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Morning Java: Smashmouth Seahawks

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Morning, Lunatics …

>> The Monday column collects a bunch of thoughts on local stuff before taking off for the Olympics, not least of which is the weirdness of my walking around a dark Heinz Field at kickoff time last night.

>> Congrats to the world champs …

Here’s the Trib’s game story from East Rutherford, by beat man Alan Robinson.

Here’s the Trib’s Steelers page.

Here’s the NFL’s official Super Bowl page.

Here’s Seahawks coverage from the Seattle Times.

Here’s Broncos coverage from the Denver Post.

>> Pitt’s last-second loss to Virginia yesterday raises all kinds of questions. Kevin Gorman reports from the Pete.

Talib Zanna’s ankle injury didn’t help, by Jerry DiPaola.

Here’s the Trib’s Pitt page.

>> James Neal is missing the mark badly of late, and the Penguins can’t afford it. Rob Rossi reports.

Here’s the Trib’s Penguins page, including all you need for tonight’s visit from the Senators.

Here’s Senators news from the Ottawa Citizen.

Here are official game highlights from NHL.com.

>> If you missed it last night, WPXI-TV’s Subway Final Word covered the Super Bowl, the Steelers’ future, the Penguins in Sochi, A.J. Burnett and more. I was joined by Mark Kaboly, Mark Madden and Alby Oxenreiter.

>> I’ll check in with TribLIVE Radio at 11:30 a.m.

Author: Dejan Kovacevic

Dejan Kovacevic, a lifelong Pittsburgher, is an award-winning sports columnist for Trib Total Media covering the Steelers, Penguins, Pirates, Pitt and more, including his fourth Olympics in Sochi, Russia. He also appears on WPXI-TV's 'Subway Final Word’ and hosts a weekly show on TribLIVE Radio. For 2011, he was named one of the top four columnists in the country -- highest circulation category -- by the AP Sports Editors. For 2012, he was named one of the top three columnists in the country by the National Headliners Awards. For 2013, he was named top columnist in the state by the Keystone Awards and second-place by the Pennsylvania AP Managing Editors.

157 Comments

  1. I’m thinking the Yonkos would have scored more than 8 points with Tim Tebow at QB.

  2. Even when that game was out of hand I still did not understand the Denver playcalling. I guess they were trying use the short passing game to counter Seattles speed on D. It didn’t work all night. At some point I thought they would start taking shots down field. Never really happened. Avril, and Seattle had a lot to with it. But it just seems like Manning doesn’t have as many deep balls in him per game as he used to…Denver got outclassed in every phase.

    • It’s hard to think of a team less mentally prepared on such an important day than those Denver Broncos were. From the opening safety, to the horrible, effortless tackling all game long, Denver. did. not. show. up. I blame the coaches. But at this level, this deep into the year, I mostly blame the players themselves. They shouldn’t have to be “coached up” for this game.

    • bpn:

      I think: 1) Manning no longer has a strong arm; 2) Seattle’s secondary looked like the intended receivers on the few attempts where Manning did try to go long; and 3) Manning did not have enough time very often for the play to develop before the pressure was too great.

      • I think most everyone underestimated Seattle, Jim.

        Everyone.

        Good for Seattle :)

        • I actually said they’d win for the last 2 weeks, Jandy. I usually get predictions dead wrong, but I picked the right team yesterday. But, I didn’t predict the blowout. In the back of my mind, I thought it was a possibility. I didn’t have the guts to say it, though.

      • Agree. The Seahawks ability to go man to man is a huge advantage.

        Cliff Avril was a beast last night too.

      • There just wasn’t enough time to throw it deep and they just weren’t open when he did. The Seattle defense is really good on all 3 levels and the Denver offensive line wasn’t good. Manning and any other QB wouldn’t have been able to do much in that game. Carroll and his staff way out coached Fox and his staff. Denver didn’t looked prepared and really had no answers.

  3. That was a defensive performance for the ages. It’s hard to remember a more vaunted quarterback and record-setting offense being so thoroughly shut down in a Super Bowl. I’m no Peyton Manning basher, but we all saw what happened yesterday.

    Message to the Steelers: great defensive backs win games. Of course, Seattle had great EVERYTHING. Their front harried Manning a lot. But there was only one official sack — on that fumble play on the second to last Denver series at the end of the game. The Seattle defensive backs simply shut down Denver’s receivers — the two big ones and the one little one.

    Message to John Elway: you’ve got one more year of Manning left if you’re lucky. Already time to look for another franchise quarterback.

