As most of you know the Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the Arizona Cardinals 27-23 in Super Bowl XLIII. Arizona took the lead with 2:37 left but Ben Roethlisberger was able to orchestrate a 2 minute game winning drive that ended with a Santonio Holmes TD catch in the corner of the end zone. Holmes would later be named Super Bowl MVP, but did he deserve it?
Roethlisberger led his team on a game winning drive that would seal the game for Pittsburgh. I’m happy for Holmes but I think Roethlisberger deserved the MVP. His passes aren’t always pretty but he gets the job done. Roethlisberger may not have gotten the trophy but he was the MVP of the Super Bowl.
Last night’s Super Bowl win gives the Steelers their sixth Super Bowl. That Super Bowl gives the Steelers the most Super Bowl wins in NFL history. With all the recent success are the Steelers the greatest football franchise of all time? I think it does. In the end last nights Super Bowl was an amazing game. I’m just happy the Steelers won. Football season may be over but the draft is just around the corner.
It is the eve of the Super Bowl and the clock is winding down before kickoff. The player’s nerves are running wild and emotions are running on high.
On one side you have the ridiculously good Steeler’s defense against Arizona’s high powered air attack. Match ups could be the key to the game. Who will win? Who will be the MVP? Here are the keys to the game.
Play calling and match ups will be the key to winning the game on both sides of the ball. I’ll break them down for you.
The first key match up on defense for the Steelers is Ike Taylor vs. Larry Fitzgerald. Taylor must contain Fitzgerald for the Steelers to win. If Taylor can keep Fitzgerald in front of him then he can be contained. Fitzgerald hurts defenses by going over the top. There is no doubt in my mind that Taylor will have help over the top by Ryan Clark, but Clark is also crucial in run support. If Taylor holds Fitzgerald under 100 yards or out of the end zone the Steelers have a good chance of winning.
The second key match up is Kurt Warner vs. James Farrior. James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley get the press but Farrior is still the best linebacker on that team. If Farrior comes out of the game the captain of the defense is gone. All the plays go in through Farrior. Farrior spends a lot of time spying the QB so Warner needs to watch him. Farrior needs to spy and cut off Warner’s short throwing lanes.
Now the match ups for Arizona’s defense. Antrel Rolle vs. Hines Ward. Rolle must prevent the short passes and yards after the catch from Ward. Ward may not be at full health but must be respected. Pittsburgh has proven they have other options outside of Ward but he is still the primary target on third down. Third downs will be very key in this game.
Next is Ben Roethlisberger vs. Adrian Wilson. Wilson is Arizona’s version of Pittsburgh’s Troy Polamalu. Wilson can be a free runner at times and sack the QB. Roethlisberger needs to recognize where Wilson is in the defensive set to make the correct audible. The same can be said about Warner recognizing Polamalu. Wilson can also make plays in the defense and become a big hitter over the top. Arizona doesn’t have the big names Pittsburgh does on defense but still has very good play makers.
Overall keys to the game for the Cardinals is forcing Roethlisberger to make turnovers. Arizona needs to bring pressure and force Roethlisberger to make quick decisions. He is very good out of the pocket but isn’t the fastest guy, he can be caught. Arizona needs to sack the QB and force turnovers. Pittsburgh’s D cannot let Fitzgerald beat them. They will surely double cover him most plays forcing Anquan Boldin and Steve Breaston to step up. Pittsburgh also needs to force turnovers. Warner has been prone to turnovers in his career and Pittsburgh needs to make it happen. Pressuring Warner will make him act quickly and throw bad passes. The team with the fewest turnovers will probably win.
Ken Whisenhunt needs to plan again Dick LeBeau’s zone blitzes. Pittsburgh loves to confuse the offense. Kurt Warner needs to switch up long snap counts will quick ones to make Pittsburgh show their sets and running lanes. Arizona’s offensive line also needs to use zone blocking instead of man to man blocking. Trying to block the Steelers in man blocking is like trying to get Scott Boras to give a home town discount, it ain’t a happening.
In the end I think Pittsburgh’s defense will be able to hold Arizona under 24 points. Unfortunately Pittsburgh has played a death row of teams and could put the game away quickly on offense. Pittsburgh scored 35 points on a solid Charger’s defense, they can score on Arizona’s. This game could also come down to whoever has the ball last. In a close game both Roethlisberger and Warner are extremely clutch. The game will either be very tight or put away early.
Steelers 27 Arizona 17
Roethlisberger named MVP
My Pittsburgh Steelers are in the playoffs. They have clinched but now the question is, how far can they go?
We all know about the Steelers’ top notch defense. James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley wreak havoc off the edges while Troy Polamalu roams the secondary. This is great and all but I am legitimately worried about the offense. I know they have had a murderers row of a schedule, but they need to put up points to win ball games.
They have just slipped by on several occasions and they can’t keep winning like that. It won’t be like that in the playoffs. Everyone elevates their game in the playoffs so I expect the Steelers to also. Ben Roethlisberger can only lead his team on so many game winning drives before he fails. He is a great quarterback under pressure but it can only last so long.
This week is the true test. Pittsburgh will travel into Tennessee to take on the 12-2 Titans. This game can determine home field advantage throughout the playoffs. I think it is a must win for the Steelers. Locking up Heinz field throughout the playoffs would be huge. They play great at home, which is exactly where they need to be.
Tennessee’s defensive line and Pittsburgh’s offensive line would have been the key battle of the game. Tennessee’s D-line is great and Pittsburgh’s O-line, well, sucks. They can’t protect Ben and it shows. The fact that Haynesworth and Vanden Bosch aren’t playing is why I give the Steelers the advantage in this game.
The Steeler defense will suffocate Kerry Collins and hopefully Big Ben can pull some tricks out of his bag and score 20 or so points. This is by far the biggest game of the season for Pittsburgh. It may not keep them out of the playoffs, but it could very well be an AFC Championship game preview. If all goes well I believe Pittsburgh can ride this win all the way to the big time, Super Bowl XLIII. If not, there is always next year. But who wants to wait another year?