OMIGOD did you hear Ben came back?
A lotta "experts" are gonna be saying some nonsense about how the Steelers are now the most complete team in the league and should be favorites to get to the Super Bowl. But don't believe those jokers. Most of 'em had no confidence in them as recent as training camp and the preseason, and very likely lobbied for harsher punishment for Ben or something. There's still so much football to play this year and so many potential injuries and setbacks to overcome. One game at a time. February is a long way away.
Ben: Well that's about as good a game as you can ask from Ben, all factors taken into consideration. 16 of 27 for 257 yards, 3 TDs and a pick. I think most impressive was how he shook off the early INT, after a tumultuous offseason and 5 weeks of the regular season with no playing time. That had to have been his biggest fear, coming in and throwing a pick before getting at least a TD or 2. I know I thought it could've been disastrous, and I'm sure I wasn't alone. 4 of 5 motorcycles. I can forgive the early interception, but man that sucked when it happened.
Mendenhall: Mendy ran well. But I gotta do an obligatory moan about Bruce Arians. He had been criticized in the past for committing to the pass too much, and he's made sure to incorporate enough of the ground game this year. Yet sometimes he gets so mind-numbingly predictable with the ground game. Mendy will look strong on a nice run, and Bruce will do the same play or at least run to the same side the very next play. So we'll see an 8 yard burst, then the D knows what's up and they'll hit Mendenhall at the line of scrimmage on the next play. As a result, his number of carries go up while his yards-per-tote goes down, and we get 27 carries for 84 yards. Coulda easily been 20 for 120+ if there wasn't so much immediate repetition. 3.5 of 5 helmets. Good game, but his stats don't really reflect how well he ran.
Manny Sanders: 4 of 5 motorcycle helmets. His first 2 career catches were 1st down conversions. After the 3rd down struggles last season, Manny is a welcome addition to this offense.
Defense. This is how well the Steelers D is playing this year. I drafted their D/ST in an earlier round than I should've in our Steelers bloggers league because I knew some other homer was gonna grab 'em if I didn't. They were predicted to score me 15.04 points yesterday. 5 sacks, 2 INTs, a fumbled punt recovery and just 10 points allowed got me 15 points even. They put up numbers that 31 other teams would love to boast in any one game, and still came up short of what was expected of them. They've set lofty levels of expectation and are mostly living up to the hype. 4.5 of 5 motorcycle helmets. This is at least the 3rd game so far where they've played an incredible game only to let up a late 4th quarter score. Shore that up and I'll give you 5 of 5 all day.
Cheap Trick: 5 of 5 motorcycle helmets. Dream Police is now 2-0 when I remember to blast it before and during the game. walterflanagan called me out after last game, as the Steelers lost when I forgot to rock the Cheap Trick. It was literally the first thing I thought of on Saturday and Sunday mornings when I woke up. And yeah, I definitely played it prior to both the 1st and 2nd half, which resulted in a W. We can't forget this the rest of the season, people.
1 PM next week in Miami against the Dolphins. They wear teal. I find myself ripping the Steelers' opponents most for the stupid colors that they wear. Black and Gold is so hard.
(thanks to Doug for the banner pic)