! So, as I was at the game on Saturday, here's my two cents that I got while watching the Steelers destroy the Lions! Mind, it was probably a good thing I didn't take too many written notes, as the rain would've destroyed it, but what can you do?
- The crowd seemed to support Ben's arrival. When he stepped out of the tunnel for the first time during warm-ups, he got a pretty big ovation. During the first quarter, when Byron Leftwich seemed to be struggling, a few fans started a WE WANT BEN!! chant, which I somewhat joined in on. He seemed pretty sharp while warming up, and looked like he was in the best shape that I've seen him. He's still got a good hold of this team, as he went around to each player that was stretching and said a few words and gave a little high-five.
- Speaking of Leftwich, I must say I was a bit displeased. My dad is a staunch Leftwich fan, but even he was disappointed with his play. At times, he seemed like he wasn't sure of what to do. At others, he had a defender in his face before he could get the ball away. And then there was that one pass to Mike Wallace. As soon as he let that one go, everyone got up to their feet... only to be disappointed when it was no good. Though it's too early to tell, Leftwich plays like there was a legitimate reason the Bucs were so willing to let go of him.
- Onto Dennis Dixon. His running ability was always great to watch, but at times... well, it was almost frustrating. Sure he got the first downs and all, but it seemed like he occasionally he had options downfield. IF (and it's a pretty big if) he plays against 1st stringers, he's going to find that they're a bit faster than the practice squad fodder. His passes almost seemed to be a bit slower than during warm-ups, and that one touchdown pass to Antonio Brown actually required a great catch on Brown, as it was a little low. However, we must all realize that these two are just biding their time until Big Ben comes back after his suspension. Perhaps we'll be able to squeak out a few wins with either of them, but no one should advocate having Dixon or Leftwich start the entire season. Additionally, the defense seemed to stack more defenders towards the LoS when Dixon was playing, as everyone seemed to key on that Dixon would either hand it off to Redman or just run it himself on most plays.
- Oh Isaac Redman. He certainly seemed to warrant his following. Not only did he make some electrifying runs, but those were exactly the runs that Rashard Mendenhall and Mewelde Moore couldn't make with basically the same line. He converted some nice short yardage situations, and there were a couple of times when he had some really great blocks. I remember one particularly where Leftwich was throwing to his left, and a defender was coming to his right. Redman immediately picked it up, and the pass went for a first down. His long run was pretty insane as well, as he seemed impossible to tackle (which, of course, is the truth.)
- As I mentioned, Mendenhall and Moore seemed less than par on Saturday. Mendenhall seemed to run into defenders and not have the great vision. The one time he had a great run, he coughed up the ball while holding the ball down low. Moore has seemed slow at times, which explains the sweep against the Chiefs. Jonathan Dwyer couldn't get much going, but he looks to be in shape. I couldn't really notice the fat that was so prevalent in the pre-draft reports, although he couldn't really get much of a ground game going.
- The defense looked stellar as always. Sure it was the lions, but we were still able to hold them off for the most part, especially near their own end zone. Our 2nd string defense got handled by their first string offense, but Keenan Lewis and Joe Burnett looked especially good covering Calvin Johnson (not an easy feat!). Just when they looked like they would be beat, they broke up the pass in teh endzone just in time (the third time, I thought Johnson pushed off, but what can you do?) I was particularly impressed with DaMon Cromartie-Smith, who seemed to be around the ball every play.
- Antonio Brown looked absolutley phenomenal. He was blazing fast, especially on that one touchdown catch. There were defenders 20 yards downfield that couldn't catch him. Not to mention he had to make a catch for a pass that was a little low. Whenever they faked the handoff to him, he took half the defense along the way. He did not look like a rookie out of the 6th round at all. Who needs Santonio when we got Antonio?
- Emmanuel Sanders on the other hand seemed to be quiet during the game. Not to much to notice, except that one pass from Dixon was a bit off, and he couldn't quite make the adjustment to it.
- Flozell Adams looked awful whenever I saw him. He got beat badly on several plays, and it's obviously going to take some time for him to adjust to the right side.
- However, I may be a bit biased, as I am now Willie Colon's biggest fan. After the game, I was hanging by the stairs that lead to the basement tunnel, and I saw Willie Colon passing by. While all the others shouted stuff like, "THAT HAT LOOKS NICE!" "HERE, SIGN THIS!" I decided to go with the simple, "Willie! I hope you get better soon! You're the best!" not expecting anything. But lo and behold, he stops, smiles, and tosses up his towel to me. One of the happier moments of my life ^^
-Finally, there was a Taylor Lautner sighting at Heinz Field. I had no idea who he was as I've stayed away from anything remotely Twilight related, so the girls screaming, "TAYLORRRRR!!!<333" threw me off. I was wondering why they were screaming for Ike Taylor hahah.
- Pittsburgh is an amazing city! If you haven't gone yet, you absolutely have to! Heinz Field is absolutely great; the fans are passionate, as we stayed throughout the driving rain until they made us go inside. Everyone was going crazy, taking their shirt off and going absolutely nuts. And while waiting inside, I had some of the buffalo wings, and I must say they were some of the best I ever had. Here we go Steelers here we go!