Good afternoon guys and gals, rather than show you six links that are recaps of what the national pundits and local beat writers are saying about the Steelers, I figure I will give you six discussion points about the game from my point of view. Happy Monday (DYM)
IX-First things first folks, the entire week after a loss, and specifically the day after a loss is horrible. I just get in a funk, I don't want to read post-game recaps, I don't want to look at power-rankings, and quite frankly I would just rather ignore football until Saturday or Sunday of the next week. This week is no different, but I am getting back on the horse and forcing myself to look back on this game. My biggest advice for Steeler Nation is to relax, being a game back to the Ravens in the division is never good, but the season is still early and like we all assumed our head-to-head match-ups with the Ravens might be the most important contests of the season.
X-I am very surprised to see the amount of people already concerned about Stefan Logan. The season is young Steeler Nation but Logan is in the top ten is both Kick and Punt Return yards average. I will say that again for those in the back of the room; we are in the top ten in kick and punt return average. That's a far cry from last season where the return game was simply ineffective and frustratingly banal. Logan isn't going to break one to the house every week, but when he does it is likely to be a game changing event. Combine the extra yards Logan is consistently giving us with the extra yards that Supulveda is earning and the change is field position this season will likely contribute heavily to at least a few wins.
XIII-It took until the second game of his second season for Rashard Mendenhall to show any signs that he could be the future in Pittsburgh. While this entire post is being written with a very positive spin I was still disappointed that Mendenhall didn't have the extra burst at the end of his 39 yard scamper to finish it off. The good news is that after re-watching the run the guy that eventually caught him, Kevin Payne, saw the play develop early, got a decent angle on Mendenhall and being a former college running back he turned on his speed and caught Mendenhall just before the goal-line. Having said that after watching Frank Gore and Chris Johnson blow past people all day I am just not sure that Mendenhall has the extra gear that the elite backs in the NFL have.
XIV-The offensive line looked better than it has in years yesterday and that alone is something to have a mild celebration for. Ben Roethlisberger had plenty of time to operate the offense and the run blocking was improved from last week and it definitely showed with some nice runs by Willie Parker and Rashard Mendenhall. The unit has been lambasted for the last few seasons and they have make a lot of mental and physical errors that made it difficult for our offense to succeed. If this group is actually starting to gel and come together like the team has been speculating this could really become a really dangerous offense. Also, Mewelde Moore is a great football player. When the offense was clicking Mewelde had some blocks on incoming pass rushers that were critical and impressive.
XL-The offense struggles, the defense makes huge plays to keep us in the game, Big Ben and the receivers make the plays in crucial times, and Jeff Reed bails us out. Does that sound familiar? It should because that is the story if the 2008 Pittsburgh Steelers. I don't know if Steeler Nation caught on but we are now watching the 2009 Pittsburgh Steelers. It's a different team folks and a different year with opponents who are taking advantage of the few holes our defense allows them. There are going to be games when Ben can't will the team to victory so Mike Tomlin and company are going to have to find ways to win games with the 2009 Pittsburgh Steelers, not with the defending Super Bowl champions.
XLIII- Overall, it was a disappointing loss for all the reasons that have been discussed since the final whistle blew yesterday at Soldier Field. But losing on the road against a team that many predicted to be a contender by only three points isn't the worst fate a team could have. The last time the Steelers had the taste of defeat in their mouths was all the way back on December 21st of last season and they responded by coming together and putting together a run to win the Super Bowl. While I don't expect the Steelers to win the rest of their games I think the 2009 Steelers will be better for this loss and Coach Tomlin will use this game to motivate and improve a talented group of men.