Thanksgiving was great for Steelers nation, and I’m thankful for the day with family and the Black and Gold getting another win. Let’s take a walk through the good, bad and ugly from the game last night. I’m sticking to the changed format of actually discussing the three categories for the remainder of the season.
The Good: The triplets. Arguably the best trio in football scored all 28 points for the Steelers and the Colts couldn’t do a thing to stop them. Eli Rogers and Ladarius Green. They didn’t get a ton looks, but when their numbers were called, they made plays to move the chains and flip field position. Goal line defense. Twice Chuck Pagano’s crew tried to go for six points on fourth and goal, and both times the Steelers shut it down. Defensive pressure. Three more sacks and a dozen hits on backup quarterback Scott Tolzien this week. Rookie defenders. Javon Hargrave, SeanDavis and Artie Burns are starting to look like they belong in this lineup. My favorite defensive play of the night was Hargrave sticking with a running back and sniffing out the pass play to stuff it for a loss, followed closely by Davis’ hit on Tolzien as the latter tried to reach for a touchdown. The big men up front kept Ben clean and opened big holes for Bell.
Good Honorable Mention: Bud Dupree seeing some action and making some plays. It’s nice to see the second year linebacker back in the mix. He’s not where he wants to be yet, but he waited more than half the season to hit someone and finally got the opportunity against the Colts.
The Bad: Penalties. sixty-seven yards worth against the Steelers. Mike Tomlin must address this and get the team ready for a stiffer challenge next week against the Giants. A better team will take advantage of mental errors by the Steelers. Despite the win, this has been too common a theme this season. Third down defense needs some improvement as well. Any drive that goes 89 yards over a good stretch of one quarter is too long for this defense to be on the field.
The Ugly: Sammie Coates. At least three opportunities to make plays for the offense and he had zero catches. I have to believe that on two of those deep throws, Martavis Bryant makes the catch. Coates was notable for drops in college and I don’t know if it’s a lack of confidence, broken fingers or both, but this is a trend that needs to stop.
At the end of the day all that matters is the win and that the Steelers are only slightly dinged up after the Thanksgiving day game. This team still has some question marks but the arrow is starting to point up again.
I wasn’t going to mention this, but I have to give some credit to Mike Mitchell. For a while I’ve been pretty harsh on him (deservedly so in my opinion) but against the Colts his hard hitting was timely, clean and effective. Plus he pulled in an interception. For the first time in weeks he was not a liability. I’d like to think he’s turned the corner and will be an asset throughout the remainder of the season, but I can’t quite buy into that theory just yet.