Tonight was (mostly) fun. It’s what Norm and I expected at least.
Norm said the Titans would be held under 100 yards rushing. They had 83.
I said the Steelers would not run the ball at all and win be a FG. They did.
As great as it was to see the Steelers win in dramatic fashion, the night has to produce some worries for the Steelers staff.
Running the football well is something every good team needs to do. It’s the foundation of the game. There will be many important 3rd and short situations this year and the Steelers have to get better. Plan and simple.
As great a QB as Ben Roethlisberger is, he can’t do what he did tonight every week this season. He was the only source of offense for a unit that looked terrible most of the game.
The Steelers found enough magic to pull it out tonight and I’ll be infinitely happier this weekend because of it. But with no running game, things could get ugly from here.
Now onto the grades…
Titans coaching staff – D
The biggest mystery at the end of the game to me was why in the world did Tennessee stop blitzing down the stretch of the 4th quarter and during overtime? Roethlisberger was able to pick apart the ultra-conservative defense and the Steelers line actually looked capable only blocking four men.
Mike Wallace – B+
60 Minutes made a HUGE catch that basically won the game and looked a lot less confused than Limas Sweed ever has. Wallace’s blocking was terrible during the game though.
James Harrison – C+
He had a forced fumble that was a fluke, but was mostly quiet during the game. The Titans doubled teamed him often and he was invisible most of the night.
Troy Polamalu – A…
43 played one of the best quarters of football you will ever see. But that was it. Dude does things on the football field nobody else can but he absolutely needs to be healthy for this defense to remain elite. Oh, and the interception was indescribable.
Snoop Dogg – C-
We love that Snoop reps the Steelers but doesn’t he rep every team? We’re getting mixed signals from our boy.
Willie Parker – I
“I” as in incomplete. I feel really bad for Parker. He’s going to get a lot of criticism this year, but he has nowhere at all to run. I can’t even tell if he’s “lost a step” when there are three defenders coming unblocked on every counter play.
Mewelde Moore – B
The only effective running back because he’s the only one who catches passes. A great weapon to have come out during hurry-up situations with fresh legs. Probably plays the most under appreciated role on the team (lineman aside).
Chris Kemoeatu – D
He sucked most of the night. Couldn’t pull well at all and was always late. Trai Essex did a lot better running the counter.
Big Ben – B+
A pretty typical game for Roethlisberger. He struggled early and made some poor decisions, but shredded the Titans defense in the second half and singlehandedly kept Pittsburgh in the game. The numbers aren’t jaw dropping, but anybody who watched that game knows he is the single biggest reason the Stees won.
Chris Collinsworth – A-
A lot of my friends hate him, but I’ve always thought he does the best job at color in the game. He gives insight on both teams and actually tells you things you would otherwise never know.
Ryan Mundy – C+
Tough break for the local kid to get thrown into the fire right away, so I’ll be a little easy on him. He’s no Troy Polamalu, though, that’s for sure.
Casey Hampton – A
Dominant night for Big Snack. He was a tear. Anybody who thinks the Steelers are better off letting him walk is crazy.
Hines Ward – C
Whatever. We already forgave him.
WTF Moment of the Game
It’s a tie between Rob Bironas‘ second field goal of the game being blocked by Aaron Smith and Troy Polamalu being tackled by a WR and getting flagged for pass interference. Blocked field goals only happen in Madden and the Polamalu call is just garbage.
Guy we’d like to see in a Steelers uniform
Cortland Finnegan. Let’s face it, he’s an asshole and I hate playing against him but people say the same thing about Hines Ward and James Harrison. He plays with an edge and brings a lot of things to the table. He’s the guy you love to hate unless he’s on your team.
Big Ben. Another dent in the “He’s not really an elite QB and just relies on his defense” argument.
The final word
A nice start to the year, but Tomlin and Co. have plenty to work on before Chicago next week.