Sunday, February 01, 2009

(Plausibly) Live(via DVR)-blogging Super Bowl XLIII

10:09 - Boy, that looked like the ball was still in his hand when the arm started forward to me. But my opinion doesn't count. What a disgusting finish to a revolting game. Ugh.

10:07 - Arizona uses its last timeout. They've got 15 seconds to go 44 yards. The outlook is bleak. But if there's anyone in the game right now more likely to catch a Hail Mary than Larry Fitzgerald, I don't know who it might be. Two plays to go.

10:03 - Barring a miracle, this is the second consecutive Super Bowl with an absolutely sickening ending.

9:59 - Roethlisberger hits Santonio Holmes in the corner of the end zone for a touchdown. Except the ball goes through his hands. On second down, Roethlisberger hits Santonio Holmes in the other corner of the end zone for a touchdown. And this time, he catches the ball. And gets his toes down. So the Cardinals will have one more chance with about 30 seconds, needing a touchdown.

9:58 - And an Arizona defensive back falls and Santonio Holmes takes the ball down inside the five. Pittburgh takes its last timeout with 49 seconds remaining. The possibility of a tie doesn't look as strong as it did just one play ago.

9:56 - Pittsburgh moves into Arizona territory and takes a timeout, probably only about 20 yards from field goal range, with 1:02 to go. A tie looks like a real strong possibility.

9:55 - 3rd and 6, 1:56 to go. And Roethlisberger hits Holmes to move the chains.

9:53 - The Steelers scramble to get a play off before the two minute warning and almost have a pass picked off. They probably would have been better off letting the clock expire and trying to get off a good play instead of scrambling.

9:51 - Pittsburgh starts at its own 22 with 2:30 to go, needing only a field goal for a tie, or a touchdown for a win. Can the Cardinal defense stand up one more time?

9:48 - Warner. Fitzgerald. 64 yards. Arizona 23, Pittsburgh 20. So the drive took two plays and 16 seconds. Wow. Just wow. Go Cards!

9:48 - Incomplete pass. 2nd and 10.

9:46 - So it comes down to this. Can Arizona go 64 yards in 2:53?

9:44 - And they did. Wow. But wait! Holding! In the end zone! Safety. Arizona gets the ball back on a free kick down just four.

9:43 - That's as close to a safety as I've ever seen a non-safety be. If it wasn't a safety. So it's third and 10, inside the one. If the Steelers pick up the first down, it's one of the biggest plays in Super Bowl history.

9:40 - Great punt, downed inside the one. And then a half the distance personal foul. But the ball appears to be tickling the one as the Steelers are snapping it, instead of ticking the goal line like it should be.

9:38 - Warner's lucky that Polamalu didn't just end this game. One of the things that Arizona cannot have now is a pick with open field in front of the picker.

9:37 - Down to the 26. Arizona can't worry about this, but I can - if they score, they're going to score too soon. That holding call may be a killer, though.

9:35 - Dumb penalty there, Ike Taylor. Don't worry, that 15 yards you just gave the Cardinals can't POSSIBLY hurt.

9:33 - PepSuber? Pepsi's new marketing strategy (after changing its logo to more closely match the Messiah-in-Chief's) is clearly to associate its drinks with losers. Let me know how that works out for ya...

9:31 - And Roethlisberger goes down. This 3rd and 16 is a huge play. Can the Cardinals stop them? Yes! Well short of the first down, the Steelers have got to punt the ball right back with 5 1/2 minutes remaining. This is anybody's ball game. The bad punt takes a good bounce, and the Cardinals will take the field needing to go 75 yards to win.

9:28 - From that last angle, I'm not certain that Fitzgerald had possession of the football before it touched the ground. It probably would not have been overturned, and that's a rule that commentators always are forceful about while contradicting what was said the week before, so I'm not certain whether it was a catch or not, but it was a lot closer to not being a catch than it looked from the end zone shots.

9:26 - And the Cardinal offense marches right down the field. 20-14, with plenty of time left. Larry Fitzgerald is a monster.

9:15 - The Arizona defense has not given up, forcing a three and out and returning the ball to the Cardinal offense. It's not over yet.

9:11 - Drive that loses yardage is followed by a 27 yard punt. "If you're going to go down," they seem to have decided, "you might as well go down badly."