  4. My last post for a while…
    It was not a boring Super Bowl for me. I neither care for nor dislike either team that played. I certainly don’t care for Bruno Mars. But the Typoon Haiyan-like devastation wrought upon Denver by Seattle was morbidly captivating. It reminded me of Mike Tyson in his prime when we used to tune in knowing we were going to see a round or two at most of carnage. We couldn’t take our eyes off it then, I it felt the same way watching the carnage yesterday.

  5. Agree ghost. Had it not been the Super Bowl I think most would have clicked the channel when Harvin took back the second half return.

    You were right on the Final Word last night, Dejan. The Steelers D is light years behind Seattles. The only thing that’s going to bring down that unit is time and free agency. But I think next year they only have two free agents in 22 starters?!….Youth and speed on D. What a concept.

  6. It was awful if you weren’t rooting for Seattle. After all, while Peyton completed a record 34 passes, he was also intercepted twice and Denver scored only 8 points in the third quarter, and Seattle kept pouring it on.

  7. This game just the way GODdell planned it. 35 point blowout

  8. The Broncos obviously thought that all they’d need was another great performance from Peyton and Seattle would give in and be happy to have been in a Superbowl at all. And when just the opposite occurred last night, the Broncos simply couldn’t understand it, nor will they ever.

  9. JAL’s Midnight Black Morning Links

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xitA0g63QlQ

    GENERAL DAILY UPDATED BASEBALL SITES

    1- MLB Transactions

    http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/transactions

    2-MLB Trade Rumors-Pirates

    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/pittsburgh_pirates/

    3 BFFL’s 2014 Pirates Stats Spreadsheet

    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AsjN0zO-DxI0dDNkaWxFNWIwNDVUQzEwYXp5SlpGNkE&usp=drive_web#gid=0

    4 Pirates Prospects Spring Training Tracker

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/st2014

    BLOGS and such

    5—Pirates Prospects

    Pirates Add Five Minor League Players

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/02/pirates-add-five-minor-league-players.html

    6 Rumbunter

    Jameson Taillon on 93.7 The Fan Talks Bucs, Gregory Polanco, A.J. Burnett

    http://rumbunter.com/2014/02/02/jameson-taillon-93-7-fan-talks-bucs-gregory-polanco-j-burnett/

    7 Rant Sports

    Top 10 MLB Bullpens to Watch for in 2014

    http://www.rantsports.com/mlb/2014/02/02/top-10-mlb-bullpens-to-watch-for-in-2014/

    8 Saber Bucs

    I Still Don’t Care about Payroll . . . BUT!

    http://saberbucs.com/blog/2014/01/31/i-still-dont-care-about-payroll-but/

    9 Green Weenie

    2/2: Honus, Burleigh, Schoolboy, Freddie Lindstrom, Ronny and Travis…

    http://oldbucs.blogspot.com/2014/02/22-honus-burleigh-schoolboy-freddie.html

    10 Redbird Rants

    The 2013 Cardinals and Baseball Economics

    http://redbirdrants.com/2014/02/02/2013-cardinals-baseball-economics/

    11 Three Rivers Burgh Blog

    …and A.J. Burnett

    http://www.threeriversburghblog.com/2014/01/and-aj-burnett.html

    • Song today is Midnight Black by The Temperance Movement. Theme comes from a discussion elsewhere bemoning lack of good music today. This week’s songs are all new performers from different genres.

      • To recap:

        Decades in which one generation argues with other generations that the “music today isn’t any good.”

        1930′s; 1940′s; 1950′s; 1960′s; 1970′s; 1980′s; 1990′s; 2000′s; 2010′s

        • LOL OSHIE! I remember when I was a child, and the Beatles were so popular, my older sisters would BLAS T their music…She Loves You Yeah yeah Yeah…And I’m Feeling (thump thump) glad all over…
          oh man, my Dad would flip LOL! He’d sing the songs in a Falsetto voice and we ALL laughed.

