. 11 points is not a good enough lead for this. When they get the ball back, they need to play to win, not play against the clock.
I LOVE YOU POLAMALU. You can't overturn that. If anything is a football move, it's rolling on the ground after catching a ball to retain posession.
At the risk of starting a pointless 'Peyton Manning can't win the big games' debate, he has an opportunity to put that canard to rest here.
And I find myself agreeing with Dan Dierdorf. 8 & 9 in the box to stop Bettis; not a bad time for play-action.
As I write, Manning gets picked. Let that conversation begin. :(
Our offensive line expert was disappointed and underwhelmed by the Oakland Raiders in their loss to Kansas City last weekend.
See All XP | NFL XP | College XP
© Football Outsiders, Inc. // Site powered by Stein-Wein // Partner of USA TODAY Sports Digital Properties