Meadville Tribune

Sports

September 9, 2013

WALK TALK: Big Ben needs some help if Steelers have any hope

1 One week of a 16-game NFL season doesn’t always mean much. And it’s not even unheard of for a team to start 0-2 before making the playoffs. But one game into 2013, the only way the Steelers have avoided the “worst-case scenario” is that Ben Roethlisberger and Troy Polamalu are still healthy. You can use the injury of center Maurkice Pouncey to explain Pittsburgh’s inept offensive performance Sunday, but going 58-plus minutes without an offensive point in your home opener is embarrassing.

2. I feel like we’re having the same Week 1 conversation about Pittsburgh’s offense as we did in 2012. The Steelers averaged 2.6 yards a carry on 26 attempts in last year’s opener against Denver. Sunday, Pittsburgh accomplished 2.1 yards a carry on 15 attempts. Forget about stripping Isaac Redman of his starting duties; why is he still on the team? Redman’s eight carries resulted in nine yards and a fumble lost in the end zone. Meanwhile, the team’s best running back from 2012, Jonathan Dwyer, was cut weeks ago. It’s funny to read Monday’s reports that the Steelers re-signed Dwyer. Maybe he’ll help the Steelers average, say, three yards a rush?

3. The Browns provided their ninth straight disappointing season-opener, losing 23-10 at home to the Dolphins. There’s several reasons why Cleveland lost by two touchdowns. Let’s just focus on the play calling of offensive coordinator Norv Turner. Brandon Weeden threw the ball 53 times, completing 26. Trent Richardson, meanwhile, ran the ball just 13 times. No one else but Richardson recorded a carry for Cleveland. Anyone who knows anything about the Browns understands their strengths and weaknesses. Currently constructed, this needs to be a run-first team. Apparently Turner hasn’t received the memo.

4. This past week was once again disappointing for our region, with all three area teams losing. The Bills, however, might just be the best of the bunch this year. Rookie quarterback EJ Manuel was at least serviceable and showed more promise than Ryan Fitzpatrick ever did. And the Buffalo defense made things difficult for Tom Brady, who still found a way to lead the Patriots to a game-winning field goal. While it’s hard to take away a moral victory from a game you’ve lost, the Bills were the best looking team in defeat this week.

5. ESPN analyst Ron Jaworski ruffled a few feathers when he recently said San Francisco’s Colin Kaepernick “could be one of the greatest quarterbacks ever.” Many people were up-in-arms over Jaworski’s somewhat trolling comment. While Jaworski is getting way, way ahead of himself, it’s hard to argue against putting Kaepernick in the conversation of top 5 QBs in the league right now. After all, he’s 2-0 against Aaron Rodgers, who is widely considered the best signal caller in the NFL. Sure, Rodgers was going against a tough Niners defense while Kaepernick is facing Green Bay’s average “D.” It’s hard, however, to understate Kaepernick’s ability after a 412-yard, three-touchdown and zero-interception season-opener.

6. Of the NFL’s 15 Week 1 victors, the most impressive team in my eyes was New Orleans. The Saints, known to have an average defense at best, came back from a 10-0 deficit to beat Atlanta 23-17. What’s more, New Orleans used a dramatic goal-line stand to cap off coach Sean Payton’s return from a year-long suspension in connection with the NFL’s bounty probe. If the Saints’ defense, now led by coordinator Rob Ryan, plays like it did on Sunday all season, New Orleans is one of the NFC’s favorites.

7. Quick NFL observations: The Chiefs looked great while winning 28-2 during Alex Smith and Andy Reid’s team debuts, but it’s hard to judge them considering they beat the worst team in the NFL. … The first quarter of three games had a safety on Sunday. It’s the most the word “safety” and acronym “NFL” have been used together in a long time. … How was the Packers’ Clay Matthews not ejected for basically punching the 49ers’ Joe Staley? Since when is that allowed by the NFL? … Now that they witnessed Sunday’s performance, I wonder how the Ravens feel about trading Anquan Boldin for a sixth-round draft pick. 49ers fans are doing back flips.

8. Just three weeks remain in the MLB season and there are only three races of interest – AL wild card, AL West and NL Central. Odds are that the five combined contenders in the AL West and NL Central will make the playoffs, meaning the final AL wild card slot will provide the most excitement down the stretch. Looking at their schedule, the Indians have no one to blame but themselves if they fall short of the playoffs. Fourteen of Cleveland’s remaining 19 games are against three teams that are a combined 96 games under .500 entering Monday’s action.

9. The amateur wrestling world’s tumultuous seven months since being dropped from the 2020 Olympics finally came to an end in a positive way on Sunday. Wrestling beat out baseball/softball and squash as the final 2020 Olympic sport, totaling more votes than the other two sports garnered combined. In the end, this seven-month exile turned out to be a great thing for the wrestling world. If anything, the near-exclusion from the Olympics served as a great wakeup call. Based on preliminary changes – there’s too many to go over in this column – wrestling at the Olympic level is becoming more exciting to watch and I don’t believe the sport’s tradition is being compromised to create a better viewing experience for the average fan.

