That plan worked perfectly, huh? Have Ben Roethlisberger sit out four games, allow the story of his offseason troubles to fade a bit, force Steeler fans to put up with four weeks of Dennis Dixon and Charlie Batch sailing deep balls, have Brett Favre get busted for sending pictures of his penis to Jets staffers and BAM! Bring Ben back to crush the Browns and have everyone cheer him. Roethlisberger Cakes for all! Yes, that link is Safe For Work.
Roethlisberger wasn’t perfect in this game (sidenote to game stories that mentioned he wasn’t perfect: Ben Roethlisberger isn’t perfect when he’s regular), but he threw for 257 yards and three TDs, the last of which occurred only so we have to say “three TDs” in our accounts of Roethlisberger’s return game instead of the more pedestrian-sounding “two.”
I will say though, the Browns seemed to be decently well-coached; their offensive play calling wasn’t overly predictable, their defensive schemes legitimately puzzled the Steelers at times, and their punt team was the greatest punt team that ever punt teammed, but the Browns just really noticeably lack talent all over the field, and the outcome of this game was never actually in doubt. And I say that as a typical “try to psyche myself out no matter how good the Steelers are looking so I don’t jinx it” homer fan. Even though the First Half score and total yardage were close, Pittsburgh controlled this game from start to finish.
The CBS announcing team provided my favorite “guy announcing the Steelers” cliche, introducing Aaron Smith as the “Very Underrated” Aaron Smith. Why does everyone always, always use the exact word “underrated” to compliment Aaron Smith? This has been going on in Pittsburgh papers, on national broadcasts, on highlight shows, and amongst Steeler fans for about six years now. At some point, isn’t he just “Really Good”?
My only criticism of the Steelers in this one was their overuse of Rashard Mendenhall after the game was already sealed up. I’m probably just being picky, but Mendenhall finished the game with 27 carries and touched the ball 10 times in the fourth quarter, while Isaac Redman only carried the ball 6 times all game. I’d like to see the Steelers give the ball to Redman some more late in games that they’re dominating to save Mendenhall a bit; even though 30 touches isn’t an absurdly high number for a #1 back, the Steelers can’t afford to have Mendenhall wear down as the season goes on, so spreading some carries around here and there when games are already decided seems like a no-brainer. FIRE BRUCE ARIANS ZOMG!!!!
The Steelers are currently 3 point favorites at Miami next week. Facing Colt McCoy and Chad Henne in back-to-back weeks? Brutal college schedule.