Who knew that turnovers could swing a game? With only 4 takeaways all season, the Steelers D hadn't had a game where they literally took the win from the other offense. Lawrence Timmons and Willie Gay changed that with 2 fourth quarter picks to finally get to surprisingly efficient rookie Andy Dalton. Gay's was especially nice, what with getting beat at the end of the loss last week and the storm of criticism that followed.
I'm not sure about you, but I spent the latter moments of the game checking for Troy Polamalu to see if he'd make that statement interception that always seemed inevitable with Carson Palmer and/or any other schmuck the Bengals have trotted out there when Palmer wasn't. Maybe Dalton was doing the same, and forced a pass to a Troy-less area. Only that pass was in a Willie Gay area while Willie Gay was good-Willie Gay.
Ben: Ben throws enough interceptions of his own to need Heath's help, thankyouverymuch. So without that smudge on his stats, he still finished with 245 yards on 21 of 33 tosses. Plus that early TD to Cotchery. And it should;ve been 3 to Cotchery if Jerricho hadn't cut that route off a few drives later and then on the sketchy Heath interference penalty. Somehow Ben's section turned into the "point out all of Heath's blemishes" section. Heath gets 2 of 5 motorcycle helmets cos he still had that nice catch where he got smacked. Ben gets 3.5 of 5 helmets. Still a heavy number of sacks (5, tied a season high).
Mendy: Don't sleep on his 44 rushing yards. 1/4th of them came on TDs (2yds, 9 yds) and Mike Wallace gave enough of a jolt with his quickness on 2 end-arounds. Pittsburgh fans have been bred to respect great ground games and rushers who eat up yardage all game every game. And the emergence of fantasy football means it's 100 yards or bust. But with the way the Steelers offense has evolved and with what the games have dictated of late, Mendy's contributions have been adequate and necessary. Sure, it'd be nice to write about him having a 200 yard, 4 TD afternoon while the Steelers blow some joke team out, but you're not going to find me complaining about low yardage and 2 TDs in a win of any kind. 4 of 5 motorcycle helmets.
Defense: Those 2 INTs that we talked about up top. Those were it. The D had their moments with a few 3 and outs, and there were the low points when both safeties get beat in the end zone by a rookie who outworked them. No Woodley and there was a concerning lack of pressure on the young QB Dalton. You see Ben sacked 5 times and the rookie on the other end has a clean uniform. Here's hoping Woodley comes back after the bye to keep opposing offensive lines honest in distributing help to both Harrison and Woodley's sides rather than keying up on one while the other is out. 4 of 5 motorcycle helmets. Willie Gay...
5 of 5 motorcycle helmets. Kells always gets every rating point.
BYE WEEK! I hate them. At Kansas City on the 27th for NBC Sunday Night Football. So we get the bye and then have to wait the 2nd longest to watch the Steelers (they could've followed the bye with a Monday Night Football game, I guess).
(thanks to Doug for the banner pic)