Picking Up Steam


It’s official, the Steelers are on a winning streak. Albeit only 2 games, it’s a streak they’ll gladly accept and they’ll hope to extend. The black and gold enjoyed their second consecutive win at the expense of the Washington Redskins by a score of 27-12.

It was a game I expected this team to win but it looked a little more precarious as RG3 has been rolling through the league like it’s nothing.  He’s been the clear rookie of the year this year but today he was nothing more than another man the Steelers kept in check.

Defensively the black and gold looked dominant, sure the Redskins had about 8 dropped passes, however don’t discount that some of those were caused by Steelers hits, the Skins fear of taking a hit and the Skins hearing the footsteps of a member of the black and gold bearing down on them.  RG3 was held to 177 passing yards and had 18 incomplete passes.  He was also stuffed for only 8 rushing yards; by far his ‘worst’ performance of his young career.

Ryan Clark and Will Allen led the team with 7 tackles and Larry Foote had an additional 6 with a sack. The team looked great in the rush and while only sacking the elusive Griffin once; they put a lot of pressure on him, hitting him 5 additional times.  The team looked fast and didn’t miss too many assignments overall. While the big names like Woodley and Timmons only had 2 tackles each, the other guys like Clark, Allen and even Ryan Mundy stepped up and did the job. 

James Harrison had 5 tackles today and may be starting to get his legs back; though he was burned on a fortunate incompletion that could have gone for big yards.  His presence is still a factor and if this team can get Polamalu back soon, they may start to click.

 Heinz Field is a tough place to play and that was proven once again.  The team moved to 3-0 at home and in large part they got back to the basics that have made this team great for years; defense and running the football.

Jonathan Dwyer put on another great show with 17 carries and 107 more yards. He does look like a mini Jerome Bettis the way he runs. He’s got the power and a little bit of speed and once he gets those initial 3 or 4 yards he’s good for another 3 or 4 based on shear force and will. I’ve said for a while that I like his style of play and the way he runs the football and he’s starting to prove me right. It seems like it took the coaches a little while to recognize his ability and often times the O line was blamed for the lack of a running game this year but it’s apparent to me it’s a matter of who was running the ball.  Dwyer is allowing the team to move the ball on the ground and control the clock, which allows the defense to get a breather and keep their old legs fresh.  Dwyer is playing well but don’t discount Rainey and his 4 carries for 26 yards either, providing a much needed speed back to compliment Dwyer.  While it’s only been 2 weeks, it seems like a winning combo.

Passing is really never an issue and Big Ben shows that each and every week. He put up 222 yards on 24 of 33 throwing and added 3 more TD’s. He spread the ball to 9 receivers today, with Mike Wallace being his go to guy. Wallace grabbed 7 balls and was a great possession receiver today. Roethlisberger continued the trend of getting the ball into Heath Millers hands and Miller continued the trend of scoring TD’s. He’s showing he’s one of the best Tight Ends in all of football and is yet another threat to go with the speedy wide outs. Antonio Brown was relatively quiet today in the passing game, only grabbing 4 balls but he was clearly a guy the Skins tried to take out of the game, meaning guys like Wallace, Miller and Emmanuel Sanders (3 catches for 56 yards) were open and able to make plays for this team.

While Brown was quiet offensively with his 4 catches and the stats will show he was quite on punt returns, he really wasn’t. He had a long return for a TD called back due to a penalty. 

Tomlin said this week he was working on the penalties and would potentially bench anyone who messed up special teams, that will be tested this week as this team cannot afford to have penalties remove points off the board, in any game.  Overall they actually only had 3 total penalties so there was marked improvement today but the timing of the penalties is the next thing that must be rectified.

Other than the botch on the penalty, the special teams got it done today.  They blocked an extra point and had a punt downed on the Skins one yard line. Suisham was perfect with his kicks and Drew Butler averaged 50.7 yards per punt. Those are all good signs that things may be coming together.

The black and gold have now won 2 straight and are over .500 for the first time this season. They still have a lot of work to do before we can ascertain exactly who they are this year but this is a good start.  They are picking up steam heading to the middle part of the year and need to keep the momentum going.


Player of the Game: Jonathan Dwyer-107 more rushing yards, allowing the black and gold to win the time of possession battle and keep the D fresh.

Move up the depth chart: Dwyer-He’s got to be at least number 2 above Redman right now.

Get him more balls: Emmanuel Sanders-He may be just as good as Wallace or Brown!

NOTES:  Ryan Clark left the game with a concussion and I’d speculate he’s 50/50 for next week.

              Jonathan Dwyer appeared to tweak his hamstring on his final carry of the game; we’ll need to monitor that this week. 

4-3, up next: at NY Giants


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