Tag Archives: Hines Ward

NFL 2009: Steelers vampire the Titans’ diaries

But first: Georgia Tech buffy-slayed Clemson 30 to 27.

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The Pittsburgh Steelers and the Tennessee Titans blessed the opening of the 2009 NFL season Thursday night.  Broadcast on NBC, and narrated by Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth, the scoreboard remained empty for most of the first half.  The CW was also premiering its new undead-teen-fiction-turned-undead-teen-TV-show.  I watched it (Nina Dobrev, who plays the female lead, is lovely).  When the pilot was over, I flipped back to NBC and the score was still 0 – 0.

By the end of the first quarter, each team’s quarterback, the stealing Ben Roethlisberger and the tightening Kerry Collins, had thrown an interception.  The Steelers eventually beat the Titans 13 (a Santonio Holmes touchdown and two field goals), to 10 (a Justin Gage TD and a field goal) in overtime.

Observations & Miscellania:

1.  Goodness Graceland, Cris Collinsworth and Al Michaels.  What were they wearing?  Collinsworth had on a white, long-sleeve button-down shirt, black pants, and a light blue tie with dark blue diagonally arranged squares on it.  Michaels wore a yellow long-sleeve button-down shirt, grey pants, and a gold and dark blue/black diagonally striped tie.   Tres moche.

2.  After returning to the game from a commercial break in the first quarter, one of the cameras cut to a medium shot of Faith Hill (sans makeup) sitting next to Tim McGraw (who had performed in pre-game festivities).   Faith looked great without the makeup, and she appeared to be eating a cookie.

3.  Pepsi is the official soft drink of the NFL?  Vraiment?  There was a then-and-now-in-the-NFL commercial.

4.  I saw two Old Spice Swagger ads (with karate and with arm wrestling) and one Old Spice different scents commercials.  Unsavory.  Disconcerting.

5.  What exactly did Steelers nose tackle Chris Hoke do with his helmet in the third quarter?  He yanked it off and then plopped it back on?

6.  Steelers safety Troy Polamalu took a nasty left knee injury in the second quarter as a result of colliding with Titans tight end Alge Crumpler’s lower body.

7.  Steelers owner Daniel M. Rooney is now also the US Ambassador to Ireland.

8.  Why did Titans defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch jump across the line of scrimmage in the  fourth quarter?  He was charged with encroachment.  It was quite a sight.  I was looking on the Steelers side of the field when suddenly, there Vanden Bosch was…surrounded by black and yellow.  I think time actually slowed down there for a bit.

9.  Hines Ward?! Hines Ward!  Don’t be mad.  Don’t be sad.  Don’t cry a puddle, not even a puddle.   What did he do or didn’t do?  He made a reception in the bottom of the fourth quarter but was bumped from behind by one of the Titans’ players and dropped the ball.  Ward was roughly twelve yards away from the end zone.

10.  A tender moment occurred in overtime.  Steelers wide receiver Mike Wallace caught a pass and was cradled down to the field by Titans safety Vincent Fuller.  They remained in that “embrace” for some ten seconds longer than was probably necessary.

Get summary, stats, and play-by-play here.   Have you noticed NFL.com’s new Game Center interface?  You like it? I’m undecided at present.

AFC Championship 2009: Steelers wrap up the Ravens

The Baltimore Ravens marched down to the Pittsburgh Steelers to the tune of I-wanna-go-to-Super-Bowl-XLIII.  Broadcast on CBS, the first quarter spritzed out a forty-five yard run by Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward.  This play was filmed in a high-angle, medium long shot.  The Steelers looked like yellow jackets, again, and the Ravens looked like pandas (white jerseys, black pants).  That drive ended with a Jeff Reed field goal.  Pittsburgh 3 and Baltimore 0.  Steelers cornerback Deshea Townsend intercepted Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco’s pass halfway through the quarter.  Steelers wide receiver Santonio Holmes did or did not make a (touchdown) catch two minutes later?  Baltimore head coach John Harbaugh challenged that it was even a catch (apparently Mike Tomlin was reaching for his red flag at the same time and wanted a TD call).  Harbaugh won the challenge.  After all that hoopla, the Steelers came away with a field goal.  Pittsburgh 6 and Baltimore 0.  In the bottom of the first quarter, Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis hit Steelers running back Willie Parker, who then lost control of the ball, and safety Jim Leonhard recovered it.

