The Steelers managed to pull out a victory against one of the best teams, and best offenses, in the NFL. Winning the game with a strong performance in the second half, the Steelers showed they have no intention of losing ground as Ben Roethlisberger continues to recover from his injury.
Consistency of the Run Defense - Freak Out
While the Steelers improved in the second half, they struggled mightily against the Arizona Cardinals run game in the first half of the game. That lack of consistency could present problems against some of their more formidable opponents on the schedule. The Steelers defense ended up limiting the Cardinals to 2.8 yards per rush and a total of only 55 yards. During the first quarter, the Cardinals were imposing their will, frequently rushing for more than five yards per carry. The Steelers need to stop the run from earlier on in the game. Clearly they can make halftime adjustments to correct deficiencies, but against some opponents it could prove difficult-- even impossible-- to recovery from sloppy rushing defense early in the game.
Injuries - Chill Out
The Steelers have been hit hard by injuries this season. The list of injured players seems to grow by the week. Big name players like Ben Roethlisberger, Maurkice Pouncey, Ryan Shazier, and Jarvis Jones are hurt. During the game against the Cardinals, Kelvin Beachum was carted off with a torn ACL and Michael Vick hurt his hamstring. It might seem unusual to give the team a Chill Out rating with all of these problems, but the team has proven they can make do with the resources they have to pull out victories. Today, Landry Jones stepped up and took the helm at quarterback to lead the team to a victory. While Shazier's speed is irreplaceable, the front seven has performed well enough in his absence.
Placekicker - Polar Vortex Chill Out
I have not given out a Polar Vortex Chill Out (PVCO) rating before, but placekicker Chris Boswell deserves the first PVCO rating of the 2015 season. C-Bos made all four of his field goal attempts and the extra point after the touchdown. All of this despite the rain and universally difficult conditions for kickers at Heinz Field. Wow. C-Bos has not missed a kick in his NFL career. Granted, his career is very young, but after the stress and disappointment of Josh Scobee, it is nice to be able to experience some PVCO when our kicker takes to the field.