Today felt like Fall. I could almost smell the cooler air, the trees changing color, campfires and fire pits.... And I didn't even go outside! That's because today was the first Sunday of Football Season! How can you not get excited about that? I realize not everyone is a football fan, and I also understand that there are many who are perhaps disillusioned by football due to the violence and injuries, plus the outrageous salaries of the players, and the money the owners are bringing in from the incredible cost of tickets. But for many, this is the beginning of the excitement of the game of football, Week One of the 17 week season.
My Pittsburgh Steelers opened the season at home against their long-time rival, the Cleveland Browns. In other local games, the Baltimore Ravens took on the Cincinnati Bengals in Baltimore, and the Washington Redskins opened their season in Houston versus the Texans.
The Steelers had a fantastic first half, taking at 27-3 score into halftime. Big Ben Roethlisberger put up huge numbers, his best first half of his career, and the Steelers seemed to be cruising to a win. In the second half, it looked like the teams had switched each other's uniforms. The Browns took charge, and came all the way back to tie the game. It appeared the teams might be headed to overtime, but the Steelers moved down the field with under 2 minutes in the game and kicked a game-winning field goal to make it 30-27, Steelers. It was ugly, but it was a win. I'll take it.
The Redskins picked up pretty much where they left off last year.... and much of the past decade. They lost. And they lost ugly. The Texans were the worst team in the league last year, and the Redskins really were never in this one. They lost 17-6.
The Ravens struggled through the first half, getting behind early. The Bengals kicked 5 field goals to take a 15-0 lead. The Ravens were fortunate that the Bengals weren't scoring touchdowns. Right before the half, Ravens QB Joe Flacco had his team in scoring position, but he lost track of the clock and in a scramble on what was the last play, he was dropped and the clock ran out. In the second half, the Ravens were finally able to get on the scoreboard with a couple of TDs, including a long pass to new WR Steve Smith, to take a 16-15 lead, but the Bengals answered right back with a long pass for a TD by WR AJ Green. The Ravens had a chance to tie at the end, but the Bengals held on to win, 23-16.
The Boys of Summer made an appearance today, too, as the Pittsburgh Pirates took on the Cubs in Chicago in the last month of baseball season. The Bucs scored a touchdown early in this one, and went on to win 10-4. The Pirates moved into a wildcard position for the playoffs, which is amazing to me given the issues this team has battled all season.
It was a wild day of sports, and I can't help but be excited as baseball winds down and football revs up.
Have a great week, everyone!