The Wheelchair Curtain Strikes Back!
Random Rants by PalmerSucks
In my pre-season commentary I discussed the ages of the Stiller core defensive players � a factor I felt would weigh on their performance this season. After the beating the team absorbed at the hands of the Ravens in game one, it seemed that age was the topic on everybody�s tongue. Warren Sapp, for example, called the Stillers �old, slow and over.� Even the local Pittsburgh media � the same crew which had predicted the Stillers would have little trouble handling Baltimore -- got in on the act.
Old, slow and over? �Really now � is there no respect for the elderly anymore?
I guess not � and so I�d like to propose a name for this lovable band of black-and-gold geriatrics: the �Wheelchair Curtain.� Anyone with artistic talent out there, feel free to steal the idea, because I�d love to see a �wheelchair� banner hanging at Heinz.
Last week, the Wheelchair Curtain got to face the Seattle Seahawks and Tarvaris Jackson, the next best thing to a bye week. The old guys pitched a shutout, shutting up the critics for at least one week. But again, that was against T-Jack, who won�t be reminding anyone of T-Brad or P-Man anytime soon. Nonetheless, at least for now, the jokes stop � for how long, we�ll have to see.
And now for our rants:
--The strength of the Stillers, as discussed in the pre-season commentary, lies with Roethlisberger and his terrific group of WRs. That�s another way of saying the season depends on what kind of offensive line play the team gets. Give Ben time, you�ve got a chance. Get Ben killed, say goodbye to the season. Sunday the line performed better than it did opening day, which isn�t saying much. The Stillers scored 24 points, which isn�t bad, but considering the yardage and field position advantages, could have been better. As I said in the pre-season commentary, demonstrating the ability to score in the 30s is a MUST for this offense, which will have to shoulder the load � particularly when the defense goes up against the Green Bays and New Englands of the league.
--In other news:
Baltimore Ravens: Week One Champions of the World!!!!!!
We are the champions, my friend
And we�ll keep on fighting to the end
We are the champions, we are the champions
No time for losers, �cause we are the champions
Of week one!
Yep, you could just about hear the singing in Baltimore after the drubbing the Ravens laid on the Stillers. Rumor has it Ray Rice was listed as doubtful for the Titans game, having tripped on the confetti at the victory parade.
Welcome to the Ravens, the team that suffered a Super Bowl hangover � in week two.
But who could blame them, considering the behavior of the sports media, who jump on and off bandwagons like hobos. Reading the local Pittsburgh papers before game one, it was clear the Ravens were the Stillers� bitches, and would pose no threat to win. The P-G was full of talk about the �new Houston Oilers� and all that other brilliant stuff. Yep, Baltimore had been conquered, gutted and stuffed � until the ass-kicking turned out to be delivered to the wrong cheeks.
Next thing you know, the national media are all over the Ravens� jocks, with ESPN doing most of the drooling. They certainly weren�t alone, however: here�s no less than Brian Billick gushing over the boys after the big win:
�The way the Ravens beat down the Steelers, given the normally close nature of these games, cannot be overstated,� wrote Billick, who has worked as an analyst for FOX and NFL Network since he was fired in 2007. �I'm on record as saying this might be the best Ravens team ever, and I still might have underestimated them.�
Really Brian? The �11 guys are better than your �00 squad, which actually won a ring? You know, back when Ray Lewis was actually in his prime? Really? Really?
Anyway, you know what happens next: the Titans smack down Baltimore, and all of a sudden the Ravens just aren�t that good after all. You gotta love it. Meanwhile, the Stillers whip a lame Seattle team, and all of a sudden they�re �back.� Moral of the story: stop listening to the dumb sports media.
--The Ravens said all the right things after the game. They tried to talk down their win, as if it didn�t mean more than any other victory over any other team. But really now, are you buying it? I know I�m not.
One play said it all � the blast that Ravens� LB Jarrett Johnson laid on Hines Ward off a shovel screen. As Ward came across the line, Johnson sniffed it out and was waiting � to knock Ward into the next zip code.
A play like that could have resulted ONLY from hours (and hours and hours) of meticulous film study. First of all, when was the last time the Stillers ran a shovel pass? Certainly the formation couldn�t have been that familiar � unless, say, you had been spending most of your off-season studying a particular opponent. Clearly the Ravens had been stewing all off-season, obsessed as they were with beating the Stillers. This CLEARLY was a revenge game, and afterwards clearly a cause for celebration in Baltimore, no matter how cool the Ravens tried to to look afterwards. That�s why a letdown the next week was not only possible, it was nearly inevitable.
Let�s take another look and you�ll see what I mean:
Johnson's hit on Ward a highlight for Ravens
September 12, 2011|By Mike Preston | The Baltimore Sun
The Ravens will be entering team meetings this afternoon, and the highlight of the defensive meetings will be outside linebacker Jarret Johnson�s hit on Pittsburgh wide receiver Hines Ward. Even though the hit occurred in the game Sunday, a lot of the Ravens probably didn't get a good look at it.
There you have it: Monday morning in Baltimore, a bunch of Ravens players sitting around masturbating to the action as if it were a Jenna Jamison retrospective � of course this wouldn�t eat into any time spent looking ahead to the next opponent, now would it? Nah. (How much you want to bet they spent a little time on Tuesday and/or Wednesday checking it out, too?)
