EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Sometimes, real life intrudes on the games we play. And sometimes, we need those games to get away from real life.
In the wake of Superstorm Sandy and the destruction it brought to the Northeast, everyone on the Pittsburgh Steelers and New York Giants understood that.
There are so many bigger things going on around here that what we do is not as important as real life, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said Sunday after throwing for two touchdowns in a 24-20 comeback victory. My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone else who are going through so much. There were so many emotions going on, I didn’t know what to expect from it. But maybe we were able to take their minds off their problems just a little.
That’s all the local fans sought: temporary relief, and the Giants (6-3) provided it for a while.
But they couldn’t stop Isaac Redman, who had little relief with Pittsburgh’s other two main backs injured, yet rushed for a career-best 147 yards and the winning 1-yard TD with 4:02 to go.
Overcoming unusual sloppiness, the Steelers (5-3) dominated the second half. They did so after they arrived in New Jersey hours before the game, which might have accounted for their carelessness. They had the fewest giveaways in the NFL entering the game, but were neglectful with the ball and in pass coverage; cornerback Keenan Lewis had 87 yards on two pass interference penalties. They wasted some great kick returns, too.
The Steelers’ long day began with a plane ride to New Jersey, a short side trip to their team hotel – they couldn’t get enough rooms to stay in the area on Saturday night and needed a league travel waiver to arrive on game day – then on to the stadium.
Outside, folks tailgated and tried to blunt some of the devastation from the week’s superstorm.
We didn’t talk much about the travel, Tomlin insisted, although Roethlisberger said teammates were in the hallways of the hotel sleeping after morning meetings.
This is a game, Tomlin added. What happened here is life and reality.
This is one of the oldest rivalries in the NFL, although the teams have met only five times in 18 years.
It had to feel weird for the Giants to have the ballpark rock when the visitors took charge.
That’s as disappointing a loss as we’ve had in a long time, Giants coach Tom Coughlin said. Not to be overly reactionary or emotional, to play against a very good football team like that we wanted emotionally to win the game so badly for obvious reasons, for our neighbors who are struggling, who needed some type of inspiration and we didn’t provide it.
The Giants saw their four-game winning streak end.
Eli Manning threw for only 125 yards in one of the worst games of his career.