The Steelers opened the 2nd Half with a 5-play, 23 yard drive which led to a punt. This coulda been the moment where the Steelers shut off the offense and rode the D to a win. Much like last week. It was a huge moment and was interesting to see if the team would respond to a punt by cowering or coming back out with a passion. They followed with a TD, 2 FGs and a kneel-down to end the game. That's how you end teams. Sure, 2 more TDs rather than the FGs are preferable, but the team put points up while Arizona's drives were eventually proven futile.
We like to get over tough losses in our minds by immediately forgetting the game ever happened and focusing instead on future opportunities at wins. We have to do the same at this very moment. Cos while these last few wins to push the record to 5-2 have been great, there needs to be a completely different focus with games against the Patriots and Ravens before heading into Cincy and the bye.
Ben: Another fantastic performance. Games like Ben has had the past 3 or so weeks really helps you forget the disasters like Week 1. 26 of 39 for 361 yards and 3 TDs. And no INTs. Ben needs to keep building on these ratios with the Patriots and Ravens looming. I can't give him a perfect rating cos this was the 2nd straight week where he had that mid-game lull of a few incompletions in a row. But he redirected the offense better this week and at least came away with 3-point drives later unlike the offensive shutdown last week. Still 4 of 5 motorcycle helmets.
WRs: 5 of 5 motorcycle helmets. Just gonna go right ahead with the rating cos there's no way to hide my excitement. Mike with that record 95-yarder and 118 total on just 3 catches. Antonio Brown with 100+ on 7 grabs. Manny playing a huge role a few times on the drive that eventually earned him a touchdown. Much love to Heath Miller as well even though he isn't really a WR but played that vital receiving role with an early TD and a few clutch grabs when Hines left the game to keep a sense of security for Ben.
Defense: Penalties and 78 receiving yards for Larry Fitz notwithstanding, I think Ike Taylor played Fitzgerald about as well as anyone could hope. You have to establish physicality on a dominant WR like Fitz and Ike didn't back away. Penalties will happen when you gotta be in a guy's face like that. Ryan Clark with that huge early pick, and LaMarr Woodley with a month's-worth of stats. 7 tackles, 6 solo, 2 sacks and a safety. The D farted with the long catch-and-run to Pitt's own LaRod Stephens-Howling. That's the kinda thing that can worry a fan with Wes Welker next week. 3.5 of 5 motorcycle helmets. Gotta tighten it up.
OMC: I haven't been trying to force a song on this Steelers season. Last year, Cheap Trick's Dream Police had an unreal 12-3 record before succumbing in the Super Bowl. But I played OMC's How Bizarre right at kickoff without thinking and Ryan Clark started intercepting footballs and the offense immediately moved the ball for a touchdown so thanks for this week at least, OMC.
We'll see if it survives with some big games on the horizon. 5 of 5 motorcycle helmets.
Kordell Stewart and Bobby Shaw: Ciao to one of the more unusual Steelers records of all time. I think they'd approve of the new Steelers longest-ever pass play now belonging to a more deserving QB/WR combination. 1 less record.
The Patriots at Heinz next week. Might be a good game.
(thanks to Doug for the banner pic)