Indianapolis Colts Shine in Defeat, Fall to Pittsburgh Steelers

The Indianapolis Colts indeed fell to 0-3 Sunday night at Lucas Oil Stadium as many predicted they would.

I’m sure few people, however, predicted that a loss that dropped the Colts to 0-3 would feel so good.

The Colts put forth a stellar effort on the field and pushed the Pittsburgh Steelers to the brink in a 23-20 loss. Steelers kicker Shaun Suisham kicked a 38-yard field goal after a late drive by Ben Roethlisberger to seal the deal with four seconds to play.

But what an encouraging and much-needed display by the Colts, even with the end result.

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Indianapolis Colts — And Fans — Need to Prove Themselves Against Pittsburgh

After two bad losses to open the 2011 NFL season, the Indianapolis Colts are close to confirming everyone’s worst fears about the team without Peyton Manning.

Tonight’s prime-time matchup with the defending AFC champion Pittsburgh Steelers (1-1) at Lucas Oil Stadium can either establish one and for all that the Colts can’t contend without their four-time MVP starting quarterback, or it can be a proving ground for them to show that they can.

But the Colts aren’t the only ones who have something to prove at tonight’s game. Colts fans do, too.

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Indianapolis Colts’ Peyton Manning Reportedly Being Evaluated Again

Thanks to our ever-evolving flow of news, we’re seeing countless different rumors about what’s going on with Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning.

Is he undergoing another neck surgery? Could he miss the Colts’ season opener at Houston on Sunday? Is he out for the entire season?

This much we have seen confirmed: ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reported that Manning was being evaluated by doctors once again regarding apparent slow progress in his recovery from offseason neck surgery. No further procedure had been planned yet.

We don’t know at this point how much time Manning may miss, but it’s starting to feel more and more like he’ll be a no-go for the team’s Week 1 matchup against the Texans.

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Fantasy Football Studs, Duds & Sleepers: AFC North

With the NFL lockout finally behind us, football fans can finally turn our attention from the courtrooms and onto the field, where it belongs. In the coming weeks, I will rank the fantasy studs, duds and sleepers for each division. Today, the AFC North gets some time under the microscope.

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NFL Signings and Trade Rumors: Kevin Kolb Traded to AZ, Reggie Bush and More!

Donovan McNabb ends up on the Minnesota Vikings, who say goodbye to Sydney Rice.  Kevin Kolb has a new home in Arizona!  The Redskins also rid themselves of Albert Haynesworth.  Who else is going where?  Now that blue chip wide receiver Santonio Holmes has decided to remain a Jet, where will other receivers go? The Sportsbank posts the basics here so you can be the king of your water cooler.

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Just How Valuable is Maurkice Pouncey to the Steelers?

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Obviously, one of the big topics that everyone is talking about heading towards Super Bowl 45 is Pittsburgh Steelers’ rookie pro-bowl center Maurkice Pouncey. It was made official this week that Pouncey will not play in the Super Bowl after weeks of…. will he play or won’t he play conjecture. A man that played in big games all the time when at Florida protecting Tim Tebow won’t be able to play in the NFL’s biggest game. He’s sidelined due to the high ankle sprain that he suffered during the AFC Championship game against the New York Jets two weeks ago.

But, just how big of a loss is the 6’4 and 304 pounder from the college of Florida? [Read more…]

Pick One QB to Win One Game: Big Ben or Aaron Rodgers?

Big Ben-Aaron Rodgers

The Packers and Steelers will face off Sunday to decide Super Bowl XLV. And there are lots of Super Bowl Picks to be made. Both teams have two of the best quarterbacks in the NFL behind center. One is a two-time Super Bowl champion and the other holds the all-time highest quarterback rating in playoff history. This begs the question: If you had to win one game, which quarterback would you choose?

Before you resume your Super Bowl betting, take a minute to consider the debate between The Sports Bank.net senior editors Justin Mertes-Mistretta and Nick Grays.

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VIDEO of Ben Roethlisberger Partying During Super Bowl Week

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During the week of Super Bowl XLV, Steeler quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was caught on video living it up at a local bar in Fort Worth, Tex.

By: Justin Mertes-Mistretta

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Will Super Bowl Make Rashard Mendenhall Greatest Illini Rusher Ever?

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For the second year in a row, the Super Bowl will have a feature back from the University of Illinois. This time, the Illini tailback is the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Rashard Mendenhall;  who in 2008 became the first University of Illinois player taken in the first round of the NFL Draft since 1996.

14 years ago, UI produced the #2 (Kevin Hardy taken by Jacksonville) and #3 overall (Simeon Rice drafted by Arizona) picks. Hard to believe that team went 5-5-1. Mendenhall’s 4.45 forty time, ideal size at 5’11”, 225, a 33½ inch vertical, Shard has developed into a star in the NFL. The native of Skokie will burn by you, run through you and impress you with a last name that sounds like it should belong to a British aristocrat. Or perhaps the name of the English countryside mansion where that nobleman lives.

Mikel Leshoure is drawing all sorts of Mendenhall comparisons right now, as his draft stock is gaining serious momentum. But who are the other Illini rushers who made their presence felt in the NFL?

