Another fine win over a bad team is in the books. Now comes the real challenge. The next three games promise to define the season for the defending AFC Champions.
And up first, Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. These guys have absolutely owned the Steelers while Brady has been playing in Foxboro.
When I say “owned,” it’s almost ridiculous how often the Steelers lose to the Patriots. The Mighty Black and Gold are a paltry 2-6 against the Pats in the Tom Brady era. One of those wins was against Matt Cassell when Brady was out for the year with injury.
Of course, lots of teams are in the same boat as the Men of Steel where the Patriots are concerned. They seem to make a lot of teams look foolish.
Regardless Of The Mistakes, I’ll Take Ben Roethlisberger Over 28 Other Starting Quarterbacks
If you watched any other games on Sunday, it’s nearly incomprehensible how bad quarterback play is across the board.
Manning is not playing, but I would probably take him over Ben if given the choice simply because of his mastery of his offense. Drew Brees and Brady are probably better pocket passers, but Ben has the edge in his ability to evade the rush and make a creative play, most of the time for huge gain. Aside from those three guys, I would take Ben over anyone else currently starting for any team in the league.
After throwing for only three touchdowns, but five interceptions in the first four games, Ben has thrown for nine touchdowns and a single pick in the last three games. Statisticians will warn you that it is dangerous to take numbers like this out of context, but Ben seems to be trending in the right direction. Besides, if we wanted a statisticians’ opinion, we’d shout down the basement stairs at their mom’s house.
On top of that is Ben’s excellent game management, especially in clutch situations, like the two-minute offense.
If you watched Philip Rivers and the horrible coaching staff of the San Diego Chargers completely mangle the end of their game with the Jets last Sunday, you know we are very lucky to be fans of the Steelers. At least Ben doesn’t throw the ball out of bounds on 4th and three from midfield.
Ben is fifth in the league for passing yards and tied for fifth for passing touchdowns. What he’s shown, especially against the Titans, is that if he has time (and some semblance of a running game), he is as elite as any quarterback in the league.
Speaking of the running game…I don’t know what to say. It’s so inconsistent that you simply don’t know if we will see the impressive performances we saw against the Titans or Cardinals, or if Mendenhall and company will be hit for losses repeatedly, like against the Ravens. (By the way, nice game against the Jaguars, Rat-birds. Guess what? The whole league now knows that if you stop Ray Rice, Joe Flacco is not a quarterback who can beat you consistently. Is it wrong that I took so much pleasure out of that game?)
Right now, the Pats are dead last in the league for passing yards allowed and eighth in the league for rushing yards allowed. This would seem to indicate that the sometimes-sputtering rushing attack of the Steelers will continue to struggle, but their ninth ranked passing game should find some areas to operate against the worst pass defense in the league.