Have you ever heard the Firestone Tire shibboleth, "Where The Rubber Meets The Road?" Well, the Pittsburgh Steelers pretty much fit that bill, except it is more like, "Where the Cleats Meet the Gridiron." Trust me, the Steelers will defend every blade of grass in 2009 with their cleats meeting the gridiron.
In this game against the Washington Redskins at Landover Maryland, Roethlisberger didn't participate because of a stretched ligament, in turn Charlie Batch replaced him starting the game. Batch started out slow, though he was able to get in a comfortable rhythm towards the end of the first quarter leading to a Willie Parker touchdown.
Jeff Reed was his normal self even though he missed a 53 yard field goal, he even missed it on a retry of 48 yards after the Redskins were call for a penalty. Piotr Czech has done well on kickoffs having most of them fielded inside the twenty yard-line, he also was 1-for-1 on field goals.
Limas Sweed is starting to look like a receiver that can make the tough catches, though drop the ball on short easy routes. Sweed was 1-of-2 for 17 yards, and he needs to work catching the short passes.
Stephon Logan was a beast out there on kickoff returns, running them back for an average of 50 yards a return. This may help him got a roster spot maybe or maybe not on our team, though it could also help him get a spot on another teams roster.
When Dennis Dixon took over in the second quarter of the game, he looked just as impressive as last week in the Cardinals game. He ran a couple of nice runs after the pocket was about collapse, even running one for a first down, though Dixon still needs to improve. Dennis Dixon was also injured in the game perhaps dislocating his shoulder, which gave way for quarterback Mike Reilly to take over the offense, were he looked like that he would be practice squad fodder.
Keiwan Ratliff did OK intercepting the Redskins and returning it back for 20 yards. One of the other corner-backs Joe Burnett was over matched by Washington's Marko Mitchell, and he also fumbled another punt late in the fourth quarter.
I know it is only the preseason, though I'm more interested in seeing implications that each back up player is just as good as the first string players. Though there were some good things and some bad things, mostly the pre-snap penalties such as illegal formations and false starts. There were 10 of these such penalties in the first have alone. Just like Mike Tomlin said, the pre-snap penalties must be at a minimum and not shoot ourselves in the foot beating ourselves.
Notes and Quotes
"Not enough good things from us as a football team to win, regardless of opponent or game location."
"Coming out of the preseason opener, that was something that we wanted to address."
"We wanted to play smarter than we did the first time out. We did not get that accomplished, not even close, but I think we are playing pretty good situational football, third down particularly, and we were able to put a drive together."
"It felt great, I mean, the first time back on the field and the offense looked great. I followed Carey Davis, and it got me into the end zone."
"I want to keep getting into the end zone, I want to make that a habit. I want to keep doing it, keep doing it and keep doing it, so the coaches don't have any other goal-line set and I'll be the goal-line guy."
"We picked up some third-down conversions and we felt good out there."
"It was good to put together a scoring drive with the No. 1 offense."