The Steelers needed a pair of 4th quarter TDs by the defense — both over 75 yards to hand the Vikings their first loss of the season.
All season long it felt like the Steelers were playing down to the level of their opponent. This week, they elevated their game above and beyond that of the Vikings.
The Steelers felt like the better team right out of the gate but a few early red zone mistakes kept the Vikings in the game. Then Brett Favre went to work, AP bulldozed a few Steeler defenders and all of a sudden the game came down to the 4th quarter.
More on mistakes by both teams and where the Steelers stand in comparison to the rest of the league after the jump…
On one hand, I look at this game and see that the Steelers left a TON of point on the board and could have blown the Vikings out. A first quarter TD was called back for offensive pass interference, Rashard Mendenhall fumbled inside the red zone, and the Steelers offense fell apart inside the 10-yard line in the 3rd quarter. The Steelers could were about 15 yards and one penalty away from coming out of those three drives with 21 points. Instead they only got six.
Vikings fans probably feel the same way. They too lost a TD on a tripping call, didn’t convert a 3rd and goal passing play, and turned the ball over twice inside the 30-yard line.
It’s easy to see why each team would be frustrated after the loss. But the Steelers were just a little better on the defensive side of the ball today. As suffocating as the Vikings defense was, they allowed Mike Wallace to score on a long passing play and didn’t have any “splash plays.”
The Steelers defense only let the vaunted Vikings offense score 10 points. Then the defense put 14 up on the scoreboard themselves.
THat’s the type of performance that won games for the 2008 Steelers and it was great to see this week.
This game was definitely a “measuring stick” contest and brought good news for the Steelers. When they are playing well, they are as good as anybody in the NFL, poor performances against Cincinnatti and Chicago be damned.
This team is for real and everybody else better not sleep on the defending champs.