The Steelers have overcome injuries all season long; but on Sunday there was one injury that they couldn’t. That would be Greg Warren. “Who”, you ask? Even some of the most diehard Steelers fans, couldn’t tell you who Warren was before this week. Greg Warren would be the Pittsburgh Steelers long snapper, who injured his knee in the 4th quarter against the Giants.
We all know that injuries are part of the game and that good teams have to overcome. They need to have reliable reserves that can step in and do the job. The Steelers were missing a couple players against the Super Bowl Champion Giants. Wideout Santonio Holmes was deactivated because for some reason he felt the need to smoke blunts while driving around Pittsburgh. Cornerback Bryant McFadden was out with a broken arm. Tailback Willie Parker has been out with knee issues. Left Tackle Marvel Smith was out with a bad back. The Steelers also lost Ryan Clark during the game with a dislocated shoulder. Mitch Berger hurt his groin on a punt and was trying his best to punt all game. But the one injury that the Steelers could not overcome was the loss of Greg Warren, who tore his ACL in his knee.
The Steelers did have players at other positions step in and produce. Nate Washington for Holmes, Tyrone Carter for Clark and Mewedle Moore for Parker are top candidates. The thing is that nobody carries two long snappers on their team. They just have “emergency snappers” that can fill in short term if something happens. Linebackers James Harrison and James Farrior fill that emergency role for the Steelers. Harrison was the player that volunteered to fill in when Warren went down.
Pittsburgh was leading 14-12 at the time. Roethlisberger was sacked and the Steelers had to punt from their own 18 yard line with 6 minutes to play. That is when Harrison came in and snapped the ball over the head of punter Mitch Berger and out of the end zone for a touchdown. That tied the score at 14 and the Giants returned the ensuing free kick to the 50 yard line. Although the Giants hadn’t been moving the ball too much all game, they did have a nice drive to score a touchdown and take a 21-14 lead.
The Giants drive before the snap out of the endzone also had a very opportunistic play. New York was down 14-9 with just under 10 minutes left in the game. They were facing a 4th and 1 from the Steelers 29 yard line. Eli came up to the line of scrimmage and looked confused, so he signaled for a timeout. Unfortunately, the Giants had just used a timeout and you can’t call two in a row. So they were called for a delay of game and were now facing a 4th and 6 from the 34 yard line. Eli made a boneheaded play which seemed to have cost the Giants a chance to win the game. But he made up for it on the next play when he connected with Amani Toomer on a 30 yard hot route to the Steelers 4.
All of the “experts” are claiming how the Giants are the best team in the league. New York definitely had a couple plays go their way in this one. It was a good, tough, hard hitting game. But they could/should have very easily lost this one. It was the injury to long snapper Greg Warren who opened the door for New York to squeak out this game. If Warren is not injured; I doubt any of the so-called “experts” are calling the Giants the best team in the league.