  10. NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    12 USA Today

    Baseball memorabilia from 1862 at auction in Maine

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/02/02/baseball-memorabilia/5162605/

    13 MLB

    So long, Super Bowl, it’s baseball’s turn again

    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article/mlb/so-long-super-bowl-its-baseballs-turn-again?ymd=20140202&content_id=67368180

    14 Cleveland Plain Dealer

    Baseball’s new replay system won’t correct every bad call in 2014, but it’s a start

    http://www.cleveland.com/tribe/index.ssf/2014/02/baseballs_new_replay_system_wo.html

    15 Federal Baseball

    Nationals’ Starter Ross Ohlendorf: Old-Timey Delivery + Increased Velocity

    http://www.federalbaseball.com/2014/2/2/5371308/nationals-starter-ross-ohlendorf-old-timey-delivery-increased-velocity

    16 Fangraphs

    The Tale of the Forgotten Moose

    http://www.hardballtimes.com/the-tale-of-the-forgotten-moose/

    17 Rising Apple

    Innovative Thinking In Baseball

    http://risingapple.com/2014/02/02/statistical-innovative-thinking-baseball/

    18 Cincinnati Enquirer

    Fay tackles the answers Twitter can’t handle

    http://news.cincinnati.com/article/20140201/SPT04/302010055/Fay-tackles-the-answers-Twitter-can-t-handle

    19 Baseball Prospectus

    The Week In Quotes

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=22727

    20 NBC Sports

    A.J. Burnett bidding reportedly “a Baltimore-Philadelphia-Pittsburgh runoff”

    http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2014/02/02/a-j-burnett-bidding-reportedly-a-baltimore-philadelphia-pittsburgh-runoff/

  11. Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    Jerome Bettis and the hypocrisy of statistics

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2014/2/2/5370634/jerome-bettis-pro-football-hall-of-fame-nfl

    Steelers Heroes of the Past: Terry, Franco and The Rock

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/steelers-heroes-of-the-past/2014/2/2/5370458/steelers-heroes-of-the-past-terry-franco-and-the-rock

    22 Steelers Depot

    2015 Super Bowl Odds-Steelers 40 to 1

    http://www.steelersdepot.com/2014/02/super-bowl-2015-odds-steelers-listed-at-401-to-win-super-bowl-xlix/

    Soccer(football)

    23 Bloomberg Stats Insight

    Transfer Window Recap: Chelsea, Manchester United the big spenders

    http://www.bsports.com/statsinsights/football/transfer-window-recap-chelsea-manchester-united-big-spenders

    24 Evening Standard

    Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain revels in match-winning double on return to Arsenal line-up

    http://www.standard.co.uk/sport/football/alex-oxladechamberlain-revels-in-matchwinning-double-on-return-to-arsenal-lineup-9102586.html

    PENGUIN BLOGS and NHL Links

    25 Pensburgh

    Prospect Update – February Edition

    http://www.pensburgh.com/2014/2/2/5370784/prospect-update-february-edition

  12. 9 DAYS UNTIL PITCHERS & CATCHERS REPORT TO PIRATE CITY IN BRADENTON FOR SPRING TRAINING

  13. Well, anyhow, while Seattle is naturally the early favorite to repeat next year, the Seahawks will have to fight off the 49ers before they can hope to do that. Meanwhile, here’s hoping that the Pens can beat Ottawa at home tonight.

  14. It’s kind of sad, but fitting, that Manning had most completions in SB history with 34, whilst getting blown out.

    A perfect metaphor for his career: stats magician in regular season – but fails on the big stage.

    • Happiest man in America not connected with Seattle: Tom Brady. He must have been sitting at home loving that game. Now, I don’t think many people will say Manning is better than him.

    • I’m not a Denver or Manning fan but I don’t see it as him failing on the big stage. That was a team loss. They were outplayed in every way possible. Manning played as well as any other QB could have played under the same circumstances.

      Brady’s has a similar playoff record as Manning since starting 8-0 and the team getting caught cheating. They both are great QB’s but lets not start considering Trent Dilfer and Doug Williams equal talents to Manning and better then Marino. We all know Manning is a better QB then Bradshaw. Super Bowls can’t be the only measuring stick for a QB. Many mediocre QB’s have won Super Bowls and many great ones have 0 or 1 on their resume. Elway would have had zero if it wasn’t for Terrell Davis.

      • Define better.

        • If put on the exact same teams with the exact same talent which player would perform better. I have no doubt that Manning wins all 4 of the Super Bowls Bradshaw won with the Steelers. Those teams had so many players that contributed to the team as a whole. They only needed a QB for the sole purpose of taking the snap and handing it off to Franco or sitting in the pocket and throwing the occasional deep ball to Swann or Stallworth.

          I’m also confident that Bradshaw would not have faired well against the Seahawks last night with the amount of time the Broncos line was giving the QB to throw the ball. The Broncos had serious problems on their line last night and that is why they lost. Manning made some amazing throws last night under pressure.

          • Wow, Nate. That, at the very least, unfairly devalues Bradshaw, the MVP of ## 3 and 4.

