I posted a few thoughts in my post game recap of the Steelers 23-20 win last night against the Indianapolis Colts and after going back through the game a few times now, here are several more observations of the game.
Antonio Brown is a special player that continues to make plays not only in the passing game, but the return game as well. He will miss an occasional adjustment or hot read, but more than makes up for it every game.
Emmanuel Sanders had a rough game and the early drop could have turned 3 points into 7. His failure to tag down Joe Lefeged after the interception also turned into an easy 3 points for the Colts. Sanders will need to tighten up going forward with Jerricho Cotchery recovered from his hamstring injury or he could lose some snaps to him going forward.
Mike Wallace has left the one trick pony tag in the dust like he does most of his defenders. Although 2000 yards is likely not realistic, he still is on an achievable pace to accomplish it. He is putting together a Pro Bowl type season in his third year in the league. He is in a contract year and is earning a big pay day next offseason.
The Jonathan Scott struggles were pretty epic and nothing showed it more than the play that Dwight Freeney had him turned around running into Ben Roethlisberger. Freeney went inside, outside and right over him all night. His high ankle sprain on top of it all might mean he has started his last game at left tackle. No matter who starts there, it can’t get much worse.
The offensive line was late off of the ball numerous times last night. They reportedly worked on the silent count all week, but you wouldn\’t know it. The timing of the run game was way off.
I am not sure how much it would have changed things, but I was surprised at how few carries Isaac Redman received. As bad as the running game was, I would have went straight power right up the middle instead of backside type runs. The running game has to get fixed quickly.
The Colts were able to get good pressure with very few blitzes and mostly 4 man rushes.
Teams are on to the cut blocking of the defensive line and several times Casey Hampton and Aaron Smith were off of their feet. That is a cardinal sin in the 3-4 as there is no way you can have gap control when you are on the ground. Hopefully Brett Keisel can return this week and I think Ziggy Hood should start over Smith at left defensive end should that be the case.
The participation charts are almost finished and I saw several instances where rookie Wesyle Saunders was used as the second tight end with Heath Miller and three wide receivers. I think they will try to use Saunders more and more in the passing game going forward. On those quick hot passes he needs to get his head around quicker though to make those catches cleanly.
I have no idea why the Colts tried to go after Ike Taylor so much. Outside of biting on the double move, he was pretty much flawless again. They did not attack Keenan Lewis on his side until late in the game.
Speaking of the secondary, Bryant McFadden may have started his last game for the Steelers. Lewis is not perfect, but as Mike Tomlin likes to say, he provides availability.
Cortez Allen was the first rookie off of the bench when Taylor went off for a play. Just an observation.
The third-quarter hit on Kerry Collins by James Farrior might result in a fine the way things have gone the first few weeks. The hit ended up knocking Collins out of the game.
James Harrison made an impact Sunday night, but I can\’t say the same about LaMarr Woodley on the other side. I really thought he would have dominated more over the last few weeks.
Troy Polamalu was an animal and all over the field. You can\’t pin the Joseph Addai touchdown run on him. He damn near took the handoff.
As good as the defense played, it was hard to believe they let Curtis Painter march 80 yards down the field to tie the game.
Hines Ward was not even half the blocker he was a week ago against the Seahawks.
Colts middle linebacker Pat Angerer is going to be good. He caught my attention while he was at Iowa.
The Shaun Suisham misses need to stop.
The final drive is not getting enough run. Roethlisberger is usually clutch when the game on the line and once again Mewelde Moore delivered in a key part of the game.
No style points awarded in this game, but a win is a win. In the end that is all that matters. 2-1 is better than 1-2. On to Houston.