Pittsburgh Steelers-Detriot Lions: Game Notes
After James Harrison recorded his second sack of Daunte Culpepper for a 14-yard loss in the third quarter he gets up, jumps in the air, lands on both feet and grinds his cleat into the grass. For those who didn't recognize that, it was former Steeler and current Lion, Larry Foote's signature celebration. I don't think Harrison did it with malicious intent, but it a made statement and William Gay followed suit in the fourth quarter.
Ben Roethlisberger's 47-yard Touchdown completion to rookie Mike Wallace. The play was really deciding score in the game but even more importantly showed that Wallace has the mental fortitude to recover from a bad play. Wallace dropped a deep pass earlier in the game but stayed focused and made the play when he was needed. Wallace is a rookie so he's going to have a drop or two. What's important is how he deals with it.
100 percent: the percentage of touchdowns scored by the Steelers when inside the red-zone. Pittsburgh was atrocious in the red-zone early in the season and it cost them two wins. Now that the offense is scoring seven instead of three when inside the twenty, they are winning games.
- Something completely unexpected has happened in Pittsburgh. Bruce Arians is running the offense with great success and finally intelligence while Dick LeBeau's defense is playing beneath itself.
- While the defense let up way to many plays on Sunday they did do something in the fourth quarter that should make their fans feel better. They actually blitzed in the fourth quarter.
- On the Lions second to last drive LeBeau called three and four man pass rushes as the Detroit marched down the field. With the game on the line and the Lions on the Steelers side of the field LeBeau dialed up three straight blitzes. Result? Three straight sacks.
- Speaking of three sacks that's how many James Harrison had, along with another forced fumble. Harrison is now fifth in the league in sacks and still leads the league in forced fumbles.
- The defenses biggest problem without Troy Polamalu on the field is forcing turnovers. Or more accurately recovering them. Detroit fumbled four times on Sunday. The Steelers recovered exactly none of them. It appears the Steelers only have one ball hawk, and he's been dressed in a hoodie since Week Two.
- Ben Roethlisberger is good, he's really good.
- 23-30; 277 yards; 3 touchdowns is a solid stat-line for any quarterback. He did throw one interception, but Brett Favre throws a lot of interceptions as well. The important thing is that not only can Big Ben lead this team to wins but he can now make the offense a scoring machine on a consistent basis.
- Consistency is the key to this football team. Can Rashard Mendenhall stay a constantly effective runner? Will Mike Wallace get more consistent as the year goes on? Can the defense play consistent football for four quarters?
- The true models for consistency on this team are Hines Ward, as always, and Heath Miller.
- Miller is second in receptions and tied for second in touchdowns for NFL tight ends. He's proving he's worth his contract extension. All off-season teammates talked about how underrated Miller is. He's proving he's one of the best in the business.
- Aaron Smith is the Heath Miller of the defense and any seasoned Steelers fan knows he's one of the most important players in Pittsburgh three-four system. Mike Tomlin reported that Smith is out indefinitely due to injury. If its a significant length of time, its trouble.
- Perhaps next week will be time for rookie DE, Evander "Ziggy" Hood to show what he can do. Succeeding in the NFL is about performing when given opportunities. Next could be Hood's big opportunity.
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