Sunday, October 28, 2012

Enjoy It While We Can

Next up: A visit to the New York Giants (4:25 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 4).  Should be a good game.  And Mike Tomlin's weekly news conference on Tuesday should be entertaining.

Fullback Will Johnson's first NFL touchdown. 
Photo credit: Andrew Harnik, Washington Times
We take back everything we said about the 1934 bumblebee convict uniforms.  They're beautiful.  The Steelers may have been 2-10 in those uniforms in 1934, but they're 1-0 in those uniforms in 2012.  A win is a win, and it's a beautiful thing.

The most encouraging thing about Sunday's 27-12 win over Washington was the Steelers' "swarming" defense against the Redskins' top-rated  running game featuring Alfred Morris and the dynamic Robert Griffin III.  Although Morris averaged 4.5 yards per carry for 59 yards, the defense contained the running game and kept Griffin in the pocket -- six running attempts for just eight yards.

Good job, defense.  Major kudos to Dick LeBeau, Larry Foote, Ike Taylor, Keenan Lewis, et al., but a few things to keep in mind ...

  • Ryan Clark sustained a concussion.  Clark is invaluable in the Steelers' secondary, and he may be their defensive MVP.  Troy Polamalu may well return to action next Sunday, but if Clark misses the game vs. the Giants' Eli Manning, Victor Cruz, and Co., look out. 
  • Lamarr Woodley's recurring hamstring problem remains worrisome.
  • The Redskins receivers had 10 drops.  Ten!  Is that a record?  And just about every pass was right on target and eminently catchable.  The game might have played out much differently had the Redskins made, say, seven of those 10 catches.  If so, Griffin's 16 completions in 34 attempts become 23-34 passing for something more than the 177 yards he gained in the air.  It's worth mentioning, if only because the Giants will not drop 10 passes.
Griffin is terrific, and he's only going to get better.  What an impressive young man.  He's a treat to watch, and he makes the NFL a better place.

Pope Leo (Leonard Pope) scores.
Photo credit: Don Wright, AP./Washington Post
On the other hand, by contrast, how embarrassing to the Redskins is cornerback DeAngelo Hall?  He's never been very good;  he's always been over-rated.  He's just a loudmouth, bullying punk, and today he got punk'd by the diminutive Emmanuel Sanders, of all people.  Good for Young Money (Sanders).

Looking Forward
The New York Giants blew a 23-0 lead in Dallas, but they won.  The Giants are the reigning Super Bowl Champions and find a way to win more often than not.  The Steelers, having squandered opportunities in Denver, Oakland and Tennessee, now enter the tough part of their schedule.  The Giants don't make many mistakes, surrender many sacks or commit many penalties.  Even so, they nearly lost yesterday's game in Dallas -- and the Cowboys turned the ball over six times.

One other thing to keep in mind:  Dallas tight end Jason Witten had 17 (!) catches for 158 yards vs. the Giants on Sunday.  Heath Miller fans, take note.

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