6:03 P.M. MDT: “Football Night in America” … The idea of that title is, of course, pilfered from “Hockey Night in Canada.” I wonder if this would work for other American sports, or for other countries with their sports?
“Cribbage Night in America”
“Cricket Night in India”
“Hurling Night in Ireland”
“Rugby Night in South Africa”
“Sumo Night in Japan”
“Taekwondo Night in Korea
“Cornhole Night in Ohio”
“Ice Fishing Night in Sweden” (Thanks, Kyle)
“Motoball Night in Russia”
Eh, doesn’t have the same ring.
I asked media-relations intern Jason Taylor — who sits directly to the right of me — if he had any ideas. He proceeded to ask, “What is a stale muffin with a hole?” I answered, “A bagel.”
It’s time for the national anthem … and with a band from the Air Force Academy in the house, it ought to be a good one.
6:12 P.M. MDT: The Steelers just took the field … and let’s just say there were many yellow towels being twirled as they made their entrance.
6:15 P.M. MDT: But the golden towels are still outnumbered about 8-to-1 by orange pom-poms as the players gather in the inflatable tunnel in the southwest corner of the stadium.
6:19 P.M. MDT: A scoreboard tribute to Darrent Williams and Damien Nash is now running … the utterance of each name draws cheers. Williams’ mother, Rosalind, and Nash’s widow, Julie, are on the field wearing the jerseys of Williams and Nash, respectively.
6:21 P.M. MDT: Pittsburgh calls tails and wins the toss; the Steelers will receive the kickoff.
6:23 P.M. MDT: Great field position for the Steelers to begin their first possession, as Todd Sauerbrun’s kickoff bounces out of bounds at the 1-yard-line. Pittsburgh begins at the 40. Marcus Thomas and Sam Adams are the starting D-tackles; aside from that, the defense bears its normal starters. Ben Roethlisberger’s first pass goes incomplete.
6:25 P.M. MDT: Pittsburgh will have third-and-7 after an illegal-man-downfield penalty is declined by the Broncos. Huge play coming up here.
6:26 P.M. MDT: It’s not quite second-and-37, but just about as damaging, as an orbit-shot Roethlisberger pass finds Nate Washington just past Nick Ferguson; third-and-long now becomes first-and-10 at the Steelers 17 after a 40-yard toss.
6:27 P.M. MDT: Third-and-4 from the Broncos 11 now forthcoming … Alvin McKinley rotating in at defensive tackle … empty backfield … good pressure, but he completes it on third down again, this time to Heath Miller. First-and-goal at the 4.
6:29 P.M. MDT: Willie Parker stopped about a yard and a half short of the goal line after John Lynch puts up the stop sign about 54 inches from the end zone … Steelers call timeout with 11:06 left in the quarter.
6:32 P.M. MDT: Touchdown, Steelers, as Heath Miller catches a pass at the goal line with Ian Gold in coverage.
6:33 P.M. MDT: Third downs got the Broncos in trouble early against San Diego, and they are a bugaboo once again on the first series, as 47 of the Steelers’ 60 yards came on the two third-down plays — third-and-7 and third-and-4.
6:35 P.M. MDT: Selvin Young fields the Steelers’ first kickoff … and finds fifth gear quickly, moving up to the Broncos 32. Broncos open in a two-tight end set, with Tony Scheffler making his first start of the season. The first-down pass from Jay Cutler to Brandon Marshall falls incomplete. Oh, and the offensive linemen are now speaking for themselves on introductions.
6:37 P.M. MDT: Could it be that Scheffler is the one to pick up the slack for Javon Walker? He just got 26 yards across the middle.
6:39 P.M. MDT: Back in scoring range, with second-and-7 at the 24 … can the Broncos improve their red-zone efficiency? We’ll find out now, as the Broncos pick up eight yards on Travis Henry’s second carry to move to the Steelers 16 and into the red zone.
6:41 P.M. MDT: Two carries, two yards. Now third-and-a-long-8.
6:41 P.M. MDT: On one play, two things the Broncos desperately needed to see — a third-down conversion and a red-zone touchdown. An outstanding pickup of a blitzing Steeler by Selvin Young allowed Cutler the time he needed to locate Brandon Stokley for the score. All due credit to Stokley and Cutler … but the MVP of the drive’s final play was the man who started the possession with a solid kickoff return, the rookie from the University of Texas.
6:45 P.M. MDT: Jamie Winborn lights up Allen Rossum at the Steelers 22.
6:47 P.M. MDT: Dre’ Bly drops a potential interception … would have been a spectacular play, yes, but he’ll be kicking himself … that leaves third-and-3.
6:49 P.M. MDT: “In-com-plete” chants the crowd after a R’berger pass slips out of Hines Ward’s hands … Glenn Martinez then takes a fair catch at the Denver 26.
6:52 P.M. MDT: Oh, and if you’re looking to kill time during a timeout, visit straightcashhomey.net … Meanwhile, on a night of change for the offensive line, the first penalty of the night came from the old standby, Matt Lepsis, who took a false-start penalty, putting the Broncos in first-and-15.
6:54 P.M. MDT: A successful third-down conversion for the Broncos moves them to the 40 … and Travis Henry fumbles on the next play, but Lepsis recovers at the Denver 44.
6:55 P.M. MDT: A deep shot for Glenn Martinez falls incomplete … and Nick Eason, whom you might remember from when he went AWOL during training camp in ’03, is now in for the Steelers. Denver now has fourth-and-3 after Scheffler is stopped short of the sticks on a reception.
6:57 P.M. MDT: Nice punt for Sauerbrun, which bounces out of bounds at the Pittsburgh 12 … Net of 41.
6:58 P.M. MDT: Spectacular leaping interception by Dre’ Bly … if this were baseball, it would get a great-play asterisk in my scorebook … Bly a smidgen slow to rise, but he jogs up and off the field, and the Broncos will take over at their 37 with 1;53 left in the quarter.
7:02 P.M. MDT: Broncos on the happy side of the 50 … Brian Clark with his first regular-season pro reception as he and Cutler turn a busted play into a seven-yard gain.
7:04 P.M. MDT: End of the quarter.
Tags: Pittsburgh Steelers