Friday, September 11, 2009

Big Ben Strikes One...Steelers Win




The Steelers moved to a perfect 1-0 on the first night of action in the NFL with a 13-10 nerve wracking victory on Thursday night in front of a sold out Heinz Field. What a game and what a gutty performance by Big Ben. Although some of you might not think there is much to take from this game there were a whole ton of good things that happened last night.

The Steelers won their seventh straight opener and their sixth straight opener at Heinz Field. Couple that with them being pretty much unbeatable in prime time games and how could you really think they were going to lose last night?

First off, is there one person you would rather have under center than Ben when you are down by a score or less in the fourth quarter/OT? Not me, you can have Tom Brady, you can have Peyton Manning, I will take Ben. Ben brought this team back with an amazing end to a game. Roethlisberger threw for 363 yards last night on 33-43 passing. Remember when Ben only threw like six times a game? Not anymore. He is good, real good.

In the fourth quarter/overtime Ben went a gaudy 16-18 with 171 passing yards and two plays of 20+ yards. He led the Steelers on his 18th game winning drive. Thoese 18 games have come since 2001 and that is the most in the league since then. Two more than Peyton Manning. Ben also set a franchise record with his 363 passing yards as that is the most in an opener for a Pittsburgh QB. Ben is just so cool in the pocket. When it was third and 12 with like three minutes left you just knew that he was going to find Hines or Tone. That is just how he does it. What a gammer.

Troy Polamalu is just a beast. I don't know how he does it, or what he does but holy shit what a player. What a great job he does in covering ground and getting to a ball carrier before they even know he is there. How about that pick? He is probably better with one hand than the rest of the NFL is with two. Bets line of the night comes from some dude on twitter after the pick:

@sethmeyers21: if your baby fell out a window you'd want Polamalu on the street below
@sethmeyers21: The fear would be Polamalu returning your baby for a touchdown.

How true is that? The big problem? He might be on the shelf for 3-6 weeks after possibly spraining his MCL. The Steelers blocked a Bironas kick and when Troy went to cover it he was rolled on a little. Didn't look too terrible on the field and he was able to walk under his own power so who knows what it is going to be like. I guess it would be better to have it happen now rather than week 13, but I never want Troy off the field. He was the best defensive player on the field by far yesterday.

Santonio Holmes might have an amazing breakout year. Nine catches for 131 yards and a big touchdown. If that stat line sounds familiar it is the exact line that he used to capture the MVP honor in the Super Bowl. Not too bad. He had a really solid game. Found the soft spots, got the ball, scored a touchdown.

If there are three people I trust on this team it is Troy, Ben and Hines. Hines caught that ball over the middle and I jumped up off the couch and said "Game". Man was I wrong. I do not fault Hines for not just falling down. He was trying to score and end the game. How can you fault that. It was a great play by the DB. Would I like for him to put another hand over it? Sure, but like I said I trust him and I know that is probably not going to happen again this season. He also went over 100 yards for the day. Eight catches for 103 yards. Heath also had eight catches for 64 yards. Heath is a beast and if he is this involved in the passing game this season then Ben is going to put up even bigger numbers than I thought.

Fast Willie did not look good, nor did our entire run game. Third and short was again a problem last night as we were stopped twice on third and one or two. I don't know what it is, Willie just looked so tentative last night. There were small holes here and there and he was dancing a lot and just didn't look like he trusted his own instincts when he was running. I hope this is only a one time things but this could be a season long problem.

The line was not good at the beginning. They were getting blown up and not doing their job. However, I felt the line did a pretty decent job as the game went on. Although Tennessee was only rushing four most times the line was giving Ben a ton of time later in the game, and if you give Ben time he will smoke you. There was not much put into the run game so I am sure the line was a part of that, but it was not as terrible as some might think. One sack was for sure on Ben. He was running around and got sacked. So three sacks from the line. I can live with that.

How unbelievably bad was the officiating last night? I mean Troy got called for three penalties and two of them were so bad I can not even understand what they were looking at on the field. Chris Johnson was still in bounce when he was hit and it was offensive pass interference and Troy got called for it. You have got to be kidding me. What a joke. Why does James Harrison even try and rush? It must be a new rule in the NFL that you can't call an offensive player for holding James Harrison. What a complete joke.

Overall a really good game. Lets not get it twisted, the Titans are good. That is a top five defense the Steelers just beat. The Steelers played probably a B- or C game and they still came out on top. I like that. This was one of the games I look at and thought they might drop. I had them winning 11 games this season so the sky is the limit. The road to seven has started off really well.

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