Sunday, December 26, 2010

Takin Care Of Business. Steelers 27, Panthers 3

With the holiday season finally here there has been a lot going on and as I said last week the last three weeks of the season are going to be kind shoddy when it comes to post game coverage. I am out and about watching the games and not getting much time to look at things a second time so I will break down things in a very general matter. I mean, lets be serious there really isn’t much to talk about this Panthers game. The panthers are a really, really bad football team and the Steelers just took it to them. Pretty nice effort by the Black and Gold and a great way to start the Christmas season.

A few thoughts and observations:

-When Rashard Mendenhall took the ball off the left side on the Steelers first offensive play 35 yards. I saw that play and kinda figured the game was going to go in a pretty lopsided direction but it was really just a taste of what the Steelers were going to do to the Panthers all day, which was dominate. Overall on the day Rashard was alright as he touched the ball 18 times on the ground for 65 yards. Overall the Steelers rushed the ball 33 times so it isn’t like they just passed the ball all day, but it was good to get Rashard some work and get him off the field as he has been pretty beat up this season.

-Ben Roethlisberger was very, very good. Not really sure why he played the entire ball game but you could tell that he came in focused and took care of business. He was 22/32 for 320 yards and a touchdown pass. Another game without a pick and to be honest I think that has made the biggest difference this season. During the losing streak last season Ben was throwing picks and more importantly throwing pick 6’s, especially in games where the Steelers should have won. 10 yards per attempt was nice and he seemed to be much more accurate on Thursday than he was against the Jets so that was encouraging.

-Mike Wallace continues to get better. He only caught four balls during the game but scored a touchdown by displaying his jaw dropping speed and he collected his sixth 100-yard performance of the year. Not too shabby.

He isn’t down if they are playing two hand touch. Great job by Wallace and Ben being on the same page with the hot read, and to be honest that is what Mikey needs to do if he wants to be a complete receiver. He needs to be able to read the hot’s and catch those intermediate routes to truly say he has taken over for Santonio Holmes and as the season has gone on he has done a much better job of that game-to-game.

-Um, the Steelers defense was really nasty. The Panthers only gained 119 yards, for the entire game. That is right 119 yards, FOR THE GAME. The Panthers didn’t go over 100 total yards until the fourth quarter. Carolina gained only seven first downs for the game and only went 3-of-13 on third down conversions. Now, I am not saying that this was all the Steelers defense, because the Panthers are bad, but you still need to show up and do your job and that is what they did.

-The defense made Jimmy Clausen look like a little boy out there playing with men. Clausen never looked comfortable back there and only completed 10-of-23 passes and ended the game with 3.1 yards per attempt. That isn’t a good number for a running back. What a terrible night for Clausen, no idea how Panther fans watch that offense.

-James Farrior was probably the best defender on the field for the Steelers. He did a little bit of everything on Thursday as he had a sack, seven tackles (all solo), two tackle for loss and a QB hit. For everyone that has said he had lost a few steps last season he has really bounced back and played some good football for this Steelers team and Thursday night was no different.

-Ryan Mundy has done a pretty nice job filling in for Troy Polamalu since he has been out. You didn’t really hear his name called a whole ton, which as a backup is good. When you fill in for a guy of Troy’s magnitude you want to come in and do a good job and not make any huge mistakes, that is all that Ryan did. I would doubt Troy suites up against Cleveland, but if he doesn’t Mundy makes me feel ok about that.

-Speaking of in injuries Heath Miller came back into the football game after being out for a couple of week. He looked real good. Miller caught five passes for 73 yards and you could tell Ben was happy to have him back. He caught multiple passes on the first drive and got the tone set for the offense. With Heath back in the lineup that gives another dimension to an already talented receiving core. He is also a very good blocker which will help a lot a lot, too.

-Also pretty impressed that the Steelers didn’t fall into the trap of playing down to the competition. This Panther team was REALLY bad (not sure if I told yinz this yet or not) and in recent memory the Steelers were good at being really bad against team, especially on offense. Not this time. They really came in and took care of business and treated this as if they were playing a much better team which was refreshing to see. Last season this would have been a close game but this season they put no doubt in anyone’s mind that they were the better team.

11 wins isn’t too bad is it? Win against Cleveland on Sunday and it is a first round bye. I like it.

Did I miss anything? What do yinz think? Let me know in the comments.

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