View Full Version : Gil Brandt ---Colombo-Woodley matchup critical

12-06-2008, 05:48 PM
Colombo-Woodley matchup critical as Dallas visits rival Steelers (http://www.nfl.com/news/story?id=09000d5d80d03437&template=with-video-with-comments&confirm=true)

The Cowboys-Steelers rivalry might be the best non-divisional rivalry in the NFL. These teams have met 26 times in the regular season and three more times in the Super Bowl. Dallas played Pittsburgh in its first-ever regular-season game in 1960. And after going winless that season, the Cowboys won their first regular-season game in franchise history against the Steelers in 1961, scoring 10 points in the final 56 seconds to win. Pittsburgh has won two of the three Super Bowl meetings, but the games were close enough that Dallas has actually outscored Pittsburgh, 75-73, in those games.

Offensive tackles typically have a harder time on the road because of crowd noise, and Pittsburgh may be the only NFL city in which the Cowboys won't have a large contingent of fans in the stands. Plus, without question, there is not another team that Steelers fans dislike more than the Cowboys -- consequently, Heinz Field will be louder than it usually is. This is Dallas' first game in Pittsburgh since 1997.

Colombo is tall (6-foot-8) and very strong. He is very consistent in his play. His feet are okay but not great. When he came into the NFL in 2002 as a first-round pick of the Bears, Chicago tried him at left tackle, but he wasn't great there. He's been much better in Dallas on the right side. He has quickness and is technically sound. He'll get beat inside, but he's a good run blocker and will pull when needed, as he did against the Redskins a few weeks ago.

Woodley is a second-year player, an end in college who has excelled at left outside linebacker with Pittsburgh. He has big thighs and arms, and is very physical. He hustles to the ball. He can flash some inside moves, coming hard on stunts. He is a very good pass rusher and a very good pursuit player. Woodley plays in all nickel and dime situations and does a very good job in coverage.

It's supposed to be cold in Pittsburgh Sunday -- 30 degrees and possibly some snow -- and it's not a very good field. New grass was put down last week and there was a college game played on it. Pittsburgh is No. 1 overall on defense and tops against both the run and the pass, allowing an average of 238 yards per game. Dallas averages 356 yards per game on offense.

Another matchup to watch in this game: Cowboys QB Tony Romo, who has the best passer rating in the NFL at 103.2, vs. Steelers S Troy Polamalu, who leads the NFL with 6 interceptions.

12-06-2008, 06:33 PM
That's ok, Colombo will just use the usual hold on Woodley while the officials turn their heads like every other Sunday that we play.....