Monday, September 19, 2005

Witness Protection Program

David Carr meet Troy Polamalu. I don't think I've ever said this about a Steelers game, but god was this boring. I'm not complaining, but I really don't have a lot to write because it was so uneventful, and the Texans seemed to give up after about fifteen minutes.

And man, I admit that I haven't caught a lot of Texans games the last few seasons, but David Carr stinks. For all the bad press Joey Harrington gets, he can't hold a candle to Carr being so consistently bad. Of course, there's a really good chance that this guy is perpetually punch drunk due to the fact that he's been sacked more times in his four-year career than Heather Graham in "Boogie Nights."

(As soon as I write this, I take a look at Harrington's stats for Sunday and they compare very favorably to Steve McNair's:
               CP/AT    YDS  TD  INT
S. McNair 19/36 195 1 0
J. Harrington 19/37 196 1 5
Oh right, except for the small issue of Harrington throwing five picks. Other than that, he's the spitting image. OK, maybe we should just agree that both Harrington and Carr probably aren't the long-term answers for their respective teams.)

Back to Carr ... And when he's not getting sacked, he's running out of bounds for a loss, fumbling, or making really bad decisions down the field. If you don't consider all that stuff, Carr's destined for Canton. Having offensive linemen who seem to be wearing cement boots probably doesn't help your sack totals either, which explains why Carr ended up on his bum eight different times Sunday, and Polamalu was responsible for three of them.

And as long as I'm talking about the Texans, how's that trade for Phillip Buchanan working out? God, that guy's overrated. Unless, of course, getting turned around on every obvious passing down, and subsequently giving up big plays, is all part of his master plan. Otherwise, the Raiders got the better end of that trade. On the upside, former Steeler, Kris Brown, did have a touchback on a kickoff. So there's your silver lining in Monday's film session.

Oh yeah, the Steelers. After Week 2, I really don't have any idea how good this team is. Either their the 1972 Miami Dolphins, or they're a pretty good team that played two really crappy opponents to start the season. (By the way, I'm not convinced the Titans are actually a "crappy" team; like I told my buddy Andy during the game, if Steve McNair played for the Ravens, they'd probably go undefeated. As it stands, he doesn't; and Boller and Anthony Wright do, which is why that hapless bunch is 0-2 after getting housed two weeks in a row. In fact, if you want to see how restless the natives are, take a look.)

Whatever the case, Pittsburgh is 2-0, their 3rd string RB has rushed for 100-plus yards in both games, their second year QB is 23-33 for 472 yards, four TDs and no picks, and their stable of short wideouts are finding ways to get open down the field. And even though the run-defense doesn't look as sharp as they did last season, they've still only given up 14 points. Fourteen.

And I guess it's a good thing for the Texans that Roethlisberger's knee was a little sore, because if he was 100%, he might have completed all 21 of his pass attempts and avoided the only real hit he's taken all season -- you know, the one that might land him on "Jacked Up" that took place right before the end of the first half. Bum knee or not, Roethlisberger made a lot of good throws, especially on the deep balls, even if the Texans' defensive backs don't actually believe in covering people. As long as Houston is looking for bright spots, their ploy to make Pittsburgh wear their black uniforms in the 100 degree Texas heat probably saved them from losing by 34 points, instead of 20. That two touchdown difference could come into play if the Texans are tied for a playoff spot at the end of the season and total points allowed is the tie breaker (you know, this is the rationale Norman Einstein used last week when the Ravens kept calling timeouts with 1:35 on the clock, down 24-0).

And while everybody was ready to put Willie Parker in the Hall of Fame after last week's performance against the Titans, I think one of the most impressive things about this guy is that even when a play breaks down, he finds a way to get back to the line of scrimmage. Amos Zereoue was notorious for putzing around in the backfield, and that coupled with offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey's penchant for calling triple-reverses on third and three, led to a lot of long yardage situations. Parker's also a good blocker, which is a pretty important part of his job.

I didn't get a chance to see any of the Pats-Panthers game, but from looking at the stats, New England wasn't able to run the ball (while giving up 100 yards) for the second week in a row. It'll be interesting to see how they decide to attack the Steelers' defensively. If the AFC Championship game was any indication, I'm guessing the Pats' defense will again drop eight guys into coverage and try and force Roethlisberger into bad decisions. The only problem is some dude named Willie Parker. Draw plays and screens to #39 could very easily throw a monkey wrench into any defensive game plan that involves rushing only three defenders. I'm guessing that Bill Belichick doesn't need my advice on such matters.

Well, last year at this time, a lot of people (myself included) thought the Steelers were headed for a repeat of the 2003 season. Maddox was down for two months, the rookie QB was in, and Pittsburgh was just blown out by the Ravens. Fast forward 52 weeks and the Steelers have reeled off two of the easiest wins I can remember, and the Ravens are in last place in the AFC North. The Steelers will get their first test of the season this weekend, and I'm guessing it will be anything but boring ... although I'd certainly welcome it.