            Would I prefer to have Manning on my fantasy team? Sure, just not in the postseason necessarily.

    • Exactly. A long history of losing when it mattered most.

  15. And as for Pitt losing to Virginia yesterday, well, it seems as if, in both football and basketball, that the Panthers can’t win the big ones for whatever the reason and haven’t for some time, and I’d like to see that change, if that is possible.

  16. That was a beat down for the ages. Manning, like Brady, is very vulnerable to a good pass rush, and Seattle brought it.

    Seattle took Denver’s football, ate their food, drank their beer, stole their girls, grabbed their endorsements, kicked their dogs, and drove off in their pickup trucks (in the case of the MVP, literally).

    Other than that, it was a pretty good game. Liked the Chevy truck commercial with the bull.

  17. Hope Man City and Chelsea put on a better show today than Seattle and Denver did. Arsenal leads the league with 55 points, Man City 2nd with 53 and Chelsea 3rd with 50. If Man city wins they go to the top with 56 points, if Chelsea wins they tie Man City for 2nd with 53, if they draw everything stays the same at 55, 54, and 51

    • Two years in a row of great endings to the season maybe, JAL. Last year was one for the ages.

    • Premier League this year is a tale of 2 leagues. Big race at the top, and also 10 teams in danger of relegation. Only 3 go down of course, but there is a pack of teams down near the bottom of the league standings.

      Should be interesting for the remainder of the season.

      • Yep–10th place team Aston Villa has 27 then Stoke City at 25, Swansea City, Hull City, Sunderland, and Norwich City have 24, West Brom and Crystal palace have 23, West Ham 22, Cardiff City 21, and Fulham 19. In theory at least, Cardiff City can move from 19th to a tie for 12th with 1 win. Of course that depends on what other teams do.

        • With 14 matches left to play, things should settle out. But I dont recall a more divided league this late in the season. Normally, the bottom isnt so packed.

          I wonder if this is a separating of the “haves” vs. “have nots”. The bottom teams don’t have the resources to compete with the upper teams…….. just thinking out loud I guess……

  18. And the Steelers are now 40 to one odds to make it to and win next year’s Superbowl.,

  19. As the inevitable “greatest defense ever” blather begins, I would like to interject my long-standing belief that the early 70′s Steelers defenses were the best ever, and here’s why: They basically just lined up, man-on-man, and beat you. No tricky 46 schemes or stuff like that. Man-on-man, better.

    What we saw from Seattle last night was pretty close to that. So much of a big deal was made about Manning being able to come to the line of scrimmage and move personnel around and find the weakness in the defense. I got the distinct feeling that he came to the line of scrimmage last night and had no idea what to do. Seattle just sat there patiently waiting, and he had no answers.

  20. Saw a few short-arms and examples of not running through the ball from Denver WRs as the game wore on.

    That’s what happens when Seattle made them pay after catches early on.

  21. Nice prediction on the Super Bowl DK…and way to own up to it afterwards. Typical run of the mill columnist. Shoot off your ink and crow about it if you guess correctly. Forget about it and move on when you blow it.

    Seahawks

  22. Not since the late 1990′s have I seen a Steeler Team be so far behind a Super Bowl Team. Seattle would have destroyed the Steelers. All time great QB’s can look bad when your team is so overmatched. Remember Elway had some really bad games in the big one. I was surprised how much Seattle shook Denver. manning was in a panic and just intimidated from the get go. Make one appreciate Ben all the more.

  23. Denver looked really old and really slow. Seattle looked really young and really fast. Was there any match-up on the field where speed matters that Seattle was not the clear winner?

  24. We’re getting several inches of heavy wet snow on the Eastern side of the Commonwealth today. I guess that same weather system is headed towards NYC as well. The NFL lucked out with the weather yuesterday. Considering we’ve had several days of sub-zero tempperatures in the last month, day time highs in single digits and a number of snow events I say why risk it? Glendale Arizona sounds a lot better to me than the North SHore of Pittsburgh in February. Hopefully the Steelrs will be there next year.

    Pitt has really struggled to defend at critical times this season. Also, they don’t have a player that seems to be able to finish around the basket with any consistency. With Patterson struggling from the field and Zanna limited by an ankle injury no one stepped up to fill the void. They should have been able to beat Virginia. They need a couple of wins this week to get back on track. Miami won’t be easy on Wednesday.

    • we are getting 2 – 4 inches supposedly today. We already had 2 new inches of snow before 6am YUCK!

