Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Home Opener: A Good Win

The Official Team Photo of Your 2012-13 Pittsburgh Jailbreak Honeydrippers Steelers
What a wonderful, spectacular September Sunday afternoon -- unless you're a fan of the New York Jets, who now are 1-9 at Heinz Field.

For Steelers fans, it was a beautiful day: The Steelers won their home opener vs. the overly-hyped Jets.  Both the Baltimore Ravens and New England Patriots lost.

Todd Haley's offense was balanced.  Ben Roethlisberger completed passes to 10 different receivers.  Ten!  The Steelers controlled time-of-possession when it mattered.  A 10-minute touchdown drive sealed the deal in the fourth quarter.  As the game went on, the offensive line seemed to solidify.  The line nullified the New York front seven and opened running lanes for Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer, who ran tough all day. 

Lamarr Woodley gives Mark Sanchez a hug.
Aside from a few glitches, the Steelers engineered a convincing win.  The Jets never did click.  And the Steelers played generally good solid football and made enough splash plays on offense to secure the win, which never seemed in doubt throughout the second half.  A passing grade all around.

Not Much Tebow Time
We're just guessing here, but we suspect the New York sports media is about to explode with second-guessing and clamoring for more playing time for Tim Tebow.  And, true enough, Tebow sparked the Jets immediately upon entering the game with a 22-yard run on his first play with about eight minutes left in the third quarter.   Boisterous blustering blowhard Rex Ryan apparently knew better, however, and withheld Tebow the rest of the way, despite the fact that no Jets wide receiver caught a pass after the first quarter until the very end when the game was out of hand.

The Baltimore Ravens lost an ugly game at Philadelphia, despite four turnovers by the Eagles. And the New England Patriots lost at home vs. Arizona when Patriots' kicker Stephen Gostkowski missed a 42-yard field goal attempt in the final seconds.  He'd made four field goals earlier in the game, but the only one anyone will remember is the one he missed.
Idle Thoughts
  • With Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer running so hard, how does Rashard Mendenhall fit into the mix when he gets healthy?
  • Thank goodness for Heath Miller.   
  • It's very good to have Ryan Clark back.  He was the player of the game.
  • Baron Batch appears to be pretty smart/solid at picking up blitzers in pass protection. 
  • Drew Butler has a knack for nailing backspin punts inside the 10-yard line.
  • A first-quarter pass-catch-and-run to fullback Will Johnson?  How long has it been since we've seen a fullback play much of any kind of a role in the Steelers' offense? 
  • Jets linebacker Bart Scott looks old.  We're surprised the Jets haven't found some young legs to replace him.
  • The replacement refs were a little shaky, including one notably glaring mistake on the phantom "pass interference" call against -- who? Ike Taylor? -- in the fourth quarter. 
  • Ike Taylor played very well.  The Jets' receivers did next to nothing.  Stephen Hill, the Jet's rookie wide receiver out of Georgia Tech, had drawn comparisons to fellow Georgia Tech product Demaryius Thomas, the Denver wideout who tortured Taylor last week and especially in January's playoff loss.  Taylor would have nothing of it.  Yesterday, Taylor was the definition of "shutdown corner." 
Week: At Oakland.  That's it, Fort Pitt.

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