1. First and foremost hats off to our DBs. Ike Taylor did a phenomenal job on Welker, Lewis and Allen and Mundy all played incredibly well and Troy did just about everything out there.
As for the whole "Dick LeBeau finally runs man and bumps receivers" crap you hear, does anyone remember 1992-1996? I don't recall Rod Woodson giving big cushions or playing a lot of zone. Dick LeBeau runs the best defense he can with the personnel he has. We have tried moving up and man covering with this team, even last year it resulted in big pass plays. So again, hats off to the DB's. It's easy to say run man and bump receivers, it's another to have all your CB's execute that. Carnell Lake, welcome back home.
2. The offensive line. For all but three plays our rag-tag o-line stoned the Pats big money D-Line. Everyone should know those three plays, Mendenhall with no where to go on first down for a 1 yard loss, the screen pass that got overrun by a stampede of Pats, and the third down pass where I was just glad Ben held onto the ball. Other than that series our O-line won consistently. I'm not holding those three plays against them though, the Pats line played with fire and drove hard with pride for three plays, I'll give them that.
3. The scrubs. I know Chris Carter had a huge penalty, it was the mother of all rookie mistakes, but other than that he was alright. Cortez Allen made some plays and fought hard going against the much bigger TE's. Sylvester. . . man you need to figure out how to play with people on you. You are great in open space, but you are a LB, that isn't how it works. Foote, not really a scrub, but he stepped in big, it's great to have someone you can rely on when things go wrong.
4. Big Snack. I missed you. Welcome back and stay healthy big fella.
5. Antonio Brown Leading the team in targets (tied for 8th league wide) and now those targets are turning into completions. It's getting to the point I can't just talk about that one play Brown made, he made 3-4 this past game. Brown is showing that Hines Ward style of making big plays on short gains. This kid is finding his groove, look out.
6. Heath. Hines Ward is out and the Pats can't figure out that they need to cover Heath Miller? Props to Ben for going back to him until the Pats revised their defensive coverage. Maybe it is just too much to cover all our weapons right now.
6b. Speaking of Hines, my sister said she thought we would be better with Hines out. Blasphemy. But seriously, think about it.
7. I'm gonna get in trouble for this. Bruce Arians called a great game. The TD to Moore,great call. That play was brilliant. The quick screen that I mentioned getting blown up by the Pats D-Line? We ran it earlier and it worked beautifully, with the Pats being overly aggressive on that first down and showing heat again it was a good call, Ben was getting ready to throw the screen when he tucked the ball rightly to play it safe and not risk a turnover. I'm sorry, but no play works with the way their D-Line threw us around that series.
Look back at how many open receivers we had. That is BA out-coaching Belichick. Yes there were some bad plays, the naked wr screen (when your QB has a bad foot it takes a fraction longer to turn and throw that ball, the corner was all over it) is the only one I'm going to say was the OC making a boneheaded play call. The red zone offense? Remember that Belichick's strength is red zone defense. It always has been, few are better at it. We don't have the O-Line to pound the ball inside the 5, so we have to make do. Overall I'm giving BA high marks for this game, I really don't know what people expect, but our offense was dominant.
8. Mike Tomlin. This win was a Mike Tomlin win. We all laugh at the "no style points, standard is the standard" week in week out, but these men have bought into it. The fourth quarter with the game on the line we didn't have Aaron Smith, James Farrior, James Harrison, or Lamarr Woodley. We had safeties playing LB and three rookies getting time on a defense that never plays rookies, not to mention a defense that makes its living with OLB's having a rookie as the only OLB left in the game.
Yeah, that win was uglier than it needed to be, but when you are patching together your defense to stop Tom Brady and the Pats offense; style points can take a flying leap, the standard remained.
9. This week for us was the same as week 1 was for the Ravens. We needed this game, we needed to get over that hump, make a statement. Let us hope we bring it again next week and can keep it going in the playoffs. I must say the Bye week couldn't come at a better time. We need to get healthy.