The name of the play? The play that redeemed the Bus and restored the pecking order in the AFC Central? The shovel pass to the right from Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kordell Stewart to Jerome (the Bus) Bettis that beat the Jacksonville Jaguars in overtime at Three Rivers Stadium on Sunday night?
"Yeah, I'll tell you that," said Pittsburgh offensive coordinator Chan Gailey after the game. "We call it Shovel Pass Right. We're the Steelers. We keep it simple."
They would like to keep it simple. Unfortunately for them, their quarterback doesn't work that way. Stewart does his best work from the bottom of a deep hole, usually one of his own excavation. He's the NFL's second-lowest-rated first-half quarterback but its top-rated fourth-quarter quarterback. He's 6-2 in his first year as a starter. He's a duodenal ulcer waiting to happen.
On Sunday the slow-starting Stewart threw 42 passes, completing 25 for 317 yards. His first attempt was intercepted; his last—that shovel pass to Bettis 5:47 into OT—went 17 yards for the touchdown that gave Pittsburgh its 23-17 victory. Because he's strictly a quarterback these days, Stewart prefers not to be called Slash anymore. Well, Kordell, how does Snooze Button sound?
The Jaguars and Steelers came into this game tied for the lead in the AFC Central, which was fitting: Jacksonville has replaced the Cleveland Browns as Pittsburgh's most bitter intradivisional rival. Witness the bizarre postgame exchange between Steelers linebacker Greg Lloyd and Jaguars wide receiver Keenan McCardell. Lloyd cheap-shotted McCardell on the game's first play, knocking the wind out of him. When McCardell confronted Lloyd after the game, Lloyd accused McCardell of having made threatening phone calls to his house. McCardell denied having made any such calls, described Lloyd's actions as "low" and added, "That ain't nothin' but the Devil workin'."
Lloyd, for his part, didn't speak to reporters after the game, which was a shame. It would have been enlightening to hear his answers to these questions:
1) Greg, are you, in fact, an agent of Satan?
2) Can you tell us about your tackle on the goal line stand?
Hot topics in Pittsburgh this week will be the Punt, which came after the Drive, which followed the Stand. With a little more than six minutes left in the third quarter, Jacksonville, nursing a 10-7 lead, had a third-and-one on the Steelers' two. The Jaguars were as good as in the end zone, right? After all, running back James Stewart had rushed for five touchdowns against the Philadelphia Eagles two weeks earlier, and the Jacksonville offensive line, whose average constituent is 6'6" and 321 pounds, is the largest in NFL history.
Stewart, however, was stopped for no gain. On fourth down he got another try. This time he took a step in the wrong direction—because of the din, he explained later, he heard the play incorrectly in the huddle—and Lloyd ran him down. Again, no gain.