Thursday Night Thoughts - By Christopher Stout

Steelers Fever Exclusive Editorial

The Steelers thoroughly man-handled the Browns on Thursday Night, and I enjoyed every single minute of the beatdown. The entire team played a brilliant game. Ben was solid. Santonio Holmes started making plays. Nate Washington didn't drop every touchdown pass. The offensive line stepped up in a big way, and Willie Parker was simply amazing.

The defense was just crushing people. It all started after the Steelers first possession sputtered. Mike Logan shellacked Dennis Northcutt on the punt return, and the tone was set. As the game got more physical, every single tackle had a little bit extra on it. After every single play, you could just feel all the trash talking being exchanged. The defense was out for blood, and they wanted to remind their opponents of this fact play after play.

Secondary Options
Anthony Smith was flying around all over the place. Even when he wasn't involved in a play, the first-time starter still managed to run over to the ball carrier and spit some smack in his face. Always eager and aggressive, Smith even managed to pull in an INT. Aside from that one slip on Braylon Edwards, the rookie put in a great performance.

Bryant McFadden played with confidence and swagger. These qualities have been missing on the edge for most the season. I hope Cowher rewards the second year DB with some extra playing time.

Farrior vs. Winslow
In the middle of the fourth quarter, as his team was getting pounded, Kellen Winslow started to crack. The soldier decided to unload on an unsuspecting James Farrior well after a play had ended. The hit was clearly a cheap shot, and the officials called the personal foul. It was the first time in the game that Winslow did something noticeable.

On the very next play, Winslow was trying to reel in a pass and he got completely lit up by Farrior. It was beautiful stuff. Winslow's cheap shot was immediately exchanged for a premium drilling. After the play, the smile on Farrior's face was enormous.

Gumby is the worst
Bryant Gumbel is beyond irritating. Throughout most of the first quarter, Gumby kept trying to package Willie Parker as a back who couldn't get the tough yards. After Cris Collinsworth stated that "he's a home run hitter," Gumby followed up with this meek question: "Isn't that part of the problem though Cris, he's always looking to hit the home run?" Even as Fast Willie was bouncing big runs to the outside, Gumby continued to press the 'this-guy-isn't-really-a-tough-runner' shtick.

During the final play of the first quarter, Roethlisberger handed the ball off to Willie Parker. Big Ted Washington penetrated the backfield for the first (and only) time of the night. Willie side-stepped the 575 pound defensive tackle, and barely made it back to the line of scrimmage. Still trying to insinuate that Willie Parker was a hesitant, tip-toeing running back, Gumby said that Willie was "studder-stepping in the hole." The problem was, there was no hole. If anything, Parker avoided what should have been a loss.

Gumby has absolutely no clue what he's talking about. He tries way too hard to sound articulate, and instead he comes off kind of clownish. The best was when Gumby referred to Ike Taylor as being in Bill Cohwer's "chateau bow-wow." What a fruitcake!

Parker set a Steelers franchise record as he rushed for 223 yards in three quarters worth of work. You see Gumby, he doesn't have a home-run hitting problem, he's just a gamer. On almost every single play, the o-line was blowing the Browns off the line of scrimmage. I didn't see Parker hesitate once as he hit his gaps.

I guess Gumby realized that he needed to change his tune after Parker put up over a hundred yards in the first half. By the second half, Parker suddenly became "tough." The NFL Network seriously needs to find another play-by-play announcer, because (no offense Ron Pitts) Gumby is the worst guy out there.

John Kuhn sighting!
John Kuhn is the new Mike Alstott. In the preseason, he looked like a total bruiser. I was so happy when the Steelers picked him back up (he was initially released in September). As the Thursday Night game was winding down, the undrafted fullback got his first NFL carry, and he gained 16 yards. The Steelers need to find a way to put Kuhn's bashing abilities to good use. He's ready for more action.