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Monday, January 24, 2005 

Blizzard of Turnovers

Turnovers kill. That's the lesson of the two New England-Pittsburgh games this year. Back in October, the Steelers built a big lead off turnovers, yesterday, the Patriots took a quick 10-0 lead off 2 turnovers and never looked back. Once the Patriots forced the Steelers to throw more often, they took advantage of a mediocre game by Ben Roethlisberger, picking him off 3 times. Even when Pittsburgh did try to run the ball, New England got much better penetration that I thought they would and stopped them on a lot of key plays.

The second half was more of a scramble, since New England's 24-3 lead meant that Pittsburgh had to take some chances - and they did make a few plays to keep the game from being a complete blowout. Corey Dillion was bottled up most of the day, with about half the yards he gained a week ago. That was expected, but it kept the Patriots defense on the field and makes the second half scores a bit more acceptable.

As a Patriots fan, I'm surprised it has been so easy so far. In past years, the playoff games have been a struggle. If you take away the Steelers turnovers yesterday maybe it would have been too; but the Patriots are a roll again.

The same cannot be said for the Eagles offense. Their defense game up big and controlled Michael Vick, but the offense missed some chances to put the game away in the third quarter. Atlanta does have a good defense, but not as good as New England's. If Terrell Owens is able to play, that will make a big difference, since McNabb can try to stretch the field, but otherwise, the Eagles defense will have to carry them in the Super Bowl.

Now we just have to wait two weeks...

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