      • This winter is really getting old for me, Jandy. We had 6 inches on Friday overnight. That brings us to 55″ this winter. And, we are getting another 6 or more tomorrow afternoon/evening, supposedly.

        And, it is below 0 most mornings.

        I’ll be glad when this is over.

        • well I have to admit we had 31 degrees this morning, and it’s to stay fairly decent temperature wise. BUT…
          we’re to get freezing rain/sleet/ice tomorrow evening and into the night GrrRRR!

          I *HATE* winter >:<

          • I think they are saying it is the worst winter here in 35 years – both for cold and snow accumulation. We don’t normally get a ton of snow, and we haven’t had any huge storms this year. But, we keep getting several inches a couple of times each week. We’re getting nickel and dimed to death. This week Mother Nature is upping the ante.

            I think spring is going to hit really late. We’ve had snow in May before. This feels like one of those years. Oh well, it will make us appreciate summer even more. :-)

    • Me, I’m wondering why this couldn’t have been here yesterday. I want to see a SB played in weather conditions that occur during the season. It shouldn’t have to be “perfect” weather. They used to do it before the SB when played on home fields.

      Kevin

  25. One of the appeals about football to me is it’s the ultimate team game. Everyone has to contribute to be successful. No one player is responsible for winning or losing. That being said, Peyton Manning seems to get all the credit when his team wins therefore he can shoulder the majority of the blame for that abysmal performance yesterday. He is a mediocre QB when he’s forced to move around a little bit isn’t he? Not many teams are able to get him off his game but the Seabags sure did last night.

  26. Worse in crunch time? Bonds, hands down. Bonds had one – ONE – post season where he performed well. Out of seven. Outside of 2002, he never hit higher than .261. His 9 career post season home runs included 8 in that one year. And in 2002 – and I’m always baffled at how overlooked this is – the Angels comeback was keyed by Bonds misplaying 2 balls in one inning.
    Peyton Manning didn’t play well last night, no doubt. But another major difference between the two, Peyton handled the loss with some class. Gave due credit to the Seahawks for forcing some of the mistakes he made, and accepted responsibility for the ones he forced himself. Bonds never did anything like that.

  27. Goodell got his safe weather. High 40′s and no precipitation. He got lucky there.

    I could have done without his “man of the people” photo ops from the middle of the crowd.

  28. Sure looked like a 4 – 3 defense that Seattle chewed up Denver with last night. Thank God the Steelers have that!

    Oh, wait…..

    • With the way Mclendon and Heyward played last year and the lack of LB depth they have now I wouldn’t mind them looking into it. The advantage they used to have of drafting undersized LB’s late to fit their defense is gone because more teams run the 3-4 now. The talent on the team seems to point towards a 4-3 maybe being more effective.

  29. In last night’s game thread (big shout-out to DK for providing one for us), I called early that Peyton was due to have a bad game……. he normally has one per postseason. I also called early that Seattle’s D lokked like the Super Bowl IX Steelers D. Peyton looked scared from the opening play….. did you see the look on his face when the ball zipped past his head? Whenever someone touched him, he looked like he saw a ghost.

    Seattle had a speed and physicality on D that was a joy to watch. I am hesitant to give a full comparison to the early Steel curtain Defense…….. after all, in Super Bowl IX, Dwight White had pneumonia, and Andy Russell, and Jack Lambert were injured in the 1st half………………. and they still dominated the Vikings.

    Denver had only 18 yards rushing all game……….. a truly incredible stat. I wonder how much the artificial turf helped Seattle in regards to speed?

    Russell Wilson looked like the veteran last night. He made some mistakes, but did not get rattled by them. The Seattle coaching staff called a wonderful game on both sides of the ball. And, Percy Harvin was a huge factor…….. after playing only 37 snaps all year. You can’t teach speed.

  30. Note to the Steelers braintrust………… look at how Seattle built their team.

    Traded for Marshawn Lynch from the Bills…… think Buffalo regrets that?
    Traded for Percy harvin from the Vikings… think Minnesota regrets that?

    Low round draft choices actually contributing to the team,,,,, what a concept. How is that Landry Jones pick working out for ya?

    Seattle’s defensive scheme did not require players waiting 3 years to learn it. It looked fairly simple, with the occassional blitz thrown in. Note to Mr. LeBeau…….. simplify things! Your talent on D isn’t good enough to learn rubik’s cube in 3 minutes!

