Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Rocky Mountain Way High

There was so much to like about last night's thoroughly enjoyable 28-10 win over Denver.

  • The win, of course, which raises the Steelers' record to 6-2 in anticipation of next Sunday's must-win game vs. Cincinnati at Heinz Field.
  • The defense, which allowed only three points to Denver's offense.
  • The big plays.
  • The running game (Rashard Mendenhall and the offensive line).
  • Big Ben Roethlisberger's passing and leadership, hand in hand with Hines Ward, Mike Wallace and Santonio Holmes shredding Denver's vaunted secondary.
  • Tyrone Carter's performance and Ryan Clark's enthusiastic support on the sideline.
  • The preparation and in-game adjustments by head coach Mike Tomlin, defensive coordinator Dick Lebeau and offensive coordinator Bruce Arians.
And some of the HITS.

I'm trying to decide which was my favorite hit:
  • Troy Polamula's explosive kamikaze tackle of Correll Buckhalter in the backfield.
  • Daniel Sepulveda's (yup, punter Daniel Sepulveda) slam-bang of a tackle on a punt return along the sideline.
  • Or James Harrison's near dcapitation of Correll Buchalter on Denver's final, "let's pad our stats" drive.
I think it was Harrison's hit on Buckhalter. It was emphatic, violent and basically said, "Don't even try that shit."

Steel Triangle wasn't too worried about this game, either beforehand or during the first half, when Denver seemed to hold the upper hand despite being down 7-3, thanks to Tyrone Carter's 49-yard interception return for a touchdown.

It was a game of two halves, even if the first half was a bit misleading.
  • First half: The Steelers had 18 plays.
  • Second half: The Steelers had 18 first downs.
Speaking of balance, the Steelers' offense rang up 29 passing plays and 29 running plays.

Before the game, I figured, "Give a bye week to Dick Lebeau, Bruce Arians and Mike Tomlin. Factor in Kyle Orton's inability or unwillingness to throw deep, and I like our chances. A lot."

So, here we are, with a 6-2 record at the halfway point of the season.

Next up: Division-leading Cincinnati at Heinz Field. A must-win game.

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