Well, well, well….there are the Steelers I was looking for all season (selectively not mentioning that 4th quarter defense thing). Â A great offense, a line that protects the quarterback, a running game….now, if only we can get our defense to be able to play 60 minutes of football. Â Do I need to send a few cases of Red Bull to drink at half-time? I don’t know, but we have some good teams still to face (Ravens) and the Steelers will need to be ready for 60 minutes.
So, let’s talk about this offensive line. Â Kemo, where have you been? Â I saw you single-handedly move defensive players with hits I didn’t even know you had in you. Â Are you using Troy’s Head&Shoulders for power? Â Was this all thanks to the renewed contract? Â Well, whatever it is, keep up the great work. Â I loved seeing you play hard last night – you did a great job protecting Ben and giving Reshard space to run the ball. Â As much as fans (me included) dogged the O-line last year, this is really, really refreshing. Â It also gives Ben an opportunity to show that he definitely is a top 5 quarterback. Â And he is. He completed 26 of 33 for 333 yards and two TD’s. Â Ben was able to move, dodge tackles and do what he does best – all with the protection of a much improved offensive line.
The offense overall came up with some big – and not so predictable plays. Â The gadget plays were a welcome sight to what I typically refer to as a very predictable pass, pass, run offense. Â On the run game, Reshard Mendenhall came up big – and about time too as most fans were going to write him off as a bust for the 2008 draft with Limas Sweed. Â Instead, Reshard rushed for 165 yards over 29 carries and two TDs. Â It’s about time. Â We needed that. Â In a very unpredictable play, Ben handed off the ball to Mewelde Moore, who looked like he was going to try to run it in the end zone, but instead on a great gadget play, found Heath Miller in the end zone. It’s offense like this, unpredictable and well played, that wins games. Â Hines Ward also had a decent game with 8 receptions for 111 yards.
The defense looked great for 3 quarters only to let the Chargers take control in the 4th quarter. Â Is Troy really that big a playmaker and leader that we can’t hold a 28 point lead? Â I’m just not sure what happens at the end of games. Â But can we fix it? Â And by we, I mean more you than me, though I am happy to kick in the energy drinks at half time. Â Something. Â It was great seeing Harrison and Woodley come off the edge last night and really pressure Rivers. Â But on the blitz, that gap in the center becomes a real threat, especially with QBs who can hold the ball til someone gets free. Â I thought Ike Taylor played a great game and kept his man covered. Â It was Gates, as we all kind of knew, who would be the real problem.
Overall, the team I watched last night was closer to the championship team I know and love. Â There was a whole lot more good than there was bad. Â Let’s keep it moving and as Tomlin says, play it big every single week.