The Steelers beat the MinnyVikes at home in their season opener by the score of 26-9, but if you look at the stats, you might think the Steelers weren't as impressive as they actually were.
I'm not going to type this twice, but I should, the spirit of the knee-jerk-reaction article is to express my gut reactions without true analysis and fact checking. So, I’ll shoot first and apologize later, but here are the nuggets that immediately appeared in my head:
- It might not be everything you wanted offensive-wise, but the game plan today was so much more inventive and the cohesion was evident. It furthers my belief that last week's win was a rust-shaker. Wasn't that the summer song of 1993?
- I'm going to grade the offense higher than usual because I thought they were pretty efficient. Fans want more TDs, but six scoring drives resulting in 26 points will do the job in most games.
- Offensive stats skewed the big picture in this game. Fans, and Fox announcers, made it seem like the offense was completely stalled in the first half. However, 70-plus yards of pass interference penalties don't get credited to the offense. If those passes would have been caught, the stats would have looked better.
- I'd like to blame it on wind blowing dirt in my face indoors, but I'm not ashamed to say that Ben Roethlisberger's entrance with the flag honoring the late, great Dan Rooney brought tears to my eyes.
- I'm not perfect, but here's something that annoys the pants off of me. No. 10’s name is not "Martavius," it’s Martavis Bryant. Mar-tay-vis. Some fans have been getting it wrong since 2014 and Ronde Barber completely butchered it today.
- The defense was dialing up the pressure. Their play is more inspired now than in any recent year.
- Cam Heyward is playing at Pro Bowl level. He’s proof-positive that we need to give some players enough time to come into their own. He looked every bit the leader of the defense today.
- I wonder if Todd Haley is having second thoughts about not sitting upstairs in the coaching box. He got lit up today on the sideline, and Ben Roethlisberger chuckled.
- I can see Le'Veon Bell morphing back to his old self with each carry. He's going to break out in Chicago.
- JuJu Smith-Schuster needed that TD badly today. He's a talent who’s destined to be a fan favorite soon. He just needed to get the penalty monkey off of his back from last week.
- "Dirty Red" is an upper-echelon special-teamer already.
- The secondary is doing its job. They shut down some talented receivers today. I’d just like to see them break out with a big interception day. They deserve their share in a stat-driven day and age.
- I feel bad for Sam Bradford. His injury really hampered his team today and he gets bit way too often by the injury bug.
- I don't sweat a Chris Boswell appearance whatsoever.
- T.J. Watt's injury is said not to be serious and I really hope that's the case.
That's all for the knee-jerk reaction report. Before you start blasting in the comment section, read my disclaimer above...twice. Now, I'm going to watch highlights, read analysis and start preparing retractions.
Thanks for reading.