    One final thing………. Pete Carroll and his coaches should be free from all the jokes now. Man won a college championship, now a Super Bowl. He plays close to the vest when needed, and gambles when needed. And, he doesn’t mis-manage the clock. ;)

    • I didn’t know people questioned Carroll’s ability to coach, plan. I have always thought he was a very good coach, even before he went to USC.

      Are you saying some people made jokes about his “rah rah” style translating from college to pros?

      • No. Don’t forget, he failed miserably with the Jets. He did ok with the Patriots. And don’t forget the sanctions at USC….. which he left before anything happened.

        Personally, the rah-rah style doesn’t bother me. Better than sourpuss Bellichick.

        It just seems Carroll was a punching bag of sorts.
        I think last night ended all that.

        • He definitely put an end to any talk that he can’t get it done in the NFL. That’s for sure. He and the GM built this team from the ground up.

          • Yes. See my post above on that matter.
            Seattle is a rising team. If they had been healthy all year, they would have been truly scary. And, they only have 2 FA’s this year, and should be able to re-sign them.

    • Nobody cheats and leaves his program in shambles to take a higher paying job than Pete Carroll.

      • Or, the guy that coaches the Eagles, Chip Kelly. He was one step ahead of NCAA enforcement when he left also.

      • Osh,

        I really don’t think the USC program was left “in shambles”. Yes the scholarship limits hurt, but I think the main problem was they hired Kiffin. If they would have hired a real coach, they would have been better off.

        • Are you kidding me?

          What happened under Carroll set that program back a decade. Lost scholarships hurt teams more than anything. That program is exhibit 1 with what’s wrong with alumni and college athletes. They had a guy who had to return his Heisman, for God’s sake. All under his smiling watch. Took the money and ran to evade accountability.

          Guy has a charming personality. Then again, most crooks do.

          • No, I am not kidding.

            Set the program back a decade??? Really? What was their record last year? 10-3? Yep, really set them back.

            Bush did have to return his Heisman. But to lay 100% of the blame at Carroll’s feet is disingenuous at best.

            I think what is in play here, is you simply don’t like Carroll at all, and you are not prepared to acknowledge anything good he has done. I am not saying he isn’t a snake, but I don’t hate the man.

    • Trades are very difficult to pull off in the NFL. They are very rare. I’m sure the Vikings are OK with it because Harvin sat out almost the entire year and he would have been no use to them this year. It was a trade that worked out for both teams. Although the Seahawks would have won yesterday without Harvin and if he continues to get hurt and doesn’t play past next year I think the Seahawks would gladly take those picks back.

      Lynch is not a good person. Things are great when you are winning but he wouldn’t be somebody you would want on your team when things are going badly.

      Finding late round draft picks that contribute isn’t exactly easy. If it was everyone would do it and they wouldn’t be late round draft picks. Seattle runs almost the same defensive play every down. They say this is what we do well go ahead and try to beat it. That requires extremely gifted defensive backs which they have.

      We are fortunate to follow a team that a) has 6 super bowls b) has more winning seasons over the past 40 years then any other team c) finishes 8-8 and it’s considered a bad year. I’m thankful for what we do have. There are fans of 20-25 teams that would trade us in second.

  31. As for Pitt-UVA, I only caught the first 10 minutes before taking my son to indoor baseball practice. When we got out, the game had ended. I saw that they lost in a close one. Was it a last second shot? Came home, turned on the TV, went to the Recordings section of the DVR and immediately deleted it.

    I said yesterday that Pitt is running out of opportunities to beat good teams. They don’t have a lot of games left on their schedule that will impress anyone on the committee if/when they win. Syracuse is a huge one, of course. And, the ACC tourney. I see them keeping it close vs Syracuse. But, I don’t think they have enough scoring ability, especially in crunch time, to beat talented teams. Opponents seem to have figured out the formula now: Shut down Patterson.

    UVA is a good team, but I really don’t care much for how they play. I just can’t stand that ultra-deliberate style of play. I can’t knock the results of Bennett or his dad before him in Wisconsin. They both win, and their teams are fundamentally sound. But, it bores the heck out of me.

    • I dunno Jim-

      Watched the whole game and it looked to me that UVA out Pitted Pitt. Once again, better atheletes – not by a lot, but still better, but played avery similar system.

      Unfortunately, what we can now see after the last two weeks is that Pitt has a “good” team…maybe 20 – 25 (if they get there sheet together) and thus their ceiling is likely one and done in the NCAA. They will get beat again when they play a team that can make shots when needed –

      Patterson came up small AGAIN, they got a 4 playing 5, no guard on the entire roster than can score in double digits and ther rest are freshmen. When they are playing team ball, they can win against the bottom half of the ACC, but when they play the better teams, well now 0-3. Disappointing because I thought they were btter than that, ya losing DJ was and is huge, but….

