Big Ben Shines
Pittsburgh 51 – Indianapolis 35
Taking on Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts seemed as if it would take a Herculean effort to come out of the game with a victory, and that is exactly the type of performance the Black & Gold delivered on their home field turf, Heinz Field. Big Ben was in the Chariot cracking the wipe while his Horseman paved the way to an historic afternoon. The star signal caller arose from the gridiron with nary a scratch or single grass stain on his throwback uniform, topped with the fourth most passing yards in NFL history. The numbers speak for themselves, 40 of 49, 522 yards and six touchdowns, bringing the offense to a whopping 51 points on the afternoon.
Among the many significant aspects of this game, Big Ben distributed the ball to 9 different pass catchers, including rookie Martavis Bryant who hauled in 5 catches for 83 yards and two touchdowns. The Defense was not perfect but easily had it’s best and most impactful game of the season, applying constant pressure and taking Luck out of his comfort zone and causing several errant throws. It was a Steeltown Party to be sure, now it’s time to prepare for an even bigger fight.
The offensive line was the MVP of this game, Big Ben was sacked 0 times and certainly his stats from this game are going to last for a very long time. Back-up tackle Mike Adams started in place of the injured Marcus Gilbert and acquitted himself nicely, serves as an excellent example of how this unit is improving. AB was his usual dazzling self, each week Antonio is a highlight reel of spectacular plays and this game was no exception. Big Ben hit AB on a fade route from the 8 yard line which was a thing of beauty. Receivers of Browns size and stature are not even supposed to be running fade routes, but Ben dropped it perfectly over the defenders head and AB snared it one handed with ease for a another magnificent touchdown.
One of the more significant aspects of this game, was the continued emergence of Rookie Wide Receiver Martavis Bryant. In our May 15 rookie review we reported
Bryant has some natural ability and good field awareness, he has a keen eye on the ball and can go up and get it in tight coverage, and with his speed will surely be able to stretch the field.
Bryant has proven that to be the case with his 45 yard touchdown reception in last weeks game, as well as his touchdown on the fade route against the Colts. He also seems to be very focused and humble, as we also projected the influence from his teammates and coach’s has been to his advantage with respect to maturity and acumen. It’s also nice to see veteran free agent wide receiver Lance Moore chipping in, and leaving the chest pounding and dancing alone.
The Steelers Defense was certainly on it’s best behavior on Sunday against Andrew Luck and the Colts offense, they had to be, Luck is that good. Indianapolis hung 35 points and 448 yards total on the Steelers, that’s certainly not a good day at the office for any team, but they applied far more pressure than they have all season, causing Luck into errant throws and taking him out of rhythm. They held the ground game to 63 yards, so it was Luck for a big 385 through the air. Considering the fact that Andrew Luck is one of the top QB’s in the NFL, we can live with that.
What we can’t live with is the play of Cornerback Cortez Allen, he’s become a big liability, targeted each game and giving up touchdowns like it’s Halloween candy. The glowing problem with Allen is he never looks for the ball, more often than not he has good coverage, but ends up playing the receiver and not the ball. If Cortez were to turn around and look for the ball, he’d have at least 7 interceptions this year. Allen was benched in the 3rd quarter, should be interesting to see if he corrects his mistake moving forward.
Rookie number one pick Ryan Shazier also returned to the line up, but was later replaced by Vinnie Williams after getting dinged up. Brett Keisel was back to his old ways, harassing the quarterback and just being a general nuisance, Debo looks to be getting his wings back and my hope is he will resurrect his most famous play in next weeks game, the strip sack of Big Joe. Not perfect by any stretch, but bit by bit this defense is coming around and improvement is definitely showing itself.
The kick return units still suck, Tomlin has evidently instructed his kick off returners to down it in the end zone when possible. If you’re awaiting AB to jet one back for a quick six, doesn’t look as if that’s going to happen anytime soon. Otherwise, Suisam nailed all his extra points and Brad Wing barely saw the field.
Kudos all around, as well as a standing ovation for the Coaching staff. They had the perfect plan of attack, they had all their players prepared for the task at hand, and they kept the heat on the players to not let up.
Games like this are certainly rare, considering it took 30 years to drop a 50 burger on their opponent, we’ll relish this as an historic event. Big Ben will go down in history and be remembered fondly for his on field prowess anyway, but good for him for delivering exactly what was needed in an important match-up and playing a flawless game. The bottom line is the Steelers faced not only two good teams in the last tow weeks resulting in victorious, they face two of the NFL’s most dynamic players and kept their Jerseys clean.
Now the fun begins, bring on the hated Ratbirds and wipe their collective noes in the Heinz Field turf, all while celebrating the retirement of the Greatest Pittsburgh Steeler ever, Mean Joe Greene. Here We Go Steelers! Here We Go!