The Steelers have overcome injuries all season; but on Sunday there was an injury that they couldn’t. That would be Greg Warren. “Who” you ask? Even some of the Steelers’ most die-hard fans couldn’t tell you who Warren was before this week. Greg Warren would be the long snapper for the Pittsburgh Steelers, who injured his knee in the fourth 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 get the job done. The Steelers were missing a couple of players against the Super Bowl Champion Giants. Wideout Santonio Holmes was deactivated because, for whatever reason, he felt the urge to smoke blunts while driving through Pittsburgh. Cornerback Bryant McFadden came out with a broken arm. Running back Willie Parker has been out with knee problems. Left tackle Marvel Smith came 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 doing his best to clear the entire game. But the only injury the Steelers couldn’t overcome was the loss of Greg Warren, who tore his ACL in his knee.
The Steelers had players in other positions who stepped in and produced. Nate Washington for Holmes, Tyrone Carter for Clark and Mewedle Moore for Parker are the leading candidates. The thing is, no one has two long snapper on their team. They only have “emergency snappers” that they can fill in the short term if something happens. Linebackers James Harrison and James Farrior fill that emergency role for the Steelers. Harrison was the player who offered to replace 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’s when Harrison came in and threw the ball over the head of punter Mitch Berger and left the end zone for a touchdown. That tied the score at 14 and the Giants returned the free throw that followed the 50-yard line. Although the Giants hadn’t moved the ball much throughout the game, they had good momentum to score a touchdown and take a 21-14 lead.
The Giants unit before leaving the end zone also had a very opportunistic play. New York was down 14-9 with just under 10 minutes left in the game. They faced a quarter-and-one from the Steelers 29-yard line. Eli approached the scrimmage line and looked confused, so he indicated a time-out. Unfortunately, the Giants had just used a timeout and two cannot be called in a row. So they were called up for a game delay and now faced a 4th and 6th from the 34-yard line. Eli made a cheeky play that 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 hot 30-yard route to the Steelers 4.
All the “experts” claim that the Giants are the best team in the league. New York definitely had a couple of plays of its own in this one. It was a good, hard and forceful game. But they could / should have missed this one very easily. It was the injury of long snapper Greg Warren that opened the door for New York to suppress this game. If Warren isn’t hurt; I doubt that any of the so-called “experts” are calling the Giants the best team in the league.