That was some beautiful football. No, seriously. Parphrasing Coach Tomlin, it was an ugly, tough it out, nail biter of a win. In short, it was a typical Steelers game. There has been enough game opinion shared so far, so I'll save you mine for now. Let's get right into the people who made it happen, and what they had to say about our opening week victory at home against the Falcons of Atlanta.
"The thing that I really liked was, there was no panic in him. There was no panic really, kind of in anyone. We kind of stayed status quo, which allowed him to get himself squared away, and he delivered some big time throws. Particularly in the second half to get us going."
Coach Mike Tomlin on the play of his quarterback, Dennis Dixon, in the win over Atlanta yesterday. Tomlin went on to give credit to Hines Ward for his play in assisting our young quarterback. Hines' great, jumping / spinning / diving catch on a crucial drive really stood out to me. We needed a play, and Hines stepped up and helped make it.
"Overtime I got deja vu after last year with Baltimore, my whole motto was to go out there, mainly focus, to get into field goal range... I got over excited in the first half, I'm just happy to have someone like a Hines Ward and some of those savvy vets on the offensive side to calm me down. The second half, it became easier for me."
Quarterback Dennis Dixon on his play yesterday. The young guy gave us pretty much a little bit of everyone's expectations. He was up and down, but overall, he got us the win. I would have liked to see him show a little more mobility, and attempt to create something with his legs a bit more, but his decision making will continue to get better with experience. One thing is for sure, Hines was right about Dixon being softer spoken.
"Trai has been a guy who's been talking to me all along. He has a lot of faith and confidence in me. As does our whole offensive line, so I know he was just as happy as I was to see that."
Overtime hero Rashard Mendenhall giving credit to his right guard for helping pave the way for the game winning score. Credit also goes to FB David Johnson, and TE Heath Miller whose blocks were also crucial to the success of the play.
"It's frustrating, but Coach LeBeau always tells us that's not going to beat us. The type of defense we play, nickels and dimes beat nickels and dimes, as long as they don't get plays that most offenses want, change of field plays... If they want to do that, do that, it's not going to beat us."
Cornerback Bryant McFadden when asked if those type of plays bother him. The biggest difference between our defense yesterday and our defenses last year, was that a few of those "nickel and dimers" did get through and turn into "change of field" plays last year. As someone who has been somewhat critical of the 10 yard buffers we give, I did know all along there was purpose behind that. McFadden led the team with 12 tackles, most of which were made to prevent the big(ger) play.
"It was horrible. I feel horrible. As a defense, I felt we played pretty good the entire game. Then, to let them have a big play like that at the end, it makes you sick to your stomach."
Falcons MLB Curtis Lofton, discussing the play that ended the game. The second year pro is right on the money. Their defense played well, kept them right in it, but in the end it just wasn't enough as our defense made the stop that mattered most in OT. That Falcons defense looked a little better than last years squad... who would have thought?
Defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau on the interception that could have won it for us in regulation. I think the last line sums it up pretty well, but credit LeBeau for the defenses play the rest of the day, even if he shys away from it a bit.
It was gut check time and unfortunately, our Birds' stomachs were a little shaky. There were many mistakes, missed opportunities, and bad decisions. I'll run them down once I get the (short) list of good things I saw today... There are fifteen games left in the season. One bad game does not a season ruin. The team will learn from this. Adjustments will be made. Games will be won.
The Game Recap, courtesy of the Falcoholic. They say there were a few missed holds on that last run in OT, hard to say for me until I watch the game again tonight. To much excitement to pay that close attention. I humbly apologize for my lack of composure and attention to detail.
1-0 Steeler Nation, 1-0. 15 to play, let's get ready for next week.