We have probably all heard the saying “Don’t get mad, get even.” Well, after spending the entire week feeling ambivalent about the Steelers traveling to New York to take on the Giants in the wake of super storm Sandy, by just before half time I was mad and wanted nothing more than to get even. I was hoping the Steelers were feeling the same way. By the time they went to their respective locker rooms for half time adjustments, I felt that the team was battling not only the incumbent Super Bowl Champs, but the high emotions of the day and the officials as well. Two cases in point:
• On third and two at the Steelers 2 (after already suffering a drive extending penalty), Ryan Clark was called for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Victor Cruz that clearly was a perfectly legal, if albeit hard, hit to his rib area. That allowed Andre Brown to score a touchdown on the next play as opposed to forcing a field goal. I won’t say that Cruz stayed on the ground for several minutes for effect, but it crossed my mind at the time since he was able to return to the game.
• Osi Umenyiora hit Ben Roethlisberger’s hand as he was bringing the ball forward for a pass. I will grant you he managed to jar the ball loose, but Ben, wearing gloves, was able to maintain control and move his arm forward for the throw, which was scooped up by Michael Boley and he ran it into the end zone for what was called a touchdown on the field. No problem, it will get overturned on review, it seemed perfectly clear to all of us watching. However, to our great shock, it was upheld. I have watched the play a number of times since and listened to several experts, and I think the swing vote is in: that was one bad call.
Therefore, the officials spotted the Giants 14-points in my opinion. Following along with the chatter among Steeler fans on Twitter, there were a lot of rumblings that the fix was in. Personally, I will go so far as to say that I do believe there was some sort of mandate at work, whether it had been overtly discussed or not, that the Giants needed to win this game.
Even Tomlin seemed in on the fix with the odd call on fourth down trailing 20-17 to fake a field goal that fooled no one wearing blue. The damage was that we failed to pull even in a hotly contested game on the road. The potential damage was that Suisham could have been hurt. However, as I am sure Tomlin factored in, the defense rose to the occasion and stopped the Giants and the offense was able to find the winning score.
But, in the end analysis, I think the Giants were stopped not only by a surging Steeler team, where even Mike Wallace showed up to play with a key – and fast – touchdown run, but by the drain of the week. I think they ran out of steam in the fourth quarter, whereas the Steelers by that point were seemingly playing to get even.
Mike Wallace was quoted as saying after the game, “I feel like this is the best win we’ve had since I’ve been on the team. We got down early, we had to overcome a lot of penalties, had to overcome a hurricane, we did it all. To come out and win says a lot about this team.”
I don’t always agree with him, but he’ll get no argument from me on this one.