By Paul M. Banks

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Sidetracked: The Midwest’s Own Major Leaguer Trenni Kusnierek (1 of 2)

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By: Melissa S. Wollering

Cole Hamels just gave up a solo homer to Andre Ethier and it’s only the first.  It’s 63 degrees out, but he’s visibly sweating. Game 5 of the NLCS will do that to you. Trenni’s head is filled with stats. If she could just double-check his ERA and games pitched during the ’08 playoffs versus the ’09 postseason so far.

Manny’s now at the plate. She sends off a quick email to MLB Network support staff. Manny singles on a line drive to Werth in right…yikes.  Wait, new message notification. The answer to the Hamels question!

Covering 30 teams is a far cry from one; good thing some of the best researchers in sports TV are listening. See, they’re at her service. All the while, she still refers to Wisconsin as HOME in all caps. You still hear her on 1250 WSSP in Milwaukee. You still catch her volunteering as a tutor on the city’s Southside. We, too, are happy to be at Trenni Kusnierek’s service. The only difference: the rest of baseball is catching on. [Read more…]

Soxman and Friends Preview Super Bowl

By TSB Staff

SOXMAN

Regardless of what the experts have said all season long, statistically you couldn’t ask for a better Super Bowl match-up that has defined the 2008-2009 NFL season.

The Cardinals sport the NFL’s 4th best offense (365.8 total yards per game) and second best quarterback in Kurt Warner, (who averages 292 passing yards per game).

The Steel Curtain defense of Pittsburgh is number one in the NFL (237.2 total yards per game), 1st against the pass (165.9 yards per game), and 2nd against the rush (76.9 yards per game).

Most experts are picking the Steelers to win based on their dominating season and Super Bowl experience.  Conventional wisdom would agree.  However, when has Soxman done anything conventional?  The very nature of a baseball super hero commenting on football alone could draw a challenge flag from many a fan of the gridiron.

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Alas, I challenge you to think of the intangibles, and as I have no monetary interest in this game whatsoever, to pick with your heart.

Your Super Bowl 43 Champions will be: The Arizona Cardinals.

Intangibles:

The Arizona Cardinals used to be the Chicago Cardinals and play in Old Comiskey Park.  Have to support a Chicago alum!

While the Cardinals running game was dead last in the NFL during the regular season, Edgerrin James seems to have found the fountain of youth or at least the fountain of pending free agency to emerge as the number one rusher in the post season.

Soxman loves the underdog.  Ask Paul M. Banks about last year’s Super Bowl.
Is this not the year of Change?  Yes We Can!

The “X” factors to the Cardinals victory will be the establishment of a running threat.  Edge and Hightower don’t have to dominate, they just have to open up the Steel Curtain slightly to the pass.  If this happens Pittsburgh will not be able to contain what is, in my opinion, the best trifecta of receivers in the NFL in Fitzgerald, Boldin, and Breaston.  Boldin’s hamstring and mental stability after his play-off meltdown will also be key.
So why many may be saying “Who cares” when commenting on this year’s Super Bowl, I believe making the statement that: this year’s big game is going to the birds is actually a good thing.  Go Cards!

PAUL M. BANKS

First off, if still you’re looking for something to do for the big game, head to Stardust in Downers Grove where I’ll be MCing the hottest Super Bowl party in Chicagoland. GET YOUR TICKETS HERE!

Although this is far from being the most interesting Super Bowl in recent years, it does present a captivating contrast in franchise histories. The Pittsburgh Steelers have 5 Super Bowl wins, tied for most all-time with the Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers. The Arizona (previously the Phoenix, St. Louis and Chicago) Cardinals are not really here at all, right? Seriously! Since the L.A. Clippers of the NFL are here, I might as well pick the 7 point underdog: because absolutely nothing that’s occurred this NFL season has been predictable or made any sense.

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Also, the Cards hold a trump in place-kicker Neil Rackers, whose spikes are already in Canton due to the game in which he kicked three 50 yard field goals. He was my graduating class at the University of Illinois and lived in my apartment complex senior year. There he was known as “the totally boss kicker who splits the uprights on kickoffs and sprints downfield to touch the goal line on all touchbacks” and/or “the crazy kid with dyed hair.” I often joke about how Neil Street in Champaign is named after Rackers. At the conclusion of this game…it honestly will be.

Still don’t think the Cardinals will win? They have Jesus H. Christ on their side via Kurrt Warner…and after driving the wicked money changers from the temple, protecting Warner’s blind side blitz should be a piece of cake.

MELISSA S. WOLLERING

Picks Cardinals Over Steelers – By 6

Little girls like Cinderella and grow up rooting for Cinderella teams to win Superbowls. Watch the Cardinals’ offense outshine the Steelers’ defense just a wee’ bit. I predict back-and-forth TDs until the Cards are forced to fight for the yardage needed to get within field goal range.  That’s when Rackers makes the two they’ll win by- both in the mid-40’s.

Either way, Terrible Towels are made by the mentally challenged in Chippewa Falls, WI, so if Pittsburgh wins, hard-working people gain job security and pride. No bring-you-down moment there!

DAVID PALMER

There is one simple reason that I am picking Arizona to win Super Bowl XLIII; I trust Kurt Warner.  He’s the kind of guy you can tell your cash card PIN # to if he took you to a drive-up ATM.  I trust that he’s said all the right things to his teammates.  I trust that he has read the appropriate amount of bible passages, and he is really pushing the whole underdog thing.  Never underestimate a team with nothing to lose and a high-powered offense- especially with two coaches that were recently on the other team.  Plus, I’m getting seriously close to man-crush status with Larry Fitzgerald.

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