Well, it was not pretty. It was not as easy as most of us would have thought, but the Steelers got the win. That is all that matters. Mike Tomlin will go into his press conference on Tuesday and say "Style points do not matter in the NFL" and the Steelers will still have won 28-20.
The Steelers sacked Lions QB Daunte Culpepper seven times and Ben Roethilisberger threw three touchdown passes (four if you count his second pick-6 of the season) and the Steelers prevailed.
Thinking about this game as a whole after it was done I am not really sure what even to say. The Steelers offense keeps producing, they keep putting up points, and the defense still is shakey at best and gives up a lot of yardage in the fourth quarter. The Steelers gave up 335 yards of total offense to the Lions and Culpepper was able to move the ball both with his arms and with his legs. They gave up 110 total yards on the ground and other than Ike Taylor the DB's are looking pretty bad at this point of the season.
I know a lot of these defensive problems are because of a missing Troy Polamalu. I know people are going to say that one person does not make a defense but we are talking about arguably the best players in the NFL. He does so much and covers up so many problems with his abilities that he can make that big of a difference on the game. When he gets back this defense will be five times better than it is right now.
Ben Roethilisberger, minus the pick, played another solid game. He went 23/30 for 277 yards and three touchdowns. He had a QB rating of 123.9 which is off the charts. He has been cash money all season and makes this team run on offense just like Troy does for the defensive end. He found six different recievers and went to the most reliable players in the NFL a combined 13 times (Hines and Heath) to give the Steelers the win.
Although the Steelers did not run the ball much they got a ton of production when they did. Rashard Mendenhall had 77 yards on only 15 carries. It wasn't just about the yards for Mendenhall. He was getting a lot of his yards after first contact and was not giving up at all. On one play in the third quarter (I believe) Mendenhall got hit five yards downfield and spun and kept his legs churning for five more yards and a first down. Those are the little things that will get him more touches. Nice job by Rashard today.
Like I said, Hines and Heath were Ben's main targets today. Hines caught eight passes for 85 yards and found the endzone and Heath took a TE screen 15 yards to pay dirt in the second quarter for a touchdown and had five catches for 54 yards. A nice job by the WR todays to catch the balls that were thrown to them (minus Limas Sweed).
Now, to the defense. Lets not get anything twisted here, James Harrison is just a beast. He literally can not be stopped. You have to hold him in order for him not to get pressure, and he was held today, a lot. Harrison didn't seem to mind as he recorded three sacks, three tackles for losses, a forced fumble and a team high eight tackles. James now has six sacks in his last three games. Beastly. Lamarr Woodley also had a sack and a half to get his season started. Will Gay (1.5) and Lawrence Timmons (1) also got in on the sack parade for the Steelers. The best part of the game for the defense? Here it is:
Detroit ball, 1st and 10 from the Steelers 21 - Culpepper sacked for a six yard loss
Detroit ball, 2nd and 16 from the Steelers 27 - Culpepper sacked for a five yard loss
Detroit ball, 3rd and 21 from the Steelers 32 - Culpepper sacked for a 13 yard loss
That all happened a few plays after a sack. So counting that last Lions drive it was nine plays and four of them were sacks. Nice.
Like I said, all things aside from the sacks the Steelers D is giving up too many big plays at big times. Ty Carter is not a coverage safety and Ryan Mundy is not an every down player. A win is a win and I don't care how we get it but I hope we figure this shit out. Troy should be back next week against the Browns, who are God awful. Seriously, Derek Anderson started for the Browns today and went 2/17 for 23 yards and a pick, AND they won the game. How bad does it have to get for Cleveland.
Probably more on this game later.