Blah blah blah revenge for last year blah blah something something vengeance.
35-3 Steelers. Raiders suck.
I missed the first ~21 minutes of the game (more on that below) while travelling back to NYC after visiting with my folks this weekend. Soon as I tuned in, I had other Steelers fans telling me about the 2 holds on 'Tonio Brown's called-back punt return TD, and the score was sitting at a weak 7-3. Then the Steelers just started scoring a lot. Considering the recent histories of both franchises and the injuries on both sides of the ball, this was pretty much how the game should've played out. It was sloppy indeed, but the Steelers had the institutional stability to prosper despite the negatives.
Ben: Ben had a remarkably efficient game. 18 of 29, 275 yards and 3 scores. Plus another long TD run. He was the best player in the embarrassment against the Patriots, and continued his strong play against the Raiders. He didn't put himself in any real bad situations yesterday, and let his weapons do their job. Ben hit 8 different receivers and woulda hit 9 but couldn't complete the 1 pass he attempted to get to Mendy. 4 of 5 motorcycle helmets. As a Steelers fan, I've come to expect the eventual Ben miscue or INT here or there. I'm cool with near-flawless games like yesterday, though.
Defense: Incredible game. At one point, this D was 17 yards below the lowest allowed rushing total through 10 games...just below the 2006 Vikings. And then Michael Bush sprinted for 24. That was the only real low point of the game. 6 sacks, 3 fumbles forced, a fumble recovered and 2 INTs. After the letdown against New England, this is how this squad needed to rebound. Farrior played another great game, Harrison was everywhere and we got to see Polamalu spazz out with the with the ball in his hands again. Hadn't gotten to see him do that in a while. I love that stuff. Do it more often, Troy! 4.5 of 5 helmets. They only allowed 3 points. Read that again if you want.
Refs: Not giving some nonsense ranking to the refs. The Seelers and Raiders both played sloppy enough to garner a number of penalties. And yes, the refs called some absolutely atrocious fouls. I just wanted to share 2 of my favorite stills from this game:
With 11 minutes still left in the game, the Steelers had eclipsed the previous franchise-high for penalty yards in a full game, and still tacked another 5 on before the game was over. Yet despite the record number of penalty yards with 11 minutes to go in the game, the Steelers were winning 28-3. Felt like some statistical anomaly at the time.
And with time winding down, here's a great shot of ref Tony Corrente with arguably the most glaring stat of the game. There were sequences of like 3-4 straight flags quite often. This game was really annoying at those times.
Me: Like I mentioned above, I was coming back to my apartment during the beginning of the game. There was like ~9 minutes left in the 2nd quarter when I finally flipped the game on, and the score was 7-3 Steelers. In no time it was 21-3 Steelers going into halftime, which immediately made me think of how cool I am. The team didn't want to put up some crazy numbers while I was missing the action. They basically existed, heard I got home and turned the game on and proceeded to light it up. 4 of 5 motorcycle helmets. One for each score while I was watching. You're welcome.
Cheap Trick: Since I was in my brother-in-law's car prior to kickoff, I had to play Dream Police on a Youtube link on my Blackberry. It was tough, but I made it happen. And then I played it again when the Steelers started their first offensive possesion of the 2nd half. Then there was like 30 penalties called, as the 3rd quarter was SLOPPY. Dream Police started as a way to immediately impact the game and get needed points. Now, it's more or less training wheels...a way to boost morale while the team continues to click and get the job done. It's there as support, and the magic hasn't completely worn off. 3.5 of 5 helmets. 5-2 on the season.
Bills (Bills? Bills. Bills!) next week in Buffalo. Bills and Lions are probably the only 2 teams in the NFL that I have no real hate for. I'll figure something out by gametime.
(thanks to Doug for the banner pic)