Sunday, November 2, 2008

One for the other hand?

My wife has done such a good job blogging about the Penguins that it may appear that we have forgotten about that other team in town. We have not. That’s why there’s a stack of Terrible Towels sitting by the living room chair, and somewhere in this house there’s a novelty football that says “Here we go, Steelers, here we go!” and plays a rather annoying, generic fight song.

While much has been made of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ loss to the New York Giants, the Steelers still have a legitimate shot to win it all this year. If they don’t, they should get a special award for leading the AFC North at this juncture without the benefit of an offensive line.

Almost all the pieces of a championship team are in place. We have Ben Roethlisberger, perhaps the best quarterback in the game. He manages to keep his head and connect with receivers despite being on track to being sacked 75 times this season. I wonder how long he can take that kind of punishment.

Mewelde Moore has been the most pleasant surprise this year, as he has kept the running game going even though the backfield has been devastated by injuries. Signed mainly for special teams duty, Moore has managed to make some big runs in each game since Willie Parker was injured.

Then there is the defense. The Steelers defense has been a sack-fest of a good kind, as LaMarr Woodley has come to the forefront to join James Harrison and James Farrior as one of the NFL’s best defenses at stopping the run. Add to that the great Troy Polamalu, who can get to any spot on the field in an instant, and certainly has the league’s coolest hairdo.

The season isn’t easier from here, although it doesn’t look as hard as many pundits thought back in September. Tomorrow night’s opponents are the Washington Redskins, whom many people are picking as the NFC champion (although they did lose to the St. Louis Rams). Add to that the Colts, Chargers, Patriots and Cowboys, and you have a homestretch that doesn’t look like it’ll break the Steelers, but isn’t chopped liver, either. Who would have thought at the season’s beginning that the most formidable opponent on the schedule would be the Tennessee Titans?

Right now, the spotlight is on the Titans and the Giants, but a Steelers Super Bowl is not out of the question. Remember that, at this point in the 2005 season, the Steelers were also 5-2.

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