I'd like to start this post off by saying,
"Screw You Warren Sapp how'd you like that defense!?"
I am going to do a quick analysis of the game and my thoughts on it. I unfortunately had to work so most of this is through small glimpse I got to see when on break, highlights, box-scores and other fans word of mouth so might not be as detailed as I wanted it to be.
It started early and often with Ben Roethlisberger. The guy threw 50 times and that isn't counting the sacks and completed 36 of them. That is a completion percentage of 72% and he threw for 365 yards the most of any QB this weekend. He was awesome on his pre-snap recognition and is showing some impressive pocket awareness. Despite a bad interception where he didn't get it over the LBs head (Guyton) this was good performance. The offense looked great and the scary thing it can be even better they still have some miscues to clean up especially with interior blocking awareness.
The crew combined for 21 receptions for 207 yards and a TD. That's pretty damn good for a bunch of young guys. That is ot even what impressed me the most. It was their recognition of the blitz that really excited me. One play in particular the Patriot blitz the middle leaving a void both Heath Miller and Emmanuel Sanders immediately recognized this and turn to look at Ben. The more the young guy's get on sync with Ben the better the offense going to get. Baring injuries I think this unit could be even more dangerous by playoff time. Glad Emmanuel Sanders is showing his stuff, I thought the kid had some major talent but injuries kept him from getting reps. (Now if he ca just learn to block like Ward)
I was so glad to see Heath back in this offense, he can do so much and with the up and coming threats of Young Money I think he going to be wide open a lot more then usual.
LaMarr I was hard on him in the pre-season and early this season I thought he looked heavier than usual and out of shape but damn he is caught on fire. He had another 2 sacks of Tom Brady today making that 7.5 in his last 4 games. This was his sixteenths multiple sack game of his career and he is the first Steeler to have 4 straight game with multiple sacks since the sack became official in 1992. Since Harrison been out Robin threw down his boy wonder costume and Became Nightwing. Hopefully his hamstring injury is healed by Sunday cause I know he'd want a Ratbird feast. He is quietly putting in his bid for DPOY and I like it.
I said it two weeks ago I will say it again. Brett Keseil has become the new Aaron Smith for this defense. Easily the best player on the line and he is continuing his Pro Bowl performance from last year. His stats may say 1 tackle and 1 sack but it was much better than that.
Coach Dad and his secondary-
I truly believe in to things, the first is that Dick LeBeau was a little put off by the rumor of Tom Brady saying he had LeBeau's number and if not him then his player were. The second is LeBeau has much more confidence in his secondary this year then last and thus the improved performance of the unit as a whole. LeBeau played a lot of man coverage against the Patriots. An idea I had been pushing for year. His constant switching form man to zone to man again kept Brady guessing and holding on to that ball. I payed a price. Ike Taylor did his thing against Welker and the rest of the unit did their job against what is probably going to be the hardest test for them till the playoffs.
The redzone offense-
We drove the ball twice into scoring territory. One on the 3 yard line and one on the five. The Steelers had to take two field goal instead this might have been huge if the defense wasn't stopping the Patriots all night. As an offense you can't do that to your defense.
Hopefully I have made it clear I do not like the guy as a kicking solution. Against the Pats he made two field goals of 20 yard length then missed a 43 yard FG. The Steelers were on the New England 26. If the offense gets the ball down that far you need to get points period. Not only that but he screwed up a kickoff as well. I do not trust him in a tight game.
The last 2:35 second-
The Steelers got the ball on their 40 yard line thanks to a screwed up Patriots on side kick. Their first play was a seven yard pass. Then three consecutive runs. All good calls to get the first keep the clock runnning. Then BA remembered he was BA. The call two passing plays in a row, there was nothing and Ben was forced to tack a sack on each play to keep the clock runnning. Why was this called? Nothing good could have came out of it becuase there was a much higher probability for a bad play then a good one. Not only that but Ben who has been banged up this season took 2 more unnecessary hits. BA wake up to the fact that the game needs to be called to keep Ben healthy just as much as a game planning.
I said it a couple of times when talking about Sly not playing "How bad must Sly be playing in practice to not get playing time?" Well there was your answer. Sly looked out match, uncomfortable, and not ready. Granted this was his first start but he not the answer this year. (Still like him for next year though)
The two worst ones were to LaMarr Woodley and Marcus Gilbert. Woodley suffered a "hamstring injury" and Gilbert an "ankle sprain". Keenan Lewis suffered a "shoulder injury" and Ike Taylor a "shoulder injury and a stinger". Woodley says he will play against the Ravens.
This years rookie class is seeing unheard of playing time. Whether it be Cameron Heyward getting in the rotation, to Chris Cater and Cortez Allen getting some defensive snaps due to injuries, the Steeler have started their involuntary youth movement. This can only be a good thing. What looked like a fairly average defensive draft may turn out to be something great. Keep an eye out for these things.