10. Moving to another combat sport, mixed martial arts, let’s touch on not-so-well known UFC middleweight Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza, who has quietly become one of the best 185-pounders in the world. Souza needed just 2:47 to TKO Yushin Okami, who was somehow ranked the No. 3 middleweight in the UFC prior to the fight. Souza has since moved to No. 3 behind champion Chris Weidman, No. 1 contender Anderson Silva and No. 2 Vitor Belfort. Weidman and Silva face off for the middleweight crown in December, while Belfort believes he’s next in line. Souza, however, might just be the best all-around fighter in the weight class, mixing a greatly improved standup game with world-class grappling ability. Don’t sleep on Souza.

The preceding was The Walk Talk 10, which runs in the Tribune's sports section every Tuesday. Assistant news editor Dan Walk can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at dwalk@meadvilletribune.com.

1
Text Only
Sports
  • Kyle Wise Panthers rally to beat Huskies

    Through three innings Tuesday afternoon at home, it looked like it was going to be a very long day for the Saegertown baseball team.
    The wind and the cold didn’t appear to bother Harbor Creek starting pitcher Issac Mattson as the senior struck out nine batters through the first three frames, including four strikeouts in the first inning alone.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Greggs and Bison knock Bulldogs down to earth

    Back to reality.
    Coming off one of its biggest wins in recent years on Friday with a 10-5 victory over previously unbeaten Saegertown, Meadville fell victim to possibly being over confident against Fort LeBoeuf.

    April 22, 2014

  • Devils sweep Tigers

    Just six days earlier, the Cambridge Springs boys volleyball coaching staff sat on the sidelines at Saegertown High School perplexed and disappointed as they watched the Blue Devils give away opportunity after opportunity.

    April 22, 2014

  • Abby Clulow Cardinals overcome offensive woes to remain unbeaten

    Abby Clulow is confident that sooner or later the bats are going to come alive for the Cochranton softball team. She is also pretty confident that until then the Lady Cardinals will continue to find a way to get the job done.
    After all, how could she feel any differently?

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Fight.jpg Brewers win in 14th after early brawl with Pirates

    Ryan Braun homered in the ninth inning to tie it, then Khris Davis hit a home run in the 14th that put Milwaukee ahead for good.
    Yet those were hardly the big blows that attracted all the attention Sunday in the Brewers’ 3-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pivotal Game 3 awaits Pens and Blue Jackets

    Not so long ago, the Columbus Blue Jackets were the worst team in the NHL.
    Now they’re heading home for tonight’s Game 3 of their first-round Stanley Cup playoff series with the star-studded Pittsburgh Penguins hoping to make even more history.

    April 20, 2014

  • Blue Jacket_DiRi.jpg Blue Jackets edge Penguins 4-3 in double overtime

    Matt Calvert banged home a rebound 1:10 into the second overtime and the Columbus Blue Jackets earned the first playoff victory in franchise history with a 4-3 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday night.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • College Softball: DePauw earns NCAC sweep over Allegheny

    It’s gut-check time for the Allegheny College softball team.

    April 19, 2014

  • Biggs.jpg Big first inning leads Meadville to win over Saegertown

    So, how does one go about beating the Saegertown baseball team? It’s a question that District 10 programs have been asking themselves for years now.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Taylor, Osborne lead Panthers to 12-1 win over CASH

    Saegertown freshman Kendra Taylor had no reason to believe that Friday afternoon’s non-region softball game would go like any other.

    April 18, 2014

Sports Scoreboard
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
Business Marquee
AP Video
Bon Jovi Helps Open Low-income Housing in Philly Pipeline Opponents Protest on National Mall Hagel Gets Preview of New High-tech Projects S.C. Man Apologizes for Naked Walk in Wal-Mart New Country Music Hall of Fame Inductees Named 'Piles' of Bodies in South Sudan Slaughter New Yorkers Celebrate Cherry Blossom Blooms SCOTUS Hears Tv-over-Internet Case Justice Dept. Broadening Criteria for Clemency Chief Mate: Crew Told to Escape After Passengers 'Miss Meadows' Takes Holmes Back to Her Roots Biden: Russia Must Stop Talking, Start Acting David Moyes Out As Manchester United Manager Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs High Court to Hear Dispute of TV Over Internet Stowaway Teen Forces Review of Airport Security
Poll

In terms of the overall livability and workability of the City of Meadville, which component of the city’s infrastructure should receive top priority?

Streets
Stormwater control
Parks
Other
It’s too difficult to single one out
     View Results
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Stocks