It was truly a tale of two halves. The first half was typical of the last decade of Steeler/Pats* games. Carey Davis fumbles the opening kickoff. (what is he doing back there?) Ben throws his first pass directly to Pats* LB Mike Vraebel. Sammy Morris pounds for 2 yards and a TD. Pats* lead 10-3. Even after the Steelers clawed back to a 10-10 tie, there are the Pats* running Faulk for 41 yards and Randy Moss open for a TD. Then Ground Hogs Day ended and took a welcome turn. A wide-open Moss dropped the sure TD throw and NE kicker Steven “Can I Buy A Vowel” Gostkowski hooked a chip shot wide right. The second half proved to be one of the greatest halves in Steelers/Pats* history. Only the Zebra’s could save the Brady-less ones from an even greater embarrassment.
The defense was relentless. This is playoff caliber defense. James Harrison is simply the best pass rushing LB in the league and he continues to terrorize opponents pass pockets with utter abandon. Deebo was responsible for 2 sacks and fumbles and chipped in 10 tackles. Woodley, Farrior and Aaron Smith were constantly in Cassel’s face. While the zebra’s couldn’t see fit to call one holding penalty on the numerous holds I saw on Harrison and Woodley they did catch Steelers NT Casey Hampton once. Hampton was so incensed that he simply bulled over the NE center on the next play on his way to his first sack of the year. Simply put, the referee’s gave NE every spot and every call and gave the Steelers virtually nothing. Timmons broke out at Foxboro. Timmons looked like he was flying around pretty good, hitting with utter abandon and being in the right place, although he got gassed on his INT return. The safety play was markedly better than last year’s debacle as Polamalu is all decade and Ryan Clarke had one of the best hits this year (that he will get fined for) on Welker. Seemed legal but he got a flag for viciousness. It did send Welker to the sideline for the duration. Guess we have to put flags on the WR too. Moss definitely looked timid and looked like he would like a set of flags. The entire Steelers D looked absolutely ferocious.
On offense, after an unimpressive start in the horrid weather the Steelers sputtered to 4 FG. Once Arians reluctantly went to the running game the Steelers began to pour it on and run the clock. Even then Arians continued to mix in unwanted pass plays in the heavy rain, which went incomplete and stopped the clock giving Cassel ample opportunity to comeback. Thankfully he is no Tom “Jesus Christ/The Messiah” Brady. The D took care of business and FWP and Mewelde Moore combined for 154 yards of 161 total and over 5.5 per tote. Big Ben threw a lousy pass to start the game but rebounded and because of a couple drops had good numbers instead of great.
Reed impressed hitting 4/5 in terrible weather. It was nice to see Berger booting punts 38 yards instead of Ernster booting them 28. It was also nice to get a couple breaks for a change against NE. The fumble recoveries, the sacks, the picks were all missing from previous Ground Hog Day losses. Also happy to see Tomlin exercise some demons and make some adjustments at the half to change the momentum and get a W. He passed a big test. The Steelers are set and confident for the tough stretch run. I am always just looking for a W. 3-2 is my mantra. Yesterday I got 33-2 and I will take it! This team is for real and will go as far as Big Ben will take them. We know what we will get with the D. Punishing vicious play that will keep you in every game. Playoff caliber.