If you were given the option of staking your chances on winning a game on Adam Viniatieri missing a 43-yard field goal, would you take those odds? He may not be quite as he once way, but he had just hit a game-winner from beyond 50 for the Indianapolis Colts the week prior to yesterday’s game.
He had a chance to put the Colts on top with roughly a minute left from that range, but he shanked the ball hard to the left. While the holder ended up spinning the laces of the ball onto his kicking foot, you’re still expected to make that kick. He didn’t, and the Pittsburgh Steelers, as they quite well know, were fortunate.
After all, they have been on the opposite end of the winds of fortune often enough during the first month-plus of the season, during which period of time they went 1-4. But that have since been riding a three-game winning streak, currently at that mark with Sunday’s win over the Colts, and they’re not going to shy away from the circumstances of how that happened.
“It feels good for the ball to fall our way” for a change, cornerback Joe Haden told reporters in the locker room after the game. “We were fighting, scratching, clawing. It felt like Steve, that call they made when the feet got tangled up, really didn’t feel like that was a pass interference, felt bad for my dude. But they ended up missing the field goal so it all worked out for us”.
He’s referring of course to a critical pass interference penalty that the officials called on cornerback Steven Nelson on that drive, which set the Colts up at midfield. While it is arguable as to whether or not he had even committed pass interference that merited being called, the pass was also clearly and substantially not within a catchable range, yet Al Riveron elected not to overturn the penalty.
It was third and 10 at that time with Indy in their own end when that play happened. It was looking as though the defense would be able to close things out, prior to that penalty taking place. So it appears as though the missed field goal is being viewed inn the locker room as a sort of karmic justice, fortune making sure that the correct outcome would come to pass no matter through what means.
Three of the Steelers’ four victories have come in games in which a play here or there going differently would have swung the results the other way. This time, things did swing their way, and it helped them claw their way back to .500.
While the Baltimore Ravens are proving to be a bear to catch up to in the race for the AFC North, however, they have put themselves in the thick of the playoff race as a potential wildcard, currently seeded seventh, behind the Colts, against whom they of course now have a head-to-head tiebreaker.