The Pittsburgh Pirates of 1934 may have had an abysmal 2-10 season that year. And despite wearing the uniforms from that era, the Pittsburgh Steelers of October 28th, 2012 played a complete game that harkens back to the attributes and performances that has defined a franchise for the last 40 years.
brilliant comedian who uses Simpson references guy who uses lame dad jokes just needs to get this out of his system: Ahem… The Steeler defense swarmed around and shut down RGIII and the Redskin offense all day while the Steeler offense stung the Redskin defense and pollinated the scoreboard with 27 points (yeah that’s right, a pollinate reference… #winning). The bee uniforms were all a buzz in the Twitter and Facebook worlds on Sunday, but regardless of how ugly folks thought they were, the Steeler putting another W in the win column was bee-utiful.
From the opening kick off to the closing seconds – can you believe that the ‘Skins took a knee?! – the Steelers played a fairly complete game. The offensive line once again gets the gold star for the week. Should they keep this up (and I’m not one quite yet to get my hopes up) they will be playing lights out football the rest of the season. When healthy for a full 60 minutes and not juggling each other around like it’s a Three Stooges movie, the offensive line has proven that they can run and pass block very effectively. The true test will come against the G-Men and their pass rush, but for now Steeler Nation should feel good and somewhat comforted by such dominating performances two weeks in a row. Willie Colon is the key to it all. His run blocking is creating holes for a Jonathan Dwyer that has matured (once again since training camp) from where he was several weeks ago. And, Colon’s spirit and intensity, I think, is inspiring the rest of this line and offense to play with some intensity themselves. Should Colon take down another defenseman next week, there could be bigger ramifications so he should take care. But, this spark from him is being translated into inspired play on the field. Dwyer got 107 yards on the day. That’s back to back 100 yard games. I say start’m next week.
Big Ben continued to play stellar football and is making guys like Norv Turner and Jerry Jones weep in wishing that they had someone with just an ounce of Roethlisberger’s instincts. Ben is maturing as a pocket passer. He had a few signature scrambles on Sunday, but for the most part sat comfortably in the pocket and picked the ‘Skins defense apart – even though they were under 50% on 3rd downs for the first time all season. We’ll blame the weather on that one. Roethlisberger connected with nine receivers this week, and the case of the ‘dropsies’ rubbed off on the ‘Skins instead of Mike Wallace. If Roethlisberger and Heath Miller aren’t at least mentioned in MVP talk by Week 12, I’ll eat my hat. At this rate, Roethlisberger will throw for 4,542 yards, 32 TD’s, and 6 INT’s (all career bests, with a tie for TD’s) and Miller will end with 768 yards and 14 TD’s (all career bests and Gates/Gonzalez like numbers). Regardless of numbers, Roethlisberger and Miller have shown all season how indispensable they are to this team.
The defense played a very solid game and seems to have shaken its 4th quarter meltdown. The game may have proven a bit closer if it weren’t for all the drops by Redskin receivers – 9 total and many on key 3rd downs or 15+ yards. But give credit for the corners to stick with their receivers for most of the day. Santana Moss is fast and can lose his cover guy quickly. There were a few times that happened, but he was contained for the most part. Lewis did piss me off at one point. It was the pass to the endzone where it could have turned into a ‘Touchception’ kind of play. Thankfully we had the real refs, and replay showed that the ball hit the ground before Lewis gained control. So what’s the big deal in getting upset? Well, if you look about three seconds sooner right up to the point of the ball touching hands, you’ll notice that Lewis got B-E-A-T. So, the guy gets beat, gets lucky the ball was thrown a foot short, gets his hands/arm on the ball, and then tries to sell the bajeezus out of the interception as well as put some swag on it for a little extra stank. Eh, I guess it’s no big deal. But, the fact that he didn’t pick off the ball and swagged around like he was the shiznit just soured that play and him for me.
Most importantly from the defense, they contained RGIII. I had posted just before game time on Sunday that the Steelers would win big if they could contain RGIII and keep him in the pocket. They kept rookie sensation Morris to 59 yards, even though he had a few bigger rushes for 9-12 yards. RGIII ended with just 8, count’em, 8 yards rushing on the day. Have to give credit to LeBeau coming up with a good scheme and the defense executed nicely. Tack up another dominating performance on another rookie QB for Dicky – he’s now 14-1 in that arena.
Aside from the penalty on the Antonio Brown runback, the Steelers played almost careless-free football. Compared to the last few weeks prior to the Cincy game, ‘almost’ is a great improvement. Credit goes out to Tomlin for getting this team mentally prepared to play sound football for two weeks straight. They are certainly more focused and driven. And, with this win against an always competitive and dangerous Redskins team who face the Ravens soon, the top of the AFC North is now on the horizon and not so distant as it once was.
The Ravens had a bye this week and so the Steelers are officially in the #2 spot and just one game back. Next week, the Ravens face the Browns, and unless the Chargers left some of their ‘suck’ on the field for the Ravens to embody, the game against the G-Men will be that much more important to stay at pace. The Ravens will have yet to face the ‘Skins or G-Men. If the Steelers can take wins on both of those games, it will only help their chances should they find themselves in a divisional tie with the Ravens.
These kind of Mondays certainly do feel good after those kinds of wins. Are the Steelers turning a corner? Not according to James Harrison who said:
“I don’t feel like we turned a corner. I’m used to stacking six [wins]!”
Six wins in a row would just be…. well…. the bee’s knees.