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More Thoughts On Steelers vs. Browns

Great discussion going on in the previous threads, so I don't have too much more to add on this game. But I did have a few other random thoughts that I wanted to throw out there for us to hopefully discuss.

* Not much more to say about Big Ben. His INT in the first half wasn't a great throw or decision, but it wasn't of the same variety as his unacceptable picks against Arizona, Cincy or Denver. Ben's playing Pro-Bowl caliber football and there simply aren't enough superlatives for how he's played since the Denver defeat.

* Nate Washington is finally playing with some consistency, and if he keeps it up, this offense is going to be ridiculously dangerous. Hines, Santonio, Heath, Big Ben's legs, Fast Willie, Spaeth, and Nate as viable offensive options? Sounds downright scary to me if I were an opposing defensive coordinator. Big Ben isn't quite as comfortable with him yet as he is with Santonio and Hines, but Big Ben and Arians' trust in Washington is clearly growing. Nate's got 7 catches for 107 yards and 2 TDs in his past two outings.

* As for Hines, he's definitely back and feeling well. Great game for Hines yesterday, making several tough, crucial catches.

* Willie Colon was overmatched yesterday. He tried, he really did, but his footwork just isn't good enough to be a good tackle in the NFL.

* Kendall Simmons' performance? Better. I will give him props for just barely clipping that Browns defender as Ben took off to run for that critical 3rd down run on our last drive. Had he not gotten a piece of the defender, Ben gets brought down and we're forced to go for it on 4th down.

* More fine work from Jeff Reed in the kicking game. I still want to see him perform in the clutch, but he's looked cool as a cucumber so far this year.

* It was nice to have Aaron Smith back wasn't it? He really makes our interior rush defense so much better. I don't think he missed too much time to preclude him from Pro-Bowl consideration.

* It's hard to argue with the way we're playing defense, but when oh when are we going to see some LaMarr Woodley for pass-rushing purposes? It's somewhat of a gamble I realize to put in an inexperienced rookie when you have veteran players most always in the correct spot on the field, but we're sacrificing an awful lot in the pressure department.

* Our first taste of red-zone futility in a long while yesterday, at least in the first half. No real cause for concern here just yet as we rebounded nicely in the second half to finish off drives, but it just goes to show you how important red-zone production is. Had we finished off even one of those first three drives that resulted in just FGs, we probably secure control of the game late in the third quarter or early fourth quarter.

What else guys?    

* UPDATE: There's been plenty of good discussion within the comments section of this and the previous thread about putting the starters in on kickoff coverage, and I put up a poll to see what people thought as well. I wanted to add on the main page that I'm all for it, but I get a little weary when I hear Keisel say things like :

Maybe I got to come out of retirement
I have no problem with Tomlin saying 'We stink', but I don't like a player basically saying, 'I guess I gotta go in and save the day because clearly the guys in there can't get it done.'

He may be right, but leave it for the coaches to say and implement. I don't want to go overly psycho-analytical, but I'm pretty confident that someone in that locker room would take offense to that type of comment. I've lauded Keisel's leadership qualities all year, so I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt, but be careful Brett and help keep this team motivated and unified as we move towards the playoffs.