Tag Archives: Rashard Mendenhall

Steelers 28 Broncos 10

 

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Game Recap

This game was fantastic for Steeler fans.  After starting out a little slow out of the gates, we really turned on the jets in the second half.  The reason for it is simple: we got in Kyle Orton’s head.  He threw 3 picks in the game, and had a passer rating of 0 in the fourth quarter.  This game was definitely a pleasant surprise considering all of the injuries the team is currently battling.  I don’t know a single person who would have guessed that the Steeler defense would dominate the way they did.  Seeing people step up and fill roles like they did is very good news for the future of the franchise.  Some notes on the game:

– Speaking of guys who stepped up, how about Tyrone Carter?  Two INT’s while filling in for Ryan Clark.  That makes me feel better knowing that we have some backfield depth.

– Rashard Mendenhall had a great day, but boy did he ever have some monster holes to run through.  I think even I could have picked up 100 yards with what he was given.  Although my scrawny butt would probably be a mangled mess by the end of the day.

– Speaking of Mendenhall, he ducked to the sidelines an awful lot.  Now, that’s not a bad thing.  I don’t need my back to be tough for the sake of being tough.  I’d like him to take it easy and be of service for a lot longer.  My issue is that he was still doing this in the 4th quarter when we were trying to run out the clock.  Just slide if you don’t want to get hit.  Why go out of bounds and stop the clock?

– Big Ben ran a no huddle for a with a lot of success.  He’s been fighting with Bruce Arians to do this more often.  I think it’s a nice change of pace, but if we do no huddle all the time, teams will adjust to that as well.  It’s all about changing things up in football.

– Mike Wallace had himself a game.  It’s nice to see a legit 3rd receiver emerge.  The question now is, how long will they hold on to Limus Sweed?

– I hinted at this in the point about Rashard, but the O-line did a fantastic job all game long.  They got ragged on a lot last year, but they are a phenomenal unit this year.

– The D-Line that has been hurt by a lot of injuries did very well stopping the run from Denver.  That was also a nice surprise.

I like the way we played, but the bottom line is we exposed a marginal quarterback.  That won’t happen every week.  Especially not this upcoming Sunday when Cincinnati comes to town.  That’ll be the biggest game the Steelers have had in some time.  I can’t wait.  But I also have a sinking suspicion that Cincy will give a lot more of a fight than Denver did.  We’ll see.

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Steelers 27 Vikings 17

 

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Game Recap

So, in case you haven’t heard, Brett Favre is old.  I would insert a lame joke here, but they’ve all been told already.  I’m going to just concentrate on football here.  This was quite the interesting game.  The defense had a great game, and actually got credit for it this time because they had two interceptions for touchdowns.  The offense moved the ball when it had to, but had kind of a bleh day overall.  Special teams got a bit of a black eye.  But, a win is a win.  Minnesota is a very good team.

The word out of Minnesota is that they gave the game away.  That they were the better team.  The stats back them up.  They out-gained us (including almost doubling up our passing yards.  I didn’t see that one coming).  They had a lot more first downs.  They didn’t allow a red-zone touchdown all game.  You could make a strong argument that two interceptions won Pittsburgh that game.  But there are two holes in that argument.  First of all, interceptions are not lucky plays.  They’re usually the result of pressure by the d-line and the secondary knowing where to be.  Second of all, the Vikings had 11 penalties for 78 yards.  When you shoot yourself in the foot like that, you can only look at the man in the mirror when you lose.  But I guess this goes back to the old question of when a team doesn’t score enough is it bad offense or good defense?  Ten times out of ten, a fan will say his team played bad and the other team got lucky.  It puts his team in a position of strength.  They’re still better, they just had an off day.  Nine times out of ten that reasoning is seriously flawed.

But I will say that the Vikings played a heck of a game.  Especially on defense.  I thought our passing game would go for at least 250 yards.  The secondary is the biggest weakness on Minnesota’s whole team, not just the defense.  And Ben has proven that he can wing it.  But we only got 153 yards yesterday.  That’s a credit to the Vikings secondary for exceeding expectations, and also the defensive line for getting pressure.  Mendenhall had a good game, but I can’t get over how stupid that fumble of his was.  We had the ball on the 9 yard line and hand it to Rashard.  He hits the line of scrimmage, gets tripped up a bit, and dives into the ground like he was diving towards the goal line.  I would say that he might have thought the 5 yard line was the goal line, but he was at the 7.  Just dumb.  When you have the ball in the red zone, protect the ball.  Don’t dive with it.  Jeez.

Overall, though, it was a good game.  Jeff Reed did not have to kick a game winning field goal.  So I guess he’s free to be suspended now.  Speaking of Jeff, that kick of return where he thought it was two hand touch…..yeah.  I hate that play.  I hate players not giving effort more than anything.  Even if it IS just the kicker.  That wasn’t effort.  But he wasn’t the only one.  There were a lot of bad angles taken on that play.  Lot of not staying in your lane.  He was just the most noticable culprit.  I like the way this team is playing, though.  I think we took a step up this week.  It was about time.  And we’re still tied for first in the division.  So we’re in good shape.  Next week is a bye.  So you should spend that Sunday by stopping by the Peterson Events Center to see Pitt play Slippery Rock in an exhibition.  Shouldn’t be much of a game, but you can be the first on your block to see the new freshmen.

