The Steeler Nation has high expectations for its’ Men of Steel and why shouldn’t we? This team has been competitive for so long now that even an occasional .500 season is nothing more than a speed bump as we expect our team to be in contention for a Super Bowl berth each and every season.
The 2012 season has been to this point a roller coaster of sorts with a loss followed by a win and then hit ‘repeat.’ That pattern has now been broken and let’s hope it stays on its’ current track and the wins start piling up for this team. What we as a fan base have to be careful of is that two wins in a row does not guarantee a trip to the Super Bowl let alone the playoffs. This league is about ‘one game at a time’ and about match-ups on a week-to-week basis so let’s enjoy this very nice victory over Washington before focusing on a huge trip to New York.
Thoughts on the Game
- The offense did exactly what I thought they would do and went after the 31st-ranked pass defense in the league. I wasn’t a bit surprised to see us take the ball after winning the coin toss and go on the attack right away. It is clear this offense suits Ben Roethlisberger to an absolute T as he picked up another three touchdown passes and was rarely touched but Redskins’ defenders.
- It’s hard to argue with anyone suggesting Jonathan Dwyer should be the starter at running back. He’s now put together back-to-back 100-yard games and continues to look more and more like a smaller version of Jerome Bettis. I can’t help but think for the remainder of this season anyway, that using him and Rashard Mendenhall in the backfield will create even more problems for opposing defenses.
- Great to see Mike Wallace rebound from his poor effort in Cincinnati. It was clear to me that there was some new focus on his part to make sure he caught everything thrown to him. This is the time of year where he usually starts to disappear so this could be a step in the right direction.
- I absolutely love the way Antonio Brown plays the game of football with such great energy and intensity, but his ‘back-peddle’ into the end zone on a punt return touchdown called back due to a penalty (shocker) was bush league. There is no reason he has to act like 99% of other guys in the league who clearly illustrate that their fame is more important than the team’s success. If Mike Tomlin needed something to chew ass on he can start right there.
- I have become more and more a critic of Dick LeBeau in recent years simply because I feel the defense does not get enough pressure and has blown way too many leads. I give credit where it is due and it is due for the job on the Washington running game and in particular Robert Griffin III. LeBeau kept the game plan pretty vanilla quite frankly with a few exceptions, but it was clear some of the alignments at times forced RGIII into bad throws. Moving forward, the Giants will not drop the passes the ‘Skins did yesterday and if Ryan Clark can’t go, this secondary is in serious trouble.
- I already mentioned Brown’s antics on the punt return but I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Curtis Brown’s penalty which took a touchdown off the board. Was it a bit questionable in terms of blocking in the back? Perhaps a bit, but either way, it’s a bad penalty and we’ll see if Tomlin puts his money where his mouth is in terms of sitting these guys.
- If you had the trifecta of Heath Miller, Leonard Pope and Will Johnson catching TD passes yesterday then I suggest you play every lottery you can.
- My biggest concern from yesterday was the complacency in the second half and much of it had to do with play-calling and yet another drop. Rather than stay aggressive, it looked like Todd Haley resorted to the run in pretty obvious situations and the line wasn’t nearly as aggressive either. Emmanuel Sanders dropped a huge third and four pass that would have been a first down and probably more. I did like however, Haley’s call for the swing pass to Dwyer in the right flat in a situation where normally a run between the tackles would happen to kill the clock. It resulted in a first down and sapped momentum from the Redskins’ defense.
- Overall, good win yesterday. Defend the home turf and impose your will on the other team. I’m a little concerned about the lull in the second half offensively, but I like the direction of things. Now about those uniforms….