The Steelers’ 28-10 victory in Denver last night was a satisfying one for a number of (fairly obvious) reasons:
— The offensive line played consistently well for four quarters. Rashard Mendenhall finished with 155 yards on 22 carries, including only two completely stuffed runs that I can recall, as opposed to the usual “every back-to-back run is immediately stuffed and the running game is abandoned until the next series.” Roethlisberger had tons of time to throw, especially in the second half, and only took sacks after long pocket sequences in which every receiver was blanketed throughout the play. Announcers call these plays “coverage sacks,” but I’d more accurately call them “Ben Roethlisberger is Ben Roethlisberger.”
— We can dispense with the idea that Champ Bailey is a shutdown corner whose halves of fields opposing quarterbacks deliberately avoid. Santonio Holmes finished with six catches for 93 yards, most of them with Bailey extremely visible in the tv frame.
— Is there a more pointless stat than naming the combined number of Pro-Bowl appearances by a group, as the MNF crew did with the Champ Bailey / Ty Law / Brian Dawkins Broncos secondary? Good thing the Broncos didn’t have Junior Seau and his 75 Pro Bowls also, or they would’ve really crushed the Steelers in the “Having More Pro Bowls On Your Roster Regardless Of The Players’ Current Ages” Race, which is the object of football.
— Odd play selection discrepancy by the Broncos: They attempted 3 actual runs and 78,556,031 playaction fakes. The Steelers stopped biting after that first series, as any group of humans with eyes / the capability for short-term memory would have.
— For the first five weeks of the season, myself (and every other Steeler fan ever, give or take) was lamenting the Steeler D’s lack of game-changing big plays at opportune times. After the Vikings game and three interceptions off Kyle “I Manage The Game So Well I Literally Wear A Blue Shirt With A Name Tag Like A McDonald’s Shift Manager” Orton, we can put this criticism to rest for the time being.
—William Gay had a rough first series, being beaten by Eddie Royal roughly 12 times in the first 5 Denver plays from scrimmage, but rebounded nicely and was largely unnoticeable in the second half, which is a good thing for a corner.
— Brandon Marshall finished with 11 catches for 112 yards, but with no receptions for more than 18 yards. It’s a nice change for the Steelers to actually allow some yards to the other team’s best receiver, instead of some random tight end, Whitey McCincyfullback, or Brandon Stokely (who I would’ve quadruple-covered the entire game, knowing the Steelers).
— No kickoff or punt return touchdowns allowed!!! Special teams coach Bob Ligashesky should be Gatoraded every time the opposing kick returner is tackled short of the Steelers’ 10.
— Knowshon Moreno finished the game with 5 carries for 3 yards. Anyone still criticizing the Broncos for not sticking with a running game should reread the previous sentence.
— Mike Wallace nabbed 4 more catches for 69 yards and another touchdown, his third of the season. The Steelers should seriously consider trading all their future 2nd round selections for 3rds, just on principle.
— Bengals at Heinz Field next. The Steelers are currently 7 point favorites (yow!) I have to admit, even though it’s embarrassing: I’m… this is tough, give me a sec. I’m…very…confident going into this game. Whew, that felt weird to get out.
Tags: Ben Roethlisberger, Brandon Marshall, Brandon Stokley, Brian Dawkins, Broncos, Champ Bailey, Eddie Royal, Knowshon Moreno, Kyle Orton, Mike Wallace, Rashard Mendenhall, Santonio Holmes, Ty Law, William Gay