Another week, another win, another look at give guys on the Pittsburgh Steelers who quietly went about their business helping the team win. Last Sunday, the Steelers dismantled the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 38-13 behind standout performances from Charlie Batch, Mike Wallace, and Rashard Mendenhall. As always though, there were more anonymous forces at work helping to decide the outcome in Pittsburgh's favor. Let's take a look at who some of those guys were.
* William Gay - The previously embattled cornerback makes his first appearance on the weekly list thanks to his fine play against the Buccaneers. Gay recorded four tackles on the afternoon, as well as his first sack of the year on a play where he tracked down Josh Freeman from the backside. It was a nice display of closing speed and high motor activity from Gay, who's clearly more comfortable in his nickle back role this year.
* Antwaan Randle El - The veteran also makes his first appearance in this post for his steady work fielding punts and for his big third down catch, his lone catch of the game. It came at a nice time though, with the Steelers humming along nicely up 21-6. Facing a 3rd and 7 from inside their own 40. Batch found Randle El for a 14-yard connection, good enough for a first down. The Steelers would capitalize on the momentum and take it all the way down for their fourth consecutive touchdown and a 28-6 lead before intermission. Batch's throw on that 3rd down play was less than spectacular, but Randle El dove and cradled the slightly under-thrown pass before it could hit the turf. Randle El then proceeded to jump up and do his patented excitability after a big play. Randle El might not be what he once was, but he's still cool under pressure and capable of making big 3rd down catches in traffic. I can almost guarantee he'll do so again at an even more important juncture down the road.
* Chris Kemoeatu - The play of the offensive line collectively deserves its own post, and it's safe to say that Flozell Adams and Doug Legursky deserve special recognition for their outstanding job along the right side of the offensive line. But I'll give big Chris K. a shout out here if only because he played very well for someone who had been limited in practice the following week with a banged up knee.
* Jeff Reed - Spikey seems to be making a weekly cameo here, but it's hard to overstate just how important he's been through three weeks. Reed converted all six of his kicks on Sunday (5 PATs, 1 FG). Equally important was the fact that Reed's trend of kicking the ball off much deeper continues for another week. Reed notched another touchback, which if I recall correctly matches or bests his season total from a year ago through three weeks. I'll be curious to see if he's able to keep it up when the weather turns.
* Larry Foote - This final spot could go to any number of guys on either side of the ball, but let's go with Foote, the veteran making his second tour of duty with the Steelers after a lonely, miserable year in Detroit. Foote finished with four tackles on the day, most of them in garbage time on Tampa Bay's lone TD drive. He might even be upset that he was on the field when Tampa finally found the endzone. But after being relegated to the bench for most of the first three weeks thanks to Lawrence Timmons' emergence, it was personally enjoyable just seeing Foote out there and having his name called a few times. Something tells me he might be called upon the step up and play an important role at some point later this season as bodies potentially wear down, so hopefully Foote stays positive, hungry and prepared while he waits his turn to play significant minutes.
Who else might you add? It was tougher this week selecting than usual because the game was, in many respects, dominated by a handful of individuals.