Steelers Bounce Back, Pound Tennessee

It was a much needed win today as the Pittsburgh Steelers steam rolled the Titans of Tennessee.  Coming into the game at 2-2 the Steelers knew this was as much of a must win game as you can get early in the season. Had they lost this one they would have 3 AFC losses already and those can add up and cost you down the stretch. No matter, the team responded to all the negative energy floating around them after their lack luster play last week.  Now in what seems to be a week to week league and an immediate reaction league the media will go from telling you last week that this team was dead to rights to this week telling you they are Super Bowl contenders.  In reality; neither is the case. They are certainly not dead but they still have some issues to clean up.  Today however, they proved that their three biggest problems in this early season are fixable; protecting Big Ben, running the football and stopping the run. 

Coming into this game Big Ben had been sacked 14 times already, today, playing with a banged up left foot and a noticable limp he was only sacked once and hit once more.  The O line played really well and we think that part of that may have something to do with the re signing of Max Starks this week who started and played the whole game and played really well, having only 3 days of practice! Very impressive.  Marcus Gilbert was hurt again but right now we’re just not impressed with him anyway.  They protected Ben on the line and they also permitted the running game to 174 yards on 28 carries.  Jonathan Dwyer led the team with 107 of those yards on 11 carries. He was active for the first time this season and he looked really good. He is big and deceptively fast for his size, he may have earned some more playing time after this week. Isaac Redman was the starter and he put up 49 yards on 15 carries, which is a sub 4.0 YPC average but his yards were impressive and he hit the holes hard and got through the tight spaces.  Rashard Mendenhall, who dressed but did not play may need to be worried about his job, as we stated Redman should be the guy anyway and now it sems to be that Redman and perhaps Dwyer could be the tandem to kick Rashard to the curb. 

Defensively the team has been gashed and thrashed in the running game so far this year and they came in facing a top 5 NFL back in Chris Johnson, we all expected the Titans would try to copy what’s been going on and go to CJ early and often until the Steelers proved they could stop him.  The Titans went to him early as they moved the ball down field on the opening drive taking nearly 7 minutes off the clock and CJ had a 21 yard carry but the team was shut down near close to the end zone settling for 3 points and Johnson was shut down the rest of the game only managing 30 more yards on 13 carries.  The defense stepped up today in a week leading up to the game where Hines Ward said it was time for the offense to carry the defense.  The old vet in the middle James Farrior led the way with 13 tackles and wild man Troy added another 9.  We were suprised to see Lawrence Timmons only total 5 tackles starting at the outside linebacker position in place of James Harrison and not register a sack but Woodley added 1.5 sacks and the two young ends Ziggy Hood and Cam Heyward got to Hasslebeck as well. 

All around the team looked more like the Steelers of old, stepping up on D making the big plays when needed. Offensively some old faces really showed they can still be a part of this team with Hines Ward pulling in 7 balls for 54 yards and 2 touch downs and Heath Miller adding 3 catches for 45 yards and a TD.  Those catches came at the expense of Antonio Brown who only had one ball but this is exactly what we said they need to do and exactly what the formula for success is with this team.  They sill go the ball to their ace Mike Wallace who had a team leading 82 yards on 6 catches and a nice 40 yard TD bomb to seal the deal late in the game.  The real leader of this offense and the team though was Big Ben. He was on fire throwing for 228 yards and a team record tying 5 TD passes.  He did have a pick that was on an ill advised play at the end of the first half when he tried to trick the D into thinking he was spiking it but other than that he was completely in control of this game.

Special teams were interesting today as Sepulveda only punted once and lined up for another when he got to pull a fake and throw the ball to Ryan Mundy for 33 yards and a first down.  It was a joy for all of us to watch the game today wouldn’t you say?

Stars of the Game:  Big Ben-Throwing for 228 yards and 5 TD passes is exactly what this team needed, he’s the heart and sould of this team at this point.

                                      Hines Ward-7 catches and 2 TD’s is heart to ignore, great game out of 86.

                                      James Farrior-Team leading 13 tackles for the old vet.

Move to Starting lineup:- Max Starks-He’s only been back fora week but he’s proven he’s able to play and really he sured up some of these O line problems today.

Isaac Redman-His yards weren’t overly impressive but he ran the ball better than Mendenhall and the running game just flowed a lot better with him carrying the ball.

Move to bench-Jonathan Dwyer-Normally this move to bench slot is a move from the starting lineup but in this case we are saying move Dwyer from the inactive roster to the bench. He proved today he can carry the ball well, posting over 100 yards and he could be a nice change of pace back, we’d like to see him out there more often.

Rashard Mendenhall-The team had their best running game without him, we aren’t saying they can’t use him, but he should be coming off the bench at this point, he’s not the best option they have.

Marcus Gilbert-The guy doesn’t have it yet. He’s a rookie, he’s been hurt a few weeks in a row and he gets beat a lot. he needs to learn by coming off the bench, not starting.

Cut-No cuts today, not even the O line, they played really well.

So the win puts the Steelers in a good spot now hosting Jacksonville at home next week. Let’s see how they respond to a big win this week and hope they come out swinging again next Sunday.

3-2, next week vs. Jacksonville 1-4.


2 Comments on "Steelers Bounce Back, Pound Tennessee"

  1. Kiki on Mon, 10th Oct 2011 9:30 pm 

    As I said in a comment a few weeks ago, don’t count Hines Ward out. He can still deliver and should be used more often. I think we all saw that in this game. Go Hines! As far as the game was concerned, I agree that it was like watching our true Steelers play and it was great!

  2. longarm on Tue, 11th Oct 2011 12:24 pm 

    I think all the points you made are right on target. I also agree they looked like Steelers of old but I am not sold that they solved their problems. They have a light schedule and should be able to add a few more wins before they take on the Pats. This is a good game to build on.
    By the way it was nice to see Hines show up for the game.