I don't care if you liked them...I thought those throwbacks were pretty fly. That outlined stripe running down the leg...awesome. And the gold helmets were a badass change. The Bills shoulda wore their throwbacks, which are also pretty cool.
That man in the above picture is nuts. In past seasons, Fast Bill's home run shot would come after 10-12 really short gains. I'm talking 1-yard gains and the like. Today, Bill came out the gate firing. He displayed his skillz early and often, and the combination of Fast Bill and Roethlisberger's underneath tosses eventually wore out the overmatched team from Buffalo. 26-3, give the credit to the throwbacks.
Tale of the tape: Consistent Steelers offense. Underlying theme: 3rd downs converted early in the game allowed Ben to gain confidence in passing to the underneath routes.
Ben Roethlisberger. The Bills didn't want to give up the long pass, so Ben took what he was given, and allowed the receivers to do the rest. Ben was coming off a stud performance against the Browns, but played a team that wouldn't allow a repeat performance (in terms of touchdowns thrown). He finished 21-34 for 242 yards, with a touchdown and a pick. The pick is what concerned me. To this point in the young season, Ben has made perfect decisions, and accepted the short passes to check-down receivers that he could manage. However, there's always been that I-wanna-be-a-gunslinger-mentality in Large Ben, and his interceptions come when he gets over-confident. I can see tossing a bomb downfield immediately following a turnover, to catch the team off guard. He didn't need to force a downfield pass today when the short stuff was working. More yards than last week, less touchdowns and his first pick of the season results in Ben getting 3 of 5 motorcycle helmets. He got 4 helmets last week, so I couldn't give him the same because of the pick. He played well, though.
Fast Bill. 5 of 5 motorcycle helmets. I couldn't wait any longer to spit that one out. Willie is showing a level of maturity that probably makes the University of North Carolina football coaches want to smack themselves. Common consensus says that Bill is a home run hitter. Adding to that, I'm prepared to call him Albert Pujols or something (he once called himself a line drive hitter with power). He'll get you the home runs, but he's also sprinkling in a bunch of 2-RBI doubles. The Bills had no chance when Fast Bill turned the corner. He consistently threw down 10+ yard gains, and even took his show up the middle. No fumbles this week with 23 carries for 126 yards and a score. That's 5.5 yards per carry. He deserves all 5 of the helmets I gave him.
Nate Washington. Big Nate looked more like the guy who was providing key receptions during the playoff run to the Super Bowl rather than the shadow who took his place during last season and this current preseason. He had one drop, but that was overshadowed by his 3 receptions. How can 3 receptions mean anything? Um...when you average 20 yards per catch. He's gonna drop some balls. We need to just accept that fact. However, he is only needed to provide third or fourth WR-quality depth, and he did more than that with 60 yards receiving. I'll give a helmet per reception, which provides Nate with 3 of 5 motorcycle helmets. Without the one drop, which was clearly Nate's fault, he could have made his MMCNY debut with 4 helmets. Alas.
Jeff Reed. If Jeff keeps making MMCNY appearances, it means the offense isn't clicking like it should. Shaft opened the game with 4 unanswered FGs, before Matt Spaeth caught a touchdown in his second consecutive game. I'm gonna invade Jeff's space here for a moment, but the emergence or Spaeth makes the Steelers O ridiculously stacked when it gets into the red zone. Its early, so the offense hasn't reached its full potential, but later in the season, Spaeth could make it impossible for opposing defenses to cover all the weapons on the Pittsburgh O. Back to Shaft...he finished 4 of 4. I could give him a perfect 5 of 5 helmets for the perfect FG completion percentage, but I'll give him one for each made FG. 4 of 5 motorcycle helmets. I expect him to hit every FG. Sorry if that's just me.
D. Last week, they had 6 sacks and 5 turnovers...albeit against an awful team. Only 4 sacks today with no turnovers. The O was on the field for an incredible amount of time (35 and a half minutes compared to Buffalo's 24 and a half minutes), so a consistent O was the defense's best friend. Woodley got his first sack, Deshea always seemed to be around the ball, and young guys like McFadden and Anthony Smith were involved in a bunch of plays. Captain James Farrior finished with 10 tackles, and the defense didn't allow a touchdown. I couldn't give them a repeat 5 of 5, but I will give the D 4 of 5 motorcycle helmets. Job well done.
Next up, Alex Smith and the 49ers. The Steelers are gonna liquefy them.