Sunday, November 4, 2012

Steelers Get Giant Victory Despite Referees Interference


I have to admit that my partner-in-crime said she felt the Steelers would win. I called a 27-24 Giants win. I was wrong.

And I couldn't be happier.

The quarterback who had the ball in his hands lastly was the one I and many thought would win. That's exactly what happened, but it wasn't expected to be in a victory formation.

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger led the Steelers to another fourth-quarter comeback victory Sunday in the Meadowlands over the reigning champs and Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning, but it was Isaac Redman who was the true star Sunday afternoon.

Redman is the Steelers third-string running back behind injured Rashard Mendenhall and Jonathan Dwyer, but played like a starter Sunday by running roughshod over the New York Giants.

Redman was dealing with an injury of his own that had kept him out of the game against the Redskins, so it wasn't known how much he'd be able to run.

He silenced any questions by finishing with 26 carries for 147 yards and the touchdown that gave the Steelers a 24-20 lead with 4:02 left in the fourth quarter. Those 147 yards were a career-high for Redman.

He also ran right for a 28-yard run at the two-minute warning to allow the Steelers to take a knee three straight times and get into that aforementioned victory formation.

It wasn't as if it was an easy game against the defending champs, though. Especially not in their house. The Giants are a very strong team, who going into the game, had recorded two or more turnovers in their six victories this year.

The Steelers were able to reverse that trend tonight as they won despite having a "fumble" retuned for a touchdown and an interception lead to a score. Also despite having three punt/kick returns of 40 yards or more that didn't lead to points.

The Steelers pulled together, though, and played well in all three phases of the game overall.

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said last week that he felt this team was coming together when speaking on how important the second half of the season is.

"I'd like to think we are a group on the rise," he said. "I've always thought that the eventual world champion needs to be the one on the rise."

They proved just that Sunday against the Giants, as Tomlin acknowledged in his post-game press conference. - http://tinyurl.com/bctoucn

Some are even saying that by beating the champs that the Steelers are contenders again. Like they say, to best the man you have to beat the man. The Steelers beat the man Sunday. - http://tinyurl.com/aneoavt

One thing that did bother me today was some...questionable refereeing in favor of the champs, mostly in the first half.

As a rule, If It Ain't Steel doesn't blame or bash the referees for ineptitude. We neither do it individually nor in the blog.

Yeah...have to change that policy a little bit today.

The refereeing was HORRIBLE early in the game. I'm not a conspiracy guy, but I did see a black helicopter or two over the stadium. It was pathetic!

First, there was a pass interference call on the ever-emerging Keenan Lewis. Terrible call! Look at replay! Lewis got a pass interference call for just touching him. It wasn't even enough contact to influence catch. College basketball referees even thought that was a ticky-tack call! Absurd!

Next, it looked like Ike Taylor almost had another interception. Oh, yeah, by the way, Swag had an interception. (I know, right?!? He did, though! I promise, check the tape.) Anyway, just as he missed the pick, Ryan Clark stirred Victor Cruz's salsa with a shoulder-to-rib/shoulder hit that was called a helmet-to-helmet hit.

TERRIBLE CALL AGAIN. No blow to the head! RIDICULOUS! Clark hit Cruz in the head so hard that Cruz had BRUISED RIBS.

Craig Wolfley, former Steelers lineman and current Steelers analyst said on WDVE that he thought he heard the referee say "I think I messed up."

YA THINK?!

Mark Kaboly of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review said: "Bad call [on] Clark but to be honest, his reputation is starting to catch up to him -- right or wrong."

BULLCRAP!

The referees have a job to do, not reputations to worry about. The only thing the officials could say is that Clark hit a defenseless receiver. Which Cruz wasn't. Terrible call.

Then Ed Bouchette tweeted this: "Bill Leavy's crew of officials not distinguishing themselves in early going of #Steelers, #Giants. Phantom fouls, bad spot now a TD?"

At that point I was thinking, "Aww...crap, the Seattle Seahawks Super Bowl referee. He better at least kiss Tomlin....cuz we're gettin f*cked harder than Jenna Jameson."

Then there was a clip on Heath Miller, a hold (or three) on James Harrison and a questionable non-call on Corey Webster for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Mike Wallace. Wallace wasn't defenseless and he was getting up to run, so I'll let that slide for now. But...

"It was a pass by Roethlisberger, says NBC official consultant @RefereeJimD. - Pro Football Talk.

The Tuck Rule seems as if it should've been in play or maybe simply an incomplete pass as Big Ben's arm was going forward as it was hit by Osi Umenyiora.

Former head of NFL officials, Mike Pereira, agreed: "Leavy felt ball was loose after contact by Osi. Very tight play. I think he still had control. In my opinion it was an incomplete pass."

Even The Bus, @JeromeBettis36 on Twitter, chimed in: "I try not to talk about the refs but that was the worst call and review I have ever seen!!!! #BadCall"

This was all in the first half, mind you. There was nothing else to say except at that point, though, that the referees gave the Giants at least seven points in the first half. Terrible calls.

Deebo must've gotten to them at halftime, however, because things leveled out for the most part in the second half. It was actually the Steelers themselves who were making the game interesting.

On fourth and one at the two, instead of running Redman or running a quarterback sneak, they ran an inexplicable fake field goal that looked doomed from the start. I don't actually mind the concept, but they were killing them on the ground. Thankfully, it ultimately didn't hurt them.

At the end of the third quarter the Steelers were down 20-10. The real fourth-quarter comeback QB had them just where he wanted them.

Big Ben threw a slant pass to Wallace and Mike just used his speed to weave his way across the field to get into the end zone for a 51-yard score that made it 20-17...and everybody loved Wallace again.

It was the ninth touchdown of 50-plus yards for Wallace's career. It came at the right time too, considering he'd had another drop, his fifth in the last 10 quarters, earlier in the game.

Guys, you know that girlfriend you had who was either crazy or high maintenance, but you put up with her because she was THAT DAMN FINE? That's Mike Wallace. Fans will yell and scream, but that "Oh, sh**!" speed is a mighty big bandaid. - http://tinyurl.com/ag9d37j

A bandaid that allowed Redman to eventually seal it with his touchdown.

Statement win. One that could propel the Steelers back into contention.

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TIDBITS: Antonio Brown was hurt early in the game on a deep pass. Seems to be minor, but he didn't return to the game. AB has a high ankle sprain. - http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap1000000090320/article/injury-roundup-antonio-brown-darren-mcfadden-hurt

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Eli Manning threw for only 125 yards in one of the worst games of his career.The Giants were only 2-10 on third downs with Eli being only 1-6 on third. Steelers' defenders said earlier in the week they were out to prove they're still one of NFL's best. A lot of proof on Sunday. - http://t.co/ecU3KIlJ

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Chris Rainey needs X-rays and could be going to hospital per Wolfley. He also said they had a hard time getting the pads off of Rainey because of a rib cartilage tear. More to come Tuesday.