Sunday, January 15, 2006

I'm Finally Ready for Some Football

I haven't watched a lot of pro football this year, but the 4th quarter of the Pittsburgh/Indianapolis AFC divisional playoff this afternoon was a hoot.

As the 4th quarter began, the underdog Steelers were shocking the Colts (with their NFL-best regular season record) at home 21-3. With the help of a reversed interception call and a couple of breakaway touchdowns, the Colts moved to within three points. Then the Steeler defense forced the Colts to turn the ball over on downs inside their own 10 yard line with less than two minutes left. Fans started streaming toward the exits.

The Steelers handed off to Jerome Bettis to put the game away and the ball was knocked loose. Colt defender Nick Harper, whose wife cut him in the knee with a knife in a domestic dispute just yesterday, picked up the ball and would've scored on a 99-yard fumble recovery had Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger not made a touchdown-saving tackle. Now I'm thinking of hiring an angry woman to stab me before my next rock show.

Despite the quick turn of events, the Steeler defense held. With 21 seconds left, super-accurate Colts kicker Mike Vanderjagt lined up to boot a 46-yard field goal to tie. It wasn't even close. Adding insult to injury, Vanderjagt drew an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for spiking his helmet.

The Steelers play the Denver Broncos next week in the AFC Championship.

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