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Five observations including props for Arians



1) Some people are saying Troy played a disappointing game. Well, he whiffed at a couple of tackles, but we've seen that before. The important thing to remember is that LeBeau's defensive scheme had him playing centerfield and guarding against the deep pass. That allowed the DB's and LB's to play tighter, without the normal cushion. It worked magnificently. One big reason why the Ravens had only 126 yards offense is because - unlike previous games - nobody could get open deep. 


2) They flashed a stat on the screen last night that completely blew me away: The Steelers were first in the league in converting third and one. Last year, that was their biggest offensive weakness. Once again, Tomlin sees a problem, focuses on it, and it gets fixed. And it is time to stop all the Arians hating. As a former Arians hater, I view the play calling and offensive schemes with skepticism. And I take my hat off to him for his work this year. That doesn't mean I don't want to see more traditional screen passes, a few more draw plays, and much more of Isaac Redman.


3) MANNtonio is better than Santonio. Manny and Antonio have given Ben a combination of quickness and speed that makes this year's receiving corps far more dangerous than last year's. And with MANNtonio and Wallace, the Steelers have the luxury of being able to put Ward or Miller in the backfield to block for Ben on obvious passing downs. This is something that Arians has done, and to GREAT effect. Fewer sacks, far fewer picks, and much more protection for Ben, despite the offensive line problems. When I see Heath Miller or Hines Ward shift into the backfield on a passing down, my stomach settles down. I automatically assume Ben will have top-flight protection. And with MANNtonio and Wallace, I also assume somebody's gonna get open. Together, Manny Sanders and Antonio Brown give the Steelers more options that Santonio Holmes did. And better clubhouse chemistry, as well. 


4) Some of the Arians haters were calling for his head late in the fourth quarter, when the Steelers had a three and out deep in their own territory. Well, folks, this was a game with five turnovers that led to short field scores. And the Steeler defense had already proven it could stop the Ravens cold. The last thing anyone wanted was another turnover. Sometimes, you have to trust your defense. This was one of those times. Not that anybody wants to turn turtle and three-and-out, but this was no time to do anything stupid.


5) Ziggy Hood, last year's pledge class President, is everything we had hoped he would be. Like Troy and Timmons, it took him a while to learn Coach Dad's defense. He is also clubhouse gold. He will be a leader of this team and a star, and sooner than we expected.

6. The chemistry on this team is absolutely amazing. Not only are there no egotists on this team, there is no quit, either. Tomlin says they're "fun to coach." Well, Mike Tomlin excels at having fun. 

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