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Thoughts about week 2 WIN vs. Titans

This was an unusual game withthe heat, the injuries, the turnovers, and the overall lack of offence on both sides.  However, it was one heckuva defensive game and some good 'ol fashioned smashmouthfootball.  It's great to go to TENN and come away witha win with what is essentially the Steelers 3rd and 4th QBs.  Here we go, 2 and 0! 

QB

Prior to the knee injury, Dixon actually may have looked a bit worse than he did in the opener against.  His 21 yd. scramble was his best play.  On the sack/fumble, it was tough because he was hit on the blindside, but iit that situation he has to anticipate the pressure and get rid of the ball quickly.  Not sure how serious the knee is, but even if healthy the Steelers have to wonder if he really gives the team the best chance to win.  Batch came in and did an OK job I thought.  I think by design Tomlin/Arianswent conservative with Chuck because the Titans had a good pash rush and they couldn't risk getting him hurt.  The TD pass to Wallace that got called back was a nice play/throw.  Look for Leftwich to be resigned and maybe start this week if he's healthy, if not I think we might see Batch under Pouncey to start the game in TB.

RB

Mendy was targeted by the D all game, but he still produced.  It wasn't spectacular like last week, but he ran hard and kept the clock rolling.  He'll continue to be a marked man until Ben comes back. Ike Redmandid his job yet again and had a key run on 3rd-1 late in the game.  Memo saw only limited action again with minimal results.  He might be needed later in the year, but for now it's all Mendy all the time.

WR/TE

Not much passing, so not a lot of opportunity for this unit.  Hines set the tone early with his scuffle, and I think that was just what the team needed to get their "nasty" on.  Wallace would have had a TD if not for Scott's hold, and maybe another if not for Chris Hope's nice play.  I still think Wallace is the key to getting the offence opened up.  Until they start throwing to him more downfield, the game will be played with8 men in the box.  Heathwas Heath and took a big hit like the man he is.  El actually should have caught the one pass from Batch that was low, it would have be a key 3rd down pick up.

OL

A tough go for these guys because of the heat, and I think the rotation was necessary...although it might have messed up their continuity a bit.  BothScott and Hills had some trouble out there at LT, although I've seen Starks have some days like that too.  Not sure what happened with Pouncey on those two bad exchanges (one each to Dixon and Batch), but overall he was decent in only his second game.  Kemo had a nice block on Mendy's long run.  Flo and Essex were so-so.  It will be interesting to see how this until performs if it's another hot day down in Tampa next week.

DL

A real nice job by this until who were playing without Big Snack Hampton.  The rotation worked and kept these big guys fresh and they controlled the line of scrimmage which was key in shutting down Chris Johnson.  McClendon was better than I expected in his first regular season game (he even had a fumble recovery).  Hokey Pokey did a nice Casey Hampton imitation, and the rest of the guys did their jobs as usual.

LB

An absolute monster game from these guys.  Harrison was an animal and looked like the DPOY that he was two years ago, he made plays all over the field.  Timmons looked like a beast out there too, totally shutting down Johnson.  He got after CJ all game and I think took his will out of it.   Woodley showed nice hands on that pic, and joined Harrison in pressuring both QBs all day.  Farrior again looks faster than he did last year, and Foote did a nice job spelling him...along with Fox. 

DB

When you have the Samoan Jesus playing SS for you, amazing things will happen.  Troy is almost single-handedly better than the other three guys combined.  His pic of Young in the endzone probably kept it from being a close game.  Then of course the play at the goal line when he flew over the line to tackle Collins...just Troy being Troy.  There were times where I thought I saw him at two different places on the field at the same time (bi-locution it's called).  Maybe we should call him St. Troy?  The rest of the secondary did a good job until the end when I think they were a bit tired.  I still think Ike Taylor is overrated by many, he can be good at times but he tends to get beat too easily at times*the pass to Washington) for someone who is supposedly one of the fastest CBs.  On the other side though, I think in two games it's clear that D Mac is a big upgrade over Gay.

ST

Oh, what a nice play to start the game!  The trickery from Memo to Brown was a lovely sight to see.  I thought all along that Antonio should be the KR and I think we'll see more big things from him again this year.  I also think he'll eventually replace El as the PR, but for now, El is safer.  The coverage units were good for the most part, although they did give up some yards.  Sylvester was all over the place and looks like the next ST ace. Kicking game was fine with Reed and Sepulveda.  The blunder at the end with Allen could have been costly (thoughts of Ike Taylor popped into my head).

Coaching

Another well coached game.  The trick play on the opening KO was brilliant (and was low risk really).  I think the rotating the lineman (both OL and DL) was smart as well.  At least on D, it allowed them to control the line of scrimmage.  On O, it may have messed with the consistency a bit, but those big uglies just needed a break from the heat.  Going conservative withthe play calling was smart with the way the D was playing.  It felt like old-school Cowher football...smashmouth, ugly, but come away with the win.  Tomlin is redeeming himself in my book after looking questionable last year.  BA may hate it, but this is Steeler football.

 

To sum it up:  A 2-0 start, 1st place, the Steelers will be favored in the next two games most likely.  Could we go into the bye 4-0?   Sure we can!

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