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Bandito
01-12-2009, 01:39 AM
http://www.postgazette.com/pg/09012/941275-87.stm

Ron Cook
Offensive line opened the way
Monday, January 12, 2009
By Ron Cook, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Being called a part of the worst offensive line in the NFL stung Steelers tackle Willie Colon, all of the big fellas up front, really. Getting the hate mail telling him that he and they stink, turning on "SportsCenter" and seeing quarterback Ben Roethlisberger getting sacked time after time, being reminded constantly that the team can't make a Super Bowl run because they aren't good enough as a unit ...

But it was a guy in a Wal-Mart parking lot who really got to Colon.

"He rolls down his window and says, 'You guys had better bleepin' protect,' " Colon recalled. "I was like, 'Dude, I'm just here to get a loaf of bread.' "

You might guess the punch line.

"Man, we've been through a lot this season," Colon said.

Came out the other side, too.

It's fair to say nobody enjoyed the Steelers' 35-24 divisional win against the San Diego Chargers yesterday more than the big guys. Rolling into the AFC championship against the Baltimore Ravens Sunday at Heinz Field is reward enough. But the way the team did it doubled, maybe even tripled, the pleasure. Running back Willie Parker ran for 146 yards and two touchdowns. Roethlisberger was sacked just once and didn't have a turnover. The offense had the ball for a stunning 36 minutes, 30 seconds, including all but one play in the decisive third quarter, and -- quoting Roethlisberger -- "kind of took their heart."

Said a very satisfied Colon, "The line showed up today."

Here's the best part:

If it shows up again next week against the much tougher Ravens defense, the Steelers will be off to Tampa, Fla., for Super Bowl XLIII.

Who knew the O-linemen had this kind of game in them?

Coach Mike Tomlin and offensive coordinator Bruce Arians challenged Colon and tackle Max Starks, guards Darnell Stapleton and Chris Kemoeatu and center Justin Hartwig last week. Arians told them he was "giving them the hat." Allow Colon to decipher the coach-speak: "It's like we were supposed to lead the ship. We were kind of like the captain."

Arians then took it one step further. The first three plays he scripted were running plays to Parker behind Stapleton and Colon on the right side. "A B.A. first," Roethlisberger called it.

Parker gained 12, 2 and 8 yards.

The Steelers were off and running.

"Willie told us all week, 'It starts with you guys,' " Starks said. " 'You push 'em forward and I'll ride behind you.' "

So Parker did.

At the same time Tomlin and Arians were doing their psychological work on the big men, Roethlisberger was working on Parker.

"I just told him to trust himself and believe in himself," Big Ben said. "He's too good of a running back to question himself."

Then, there was a brief conversation Parker had right before kickoff with his mentor, former Steelers great Jerome Bettis, who did the ceremonial coin toss.

"I just told him to take care of the football, have fun and be patient," The Bus said.

I repeat: So Parker did.

"You saw him with a bounce," Bettis said. "It was like he was the same old Willie Parker."

The 146 yards were the most in a postseason game by a Steelers running back in 33 years, going back to when Franco Harris was toting the ball. Parker's 3-yard touchdown in the second quarter gave the team a 14-10 lead and his 16-yard scoring sprint in the fourth quarter pushed the score to 35-17, ending all doubts about the outcome.

It was a matter of finally being healthy, Parker said.

That and the superb work done by the big boys in front of him.

"Those guys did a great job in every facet," Roethlisberger said.

Those fears about the quarterback going into the game off of a concussion? Much ado about nothing. "The line did an extra good job of protecting me so I didn't get hit," Roethlisberger said. The Chargers' only sack came when running back Mewelde Moore failed to pick up blitzing safety Eric Weddle.

Now, here come the Ravens.

Linebacker Ray Lewis leads a nasty bunch.

"It's going to be one for the ages, I believe," Roethlisberger said of the game.

"Real football, the way it's supposed to be played," Steelers defensive lineman Aaron Smith called it. "It sure won't be basketball on grass."

Colon, for one, didn't sound intimidated or afraid.

Not of the great Lewis, certainly.

And not of going to Wal-Mart this week.


Ron Cook can be reached at rcook@post-gazette.com. More articles by this author
First published on January 12, 2009 at 12:08 am

SteelerOfDeVille
01-12-2009, 01:50 AM
nice read...

RuthlessBurgher
01-12-2009, 01:11 PM
Okay...for this week, we need volunteers who live in the Pittsburgh Area.

Someone must yell at Colon from a Walmart parking lot again.

Someone must yell at Stapleton from a K-Mart parking lot.

Someone must yell at Hartwig from a Target parking lot.

Someone must yell at Kemoeatu from a Giant Eagle parking lot.

