Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Steelers Game 3 Recap - Steelers 23, Colts 20

Sometimes it is really awesome to be right and sometimes it sucks. This was a little bit of both but in the end it doesn’t really matter because the Steelers are now 2-1 and preparing for a massive game against the Houston Texans and the Colts have no idea what is going on and are now 0-3. You might wonder “Well Cory, what exactly are you talking about?” Well, let me fill you in. If you read the preview (which you should have) I talked about how this Colts team isn’t very good offensively (they weren’t) but that they could cause the Steelers a ton of problems with their rush ends (they did). Overall I thought this was going to be a little more of a blowout, but as I stated last night a three point win is worth just as much in the standings as a 100 point win. Whatever.

I was at Lucas Oil Stadium for the weekend with some friends and I had a bomb ass time. The city was just absolutely overrun with Steelers fans. We went out on the town on Saturday night and every bar we went to there were Steelers jerseys all over the place. I tried to high five all of them but there were just too many. Tailgating was a great time because we from Pittsburgh know how to get it done but good Lord was the weather shitty as all hell.

It literally rained from when we got to the tailgate (at 2 p.m.) all the way through the game (lucky it’s a dome) and then poured on the walk home. Miserable. The upper bowl (where I sat) was at least 70% Steelers fans and to be honest to say it was a 50/50 split would be giving the Colts fans some credit. I will give the Colts fans this though, they came to cheer for their team and it got decently loud near the end of the game and it was good to see. Here are a few pictures from inside the stadium:

Here are some general thoughts from the game:

-I am going to start with some good news and that will begin with Ben Roethlisberger. He was an absolute monster on Sunday night. Outside of the interception he threw right before the half (which was really bad) he was on target all day and found nine different receivers en route to completing 25-of-37 passes for 364 yards and a touchdown. He also led the team on his 27th game winning drive in the fourth quarter in only his eighth season. He was about as clutch as it got and every time the team needed a big time third down conversion he found the open receiver. It was really great to see after I talked about it in the preview that Ben might still have some early season rust due to the lockout and there was no rust last night. Ben got battered around a good bit but that is far from his fault as the Steelers offensive line was about as reliable as [insert unreliable joke here]. Dude never complains and just keeps ticking.

-Speaking of the offensive line it wasn’t pretty last night. Granted there were a ton of injuries, and a few of them might be serious, but there is no way this team is a legit contender with how the team played. Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis had their way as they gathered three sacks and forced Ben into two fumbles, one of which went the other way for a touchdown. Jon Scott was banged up with what seemed to be an ankle injury while Doug Legursky and Marcus Gilbert both had shoulder injuries. No idea what is going to go on from here but it needs to improve. Ben had very little time to work and the running game was nowhere to be found. This is all well and good while we play teams like the Colts and Seahawks but next week when Mario Williams is coming off the edge and the Texans can throw out a competent offense the Steelers might not be as lucky. I honestly have no idea what is going to happen. I guess they could start both Ramon Foster and Trai Essex if they are going to go internal if they need two guys. I have no idea, something needs to be fixed, fast.

-At the beginning of the year Mike Wallace said that he wanted to hit the 2,000 yard mark for receiving yards, something that has never been achieved before in the NFL. I actually laughed at this and thought it was a pipe dream but so far, through three games, he is on pace to be pretty damn close. It doesn’t hurt when you might be the fastest man in the NFL and maturing into one of the best receivers in the game either. Wallace was in full effect with an 81-yard touchdown catch in the first quarter and finished the game with five catches for 144 yards. Ho hum. Right now Wallace has 21 catches and 377 yards (second in the league) with two touchdowns so it is a good start for him.

-I am still not 100% sure how I feel about the Steelers defense. It is really hard to take anything away from a game where you face Kerry Collins and Curtis Painter for a half each. The secondary continued to play pretty well as they gave up only 144 yards passing to the due on a combined 18-of-40 passing so I can’t complain about that but they did get gashed a bit by Joe Addai who ran the ball 17 times for 86 yards and a touchdown. They again didn’t get very much pressure on the quarterback and registered only one sack, but it was a HUGE one. James Harrison came around the left side and got to Painter with just over five minutes left of a tie game and created the first turnover of the Steelers season which was a fumble that bounced right into Troy Polamalu’s breadbasket for a defensive touchdown. Just huge. I didn’t get to pay as much attention on what kind of pressure the Steelers were bringing so I can’t touch on that but the Steelers could really use some turnovers from here on out. Just has to happen.

-Antonio Brown continues to play some good football after a pretty stellar preseason. He had four catches for 75 yards and was a monster on special teams by fielding four punts for 65 yards which included a pretty electric 37 yard return that put the Steelers in great field position. Punt returning really has been in flux ever since Randle El left the first time and it would be nice to have someone back there that can potentially take it to the house every time he touches the ball.

Like I said before a win is a win. There were some good things and some bad things but at the end of the day they got the win and are now in a three way tie for first place in the AFC North. Big test on Sunday with the Texans so get your minds right.

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