Steelers 27, Vikings 17: Dumbass NFL Victories Are Way More Fun Than Dumbass NFL Losses

The Steelers had already fallen victim to two “Dammit, NFL” losses, so it was about time for a “Dammit, NFL” win. The Steelers didn’t control play against the Vikings at all; they were outgained 386 – 259, lost the possession battle 36:58 – 23:02, converted only 4 of 12 third downs, most of which were exceedingly reasonable, and Roethlisberger turned in a pedestrian 14/26 for 175 yards and a TD. Still, the Steelers prevailed, because it’s the damn NFL and good teams win weird games like this all the time; unless you’re the ’07 Patriots, even the league’s best teams usually pad their gaudy records with three or four crappy victories, but in the end, as cliched as it sounds, none of that matters, cause the Steelers won, they’re 5-2 now, and the Vikings are no longer undefeated.

The Vikings did commit an astonishing 5,795 yards worth of penalties, which helped a bit, and the Steelers D finally got tired of us whining about them needing to make a big play and spitefully scored two touchdowns to shut us up (for at least one quarter). Even with the Vikings’ miscues and the seemingly slanted offensive statistics, the Steelers could’ve put the game away earlier if…

1) Santonio Holmes’ TD wasn’t negated with an offensive pass interference call on Heath “Ol’ Reliable Except On That Play” Miller.

2) Rashard Mendenhall hadn’t fumbled on the Vikings 4 yard line by diving over the pile on a non-goalline play and spastically flinging away the football. I’m pretty sure Mendenhall was waiting for the exact millisecond when Steeler fans finally trusted him again after his rookie struggles and Bengals-game benching to make sure that when he did screw up again, it was extra gut-wrenching. I’m still waiting for Lastings Milledge to do the same with the Pirates next year, with a hot month of April followed by him randomly founding a Neo-Nazi hate group in May (Awww, crap!)

3) Not allowed Percy Harvin to return a kickoff 275 yards for a touchdown (yep, he ran the length of the field and back untouched 2.75 times). The Steelers special teams had to play competently for all of 2008 before I even began to entertain the thought that whenever they kicked off, it might actually not get returned for a touchdown (or to like, the Steeler 10), and like the Mendenhall thing, juuuuuuust when I was beginning to believe in the Steelers’ special teams, they’ve now given up kick return TDs in back to back games.

Apologies for the Bill Simmons-style rip-off reference, but I feel a bit like Helen Hunt at the end of Cast Away; after being convinced for months and months through therapy that my husband was gone, I finally grew to accept it, then BAM! He’s back out of nowhere. Only in this case, the husband is some random fast dude warping to the 50 untouched and me shrugging too hard to bother shouting the F-word.

4) Any Combination of the Above. All three would’ve been nice.

Other random thoughts on the game:

— Man, is Sidney Rice legit. By that fourth quarter, I was fearing those bombs to Rice far more than anything heading towards Adrian Peterson. Knowing the Steelers, I was actually fearing the four-yard dumpoff to Whitey McKleinsausser the most, but as that was clearly the D’s top priority, they seemed to have it well defended.

Hines Ward had ascended from “good-blocking, reliable third down dude” to “true gamebreaking threat” in most of the prior games this season, but was neither against Minnesota.

Mike Wallace’s instant superiority to Limas Sweed continues to be simultaneously encouraging and discouraging.

— Despite Mendenhall’s flippy screwup, he’s still clearly the Steelers’ best option to run the football. He carried 10 times for 69 yards against a supposedly dominant Vikings front seven, and with Willie Parker’s injury troubles and contract set to expire in the offseason, the Steelers’ transition to Mendenhall as the feature back should become complete within the next few weeks regardless of Parker’s status.

— Like Ward, James Farrior continues to defy his age week after week; the 34-year-old had probably his best game of the season against the Vikings, notching 15 tackles (9 solo) and a sack. The Steelers sign about one high-profile free agent per Haley’s Comet arrival, but when they do, they make ’em count.

— The refs called a so-so holding penalty and a bad tripping penalty both on lineman blocking James Harrison. Hopefully opposing linemen don’t figure out the pattern that they only get whistled for calls when they don’t hold Harrison.

— Next Up: The Bye Week. I really hope the Steelers don’t give up a kick return TD this Sunday…

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One Response to “Steelers 27, Vikings 17: Dumbass NFL Victories Are Way More Fun Than Dumbass NFL Losses”

  1. k Says:

    So now it’s not even ok to get together and hate Neo-Nazis? I’m starting to think Lastings Milledge gets unfairly scrutinized.

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