9:05 - The third quarter ends with Pittsburgh up by 13. If Arizona takes the ball down the field and scores a touchdown, we may have some more competitive play. If not - well, it hasn't been a complete blowout.

9:00 - NBC ended up selling all of the commercial spots for a record $206 million. I'm thinking that there was a lot of money wasted.

8:56 - The penalty almost hurts Pittsburgh, as the second down play nearly results in a long interception return. In the end, all that happened was that an extra minute ran off the clock.

8:53 - And again, as a Cardinal gets tripped and pulled and runs into the holder on Pittsburgh's field goal. The personal foul pulls the field goal off the board and gives the Steelers first and goal from the five.

8:48 - The officials continue to do the Cardinals no favors, as a Steeler drive is extended on a pretty weak roughing the passer call.

8:38 - Arizona fails to do anything on its opening possession of the second, but it does win its second challenge of the game, which means it gets a third. Pittsburgh gets the ball back, and a long touchdown drive won't ice the game, but it will make it very difficult for me to keep blogging Arizona to win.

8:18 - Bruce Springsteen. Depressing. I'm not sure he was ever a great singer, but that was unwatchable. Just painful. (It didn't help that "10th Avenue Freeze-Out" is the worst song on Born To Run, and "Glory Days" is the worst song on anything.) It will be raved about by the kind of people who are bigger Springsteen fans than I*, because they think he can do no wrong, but that was not entertaining.

8:00 - Well, the "no memorable ads" streak ends. But not in a good way. The 3D for Monsters vs. Aliens was horrible. More disappointing, DreamWorks demonstrates, yet again, that they do not understand the target audience. There are two inappropriately scatalogical "jokes" in the ad that would never make it into a Pixar film. Who knows what else is in there? Honestly, do they really think that "brown underwear" jokes are going to draw more viewers than they'll lose? This was one of the big problems with Shrek, too. Dreamworks has yet to make a great animated film, and this is a big part of the reason why.

7:55 - That's as big a turnaround as you'll ever see in a Super Bowl. Arizona had first and goal inside the 5 with 17 seconds left in the first half, all ready to take a lead (or at the very least a tie) into the half. Not only do they not score, the Steelers get a miracle touchdown, and the deficit is 10 at halftime. It's only the first half, but hard to imagine that that won't be the play of the game.

7:35 - Offensive holding killed the Cardinals' first drive. It also killed the Steelers' third drive. An excellent punt return then set the Cardinals up to at least tie the score, but another penalty (illegal chop-block) ended that, forcing them to punt on 4th and 22. The moral of the story? Penalties kill.

7:21 - A 40 yard completion to Boldin sets up a 2-yard touchdown pass from Warner to Ben Patrick. Maybe we'll have a competitive game after all.

7:09 - The big play on that drive was the scramble by Roethlisberger. The Cardinals had a chance to stop the Steelers on 3rd and 10, probably out of field goal range, but they didn't manage to get Roethlisberger down, the drive continued, and they paid. Now 10-0, and it's probably not close again.

7:02 - Through 1 quarter of play: Pittsburgh 3, Arizona 0, Memorable ads 0.

7:01 - The 3-0 score at the end of one obviously doesn't represent the performance difference in the quarter. The Cardinals had one drive which ended quickly. The Steelers had two, and the Cardinals have barely slowed them down. Arizona is fortunate that Tomlin opted to play wuss-ball on that first drive. When Pittsburgh puts it in this time, it'll only be 10-0 instead of 14-0.

6:51 - A promising start to the Cardinals' first drive is immediately nullified by a holding penalty. Arizona is not good enough to overcome big (or many) mistakes.

6:43 - A good challenge by the Arizona Cardinals brings back a called touchdown. This provides immediate benefits as Mike Tomlin takes the 'fraidy-cat approach and settles for the field goal. John Madden and Al Michaels praise the decision. John Madden and Al Michaels were wrong. With that offensive line and running game, that's almost a gimme, and if you miss, Arizona's 99+ yards away. Wuss call, and they may miss those four points later.

* - Bigger Springsteen fans than I are legion, but that's not the same as saying I'm not a Springsteen fan. I love the early stuff - Greetings from Asbury Park, NJ, The Wild, The Innocent and the E-Street Shuffle, Darkness on the Edge of Town, Born to Run - all great albums (as is the first half of The River.) I love it. Almost all of it.

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