Is it safe to call it a streak yet? Have the Steelers beaten any team worth mentioning yet? Oh I’m sorry. I was about to wax poetic about the Steelers’ 4th straight win and got distracted. Anyway, let’s talk about the good, bad and ugly from the Steelers’ win over Buffalo, shall we?
The Good: It seems to me that on Sunday the good was, in most cases, actually not just good, but great.
- The run game was the best I’ve seen maybe ever from this team. Le’Veon Bell’s stat line surely reflects this. The offensive line dominated from start to finish and Bell was his normal patient self, waiting for holes to open and then ripping off yards like it was high school players (or maybe just the Browns) trying to take him down. He never took his foot of the gas and thankfully, neither did Todd Haley. Almost three hundred total yards and three touchdowns later, Bell definitely made his case for the front office to start working on how to “pay the man” before next season. His ability to run inside, outside, change direction and make good defenders miss are second to none in the league right now.
- The first half, defensively was really fun to watch. LeSean McCoy was bottled up and Tyrod Taylor had nowhere to throw or run. Bud Dupree is finally healthy and not only getting the majority of snaps at his position, but making some noise. He really hustled and his efforts paid off. Ryan Shazier also played a solid game. He was disruptive and seemed to be in the right place at the right time most of the day.
- Rookie defensive backs are having more than just a small impact on this team. Artie Burns is really coming into his own, and dare I say that he could turn into a shutdown corner? There, I said it, because I believe he can get there. Sean Davis has also secured his position in this defense. He has the speed and the tools, and he’s making plays for the Steelers. A lot has been said about both these two young men since the draft, and about their secondary coach, Carnell Lake. I would say that all three deserve the credit for the product the two youngsters have put on the field lately.
- Chris Boswell made all his kicks, in the snow and Jordan Berry did his best to bury the Bills with two deep punts. Abdominal injury? What abdominal injury? Boswell not only doesn’t look like has any lingering effects from last weeks’ injury, he hit all those kicks in the snow.
The Bad: Whatever the defense was doing in the second half, and the fourth quarter in particular was not good. Tackling was bad, and if that’s prevent defense, I hope the coaching staff prevents themselves from allowing that defense again. The Bills tried to make it interesting down the stretch, and the Steelers seemed content to let them.
The Ugly: Three interceptions by Ben Roethlisberger is really ugly. I’m not sure if this was accuracy, wind, miscommunication with his receivers or all three, but that was UGLY! Give him back two of those and the Steelers probably win by three touchdowns. Especially the interception in the end zone. Big Ben is usually a guarantee to put that ball where it needs to be (up high and towards the back of the end zone) for a big guy like Green to go up and get it. Ben’s struggles on the road have been discussed, but this trend is one to be concerned about going forward.
Thankfully, the good from Sunday far outweighed the bad and the ugly. The Steelers got a dominant performance from Bell and his offensive line and the defense and special teams did enough to not give the game away. It was far from a perfect performance, but anytime your running game and first half of dominating defense can carry the day and get a win, celebrate the win. I’m sure the Steelers’ players coaching staff will find ways to try and correct the mistakes for the future, and I’m happy with the win. Now it’s time to get ready for Cincinnati.