How are you all doing?
I have been trying to think for some time now how I could contribute to this site without seeming redundant. I love my Steelers, but all the great analyses by the likes of Arn, Johnny_S (i know his statistics are coming), BMF, NYSF4, and last but certainly not least our fearless leader Michael Bean (forgive me if I have forgotten about you in here) don't leave any angle on the game open. Usually, when I open BTSC on a Sunday night or Monday morning, mostly everything has already been said and done, leaving little opportunity for novel and informative posts about the game. So I thought, instead of being redundant, why not think out of the box?
Thus, I want to start a series that looks away from the Steelers, and towards the teams that matter most to us. More specifically, I am going to give a quick analysis of how our 3 AFC North rivals, as well as our next opponents, did against their competition this past week. Keep in mind that I will not go for in-depth analysis, but rather a quick overview. Disagreement and discussion is encouraged. My sources will be the actual games, NFL.com highlight reels, box scores, and fanposts on other SBNation sites. Please let me know what you think about this idea, and if it's worth continuing. But enough with the introduction, let's get to it!
The Name: Tennessee Titans
The Game: 38-13 at home against the Oakland Raiders
The Standout: Chris Johnson - 27 carries, 142 yards, 5.3 avg., 2 TD
Promising: Nate Washington - 3 receptions, 88 yards, 29.3 avg., 1 TD
Look the other way: Titan's Cheerleader eaten by the mascot. Urgh.
What happened: With a game that was never even close, the Titans got off to cruising start into the season. The Raiders couldn't expose many weaknesses, as they gained a decent amount of yards on the ground only after Tennessee had already pulled away. That Vince Young only had to throw 17 times for 154 yards, 88 of which came on 3 receptions by former Steeler Nate Washington, says it all. Chris Johnson looks to be in mid-season form already, and the defense had no problems holding an admittedly sub par opponent in check. The only question mark is whether Young can repeat this performance if he is forced to throw more, but Chris Johnson will do his best to make sure that won't be an issue. Coach Tomlin, Dad, and BA better get their game plan ready, because this will be a serious challenge for the Steelers next week.
Team Temperature: Red Hot
Highlight Reel: Titans vs. Raiders
Next Week's opponent: The Stillers baby! In Tennessee.
The Name: Cincinnati Bengals
The Game: 24-38 at the New England Patriots
The Standout: The player formerly known as Chad Johnson - 12 receptions, 159 yards, 13.2 avg., 1 TD
Promising: Jordan Shipley - 5 receptions, 82 yards, 16.2 avg.
Look the other way: Bengals Pass Defense and Special Teams - combined to give up 4 TDs, got just 1 sack
What happened: It could have been an absolute blowout. Less than 10 seconds into the second half, the Patriots were up 31-3 and never loooked back. Tom Brady and a well-balanced receiving corps torched the secondary all game long, while at the same time their running backs recorded 118 rushing yards on 5.1 y/c. Not a good game for our good ol' Bungles. On the bright side, Carson Palmer passed for over 350 yards, but he needed 50 attempts to do so. The 85 guy seems ready for a big year, but the Bengals' passing stats are inflated due to the aforementioned huge Patriots lead. It was never close. Either New England is poised to repeat its record-breaking 2007 regular season, or the Bengals once again don't live to their hype. I think we know which one is more likely.
Team Temperature: Pretty damn cold
Highlight Reel: Bengals at Patriots
Next Week: At home against the Ravens
The Name: Cleveland Browns
The Game:14-17 at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Standout: ? It's the Browns
Promising: T.J. Ward, rookie safety - 10 Tackles (7 solo), 1 Forced Fumble
Look the other way: Jake's Delhomme's vintage interception. Cleveland fans, brace yourself
What happened: It was the Cleveland Browns being the Cleveland Browns. One winnable game against a terrible team last year, and they promptly proceed to beat themselves. Even the few positives such as T.J. Ward or Peyton Hillis, who looks like he might be a decent power complement to the speedy Jerome Harrison, were negated by negatives - Hillis had 2 fumbles. Jake Delhomme, throwing for a touchdown and a respectable 227 yards (abeit completing only 54% of his passes), was responsible for two interceptions once again; opponents have come to love him for that. I hope for their fans' sake that a similarly easy game next week against the Chief won't end in the same way. Scratch that, I hope it does.
Team Temperature: Ice cold
Lowlight Reel: Browns at Buccaneers
Next Week: At home against the Kansas City Chiefs
The Name: Baltimore Ravens
The Game: 10-9 at the New York Jets
The Standout: The Defense - held the Jets to 60 Yards passing, 176 yards overall, and 9 points. Also a huge sack by Ngata at the end of the game. Honorable mention: Anquan Boldin - 7 receptions, 110 yards, 15.7 avg.
Promising: Todd Heap - 6 receptions, 72 yards, 12.0 avg.
Look the other way: Run Game: 49 yards on 35 attempts (1.4 avg.)
What happened: A whole lot of defense, that's what happened. The Raven's D looked scary good, even though I have the Jets as one of my overhyped teams this year. Nevertheless, to hold any team under 200 yards is an impressive accomplishment, I have to admit. On Defense, Joe Flacco's mediocre night was saved by huge performances from both the new acquisition Boldin and ol' reliable Todd Heap, who looks like he might be back to pro-bowl form - given he stays healthy. But the Ravens' offense can thank God for the Defense and those two pass catchers, because the running game was completely shut down by the Jets. None of the three backs led by Ray Rice could get anything going on the ground, which might be due to a stout Jets run D. You bet the Ravens fans (hi MaLoR) pray to Baby Jesus that this was the only reason.
Temperature: Pretty close to boiling hot right now
Highlight Reel: To come
Next Week: At the Cincinnati Bengals