Everybody calm down, it was just preseason game #2. BUT OH MY GOD WE JUST MURDERED THE SO-CALLED “DREAM TEAM!!” THEY LOOKED LIKE A JOKE, AHHHHAHAHAHAHAHA!!
Alright, now that we’ve got that out of our system, let’s take a look at this game rationally:
GOOD: Starters looked pretty solid out there. Starting with the run game, the Steelers established that despite their terrible offensive line problems, that they could still move the ball with relative ease. After Mendy took some carries early, the Steelers opted to give Redman and Dwyer the majority of the carries in order to see their progress. Mendy and Redman both ran against the 1st team defense (Dream Team) of the Philly Eagles, and both of them looked like they were running with good vision and good strength. Tons of great blocking out there from the WRs, namely Hines.
Dwyer then took over the majority of the snaps and ran against the first team D some, and then the backups. He broke off a couple nice runs against the first team D, and looked to be playing with a little more gusto than we’re used to with him. He still looks like a high schooler to me, with those skinny arms, though. I don’t know one starting (or even regularly working) RB who isn’t jacked up top. That dude needs to hit the weight room bad.
The Steelers marched all the way down the field in their first two posessions and ended in TD passes from Ben Roethlisberger. The first was a textbook pass/catch to Antonio Brown (about 30 yards), and the second was a classic broken play scramble, Ben rolls right and hits Hines on the run while Hines is improvising in the end zone (about 20 yards). Back-yard football. Big Ben finished 8/12 with 125 yards and 2 TDs (on just two series) against the Dream Team D. Yeah, he’s a chump.
Since those two drives alone took up nearly quarter and a half of time, Byron Leftwich was then brought in to run with the starters for a bit (**sigh**). Leftwich is not the right guy for this offense. He made a couple of nice throws, but his release is so long and slow that he would never last with our offensive line. He did, however, throw a real nice TD pass to Jericho Cotchery, one of the newest additions to this Steelers WR core.
UGLY: The offensive line was a mess from the start. Two injuries to both the starting LT (J. Scott) and the backup LT (Gilbert) almost right away in this game. We had something like 9 penalties for 75 yards and I believe all but one (illegal formation) was on the offensive line for holding. Even with all the holding going on, the O line still couldn’t stop the Eagles from getting hands on Big Ben (sacked twice), and getting big hits on Byron Leftwich. If you’re gonna hold, at least make sure they don’t clobber your QB.
GOOD: The WR core looked scary good last night, despite some of the plaguing injuries (E. Sanders, Hines…). Hines obviously played and looked great, as did Antonio Brown. The real surprise for me was how much action we saw from newly acquired Jericho Cotchery, and 2nd year Steeler and vet Arnaz Battle. Those dudes both looked stooopid good with some very nice catches.
We didn’t see Dennis Dixon until the second half, and he did as you’d expect someone with his skill set to do against 2nd, 3rd and 4th stringers. He destroyed them. He went 8/11 for 90 yards passing, with no TDs. He did have Grisham open in the end zone, but overthrew him.
We never saw Charlie Batch.
Everybody calm down (again). Our defense is fine. last night showed that the first couple of series with the starters in the Redskins game was just our defense still getting used to being out there and laying a beating on someone. There are a lot of young guys in there too because of injuries to Ike Taylor and Bryant McFadden.
GOOD: Four picks is never a bad thing, regardless of how meaningless the second preseason game is. The D looked stout against the pass, actually more so than against the run I thought, and had tips, blocks, picks…the whole 9 yards. Vick was picked 3 times, and Vince Young was picked once. Actually, the guy that impressed me the most was the Eagles 3rd stringer, 2nd year QB Kafka. Dude looked solid, but you know, was playing against the scrubs.
BAD: uhhh…nothing? There’s not much you can say when your first team D shuts out the same team that put up like 60 points in a game last year. All that being said…
MICHAEL VICK WAS PHONING IT IN
There, I said it. Don’t get too crazy over our D. Vick looked like he was playing at half speed and without a care in the world. The Steelers D obviously came out looking to make a statement, which they did, but it’s very clear to me that Vick wasn’t really giving it his all.
“We’re talking about practice”
So, in true Allen Iverson form, Vick sort of just walked through the motions, and our D made him pay for it. He did come up with a tackle on Troy when Troy started doing his thing after he picked a tipped ball from Vick. Troy was dancing around, looked like he was going to lateral it, and then got hit by Vick. Anyone else think this was a little bit of a dirty hit? Looked like Vick just launched his back in the direction of Troys knees to me. Made me nervous to say the least.
Overall it was a nice showing by the Steelers. The O line issues make me a little wary, but Big Ben looked so good…he’s poised for a big year this year. Mark my words, cause I said it first. Other than that, I’m looking forward to see where we are headed over the next couple of pre-season games.