Welcome folks! Coming at you this evening from the al fresco environs of the Double Wide Grill on Pittsburgh's historic South Side, making attempt no. 2 to live blog tonight's proceedings. Here's where we are:
Have seen a number of Terrible Towels here already, which got me thinking -- do you go Towel in preseason? Given that the game doesn't count, does this exhaust the Towel's supply of mojo for the season? Or is it a something of a protective force to keep starters free from injury, which will be of utmost importance tonight as Gene Collier notes. Still though, as preseason games go, number 3 is usually the one most worth watching because its the one where the starters will log the most action, so you'll get your best look at the Hartwig-Mahan battle, for instance.
Anyway, kickoff is on the way ...
Decent return by Mendenhall to start the game.
14:55 -- Game number 2 that the Steelers open throwing to the tight end. The apocolypse is upon us.
14:15 -- Parker for nothing. The right side is typically porous.
13:30 -- No time for Ben. Simmons get embarrassed. Punt. Nice kick and coverage.
13:12 -- My friend Craig shoots beer threw his nose laughing when he sees that Gus Ferrotte is starting for the Vikes.
13:03 -- Aaron Smith tears through the line for a sack and flexes his bicepts - not sure if it was the injured one or not but good to see him back.
12:30 -- Purple Jesus and consensus number one fantasy pick the world over Adrian Peterson is stuffed.
11:34 -- The Vikings vaunted o-line trying to set a record for false starts.
11:00 -- Peterson again snuffed out by Ryan Clark on a screen.
10:30 -- Hold your breat. Santonio on punt return. And a lackluster one at that. Putting him there NOT WORTH THE RISK!
9:49 -- A nice freelance by Ben and FWP, but again the line play is not looking good.
8:30 -- They are riding Parker this series, but not really to great effect.
7:45 -- Ben to Hines, Short. No huddle. Ben sneaks. Stuffed. Measurement confirms. You need one dang yard and you have HOW MANY running backs??
6:35 -- The Steelers D is handling Peterson, speaking to the one-dimensionality of the Vikes. This will not bode well for Minnesota over the course of the season, regardless of how well their line plays.
Nick points out that Gus Frerotte is older than Mike Tomlin.
6:00 -- Direct snap to FWP with Big Ben in motion. The play goes for nothing, but we kinda like the thinking here. Even money says they do this during the season except with Dennis Dixon.
3:40 -- Another lackluster possession. The nice thing about the Double Wide is that if this game lapses into total boredom oblivion, we can play Baggo, or maybe live blog other people playing Baggo out on the patio.
2:00 -- Three & out by the Vikes, and a fantastic defenseive stand by the Steelers. Casey Hampton absolutely blows up the first down run, Peterson gets stuffed again and Timmons bears down on Frerotte on 3rd down. You could hear the fear in the old man. Please note that this particular blogger did not like that pick and that this particular blogger retracts said statement.
1:01 -- Steelers take over and Mendenhall is tracked down and stripped by Pat Williams in a great individual play. Welcome to the league, kiddo.
0:21 -- Foote is down, Timmons get burned in middle coverage.
END OF QUARTER
14:50 -- Ty Carter is playing his mind out right now, stuffing Peterson and making a play at the goal line.
14:12 -- Peterson over the top for six, but there's a flag ... against Ike Taylor.
Nick notes that Dan Dierdorf is in the top 3 of people you don't want to see in HD. The other 2 - Bill Parcells and Tony Kornheiser.
13:20 -- After a decent first down run by FWP, Big Ben audibles, gets protection and throws ro Heath Miller who makes a gutsy catch in the middle. Big Ben is promptly sacked on the next play because this line has yet to show an ability to string together two successive good plays.
12:10 -- Big Ben sacked again. Steelers go to the always reliable "draw to the third RB on 3rd & 20" play that nets 3 yards. Punt.
10:46 -- Just after they flash Frerotte's 6 for 8 game line, he throws a bad pick to Ike Taylor, who, repeat after me: HOLDS. ON. TO. THE. BALL.
10:40 -- FWP bounces like a pinball for nine on first down, a penalty negates his nice push up the middle for a first down. Steelers looking at third and change now.
9:21 -- Ben gets protection and hits Melwelde Moore who makes a nice move for a first. Methinks Mewelde will prove to be a great pickup as the season progresses.
7:39 -- Big Ben way off on a slant to Santonio.
7:36 -- Santonio absolutely buried on a WR screen in which Sean Mahan clearly decided not to participate. Nick suggests that next time they just throw SH a barrell of concrete, as he'll get just as crushed. Big Ben misses on 3rd & 14. Jeff Reed -- Maxim's kicker of the year -- hits a layup. Vikes 7, Steelers 3.
5:52 -- Nick notes -- and we can't agree more -- it clearly looks like the Steelers worked on tackling drills this week. The Vikes are getting no YAC, and the tackling is much cleaner.
5:10 -- Frerotte evades Timmons by a gnat's eyelash and completes a pass for a first, then is snuffed out by Brett Keisel. James Harrison is tried for attempted murder after trying to kill Frerotte on the next play. Vikes punt.
