*Makes Santonio Holmes jet-wing arms, woosh sounds, falls down*
People were quick to forget that it was a terrible Bills team that the Jets worked over last week during their praise of the Jets' first-game offensive explosion. And with the Steelers only hanging around until the deciding mistake against the Broncos, it was looking like everyone was into taking week 1 at full face value. And then even without Troy Polamalu and James Harrison, the Steelers D allowed not much after a decent opening Jets drive while Ben steadily remembered how to dictate this offense through the air. The bigshot city team was humbled on the Steelers' home playground. All is right in the world when you win handedly to erase the potential for 0-2.
Ben: OUTSTANDING game by Ben. Last week's pick-6 would've crippled a lesser signal-caller, but Ben shook it off like it was any one of New York's jillion pass rushers. 24 of 31 for 275 yards and 2 TDs. AND he remembered how much of a threat Heath Miller could be with 6 minutes left and a huge 3rd down to ice the game (pictured above). Any errors this week were tiny, one too-hard pass on a screen, another blown screen where Ben just tucked it and fell, but those are negligible when it isn't 6 points the other way. 5 of 5 motorcycle helmets.
RBs: Still not entirely sure what the role of the running backs currently is with this team. Haley is insistent on pounding the rock while waiting for it to work. I don't know if the O Line is just crapping on any chance at establishing the ground game early, or the opposing defenses are just that into stuffing the ground game as often as possible. At one point Redman had 8 carries for 18 yards. Dwyer went full truck-stick a few times for the second straight week. The potential is there, as seen with the late-game second efforts and the Redman score, but no one broke 30 yards on the ground and it was mostly another exercise in futility. The TD ups the score a little. 3 of 5 helmets.
Defense: Hoo boy things looked bad after the Jets' first drive. Ike Taylor was looking like rap might be the wiser career and critical 3rd down penalties led to early TD andf FG drives for gang green. And then they kicked it into gear. It wasn't turnovers and sacks and glamour stats, which while still a bit disappointing in the small amount of such highlights, led the D to embrace the confusion aspect. Sanchez had 400 incompletions in a row through the middle to late-middle of the game, not hitting a WR from the 1st Quarter until late in the 4th. Ryan Mundy played pretty well in Troy's absence, but the return of Ryan Clark made a world of a difference. Yes, he bit on the run-read on the Santonio Holmes TD. It was also his first game since helping hold the Browns to 9 points back on January 2nd to close out the regular season. His calming influence on the secondary started paying dividends as the game wore on. 4 of 5 motorcycle helmets. Go complain about the D to someone else when they're only allowing 10 points. I'll take that any day.
Suisham: Didn't think I'd go kicker here? As unacceptable as it is to settle for 3 as much as the Steelers have already in this short season, Suisham stepped up and hit both FGs, one a 45 yarder. He seemed to sprinkle in a miss to almost every game last year so I'll try and enjoy game like this where he's hitting both at notoriously fickle-winded Heinz Field. 5 of 5 motorcycle helmets, one for each FG and XP made.
Out to Oakland for a date with the Raiders next week. 1-1 is nice, time to start the season's first win streak.
(thanks to Doug for the banner pic)