Saturday, August 20, 2011

All Nightmare Long: Steelers Win


After being gone for almost 7 months, it was good to finally be back in Heinz Field. The offense got the nod for pre-game intros. Antonio Brown gets announced first and why not, he was definitely the star of the first game.

Coach Tomlin is in midseason form.

Some 11-year old rocks the national anthem. Crazy good performance.

The Steelers win the toss and take the ball.

Mendenhall dances for a few on the first play, but the bigger news was that Jonathan Scott went down. He was able to walk off the field, but was later carted into the locker room. Ben goes to the air on 3rd and 1 on a play-action and hits Heath across the middle to keep the drive rolling. Ben tries to get greedy and go down the seam for Johnson, but the pass is broken up. The wheels look like they're going to fall off after a holding penalty on Tyler Grisham and a dropped WR screen by Brown bring up a 3rd and 20, but we catch a break when Ben gets his facemask grabbed on a sack. The refs shockingly call it and we have new life. Isaac Redman gets some work and moves us across midfield. Ben keeps things rolling converting a 3rd and 8 with all kinds of time in the pocket, hitting Arnaz Battle across the middle. Battle made a nice finger-tip catch to atone for his drops last week.

After a holding penalty, the offense gets creative with Ben taking the snap and darting up the middle for 7 yards, showing once again he's the best running quarterback in Pennsylvania. A screen to Mendenhall gets us to 3rd and manageable. Ben goes to the air and hits Antonio Brown wiiiide open behind Asante Samuel for the touchdown.


Weren't the Eagles supposed to have some kind of "Dream Team" Secondary?

Philly comes out and tries to go deep to test the Steelers lack of corner depth, but Keenan Lewis is there in coverage. Shady McCoy is able to move the chains, but the drive stalls out when Timmons tips a 3rd down pass. The Eagles get a lucky bounce on the punt and pin the Steelers inside the 5.

Mendenhall really doesn't care, spinning his way out through the hole and picking up 9 on first down. Ben does his Ben thing, rolling out and hitting Mendenhall who makes a 1-handed grab and gets us out across the 30. Isaac Redman gashes the Eagles defense for another first down. Redman and Mendenhall trade carries to get into 3rd and 1 as the quarter expires.

One of the things I liked from the Steelers in the first quarter was that they put in guys who are battling for fringe roster spots like Jonathan Dwyer and Tyler Grisham with the first team offense to see how they would perform. Also, we dominated Time of Possession 12 minutes to 3 minutes.

Second Quarter

Redman moves the sticks out of the Pony backfield to keep things going. The Eagles try to bring a blitz on Ben on the next 3rd down, but he hits Moore on a swing pass out of the backfield. Moore is wide open behind the blitz and takes it all the way down to the 11. Ben gets sacked on 2nd down to push us back to the 20. On 3rd and forever Ben does his Ben thing again, rolling out of the pocket to buy time and guns one to Hines on the back line of the end zone.

Hines shows off his Mirror Ball-winning dance moves after the score.


Vick tries to go over the top again and Ryan Clark makes a leaping interception along the sidelines, bringing it back to the 30.

Leftwich came in and took a few big shots and wasn't able to complete anything. Swayze Waters came in to try a field goal, but the Eagles were quick off the edge and Asante Samuel blocked it.

Shady bounces one outside and gets some solid yardage. Harrison gets Vick in the crosshairs and Vick tries to throw it away and almost throws it right to Polamalu. On the next play, Keenan Lewis steps in front of a pass for his first splash play ever. I've been really critical of Keenan in the past, but he had a really good game tonight and is starting to make a believer out of me.

Arians tries to get cute and goes with a reverse pass by Antonio Brown, who overthrows Battle. Honestly, there's no reason to show that play in the preseason. A holding penalty pushes us back into 3rd and 20. On a simple 3-vertical route, Leftwich nails Cotchery down the seam to pick up the improbable 3rd down. Arnaz Battle comes through again, picking up another 3rd down to keep the drive alive. The Steelers waste a timeout before the next 3rd down and Leftwich gets sacked anyways.

Shady takes it out across the 30 as the clock hits 2 minutes. Vick gets smothered by Harrison and Donovan Warren, who has had a great preseason so far. On 3rd down, Vick scampers around in the backfield and chucks it downfield. Woodley leaps up and tips the ball up, falling into the waiting hands of Troy Polamalu who brings it all the way back into Eagles territory before Vick throws a dirty, dirty hit, going low on Polamalu, seemingly aiming for his knees. Luckily, Vick catches him in the hip and Troy is okay.

Welcome back, Troy.

Jonathan Dwyer moves us into field goal range on a draw play, then Lord Byron scrambles up the middle for 9, giving him more rushing yards than Vick. Take a minute and consider that. Byron Leftwich ran for more yards on 1 carry than Vick did all game. Moore moves the chains and the Steelers burn their last timeout with 18 seconds to play. We come out and go 5-wide. Leftwich winds up and delivers a bullet from his hip to Cotchery on a deep in at the goal line for the score.



