For awhile, I thought my prediction would eventually come to be. The teams were tied at zero, and offensive stumbles or defensive stops would overwhelm each drive. Ben didn't seem right, and the offensive line made me want to vomit after every snap. We weren't out of it by any means, but we certainly weren't "in" it.
The box score shows a three point win in favor of the Black and Gold. I'll remember this game as one in which my team used the traditional Steelers recipe of keeping games close and winning them in the latest, most dramatic stages. I mean, of course the 2009 season kickoff game would go to overtime...it was just an expected happening.
Some parts of the team were awesome. Other were not. This is when we distinguish between the two.
Sasso: Man, he looked like a steaming pile of terrible early in that game. He struggled with accuracy, noticeably over or under-throwing several balls. And that's not even accounting for the crushing sacks he took in the first half. I believe I cursed his name several times before halftime arrived. He finished with okay stats, 33-43 for 363 yards, a TD and 2 INTs. The second pick I could forgive, as it was a prayer of a Hail Mary at the end of the first half. He seemed to shake off the early rust to get it done late (as usual). 3 of 5 motorcycle helmets, because I won't stand for that kind of drama all season.
RB Corps: That was a pitiful performance. Willie only had 19 yards on 13 carries. Mendenhall had 4 carries for 6 yards. Mewelde Moore totaled 8 yards on 5 carries. No matter what football plane of existence you live on, those are horrible stats. I'll give 3 of 5 motorcycle helmets, as part of the blame lies with the...
O Line: I couldn't count the number of times Ben would get the ball from center, and 3 Titans would immediately be moving unobstructed to the QB as if the O Line was nonexistent. The first few drives alone were a summation of the 2008-09 season...a Swiss cheese O Line with a penchant for holding and false start penalties. I'll go even lower and give them a 2.5 of 5 helmets.
San Antonio. Proved that the Super Bowl MVP was no fluke. Dude pulled down the exact same stats as the championship against Arizona...9 catches for 131 yards and a TD. Pretty weird that he'd hit every major category on the dot. Sure, he came up huge down the stretch again, but along with Heath Miller, was one of Ben's favorite targets on the night. There was really no downside, so Santonio gets 4.5 of 5 motorcycle helmets.
Sepulveda. IT'S SO AWESOME TO HAVE A PUNTER 5 OF 5 MOTORCYCLE HELMETS!
And yes, I'll refrain from judging Hines. He fumbled, he knows he fumbled and he was relieved to have been saved by Jeff Reed in OT. It wasn't one of his proudest moments, but he used it as a learning tool, even this early in the season.
Oh, and Troy was Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. He had about 1,000 tackles and that sweet pick, but also had a handful of penalties in that first quarter. At least one was ticky-tack, but he can't make excuses for a slip here and there. Now that injury...
The Steelers play in Chicago against Jay Cutler and the Bears at 4:15 PM Sunday, September 20th.