This is the real reason the Ravens smashed the Stillers. Baltimore was preparing for the game with playoff intensity, while the Stillers were listening to all the talk about the �new Oilers;� while the Stillers were denying this was a rivalry; and while the Stillers were joking about how the Ravens were never going to win �in this lifetime.� Between Clark and Woodley, the Ravens had enough material for ten bulletin boards.
Wake up boys, this IS a rivalry and HAS been one for years � I expect to see a different kind of game when the Ravens come to Pittsburgh.
--Now comes a crucial game three for Baltimore. Nothing tests the confidence after a loss like this, considering how the Ravens thought they had the season by the tail after finally beating the hated Stillers. It�ll be more than interesting to see how they respond � particularly against a young but game Rams squad.
--�Average Joe,� �Joe Schmoe,� and my new personal favorite, �Flacco-verated� � all these cool names are back after Flacco flopped last Sunday. Unlike week one, when Joey had time for a sandwich and cup of coffee back there, Flacco felt some pressure from the Titans, and responded with a Flacco-like 15-for-32 197-yard dud. This is why the Ravens did NOT conquer the football world after beating the Stillers. The Ravens still have an okay, so-so, inconsistent player at the most important position on the field.
--ANY moron who compares Flacco to Ben needs to look at last week�s results. Without Ray Rice to run rampant over the opponent, Flacco fizzled like a wet candle. Compare that to all the games Roethlisberger�s won with paltry run support and poor pass protection. Then ask yourself which QB is franchise, and which one is fake.
--Something else for Baltimore to ponder: in some ways, their 26-13 loss was worse than the Stillers� 35-7 thrashing. Why? The Stillers played one of those everything-could-go-wrong-including-seven-turnover type games. But the Ravens didn�t � they simply got manhandled.
--So you think the Stillers will just show up and win Sunday against the Manning-less Colts? Think again. This week they face Kerry Collins, who, compared to the guy they faced last week, is Joe Montana. Look back no further than last season, when Collins came in for a useless Vince Young, and nearly stole away a game the Stillers dominated. Collins, Clark, Wayne and Garcon mean the Wheelchair Curtain gets tested � don�t take anything for granted.
--On the other hand, Indy has the same problems at o-line the Stillers have, so if Harrison (and who knows, maybe even Woodley) are going to come out of their shells, this would be the week.
--Call it �no win Sunday� � if the Stillers win, no cause for celebration, they did it without facing the franchise on the other side. On the other hand, should the Stillers somehow lose � well, you can imagine what they�ll be saying. If you think the old-age jokes were bad after the Baltimore game... The Stillers simply need to put a W on the board (toward the 10 they�ll need to make the playoffs), shut up and move on to the next game.
--I�ve maintained the Ravens are the Bill Cowher Stillers of the �90s, a team that tried its best to win with a lot of talent on defense, a super running game and a mediocre quarterback. Watching their head coach kiss a player on the sidelines last week brought back some, let�s just say, �special� memories. Good luck, Ravens, trying to win the big one with this flawed formula.
--Willie Colon is the Kendall Simmons of 2011; his injury, though unfortunate, equals addition by subtraction for the Stillers. What the team saw in him � let alone motivated them to throw big money his way � is beyond me. The Stillers o-line improved the minute Simmons left the lineup. It�s only a matter of time before the same thing happens again.
--Want to know another team besides the Stillers that will rely on its offense to carry it this year? Look no further than the New England Patriots. Sunday the Patsie defense got mauled by San Diego, but managed to snag some key turnovers at key moments to pull out the win. Still, their weakness is there for all to see, and its another reason the AFC is wide open this year.
--The November 27th night game with Kansas is marked �subject to change� on the schedule. Expect this change to happen, as the Chiefs, a team I thought would contend, have floundered. Not only did the Chiefs start out 0-2, they�ve lost star RB Jamaal Charles for the year. �What once looked like a top matchup now looks sunk, and I doubt the network is too thrilled about it.
--You should read about as much into the Stillers �big� win over the Seahawks as you should the �big� loss to the Ravens: in other words, nothing. The Stillers aren�t as bad as week one, nor are they as good as week two. Only in the minds of the dumb sports media has anything changed. It�s your choice -- you want fiction, turn on ESPN. You want facts, come to this website.
--It�s official: Mike Tomlin is the worst call-challenger of all time. Mendenhall being stopped on 4th-and-goal was clear to about 67,000 other people in the stadium, but that didn�t stop Omar from tossing the red rag. �Likewise, he was the only person in the entire city who was surprised when he lost the challenge. Maybe it�s time he changed the prescription on those cool shades of his.
--Not to add to all the jokes going around about the Stillers defense, but rumor has it the guys have lobbied the league to have more one o�clock games. This way they can still make the Early Bird special over at Eat �N� Park.
Anyway, that�s it for now. Get your Ben-Gay, Viagra and warm milk ready, and cheer on the Wheelchair Curtain as they slowly shuffle onto the field Sunday night. Or, do a couple shots and pretend it�s 2004 all over again! Either way, enjoy the game.