What a first half. Definitely makes up for the turd we dropped last week in Washington.

Maurkice Pouncey is awarded the Joe Greene Rookie of the Year award for last season.

Youth squads from Jeanette and Morningside scrimmage. Good times. Neither team could stop a sweep to the right.

Steelers led 23 to 7 in time of possession. 9/12 on 3rd downs. Vick had 5 completions and 3 interceptions.

Third Quarter

Vince Young comes out, hoping to avoid getting suplexed again, and starts marching the Eagles down the field with the help of a 4th down conversion. Then Ryan Mundy just takes over. He shoots the gap on 3rd and 1 and stones Ronnie Brown in the hole. Then on 4th down he sticks his nose in the pile again and makes another stop. Mundy has had a great preseason so far.

Dennis Dixon comes in and takes advantage of a few penalties to move the offense into Philly territory, but the drive fails after an incompletion on 4th and 2.

Ronnie Brown shows a little spark, and the Eagles are able to move into Steelers territory. But Vince Young is, after all, Vince Young. He throws one right to Larry Foote across the middle for the Steelers 4th, yes FOURTH, pick of the game.

Anyone have any other thoughts?

Yeah, that sounds about right.

Dixon comes back in and looks a bit better than his first drive. The biggest thing that happened here was he completed a pass to Weslye Saunders. Some guy sitting behind me asked "Who's he?" so I proceeded to drop some knowledge on him that Saunders played at South Carolina but didn't play last year because of improper contact with an agent. The guy just looked at me and said "How do you know so much?" 

Fourth Quarter

Dixon hits Grisham who comes up just short of the sticks.





The Eagles send out their 3rd string with former Pitt RB Dion Lewis getting some carries. He looked shifty and quick until Will Allen stood him up and ripped the ball out. Fifth turnover of the game for the Steelers. Wow. What a complete turnaround from last week.

Dwyer and Clay shouldered the load and carried us all the way down the field inside the 10. Former Woodland Hills and WVU product Wes Lyons seemingly scores a touchdown, but it's nullified on a holding penalty. Dixon can't cash it in and Swayze shanks a 27-yarder. Ouch. That's not the way to inspire confidence.

Philly's offense undergoes a metamorphosis with Kafka under center. Dion Lewis picks up a big chunk on a dump off that gets the Eagles down into the red zone. 3 plays later, some guy who won't make the team catches a touchdown.


The Steelers recover an onside kick are in run-out-the-clock mode. They're almost able to do it but come up just short on 3rd down. Sepulveda pins them deep.

Gregor Samsa comes back and is able to run the 2-minute offense with surprising efficiency, driving the Eagles down the field for another touchdown that didn't really mean anything.


Grisham recovers the onside kick and it's Victory Formation time.

Players of the Game
Offensive Game Ball: Jerricho Cotchery
Defensive Game Ball: Troy Polamalu

Honorable Mentions:
Antonio Brown
Hines Ward
Ben Roethlisberger
Arnaz Battle
Jonathan Dwyer
Ryan Clark
LaMarr Woodley
Keenan Lewis
Larry Foote
Ryan Mundy
Donovan Warren

Mr. Yuck Sticker of the Game

Vick's hit on Polamalu

You can say what you want about it. It looked like a dirty play to me. Sure, he actually contacted Troy's hip, but Vick went low, leading with his helmet towards Troy's knees. I understand that Vick is pissed he threw the INT, but going after a guy's knees is dirty. 

Final Thoughts

  • Dream team? Really? Where were all their all stars in the secondary?
  • Fact: When Asante Samuel went into the locker room at halftime he set off the fire alarms because he was still smoking from being scorched by Antonio Brown.
  • This was exactly the kind of game we needed to see after the Redskins game. It's preseason, so there's still some time to work out the kinks, but this looked like the Steelers that were AFC Champs.
  • How many good things can we say about Antonio Brown? He's been the MVP of the preseason so far. He's certainly making the case for more playing time right now.
  • Jerricho Cotchery looked really good in his black and gold debut. 2 catches for a touchdown at the end of the half and a 3rd and 20 conversion. He did a great job catching the ball in traffic and holding on when he knew he was going to take a shot.
  • Arnaz Battle had some nice grabs to atone for his drops last week.
  • If I was a Philly fan, the thing I'd be the most concerned about is how the Steelers were able to run the ball all over my defense. They might have a great secondary, but their run defense has to be better.
  • Donovan Warren continues to impress. He's earned at least a spot on the practice squad as of right now.
  • As I said earlier, I've been a big detractor of Keenan Lewis in his career, but his big plays tonight and solid coverage have started to win me over. Keep up the good work Keenan.
  • Jonatthan Dwyer did a lot to raise his stock tonight. He looked good once he got into the rhythm of the game. 
  • Tony Hills looked okay at RG, but he had to move to LT with the injuries to Scott and Gilbert, so I didn't get to see as much of him at RG as I'd like. All in all the first-string O-line wasn't bad.
  • If they're the Dream Team, I guess we were their nightmare. 3 passing TDs against their secondary. Wow.

No comments: