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Saturday, January 15, 2005 

Kicking it Away

The Steelers survived three big turnovers to beat the Jets 20-17 in overtime. I just watched Herman Edwards's press conference on ESPNNEWS, and I can't believe his explanation (which was also given by Dan Dierdorf during the telecast) for why Chad Pennington took a knee on the final play of regulation before Doug Brien's 43 yard FG attempt. First of all, are you that scared of the Steelers special teams? The 2 extra seconds the Jets ran off wouldn't have allowed the Steelers to run a play unless they got a very quick whistle on the kickoff, and a squib kick can be tough to handle. Second, why not at least try to gain yardage instead of surrendering some? It looked to me like Pennington lost about a yard on the play. Brien had already missed from 47 yards two minutes earlier, so the Jets should have been more aggressive. Yes, he hooked the ball a lot, but who knows how a 33 yarder would have turned out? New York hit a nice screen to Curtis Martin for a first down earlier on the drive, but then stayed on the ground and played into the Steelers hands. The Jets did almost nothing on offense today, but they did hit some intermediate passes.

Going into this game I thought the Steelers were the favorites to win the AFC, and I still do. They completely smothered an albeit mediocre Jets offense, gained 193 yards on the ground, and had they not turned the ball over 3 times and given up a big punt return, this game could have been 24-10 or worse.

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