      • Got cutoff somehow-fat fingers most likely.

        This team struggles to make layups and their foul shooting has reverted back to foul. The game wouldn’t have been this close if not for a couple of heaves from 3, from Patterson and Ward with no time left on the shot clock…not designed plays and good shots – just absolute heaves.

        Nothing more frustrating than being a Pitt fan some days.

      • I’m not saying UVA didn’t deserve to win. I admittd they are a good team. What I’m saying is they might be the most deliberate team in the country.

        They have won games by 61-41, 59-56, 48-38, 57-43, 62-50, 65-45, 48-45. It is effective. That’s why they are near the top of the league. I just find it boring.

        I know Jamie prefers defense to offense as well. But, UVA is the king of deliberate basketball.

        • I found UVA’s style annoying, but did wonder if that’s how other teams see Pitt’s?

          • I would believe so. Unless somebody gets a wild hair and throws up a brick, on every possession, they (Pitt) work the clock down to about 5 seconds and then (it seems) panic and throw up a brick.

            I wonder, at times, if they’ve considered starting their offense with 10 seconds left, instead of waiting until 5.

            REALLY a frustrated Pitt fan this AM.

            • I was referring to their defensive style, but I hear what you are saying. I do think in this game, though, it was UVA’s defense that affected the fact Pitt was taking so long. The thing that gets me most frustrated about Pitt’s offense lately is they’ve been missing layups . . . LAYUPS.

            • I don’t know that Pitt always does that. I was at the Clemson game 2 weeks ago, and I thought Pitt worked the ball appropriately and took the first good shot consistently. They did that vs MD a lot. They often shot quickly vs. Duke, too. Some of the shots vs. Duke were actually ill-advised shots early in the possessions.

              There are games, though, where a good defensive team keeps them from getting into their offense. I would say that was the case vs. Cuse and UVA.

              Pitt does not have guys who can beat their man off the dribble. With that being the case, teams that really guard well seem to throw them out of their offense easily.

              • +1

                Agree. They used to do that all the time, but not as much this year, at least since they got into the ACC schedule.

              • Jim, I would argue that neither Md nor Clemson are the teams we thought we should be compared to, anymore than the OC schools. I guess we were wrong.

                I am not sure that many would consider Duke to be a real good defensive team, all they did was take Patterson away (then shoot lights out themselves) and if Pitt makes half the layups and put backs and foul shots that they missed against ‘cuse and UVA, both games might have ended different.

                Pitt only scored 1 point the last 6:52 and that wasn’t all on UVA.

                Unfortunately now, after 22 games and especially the last two weeks, we know we’ve seen this play before.

          • Yes, I think so. Pitt is far froma run and gun team. I think they have been known to frustrate other teams at times. But, nothing to the level of UVA, IMO.

            • I thought we were talking about style of play, tpb. I don’t think Pitt and UVA are carbon copies in terms of style of play on offense, although there are some similar elements. UVA does not ever seem to get out of its element on offense, whereas Pitt occasionally tries to play more uptempo.

              I think UC plays very ugly ball. To me, UC looks like a team that only uses their shots as a chance to get offensive rebounds and put backs. But, I will say that my impression of them was from early in the season. I have not seen them much since around Christmas. Maybe they are taking better outside shots now and making a higher % of them.

        • Pitt, Cincy and now UVA are carbon copies. Pitts early season scoring is way down now, after playing some better defensive teams – that take Patterson away (he was 3 -14 last night) and, as I mentioned, the reversion in foul shooting and incredibly, the inability of atheletes at this level to make layups and put backs.

  32. To Whom It May Concern,

    The Broncos proved last night that Puny = Puny.

    That is all.

  33. From the Pens’ website:
    MORNING SKATE INFO
    The Pens hit the ice for their morning skate. Defenseman Kris Letang, who missed the past two games with an illness, was absent from the skate. The Pens did not do rushes, a change from the normal routine. They did work on the power play.

    PP1: Niskanen, Malkin on top. Crosby, Neal, Kunitz down low.
    PP2: Martin, Maatta, Jokinen, Gibbons, Sutter down low.

    –Sam Kasan

    he Pens’ site:

  34. If Richard Sherman thought Crabtree was “very mediocre” I wonder what he thought of Denver’s receivers.

  35. Manning set a record for most completions in a Super Bowl, and yet they were blown out. The short passing game, similar to Haley’s idea, is boring, and ultimately ineffective against a good defense. Doesn’t matter that it keeps the QB off the ground if you lose.

