The N.F.L. had its share of surprises this past Sunday. The Bills upset the New York Jets in overtime as Mark Sanchez threw for 5 interceptions. Kansas City finally got their first win as they took out the underperforming Redskins. Even the barely college caliber Oakland Raiders shocked the Eagles Sunday.
But even during an upset filled weekend, the Browns still couldn’t beat the Steelers. It doesn’t look like it’s going to happen anytime soon either. You could get through the Pittsburgh Steelers’ season ticket waiting list before you’ll see the Browns finally beat the Steelers.
It definitely won’t go down as one of Pittsburgh’s best performances. Sloppy play on offense and special teams made it appear the Browns had a chance late in the 3rd quarter, but Pittsburgh had complete control of this one, winning 27-14.
The Steelers’ defense looked dominant with the return of NFL All-Star Troy Polamalu. They allowed just 7 points and 197 yards. The loss of Aaron Smith didn’t seem to be all that noticeable, although playing the Browns wasn’t much of a test. The defense seemed to resemble what they were last year with Troy’s return, and I’m sure the entire Steeler nation held their collective breath as it appeared he had reinjured his knee.
It took a couple of drives for the offense to get going, but once they did they looked as good as they’ve been all year. I believe we have yet to see how great this offense can be, as Mike Tomlin and company figure out that they have a pass-first offense. Ben carved a pathetic Cleveland secondary for over 400 yards. The Steelers have a monster pass attack with so many weapons. With options such as Hines Ward, Santonio Holmes, Heath Miller, and rookie standout Mike Wallace, Pittsburgh is starting to resemble an offense you might find in New Orleans or Indianapolis.
It was closer than Pittsburgh might have liked, but the score didn’t reflect just how much better they were against the perpetually rebuilding Cleveland Browns. Pittsburgh picked up its 12th straight victory against a team who might want to stop calling this matchup a rivalry and start considering joining the Arena Football League.
The Steelers still have some work to do before they make another Super Bowl run, but they appear to have avoided a Super Bowl hangover. They have a huge test and possible Super Bowl preview as Brett Favre and the Vikings come to town this Sunday.