Rejoice Steelers fans today marks the first Sunday in 2 weeks where I am writing a repcap about a Steelers win and on top of that a pretty good one at that. So today I will right about the good (and their was a lot of it) the bad (cause I am balanced) and the injured (only one significantly today).
The Offensive line:
Ladies and gentlemen of Steeler Nation I am about to write something I thought I would never write this season. The Pittsburgh Steelers starting QB was only sack once the entire game! I am saying this for emphasis the offensive line only allowed a single sack all game! This was the same defense that harassed "Captain Checkdown" of the Ravens into 3 sacks and 2 picks. Part of this was the change in the offense but a lot was due to this offensive line. Max Starks had a hell of a game, and I had stated he would be easily better than Jonathan Scott at LT he was. It wasn't prefect but for not having any practice since last Wednesday I think he did amazing. Legursky really stepped it up and this unit once again battle through injury and it was dominate against an over-rated but good Tennessee d-line.
The Defensive line
In an injured prone week this unit played well. Having Brett Keisel back was major as he and his nonstop motor went to work consistently making his presence known. It wasn't just him but Hoke stepping up for Hampton played a good game, at LE Ziggy Hood looked good and Cameron Heyward play good for a rookie. Hood had a tackle and a half of a sack and Heyward recorded his first NFL sack. What also became blatantly obvious is that Aaron Smith's play was a weekness of the line. If he can return healthy I am guaranteeing he returns as a back up to Ziggy Hood.
Mr. Woodley has entered the building:
Though basically absent for the first quarter of the season Woodley step his game up with the absence of James Harrison. Woodley abused Stewart a very good RT in the league all day maybe even more than the stats indicate. He finished with 1.5 sacks and a an INT from a Brett Keisel tip. Would like to see some more tackles but the rest of the defense played well so it would draw form his numbers.
That's not a monkey in the Middle:
James Farrior had 10 tackles today where it was he and Foote starting. It made me wonder was Postie coming out of previous games because he was tired or because they thought Foote could do better and wanted to experiment. Either way Farrior look good and didn't need a spell in the slightest. Sorry Sly despite my prediction you may not see the field this year and that might be a good thing. Sorry doubted ya Potsie.
Coach Dad and Troy:
Anyone else notice in the first 4 games how much Troy was dropped 15-20 yard deep kinda like Ed Reed. Well Troy is not Ed Reed, he will never be Ed Reed and that's okay cause he is Troy. Today I notice much more short zones for Troy which allowed he to not only play around the LOS and get his 6 tackles but also allowed him to do what he does best and jump the short recognized routes. Troy had 3 Pd and in all three situation was inches away from getting the INT. Troy does Troy and that is playing the intermediate short game and Coach Dad might be conceding this fact.
BA is a BA:
Finnally after months...no years of fan rants Arians calls a game filled with short quick passes to protect his QB. There were also gambling about going short to Ward and Miller more. Guess what both worked. So BA gets a thumbs up. The O-line only gave up a single sack and Ben was hit far fewer times this game and the Steelers moved the ball well. I hope Arians can keep this up because Ben seemed comfortable when not having 300lb men hanging on him to make a play. So much so he threw 5 TDs and only one bad INT. This offense can only get better the more Gilbert and Starks get into rhythm and my friends the offense may finally be able to live up to expectations of this year.
*Shout outs to Keenan Lewis who stepped up in some one-on-one situations, and Jonathan Dwyer, who if in shape could be special, I like this kids vision. (Yes, I was one the cut Dwyer crowd but have always liked his vision not the fact that he comes in every training camp 20lbs overweight) and Mendy be scared if Dwyer and Redman can pull the load the Steelers may dump you off with your contract being a year removed form ending. And too Max Starks, did I mention him? After three days of practice he looked far better than Scott I am only disappointed that it took him being cut and not picked up to get his butt into shape and play well and Ben seem comfortable knowing how Starks will protect him. Watch out "T Fizzle" you're sacks won't come easy next time.
The Titans began the game on a very good drive, and I am sure I was not alone in having a sinking feeling deep with in my gut. However the Steeler pulled it out in the red zone allowing only a FG.
The Special Team blocking:
Twice teams have broken through our special teams blocking scheme and block either a punt or Kick and return it for a TD. Also twice they were called back for an illegal block. Luck was on our side but this has to be fixed.
Penalties: We've got to watch them we had 5 today and good teams don't consistently do this.
Yes for the first time all year there was only one injury bad enough to talk about. However like many week it was to an O-linemen. Marcus Gilbert left the gme with an undisclosed injury, not known what but it is the only one of concern. Glad to see that the rest of the injuries were "just a flesh wound".