    Most bloggers seem to feel that drafting a corner would be best for the Stillers, but I think that a good defense starts with an aggressive pass rush. How about drafting the big, unmovable NT from ND to jam up the middle against the ruin and free up (some faster) OLBs to put on the pressure. Seattle seems to have built their team with later round draft choices, and maybe the B&G can get some secondary help in the later rounds. Here’s hoping.

    PS I would be fine with moving into Hockey/baseball mode now, and not seeing anything Steelers after this week until draft day, or training camp.

    Stuart

    Stuart

  36. Feels like it’s frowned upon to directly link here to anything external, especially like The Worldwide Leader, but Jason Stark recently posted his annual rebuke to the notion that the NFL is the king of parity, even in direct comparison to MLB — as I read through the usual arguments, I fumed as I imagine DK also would!

  37. More from the Pens’ website:

    LINEUP/INJURY UPDATES
    Head coach Dan Bylsma said that Kris Letang – who did not participate in the morning skate and has missed the last two games with an ailment – will not be available for tonight’s game.

    “Kris Letang continues to not feel well and doing further evaluations and tests on him at this point in time,” said Bylsma. When asked if there is a concern that what Letang has is serious or long-term, Bylsma replied, “We’re uncertain. So we’re continuing to do some tests on him.”

    Bylsma also provided a couple of other updates…
    •Marc-Andre Fleury will start in goal
    •The Pens’ injured players skated this morning prior to practice.

    We also checked in with defenseman Olli Maatta after the morning skate, who was struck in the face with a puck on Saturday in Phoenix. “It’s alright,” he said. “I got a few stitches and that’s it.”

    Maatta had to laugh about his unfortunate puck luck, as that was about the fourth time in the last five days he’d gotten hit in the facial area. “I’ve been having a little bit of a rough time with my face. Got hit with the puck a few times in a row. It happens sometimes. I hope today it’s not the same thing.”

  38. Peyton was insulted when after the game, the interviewer asked him if he considered the game an ‘embarassing loss’, which is too darn bad about him, all things considered.

  39. And now, Sports Illustrated gives the Pirates an F for their decided lack of off season moves, and has called the main Bucs arrival of Edinson Volquez ‘disconcerting’, and not typically the type of off season addition you’d be looking for. Sports Illustrated also conceded that AJ Burnett’s situation has complicated things, but that the Pirates still need to improve at first base and right field and they chided the Bucs for not moving to adequately fill those areas. Now we can only hope that the Pirates can put a contending team on the field by April, although you can’t be certain since ownership and management has yet to make the necessary moves and seems to believe the Bucs can stand pat and compete on the cheap, which certainly isn’t possible in this day and age.

  40. Yesterday was not only Super Bowl Sunday but also happened to be the day one of our finest actors died from an apparent drug overdose. Some of you know that I love movies and the craft of acting. And Phillip Seymour Harris was one of the best at his craft. Unfortunately, channeling broken humans and those struggling with inner demons can take a tremendous emotional toll. All done to entertain and enlighten us. Not unlike the concussions taken by ballplayers at the expense of our amusement, now that I think of it.

    The roles I will remember him from:

    1. Boogie Nights (1997). The closeted gay production assistant enamored with the personality and lifestyle of Mark Wahlberg’s character.

    2. Big Lebowsky (1998). A brief but memorable role as the toadie/assistant/protectorate of Mr. Lebowsky himself.

    3. Almost Famous (2000). He played my childhood journalist hero, rock critic Lester Bangs. His brief scenes mentoring the adolescent journalist played by Patrick Fugit are some of the finest dialogue performed on film. I still smile when I think of his rant on favoring the Guess Who over Jim Morrison and the Doors.

    So many strong performances from the accused Catholic priest in Doubt (2008) to manager Art Howe in Moneyball (2011).

    Incidentally, on a lighter note. There was a good joke about Moneyball on Brooklyn 99 last night. I must admit I briefly thought of NMR.

  41. Well, the Pitt Panthers are still ranked 25 despite yesterday’s disgusting loss to Virginia, and now, one can only hope Pitt can come back against number one and still undefeated Syracuse,considering that the Panthers did practically nothing yesterday against Virginia late when needed.

  42. Yesterday’s Superbowl was, according to Fox, who carried it, the most watched in history, although for me, it was more of a shocker than anything else, especially as concerned what happened to the Denver Broncos.

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