Well, well, well. The second quarter sprang out with a sixty-five yard TD thread for the Steelers.  Denied twice in the first quarter, Santonio Holmes ran that ball in to the front, left corner of the end zone.  Pittsburgh 13 and Baltimore 0.  Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger struggled to on that play–he didn’t have a solid move and just threw the ball (I’m guessing in the direction of Holmes).  John Harbaugh threw out the red flag again toward the bottom of the quarter on a complete pass call.  Did Steelers Nate Washington keep control of the ball?  He sure did, by the space between his kneecaps.  No more challenges for the Ravens.  By the bottom of the quarter, Ravens running back Willis McGahee got the ball into the end zone.   Pittsburgh 13 and Baltimore 7.

The third quarter boiled down to three-and-a-half minutes before anyone scored…the Steelers and a forty-six yard field goal.  Pittsburgh 16 and Baltimore 7.  The fourth quarter rocked to nine-and-a-half minutes and Willis McGahee raised his team’s score with a TD.  Pittsburgh 16 and Baltimore 14.   Five minutes later Joe Flacco threw an interception.  Steelers strong safety Troy Polamalu abducted the ball mid-flight and ran it–weaving in and around the Steelers–back forty yards for a TD.  Pittsburgh 23 and Baltimore 14.  A few plays later, while the Ravens were back on offense with under four minutes on the clock, Willis McGahee and Steelers safety Ryan Clark collided full speed into one another.  McGahee had just caught the ball, took one step,  and within a nano-second, Clark had plowed into him.   Clark eventually got up and walked off the field, flanked by teammates, but the cart had to come onto the field for McGahee.  Stewed to the rockpit bottom of the quarter, Joe Flacco threw another interception, that time the ball ws caught by strong safety Tyrone Carter.  Pittsburgh 23 and Baltimore 14. Final score.  The Steelers will go to Super Bowl XLIII.

Observations & Miscellania:

1.  Martina McBride sang the national anthem.  She stood on the middle of the field, methinks, where the Steelers logo is on the turf.  Another great performance.  I’d even say I like hers more.  The CBS cameras didn’t put her on screen as much as the Fox cameras did Jordin Sparks.

2.  Jim Nantz and Phil Simms rattled out commentary.

3.  Was it snowing? Oh yes, it was.

4.  Interesting screen graphic.  Like graffiti blue trails of players’ paths.

5.  Hines Ward suffered an unsightly right leg mishap during the top half of the first quarter.  Imagine wringing a towel…and then if the towel was Ward’s leg.  He did come back towards the bottom of the quarter…briefly.

6.  After Willis McGahee made the TD in the second quarter and the extra point was kicked, there was replay footage of Ray Lewis, in a medium shot, on the right side of the screen.  The uprights were in the background and out of focus.  Ray was looking offscreen left, towards the upper corner of the frame.  Jim Nantz and Phil Simms noted that Ray Lewis was watching the extra point on the jumbotron, not wanting to watch the “real thing.”  Fascinating, isn’t it?  Why would Lewis prefer to look at the jumbotron? Better view? A different perspective?  Or…the camera lens (and the monitor) add an extra dimension of distance.  Good news is good and bad news is less bad.

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NFL 08: Steelers microphone-check those Bengals

I started watching the Steelers at Bengals game (on CBS) in the third quarter. At halftime, the score was 10 to 7 in Pittsburgh’s favor. At the start of the third quarter, the Steelers increased their lead with a touchdown by running back Mewelde Moore. 17 to 7. The Bengals answered that one with a field goal towards the bottom of the quarter. 17 to 10. The fourth quarter said hello to a fifty-yard TD catch by Steelers wide receiver Nate Washington. Pittsburgh 24 and Cincinnati 10. Ticking to five minutes, Mewelde Moore made his third TD of the game. 31 to 10 Steelers. Byron Leftwich went in for Pittsburgh quarterbacking duties towards the bottom of the fourth quarter. Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward made it into the end zone in the bottom as well. 38 to 10.

Today’s victory marked the eighth time in a row that Pittsburgh beat Cincinnati at Cincinnati.