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Steelers 27 Browns 14

image from espn.com

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Game Recap

This game could be summed up in one word: turnovers.  Freaking turnovers.  4 of them.  There were two reasons that we won this one by a fairly decent margin despite those giveaways.  First was the Browns giving back 4 turnovers.  The second was the fantastic play of the defense.  I’m not sure if they’re mutually exclusive or not.

I guess Troy really did make a difference.  There were only 197 yards of offense for the Browns.  Even for them, that’s pretty bad.   Worse yet, only 106 yards passing for the Browns.  If that doesn’t let you know that the sheriff is back in town, I don’t know what does.  Oh, yeah.  That and a pick will show you he’s back.  We had pressure in the backfield all day.  That has to do more with the Browns having one of the worst O-lines in the NFL more than anything.  The only worry I had was a few breakdowns in the secondary when that pressure wasn’t there.  But, hey.  You can’t argue with the numbers they put up.

The offense had a decent day minus the turnovers.  I’m okay with those, by the way.  Yeah, they were the storyline and the reason the game was as close as it was, but it’s one game.  I’m much more interested in negative trends through multiple games.  Hines Ward had another pretty good day out there.  IF you think 159 yards and a TD is pretty good.  He’s been having a great season, actually.  I think he took Santonio taking the spotlight in last years Super Bowl personally.  He might be saying ‘it’s not your turn yet, kid’.  Or maybe he’s got some motivation back.  Whatever it is, I’m not arguing.  Rashard had some decent runs.  He’s a lot better through contact than I thought he would be.  That’s a pleasant surprise.  Not a bad day offensively in my opinion.

I guess you could say that this was an awful game of football in general.  It was pretty sloppy.  Tons of turnovers and missed tackles.  Not what you expect from the NFL.  But we moved the ball well, and were obviously the more talented team.  In a long-term view, the turnovers don’t matter and we looked good.  And, hey.  We prevailed.  I think we come out a lot sharper next week with the step-up in competition (the Vikings are coming to town).  We just got a free lesson in discipline without it costing us a loss.

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Steelers 38 Chargers 28

image from espn.com

image from espn.com

Game Recap

Wow.  I guess the one thing you can take away from this game is that no lead is safe for the Steelers.  Not even a 4 touchdown one.  I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.  I guess the best way to attack this is to take it one score at a time.  The drive for San Diego’s first touchdown was long and drawn out.  It was filled with lots of short passes and drop-offs.  It also had a 3rd and 8 and a 3rd and 15 that were both converted.  3rd and long has to be a death sentence.  You can’t give up 2 in one drive.  The second score was a fluke “fumble” by Stephan Logan.  I have fumble in quotes because it was ripped out of his hands, he didn’t drop it.  He’s gatta go down when 3 guys have him.  He’s not big enough to power for yards.  The third score was again an attack on our secondary.  4 passes and a score.  Same story on the fourth score.  4 passes (including one interference call) and a score.  On those two drives, Phillip Rivers was 7 for 7 (8 for 8 if you include the interference) with 2 touchdowns.  That’s terrible for our secondary.  It wasn’t because of missed tackles like Pitt.  It was because of blown coverage and bad defensive calls.  We really miss Troy back there.

But defense was not the only story in this game.  The offense had a resurgence due to the coming out party for Rashard Mendenhall.  He had a heck of a day.  165 yards and 2 touchdowns is incredible.  He showed some good vision and really hit the juke button a lot.  However, I did notice something that worried me.  As soon as he got the ball he was sprinting.  Now, I’ve heard that this is what made him successful as opposed to Willie.  If the line only has to make a hole for a split second it’s much easier on them.  I take the opposite view.  You have to wait for your blocks to develop, and then you hit a hole full speed.  But ask any running back: patience is a virtue.  Those holes might not be there every game, and then you’re just running into the backsides of your line.  If our line isn’t as dominant (or, more likely, San Diego’s defensive front doesn’t have a terrible effort), he goes nowhere.

Speaking of that line, they finally had a tremendous game.  But you have to take into account the competition.  Like I said, with the exception of Shawne Merriman, I’m not at all impressed with San Diego’s defensive front 7.   I’d like to see this again with some better competition before I make any sweeping statements, but I have to give them credit.  San Diego is still an NFL team, and dominating them like that at the line is a huge step up for us, and I like the prospects.  We were also making a lot of 3rd and shorts thanks to the hogs up front.  That’s the football I like.

Overall, you have to love this performance save about 20 minutes by the defense.  I think it might have been worse had the offense not kept the ball away from the Chargers as much.  We won the possession battle 40:20 to 19:40.  That’s San Diego football, though.  Try to out-score you.  They can’t do that without the ball.  So, I’ll take the win and look ahead to a little bit of a breather in the schedule.  We have Detroit and Cleveland coming up, and Troy will be back by the end of those two weeks.  Hopefully that’s a cure-all.  But I doubt it.

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