NFL Direct Snaps: Steel Curtain Rises Again, and the Patriots Should Be Worried

Dan PieroniCorrespondent ISeptember 21, 2010

PITTSBURGH - SEPTEMBER 02: Lawrence Timmons #94 of the Pittsburgh Steelers watches his team from the sideline during the preseason game against the Carolina Panthers on September 2, 2010 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

Five things that impressed me

1. The Steelers Defense

In forcing seven turnovers and holding the great Chris Johnson to 34 yards rushing Dick LeBeau's boys proved that Pittsburgh's true calling card is and always has been its defense. While Ben Roethlisberger's will no doubt spark a relatively anemic offense, the iron city should be proud of its dominant defense. Special recognition should go to Lawrence Timmons for recording 15 tackles and forcing a fumble in leading the impressive defense front.

2. Matt Schaub

497 yards passing is nothing to sneeze at. However, it is more impressive when you consider that the Texans trailed by 17 at one point in the game, and that Schaub converted a gutsy fourth down pass to Andre Johnson to help force overtime. Now at 2-0, The Texans are in prime position to have their most successful season.

3. The Buccaneers

This was a team that many felt would be among the bottom feeders in the NFL. Clearly Tampa has used the negative feedback as motivation led by the smart decision making of its young quarterback Josh Freeman and a inexperienced by feisty defense that held the Panthers Jonathan Stewart to under 100 yards rushing.

4. Michael Vick

I like animals, I don't love them. That's not to say that I condone what he did, but Michael Vick got a second chance just like some criminals do, both in life and on the football field. He has completed 60 percent of his throw and has the look of a poised, determined quarterback who may just get another chance to start someday. While I don't believe it will be in Philadelphia, there's bound to be one NFL city that is willing to let bygones be bygones and give Michael Vick another chance to be a starter.

5. Jahvid Best

These Lions still have a long way to go to become kings of the NFC North jungle, but they have the young talent that should excite those in the Motor City for years to come. Best is the most talented fellow of the bunch, and has far outplayed the Chargers Ryan Matthews in terms of rookie running backs.

Five Things That Depressed Me

1. The Patriots

Tom Brady put it best when he said of the Patriot performance on Sunday, "We just sucked." While there were highlights like Randy Moss's one-handed touchdown grab, the Patriots failed to show up in the second half, the Jets took notice and served one to their hated rivals in a 27-10 beatdown in New Jersey. While Darelle Revis did not outplay Randy Moss a couple of former Chargers in Antonio Cromartie and LaDanian Tomlinson hooked themselves up to the rejuvenation machine, and allowed the Jets to justify their swagger.

2. Brett Favre

I hate to see great quarterbacks go out with barely a whimper, but it appears that Brett Favre should have stayed retired. He's already thrown more interceptions at home then he did all last year, and his best wide receiver is injured. Did I mention that the Vikings are 0-2 and have struggled to score on offense?

3.  Matt Moore

What happened to the guy who ran Jake Delhomme out of town? Moore has only completed 41 percent of his passes and his coaches are apparently not going to wait for him to turn it around as they will hand the ball over to Jimmy Claussen on Sunday.

4. A potential 18-game schedule

I see it as nothing more than an excuse to make money for the owners.

5. Reggie Bush's broken fibula

While I don't necessarily think that this will stop the Saints high-powered offense, it could potentially render them less effective, especially in the return game. I also think that Bush's absence will put more pressure on the passing game, and Drew Brees hasn't looked like himself through two games.

Miscellaneous Thoughts

1. I believe in karma good or bad. I think Braylon Edwards overstepped the boundaries of sportsmanship in twice taunting the Patriots defense on Sunday. While I would like to see the NFL make more of a concerted effort in eliminating taunting by imposing a fine on a said player, I think Edwards' poor judgment in choosing to take the wheel this morning after having a few, will more than make up for a taunting fine.

2. Speaking of troubled wide receivers, I think the Vikings need to sign Vincent Jackson. While it may cost them a high draft pick and a possible year suspension if Jackson messes up again, he is a top-tier wideout and would give Minnesota's offense the punch it desperately needs.

3. It was great to see the legends of the 49ers out in San Francisco last night to honor Jerry Rice. If it taught me anything, it's that I should have appreciated the Patriots dynasty even more than I did at the time. You never know when success will fade away.

4. I like Jon Gruden, but if not for the "Toucher and Rich Jon Gruden This Guy Challenge" I wouldn't find him as entertaining as I do.

5. My Mother knows as much about football as I do about interior decorating. So I wasn't surprised last night when she told me that she liked Kurt Demmer's moves on "Dancing with the Stars."

6. So Fox is going to make a big deal about who's replacing Simon, Ellen, and Kara, by announcing it live in prime time tomorrow night. I could care less, Idol is nothing without Mr. Cowell.

7. The Bruins sold 26,000 tickets for two rookie scrimmages last week. If that doesn't say hockey's back in Boston nothing will.

8. My thoughts and prayers are with Kenny McKinlay's family. We'll likely never know why he committed suicide, but life is too precious to resort to that. I don't live the most charmed life, but I do count my blessings even if they are small in scope. It's too bad McKinlay didn't do the same.


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