1) Ben Roethlisberger started slow and stupid and finished godlike. The early 20-yard sack to push the Steelers out of FG range spoiled momentum and put us on our heels until the 4th quarter. While I usually defend Ben extending the play, that was a perfect example of Ben holding the ball too long. His untimely INT later was ill advised and further eroded any momentum the Steelers offense was trying to establish. But in the 4th quarter when it was "winnin’ time" Big Ben went to the no huddle, called his own plays and used Santonio Holmes, Hines Ward, Heath Miller and rookie speedster Mike Wallace to tie and then ice the game in OT.
2) The O line certainly stepped up in the 4th quarter and OT but helped Ben look stupid and ineffective early on. They opened no holes for Parker, Mendenhall or Mewelde Moore and it wasn’t because all the RBs are horrid. True, the Titan front 7 is one of the most formidable the Steelers will face in 09 but improvement and cohesion is needed. Perhaps they need a full time Full Back and need to abandon the zone blocking scheme that the coordinators are not teaching. Once the Titan 7 got dizzy from chasing Roethlisberger in the Steelers "hurry up" O the O line started dominating. Especially Max Starks.
3) Ward’s fumble was the "worst of times" but the Steelers won the OT coin toss and redeemed. Ward and Holmes were beasts. Mike Wallace was impressive. He got cheated out of a 40-yard gain because Ben didn’t have the arm to get it there. Limas didn’t drop anything but also didn’t get a toss. Spaeth and the rookie DJ didn’t show much and certainly weren’t blocking anybody in the running game. Where is this Tank I was told about? Oh yea, and Heath Miller is the best TE in the NFL in this offensive scheme…whatever that may be.
4) The defense was "Championship Caliber" early on and Polamalu was his Hall Of Fame self. The INT was spectacular. The backfield tackle on Johnson impressive. The injury is worrisome. I think the D can hold on until the second half of the year and I hope 43 can come back 100% by then to a 6-2 team.
5) The Titan D line is as impressive as the Titan O line. The Steelers got little pressure and the Titan RBs ripped off several nice runs against the Steelers. Fox had some tackles and Farrior had the lone sack. Like last year they bent but didn’t break. A big difference in this game is that the Steelers had all the playmakers.
6) "No one kicks field goals at Heinz!" I have been known to scream at opposing kickers. Bironas may be All Pro but I’ll take Skippy Reed. The Titans beat the Steelers last night except Steelers Special Teams pulled it out. (Wow, how often have I ever said that?) Early on Stefan Logan provided several nice returns giving the Steelers field position and early momentum. Aaron Smith had a clutch block and another Bironas miss provided the margin of victory. I was surprised to see Keenan Lewis making plays on special teams and Summers suited up while Ratliff and Burnett sat. Very happy to see Dan Sepulveda. These guys created great field position all night.
7) The refs were in mid season form with unseen personal fouls called on Polamalu and phantom holding calls on O linemen all the while James Harrison was getting dragged to the ground without the calls. Are you ready for some football?