Before I ramble about the game, let me first say that this game was unbelievably entertaining and nerve-wracking to watch. Games like these are why we all love the NFL. Games like these are also reminders of how hard it is to be consistently excellent in the NFL. There are no cupcakes on the schedule. Each and every team has players that can not be stopped when they are playing at their absolute highest level. Today it was Michael Vick. I'm both extremely proud and terribly disappointed in the Pittsburgh Steelers. We played an incredible game of football on offense, racking up 38 points on over 400 yards passing. We responded to adversity in the 4th quarter. The receivers continued to progress. Roethlisberger was all-world while in the game.
Despite all these positives, we lost another tough game and fell to 2-4. I thought our defense was mediocre today, but at the same time, as was the case in the San Diego game, we ran into a team who played just about as well as it could on the offensive side of the football. That's three games now where we've run into teams playing at their absolute peak capacity. The Jaguars played their most inspired defensive football of the season; Phillip Rivers announced his full-fledged arrival with a nearly flawless performance; and now Michael Vick has driven another dagger into our hearts with his breath taking display of decision making and throws.
What can you do? When Vick makes Troy Polamalu flail hopelessly on a crucial 3rd and long, you know you're up against a player who's locked in. I don't want to sound like a sore loser, but it's pretty ridiculous how well Rivers and Vick played against us, especially Vick. Everybody's going to be so quick to jump back on his bandwagon after today, but frankly, he'll probably just disappoint you more often than not. This was close to a career performance for him today. It's just REALLY hard to win games in this league on the road when your opponents' QBs are having career games. I guess this is what we can expect all year as defending Super Bowl Champions.
First half turnovers kept us from stepping on their throats when we had them down. We avoided this bug last week, but this is now the second game (Cincy being the first), where we've let a team back into a game with costly miscues. All it would have taken is a few first half stops and some ball-security to potentially have made this a 3 score game heading into halftime. Instead, we gave up two touchdowns in less than three minutes and found ourselves trailing.
Despite our horrid stretch in the middle of the first half, I was really proud of the way we stay composed and continued to make plays. Hines Ward had a monster game; Charlie Batch shook off a couple of early poor throws to lead Pittsburgh to two critical scores; Nate Washington and Santonio Holmes took another step in the right direction.
Again though, we couldn't close the door. We had a chance to kick a game-winning FG from the 33 yard line in regulation but botched the execution of the spike play. The blame on that play falls on both Nate Washington AND Charlie Batch. Why in God's name is Washington not just standing still? The 10-second run off rule only applies to penalites that prevent the ball from being snapped , like a falst start. If it was merely an illegal formation penalty (as was the case in the Rams-Seahawks game last week), the 10-second rule does not apply and only a 5 yard penalty is assessed. Stand still Nate! Still, Charlie, take your time! There were 10 seconds left. Make sure you get the snap off, but give your guys a chance to catch their breath and make sure they're set and where they're supposed to be. He panicked. Plain and simple.
More thoughts on the defense, Big Ben's injury and our prospects for the rest of the season beginning tomorrow.
Chime in with your thoughts about the game. This has been one weird season guys. Do we still have faith to turn this around?