PHOENIX – Some sporting thoughts before sunrise …
>> Seems like week after week, as the Steelers have won games, they’ve been accompanied by the obligatory disclaimers: Yeah, but the Seahawks/Colts/Jaguars/Cardinals stink.
Well, that ends now with a double-bang: New England and Baltimore are next.
Might be overly simplistic to suggest we’ll know everything we need to know about the Steelers after these two games, but it also might be accurate. The most encouraging aspect of the win against the Cardinals, I thought, was Ben Roethlisberger’s broad distribution of the ball on offense. That will be important, especially against Baltimore. But the key against both opponents will be defense, and a lot of the things we’ve seen work in recent weeks … sorry, but I have a hard time imagining the Patriots and Ravens letting Tom Brady and Joe Flacco get rushed unblocked.
That happened twice in Arizona, once for Lawrence Timmons to force an interception, again for LaMarr Woodley to force that safety.
>> The Penguins are on Long Island tonight, which was supposed to be some huge deal after that Feb. 11 fiasco, but now seems like just another game.
Now, if Trevor Gillies and the other random band of thugs suddenly show up …
>> Unsung performer of the young season has to be Richard Park, who was seen as an either-or with Joe Vitale all through camp but has carved his own niche not only with the expected penalty-killing but now also by manning a power-play point of all things.
Good for him, bad for Mark Letestu.
>> The battery died in my rental car Sunday in the Cardinals’ parking lot. I saw a group of people wearing Steelers garb across the way and asked if they had jumper cables.
They said they didn’t.
I mentioned that was most unfortunate because I had a flight to catch back to Pittsburgh.
Guy said, “Hang on,” then finds a set of jumpers within about, oh, three seconds. He walks over to me, puts his hand on my shoulder and says, “Anything for a brother.”