Three wins in a row! I could get used to the Steelers stringing wins together again. The Steelers played well in all three aspects of the game, with a few hiccups. Without further ado, I give you the good, the bad and the ugly from this win.
- James Harrison is still a force. He’s not as dominant as he once was, but the man is strong as an ox and determined to finish the play every snap. His bull-rush that forced the safety had me jumping out of my seat Sunday.
- Sean Davis and Artie Burns are turning into solid contributors to this defense in their first season. Davis picked up his first interception and demonstrated solid play around the line of scrimmage the last two weeks, and Burns is definitely helping to upgrade, and solidify, the cornerback position.
- Ladarius-freaking-Green! The Ferrari is finally not just out of the garage for a test drive, but out on the open road and making noise. Green gives this offense a piece of the puzzle that has been missing all season, a deep threat over the middle, and I believe there’s a lot more he can show us fans as he gets more opportunities the rest of the way.
- Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell did what was expected and made plays when their numbers were called. Lawrence Timmons continues to impress. Sunday he was wreaking havoc, leaping for a huge interception in the secondary and prowling the middle of the field and making tackles. Randy Bullock filled in quite nicely for Chris Boswell.
- I hate to throw shade at an otherwise impressive performance by the Steelers, so I’ll keep this simple. Turnovers, the Steelers were +1.7 in turnover ratio the last three games. They broke even this week, but two is still two too many to give away.
- Concussions suffered by Javon Hargrave and Shamarko Thomas. Thomas may never equate to anything more than a special teams ace, but he has nose for the ball on kick coverage and he hits hard. Hargrave gives a spark to the defense and is playing well for a rookie in this system. I hope to see both men healthy enough to make the week 14 game at Buffalo.
- Penalties. Twelve of them for 115 yards. This again falls under the mantra I’ve preached all season — team discipline. Penalties make me crazy. They’re preventable, and Coach Tomlin and his assistants have to find a way to get through to their players on this subject. The penalties would be a lot uglier if the Steelers lost due to them, and I don’t want that to be the case.
- The Steelers play all three division rivals in the last three weeks of the season. The games against the Bengals and the Ravens can get intense. These teams play each other twice a year and sometimes tempers flare. Those types of penalties—crimes of passion, if you will, have to be non-existent from the Steelers or it could cost them the game. Just ask a certain linebacker from Cincinnati or his cohort defensive back how that can hurt their team.
At the end the game, the Steelers did more than enough to get this win, and I was happy with the effectiveness of the running game and the defense. Yes Odell Beckham Jr. had over 100 yards receiving, but he’s as hard to cover as Antonio Brown. The rest of the Giants offense did very little, accounting for 134 total yards. Not a bad day at the office for the Steelers against a team that just won six in a row before coming to Heinz Field. I’ll take that type of effort from the Steelers (without the turnovers and penalties) every week.