It’s all fun and games until somebody gets hurt. I guess nobody ever told Antonio Brown that.
AB’s ridiculous post humping attempt was the only black mark on an otherwise sterling effort from the Black and Gold last night. For those who went to bed early, the Pittsburgh Steelers obliterated the Indianapolis Colts 45-10 on Sunday Night Football. The game was close for about a quarter and a half, then the Steelers kicked it into gear and it turned into a straight up clowning.
The Steelers offense is ridiculous. I don’t know what more to say. They always seem to start slow then, much like the Terminator, they keep coming and just won’t stop until their opponent is dead. Forget Krampus, the scariest thing I can imagine is what kind of numbers we would’ve put up if Ben had been healthy all season and Le’Veon Bell didn’t have his yearly injury.
I’ve seen some good offenses here in Pittsburgh. The Tommy Gun offense led by a rejuvenated Tommy Maddox comes to mind. A couple of the Flying Circus years under Bruce Arians were pretty good – particularly 2009 when the Steelers had their first 4,000 yard passer, 1,000 yard rusher, and 1,000 yard receiver all in the same season. None of them come close to this current offense, though.
Ben Roethlisberger is in the zone right now. If he plays, they can beat anybody. Period. Last night was his command performance, throwing for 354 yards and 4 TDs with almost minimal effort. What’s amazing is how versatile he and this offense is. Ben hit three different guys for scores while connecting on everything from short timing routes to long bombs down field.
Which is also a credit to the wide receivers. AB is deadly in space – as he showed on his 71 yard punt return TD that served to rub salt in the Colts’ wounds – but he can also go deep. Martavis Bryant has ludicrous speed. His TD perfectly showcased his physical gifts as first he used his height to sky over the corner then turned on the jets to outrun two guys for a 68 yard score. Markus Wheaton followed up his career game with a solid 50 yard/1 TD effort and rookie TE Road Dog Jessie James might be a pretty good heir apparent to Heath Miller.
All the Steelers need from their defense is a mediocre effort. They got that and more last night. There were some dicey moments, Frank Gore ripped off some big runs and receivers were left wide open on occasion, but overall it was a nice bounce back game. They generated a lot of pressure resulting in 5 sacks, 3 by the Immortal Warrior known as James Harrison, and came away with three turnovers.
One INT was made by CB Brandon Boykin, who to my shock actually got into a game for the first time this year. I don’t think we’re going to be talking about Boykin Island any time soon but rotating the outside linebackers has paid huge dividends for Keith Butler so hopefully rotating through four corners (Boykin, Cockrell, Blake, and William Gay, who actually made the play on Boykin’s pick but later left after self-reporting a concussion) might yield similar results.
Really the only negative last night was the return game. I never thought I’d say this but bring back Dri Archer. I honestly didn’t think the Steelers could do worse than him until I saw Jacoby Jones. Jones fumbled away the opening kick off, then muffed a punt later in the half. By that point, Mike Tomlin had enough and banished him to the bench. I’m sure Coach T feels bad about tripping him on Thanksgiving but there’s no reason this guy belongs on the team.
The rest of the team, though, deserves kudos on an amazing effort in front of a national audience. Next up is our return date with the Cincinnati Bengals. Up three games with four left, the Steelers have no chance to catch the Bengals for the division title. They do need a win, however, as they’re still on the outside looking in as far as a Wild Card berth. Last year the Steelers stumbled into the playoffs and got bounced out after one game. This year, why not go in on a hot streak? Last night was a really good start.