The more things change, the more they stay the same in the "rivalry" between the Steelers and the Browns. The more things change is pretty much referring to how many starting quarterbacks the Browns seem to have every single time they play the Steelers and the more they stay the same part refers to, well, you know, the Steelers winning.
Looking at the stats you might not think that the Steelers were as dominant as they were, and really when you think about it they really weren't dominant for much of the first half. The Steelers only held a slim 7-3 lead going into the half before flipping the switch in the second half and putting this game away and making the great Steelers Nation faithful feel pretty good about the weekend.
A few tidbits about the game that I want to hash over. Didn't get to see the complete game because I was on the road (again) and was resorted to watching some online feeds that were not ideal while everyone around me was salivating at how good the Packers were even though they are an average football team. I am going to be able to watch the Steelers on an actual TV this coming weekend which will be a nice reprieve on Sunday.
First thing is first, this was Ben's first game back if you were born just today. The first series Ben had the football he moved the team down the field and really was looking ok, and then it happened, a pick. If you were thinking of the worst way Ben could start the season after being suspended then this was it. All the haters were probably grinning ear to ear. The pick I would chalk up to mostly rust because the read was good, the ball just sailed on him a little bit. I know the CBS crew tried to say it was a bad read but if you watch the play again it was a good read, MeMo was open, Ben just left it high. It happens. The Browns got the ball and got a field goal out of it so all was not terrible.
The nice part about the pick was that we got to see how Ben was going to handle the adversity. I think he did alright. He ended up with a pretty decent line at the end of the day: 16-of-27 for 257 yards and three touchdowns to go with the pick. If you told me that is how his first game would end up coming back I would take that any day of the week. You could immediately see the difference in what having a quarterback that can stretch the field had. The Steelers had three passing touchdowns in the first four games of the season, Ben had three touchdown passes yesterday. I guess Batch should still start though right?
As good as the passing attack was, the running game was just as good for the Steelers. Rashard Mendenhall has been a stud all season. The final line only shows 27 carries for 84 yards, but his numbers were much bigger than that. He is running with a purpose this year and is showing that he is progressing as a back and can be relied on to make the big plays when you need it. Ike Redman also had a pretty big day for the Steelers with 31 yards on only six carries and continued to be good in the short yardage situation. He has shown he can be reliable and he is tough as nails, rarely getting knocked off his goal on the first hit. Nice to see.
You can't really talk much about the skilled offensive weapons the Steelers have without talking about the big uglies up front. The offensive line again didn't surrender a sack against Big Ben. Sure, Ben got hit a little bit but the line was giving him enough time to throw. Ben is going to hold the ball a long time and even though a lot of the sacks that he takes are on him, the line is going to take a lion share of the blame. They are doing the job and getting it done, even without arguably their best man from last year, Willie Colon. Pouncey has been a massive upgrade over Justin Hartwig and they just seem to have found a groove and a comfort level that has allowed them to play good football. The rushing game has also been a huge benefactor of the offensive line. There were some gaping holes in yesterdays game and that combined with Mendenhall's continued skill at reading defenses and holes and things are looking good.
If you are looking for me to talk about James Harrison then you can just click this link and read what I wrote earlier today. That is all.
The defense was nasty again. Sure they gave up a good chunk of yards to the Browns but it really was indicative of how well the defense played. They picked off Colt McCoy twice and sacked him five times while holding the Browns rushing attack to only 70 rushing yards. Pretty good day if you ask me. Lawrence Timmons continues to have a great year. Two sacks, 11 tackles and a pick. All in a days work for a Pittsburgh linebacker.
My last parting show is actually some props for the Browns. I was skeptical about Colt McCoy going into the game, and frankly didn't think he would make it through the whole game. With Josh Cribbs out that left pretty much nobody else to take snaps and he was going to have to make plays for the Browns. I was pretty surprised at how well McCoy played. He did look like a rookie, but he was still able to make plays and pick up some yards and first downs for the team. Although he made some mistakes he played pretty well in his first start. We'll see how that lasts.
That is about all I have for this game. Focus on Miami now.