Observations & Miscellania:

1. After the commercial break proceeding Bengals kicker Dave Rayner put the ball through the uprights in the bottom of the third quarter, the camera went to a low angle medium shot of Cincinnati cheerleader Lindsey (specifically of her left shoulder up). She winked at the camera.

I know why the cameras tend towards the low-angle shot, but a high-angle never hurt anyone…except for those that are already vertically underwhelming.

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AFC Wildcard Game 2008: the Jaguars desiccate the Steelers

The Jacksonville Jaguars pounced northwards to Pittsburgh to stand against the Steelers for a chance to go to the AFC divisional championship game and ultimately the Super Bowl.

The top of the first quarter offered each team seven points: Steelers running back Najeh Davenport and Jaguars running back Fred Taylor. The second quarter gave Jacksonville the lead 14 to 7 with a touchdown that resulted from Rashean Mathis intercepting a pass that was meant for Steelers split end Santonio Holmes. Jaguars running back/kick returner Maurice Jones-Drew increased the point lead with a touchdown soon thereafter. Jacksonville 21. Pittsburgh 7. Such are the scores going into halftime.

The third quarter started with a spirit-booster for the Steelers as linebacker James Farrior intercepted a Jaguars pass. That series ended with a field goal. Steelers down by eleven points rather than fourteen. But, towards the bottom of the third quarter, Maurice-Jones Drew made another touchdown. Jaguars 28 and Steelers 10.

The fourth quarter started with an even greater dose of confidence with a TD by Santonio Holmes. Back to an eleven point game. Steelers tight end Heath Miller made a touchdown not long after Holmes’s. A two-point conversion was attempted and successful (wide receiver Hines Ward caught the ball), but a holding penalty was put on Steelers center Sean Mahan and they had to try again. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger ran towards the end zone but didn’t make it. On the next Jaguars possession, Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor intercepted the ball. That series ended with a Steelers TD by Najeh Davenport. A two-point conversion was not successful, but Pittsburgh took a one-point lead with 29 on the scoreboard. With fewer than two minutes left to play, Jaguars quarterback David Garrard ran down to the ten-yard line! Sweet potato fries! Jaguars reclaimed the lead with a field goal, which gave them 31 points. Thirty-one seconds left to play. Upon Pittsburgh’s next and final possession, Jaguars defensive end Bobby McCray sacked Ben Roethlisberger. Defensive tackle Derek Landri recovered the fumbled ball. Final score: Jacksonville 31 and Pittsburgh 29.

Observations & Miscellania:

1. Tonight’s game, on NBC, began with the Faith Hill song number and then went to a close-up of Al Michaels and then a zoom/track back to include John Madden. Did the camera always start on Al Michaels’s face and I just never noticed it before the first time I noticed it (pretty late in the season)?

2. Fred Taylor’s TD in the first quarter was preceded by a 96-yard kick-off return by Maurice Jones-Drew, who ran the ball to the Pittsburgh one-yard line.

3. Everyone who is going to watch the 21st Century production of American Gladiators please raise your hand. Anyone watch the original version from the 80s and 90s? I saw it out of sheer boredom.

4. Bob Costas asked Cris Collinsworth a few questions about the Seahawks-Redskins game during halftime. Collinsworth was sweeping the press box ground at the start of the exchange. What an odd choice of a prop. Attempting to do a tap dance number with the broom a la Gene Kelly or Fred Astaire would’ve been more random but way cooler (in that silly sort of way).

5. After Ike Taylor intercepted the Jaguars pass near the middle of the fourth quarter, Pittsburgh fans started chanting “lets go Steelers, lets go!” Then Ben Roethlisberger gestured for the crowd the quiet down a bit so his players could hear his play call.

6. Najeh Davenport’s touchdown in the fourth quarter occurred after Pittsburgh had tried to get the ball in the end zone five times–I believe–but failed. On that fifth attempt, Roethlisberger threw incomplete to Hines Ward. Jaguars wide receiver Brian Williams was charged with defensive pass interference, which gave Pittsburgh another chance to get a TD.

7. David Garrad’s uniform was muddier than his offensive players. Maurice Jones-Drew didn’t look as dirty.
8. By the time Roethlisberger was sacked–the sixth time tonight–at the very, very, very bottom of the fourth quarter, my heart was pounding.

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