There were several things of which I took notice during the Steelers vs. Bills game Thursday night in Toronto, some of which were good, some of which was so-so, and some of which were flat out terrible. Here are my positives, indifferences, and negatives from Thursday's game.
Ben Roethlisberger- Looked like he was picking up where he left off last season when he had a passer rating second only to Tom Brady. I especially liked his awareness and ability to make a play when the offensive line broke down. On a couple occasions Ben was flushed out of the pocket and made a play as he was going down. The interception was off of a tip and therefore not his fault. Nice show of arm strength on the TD pass to Santonio Holmes.
Lawrence Thimmons- I really liked the energy he brought to the table when he was in the game. His motor kept running until the whistle blew. One a few occasions, I kept my eye on Thimmons when he was knocked down. He sprang right back up and kept attacking the football. Nice job, overall.
Steelers Starting Offensive Line- I thought they did a mediocre job at best. Bottom line, when the protection broke down, Ben made up for what the line lacked. The line has to get a better push up front on running downs. Willie Parker and Rashard Mendenhall had a hard time running the ball when the first team line was on the field. Week in and week out, the Steelers aren't going to be playing team's like the Bills. The Steelers are going against the cream of the crop in the NFL, with statistically the toughest schedule in the league this season. If the Bills can bust multiple running plays up for little to no gain, then what do you think the Chargers, Patriots, Jaguars, Colts, Ravens, and Cowboys are going to do. This is an area where we must improve, for the sake of FWP, Mendy, and Ben.
Nate Washington- The only reason I'm putting Washington in the mediocre category is because I'm afraid to congratulate him. I thought he worked hard Thursday night, and I really liked that I didn't see him drop any balls. He just needs to do it on a more consistent basis.
Jeff Reed- Dude, buddy, I have your jersey man. What's with the missed 44 yarder? That's a chip shot for you. It's not like Reed to miss a field goal like that. I put him in the mediocre category because I know he'll make up for it later.
Steelers Starting Defense- There's a saying in popular culture today when someone is surprised and/or disappointed by something they've just seen or heard. It's three words long, one syllable for each word, and is abbreviated W.T.F. usually with a "?!" after it. I usually don't like to be a nay-sayer or a buzz kill, but what was going on out there? That's the first team defense, you know, the guys that are going to show up EVERY Sunday. The Bills starting air and ground attack cut through the Steelers defensive starters like a knife to hot butter. To be honest with you, that kind of performance by the defense, coupled with the mediocrity of the offensive line, makes me think what the Steelers are going to do with the 4th overall pick in the 2009 NFL draft, after going 3-13. We can not beat the top, and some of the more mediocre teams in the NFL with a starting defensive performance like the one that was put on display Thursday night.