And just like that, the Steelers are at a respectable 4-2. The Browns tried to make it a game at the beginning of the second half, but the Steelers just forced the inevitable, cruising down the stretch to a 24-14-victory.
The offense kept rolling, and the defense held their ground to prevent yet another late-game collapse. At some point, each team was giving the ball back to the opposition like it was their job, marking 5 straight offensive series that resulted in turnovers. Ben threw a pick and Willie and Rashard both fumbled, with two Timmons-induced, Derek Anderson fumbles thrown in between. That makes it sound like this was an all-around sloppy game, but really only tells the minor series of events. The efficiency of the offense was the true story.
Sasso. 23 of 35 for 417 yards, 2 TDs and a pick. He's leading the league with 1887 passing yards, and has directed two of the top 8 WRs in terms of yards receiving (Ward, Holmes). ESPN's Adam Schefter states thatBen is only the second QB since 1970 to win his first 10 starts against an opponent. The first was Elway against the Patriots. 4 of 5 motorcycle helmets. Fantastic stats, but I gotta take off for the pick.
Hines. He's one of the two top-8 WRs that I was just talking about. Actually, he's leading the league in receiving yards (Holmes is 8th). Remember that one year when Kordell threw for 3,000 yards, Hines and Plax both went over 1,000 and the Bus rushed for 1,000, too, and they were the only foursome ever to accomplish that? Burress was just starting out, and had so much promise. Who woulda thought that 8 or so years later, Plax would be in jail and Hines would be the one leading the league in receiving? 5 of 5 motorcycle helmets. That's a determined vet. (ed: Awesomely, that year, 2001, Hank Poteat was our main return guy. He was a Brown yesterday)
Heath. Best TE in the league. 4 of 5 helmets.
Troy. It was nice to have him back. Maybe a few people were nervous about him getting so much playing time against a horrible team like the Browns, but if Troy says he's healthy and the team agrees, then I'm fine with whatever decision they make. Especially when he came back with that crucial redzone interception early. Then Ryan Clark took away another probably Troy pick. He also made some plays at the line that will really help later on in the year now that Aaron Smith is shelved. 4.5 of 5 helmets.
Fumbles. Yeah, there were too many of them. Actually, too many giveaways so far this season. The RB corps gets 2 of 5 motorcycle helmets for the way they held onto the ball yesterday. Fix it.
Announcers. Wow...Kevin Harlan and Solomon Wilcots set NFL announcers back about 30 years. Harlan couldn't stop pointing out the new DB when each defense went nickel or dime, and Wilcots could not pronounce "Mendenhall." 0 of 5 motorcycle helmets. I had to have at least one overly-critical rating, since everyone else decided to kick ass.
Vikings next week. Last time Troy played Brett Favre, he had a 77-yard TD off a Favre fumble. I'm just sayin'...