1:58 -- Steelers forced to punt after another lackluster posession. Right now the offense looks putrid, there is really no other way to put it.
OK ... quick summation -- defense fantastic, offense crap. The Steelers are positively OWNING Purple Jesus. Lamarr Woodley and Timmons are BEASTS. This could be Lambert/Ham for the new generation. The interior D-Line is really solid, the tackling much better. This is the Steelers defense you know and love. Hungry and mean. Offense, not so much. Big Ben looks OK, same with FWP. The line is a disgrace at this point, and its no one guy. Its like on any given play, 4 out of 5 lineman are completely blowing their assignments.
15:00 Nice kick coverage to start the second half.
13:50 -- Adrian Peterson is mortal.
12:45 -- Peterson stuffed again but the Vikes are moving on the arm prowess of -- don't laugh -- Gus Frerotte.
10:51 -- Peterson smashed by Primanti's spokesman Casey Hampton. The run D is really solid tonight.
10:10 -- Minnesota FG. Vikes 10, Steelers 3.
10:06 -- Byron Leftwich in. The line cares not to protect him either.
9:31 -- Mendenhall with a great carry after getting contact at the line.
8:21 -- Mendenhall two carries for 3 yards after that.
7:40 -- Leftwich to Limas Sweed in triple coverage incomplete but the drive is extended by a penalty.
4:50 -- Steelers going for it on 4 & 2 ... timeout. Nice little out to Willie Reid -- first down!
4:31 -- Gary Russell in the house. But he's stuffed. Perhaps more importantly, Nick notices that Mike Tomlin starting to grow a gut, much to the dismay of every Pittsburgh woman who loves the guy -- and we mean you PittGirl!.
3:09 -- Maxim poster boy Jeff Reed good for 3. Vikes 10, Steelers 6.
1:03 -- Vikes with a 3 and out. Anthony Madison continues to make a case for a roster spot with a nice third down tackle, and decent return by Mewelde Moore.
0:50 -- Mendenhall with a bus-esque run up the middle. Granted its against backups, but you like to see that. Again they flash the graphic about the Steelers having the hardest schedule, but with the parity reign in the NFL, we'll see how that actually pans out. BNG is already on record as saying that the Giants will be 6-10. And what the heck, we'll say that the Colts will be bad just to tick off our pal and PG layout man extraordinarre Ben Howard.
14:17 -- Steelers get a break on a roughing call against Minny. Drive alive, first down.
14:10 -- We aren't gonna lie, this game is borderline excrutiating to watch and we may start to blog the baggo action outside.
13:33 -- Mendenhall continues to get the carries, to little effect.
12:16 -- Billy Latsko, who we think should be running a roofing buisness in McKeesport with a last name like that -- hauls in a nice short pass and gets a first down on second effort.
11:47 -- Scratch that earlier remark -- Mendenhall off the left side for a first down.
10:06 -- Maxim good for 3. Vikings 10 - Steelers 9.
9:32 -- John David Booty is your Minnesota quarterback. Minnesota may have the worst QB trio in the history of football. Wait -- who backed up Mark Malone? Bubby, then who? That's a bad trio right there.
8:38 -- Arnold Harrison with a terrific speed rush and sack. Vikes punt.
8:20 -- A Dan Deirdorff retrospective on the screen. Where are the barf bags? Nothing like a self-aggranddizing broadcaster getting to watch himself. Meanwhile Mendanhall does some nice things. Willie Reid makes a nice catch and a case for the roster. Megan notes, "Limas Sweed is tall." Good work.
4:28 -- Dallas Baker -- BNG's personal fave -- makes a nice catch in traffic, and again ups his stock. And ... Rashard Mendenhall FUMBLES AGAIN.
2:25 -- We're approaching the two-minute warning here and thank the almighty. Someone wearing No. 18 (Harry Newsome?) returns a punt. Megan and Nick both note that Byron Leftwich apparently has been on the diet that Casey Hampton should have been on.
Two-minute warning: We've put Megan and her excellent musical tastes on the case of the jukebox here which for the last half hour has been dominated by someone with a penchant for horrible metal. Also, the Hoegarrden girls are giving out free beer, much to the delight of Ben, Craig, Megan Molly. OK, back to the game ...
1:13 -- Leftwich to Limas Sweed on a 4th and 4. First down!
1:13 -- Play is under review but he got it. Craig notes that Brad Childress looks like a jerk of a high school chemistry teacher.
0:37 -- Busted play of a sneak as the play clock runs out.
0:31 -- Dallas Baker with a great catch in coverage. Maxim lines up to win it ...
0:09 -- It's good! Crowd goes wild ...
STEELERS WIN 12-10
POSTGAME: Major progress forward on defense. The D-line was terrific, Casey Hampton is already in old form as is Aaron Smith. Run defense was solid and as noted before, Timmons and Woodley were beasts, as was James Harrison. They clearly heeded his call this week, and that's a good thing, and frankly the type of leadership that's been missing on the defense since 2005. Offense: bad. That line is a wreck. There is absolutely nothing good to take away from the offensive performance.
Enjoy the weekend ...