Thoughts on the Steelers’ 15-9 Week One win over the Falcons:
- It’d be instinctual to declare that Dennis Dixon played “well enough not to lose,” but in reality, despite his respectable 18-26, 236 yds, 1 Int statline, he didn’t play all that great. Granted, no one was expecting him to will the team to victory singlehandedly, but he did throw two other balls that should’ve easily been intercepted by the Falcons, in addition to at least three balls in the first half thrown right into the ground towards open receivers that would’ve gone for first downs.
Looking at the result, obviously, we have to say that Dixon played well enough for the Steelers to win, because they did. But if Atlanta hangs on to one of those INTs, we’re very likely looking at a flip-flopped score and saying the exact opposite about Dixon’s performance. He played ok, and will need to play a lot better against Tennessee next week.
- Did anyone have any confidence that the Steelers would pull this one off after Jeff Reed missed that 40-yard field goal? First off, I never entertained the possibility he’d miss from 40 yards in that situation — I tried to pretend I was nervous, like how I try to convince myself I’m nervous on planes, not because I’m scared but just because I don’t want to be a smug, overconfident D-bag then have something actually go wrong — but then sure enough, there went the kick wide right.
So how’d the team pull off the W after going 60 touchdown-less minutes and missing a deflating game-ending field goal? At least for today, the Steelers’ D reverted from the Polamalu-and-Smith-less “play well at times” defense of ’09 back to the “who cares what the O and special teams do, we’re just gonna win this” D of yesteryear. The defense gave up some yards, as all defenses will against competent NFL offenses, but they shut down the Falcons’ run game, they allowed no big plays, they dominated when the Falcons crossed the 50, and they pulled out a turnover at the absolute most opportune time. As frustrating as it was to watch successful quick-outs to Roddy White landing in rapid succession, the Steelers’ D played about as well as we could’ve expected a defense to play under today’s circumstances.
- It’s not even worth pointing out any more that James Harrison gets held on every play. Typing that is no more informative than just copying and pasting facts about the sport of football. James Harrison gets held constantly. A regulation football field is 100 yards long. Fortunately, the Steelers get one “Actually Call Holding On The Guy Holding Harrison” Card per game, and they used it at the perfect time. The picture on the card is the Monopoly guy with his arm wrapped around James Harrison’s neck.