Monday, October 10, 2011

Get to Our Postgame: "I'll be there until they take me off on a cart, which has happened before"; Steelers Trounce Titans, 38-17

By Artistry

If you were flipping channels Sunday between 1 pm and 1:30 EST, there was about a 75% chance that when you happened upon your local CBS station, you got a super closeup assisted eyeful of a shoe. Ben Roethlisberger's brave, stalwart, enormous pink shoe.

Eventually, the camera pulled back to reveal Ben himself, and we heard Dan Dierdorf, who is apparently afraid that if he stops talking a bomb will detonate somewhere, intone, "Just look at him limp." Oh, we saw. It was a spectacular performance on many levels. After Roethlisberger threw 5 touchdown passes on one leg behind half an offensive line, he treated us to one of the following actual statements. That's right, GTOG Nation, it's time for Guess the Real Ben Quote:

"All credit to BA. It took him 5 years to implement a game plan with quick drop passes to keep my legs from getting taken out every time I throw the ball, but he really came through today. I'd also like to thank the Lord for giving me the strength to tolerate the searing pain in my foot on every single play today. No complaints. Band of brothers."


"I just don't want to let my guys down. I want to give them my best. I'll be there until they take me off on a cart, which has happened before. I want to put this team and this offense in the best position to win football games."

Guess we gave this one away in the headline.

"It's a migraine. It paralyzes the senses. But I'm fine. Let's study the playbook."
- Bruce Arians did call a terrific game, but where has that been until now? When you're playing with a line that's in tatters, how are you not using the whole field with quick hit passes every week? We complained after the Houston loss that Arians was too focused on getting Mike Wallace the ball on slow-developing plays, rendering the Steelers predictable and Ben vulnerable. Problem, at least for a day, solved. Hines Ward and Heath Miller caught 10 balls between them, which is something we should continue to see. Work the middle of the field. All the good teams are doing it.

- Rashard Mendenhall must have watched Jonathan Dwyer hit that hole on the 76-year-run and thought to himself, "I would have done a 360 degree spin move there." That, and "Why don't I get that kind of blocking?" Two things to keep in mind here: 1) We understand the frustration with Mendenhall. He tends to dance too much. But he has been no less a victim of poor offensive line play than Big Ben. He is by far the best running back on this team, and the job is his as soon as he's healthy; 2) If Mendenhall is in the game instead of Dwyer, that's a touchdown.

- No idea how Lamarr Woodley went from complete non-factor to Lawrence Taylor in one week's time. Maybe he was just lulling Tennessee into a sense of complacency, because the Titans thought it was prudent to try to block him one on one on a passing down with running back Ahmad Hall. That didn't end well for them. And what an interception.

- The Steelers finally shut down somebody's running game, and Woodley and Polamalu looked like someone finally told them, "Guys, just a heads up, you're each getting paid like $1 million to play in this game. Just this one. Today.", but some problems on the defensive side of the ball are not going away. There was another long, clock-eating opening drive. There was poor tackling, notably by James Farrior and Ryan Clark. And the secondary became confused at times, thinking Nate Washington still plays for the Steelers and actually exhorting him to catch passes. But the weaknesses of these Steelers can almost always be overcome by the Steelers strengths, as long as they're playing to them.

- Playing offensive tackle in the National Football League can't possibly be as easy as the long-injured, semi-retired, oft-fat Max Starks made it look on Sunday. Can it?

- Ironhead's boy Cam is a player. Watch for the anticipated defensive line "rotation" to transition to some sort of a "Cam and Ziggy are playing ahead of Aaron Smith" configuration. It's hard to imagine the 35-year-old Smith suddenly getting consistently healthy at this stage.

- BA must figure out how to get the ball in Antonio Brown's hands a few more times a game. What a burst that kid has when the ball hits his hands.

- No play illustrated how things finally clicked for the Steelers this week better than the fake punt call. That was inspired. Danny Sepulveda. You can't keep a weapon like that in the holster.

"James, we didn't mean... James, no!"

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