Someone must yell at Starks from a Sam's Club parking lot.

feltdizz
01-12-2009, 01:18 PM
I love it.. I just want a loaf of bread...

I think if the OL plays like this the rest of the playoffs we should start sending the OL custom home baked loaves of bread.

ikestops85
01-12-2009, 01:24 PM
Okay...for this week, we need volunteers who live in the Pittsburgh Area.

Someone must yell at Colon from a Walmart parking lot again.

Someone must yell at Stapleton from a K-Mart parking lot.

Someone must yell at Hartwig from a Target parking lot.

Someone must yell at Kemoeatu from a Giant Eagle parking lot.

Someone must yell at Starks from a Sam's Club parking lot.

:lol: :lol:
:Clap :Clap :Clap

skyhawk
01-12-2009, 07:07 PM
I love it.. I just want a loaf of bread...

I think if the OL plays like this the rest of the playoffs we should start sending the OL custom home baked loaves of bread.

Seriously. A multimillionaire shopping at walmart for a loaf of bread? :roll:

flippy
01-12-2009, 07:54 PM
Okay...for this week, we need volunteers who live in the Pittsburgh Area.

Someone must yell at Colon from a Walmart parking lot again.

Someone must yell at Stapleton from a K-Mart parking lot.

Someone must yell at Hartwig from a Target parking lot.

Someone must yell at Kemoeatu from a Giant Eagle parking lot.

Someone must yell at Starks from a Sam's Club parking lot.

Can someone also yell at Bruce A and Larry Z?

And can't someone do Colon's shopping for him so he can spend more time studying film?

I don't want my RT having a life.

stlrz d
01-12-2009, 08:00 PM
Okay...for this week, we need volunteers who live in the Pittsburgh Area.

Someone must yell at Colon from a Walmart parking lot again.

Someone must yell at Stapleton from a K-Mart parking lot.

Someone must yell at Hartwig from a Target parking lot.

Someone must yell at Kemoeatu from a Giant Eagle parking lot.

Someone must yell at Starks from a Sam's Club parking lot.

Can someone also yell at Bruce A and Larry Z?

And can't someone do Colon's shopping for him so he can spend more time studying film?

I don't want my RT having a life.

Not sure where you'd find BA. Barnes and Noble maybe, looking for a copy of NFL Offenses for Dummies?

Larry's easy...just look outside of places were he buys his porno books. Wait...that may not be so easy! :shock:

Mister Pittsburgh
01-12-2009, 08:51 PM
Now if we could just keep Colon and Stapleton from shoving their heads up their butts once or twice a game and getting stupid penalties. I think both have at least one penalty each in every single game they have played in.

I am not going to crown the line the best ever quite yet. San Diego was 11th against the run and 31st against the pass....second from last vs. the pass.

Baltimore is 3rd against the run and 2nd against the pass. Put up over 115 yds rushing on this team and I will be stoked.

mshifko
01-12-2009, 09:06 PM
for a fan to say that to a player, that takes a lot of balls...that's impressive...

the line as a whole played well...i think the key was simplifying the blocking scheme...it seemed like these guys weren't thinking, they were just firing off the ball and driving their guy off of the ball

Mister Pittsburgh
01-13-2009, 12:04 AM
Mshifko.....to me it appears that they rarely get physically beat, it is the mental aspects of line play that they fail at. Two guys blocking one and a man runs by free. If they can stay mentally focused and play fundamental football we can hang physically.

You know who is having a great year and nobody even mentions him is Justin Hartwig. Dude was a very solid pickup. Blows Mahan out of the water.

Mick'sTeam
01-13-2009, 12:13 AM
Okay...for this week, we need volunteers who live in the Pittsburgh Area.

Someone must yell at Colon from a Walmart parking lot again.

Someone must yell at Stapleton from a K-Mart parking lot.

Someone must yell at Hartwig from a Target parking lot.

Someone must yell at Kemoeatu from a Giant Eagle parking lot.

Someone must yell at Starks from a Sam's Club parking lot.

Bad news Ruthless, Starks shops at Cosco!

BradshawsHairdresser
01-13-2009, 10:08 AM
Mshifko.....to me it appears that they rarely get physically beat, it is the mental aspects of line play that they fail at. Two guys blocking one and a man runs by free. If they can stay mentally focused and play fundamental football we can hang physically.

You know who is having a great year and nobody even mentions him is Justin Hartwig. Dude was a very solid pickup. Blows Mahan out of the water.

When you don't hear much talk about the center, that's usually a good thing!

feltdizz
01-13-2009, 10:38 AM
I love it.. I just want a loaf of bread...

I think if the OL plays like this the rest of the playoffs we should start sending the OL custom home baked loaves of bread.

Seriously. A multimillionaire shopping at walmart for a loaf of bread? :roll:

how the rich stay rich