Here are my grades for the important aspects of today's game.
Charlie Batch A-
If you figured he'd come into today's game and post the numbers that he did, you are insane. If you have any common sense, you should have been expecting a passing attack similar to the last two weeks.
Batch was 12 of 17 for 186 yards and threw three touchdowns. It's not like he was emulating Joe Montana out there, but he got the job done. More importantly, the Steelers are now 3-0.
You might want to argue that both of the Mike Wallace touchdowns should have been picked off, but the fact is they weren't. This team will take a score any way they could get it with the way they were moving the ball the past few weeks.
The negative for Batch was obviously the two interceptions, which were clearly his fault. The first put the defense in a bad position.
Running Backs A+
The running backs had a total of 209 yards on the ground. It's been a long time since the Steelers ground game was that effective. Rashard Mendenhall possessed 143 of those only on 19 carries and added a touchdown to the stat sheet.
Isaac Redman was above average on short yardage. My only exception was the 4Th and 1 he couldn't convert in the third quarter, but that was more the fault of Bruce Arians for not getting the play in on time.
Offensive Line A
Rarely does this group get an "A" from me, but they really earned it today. They didn't allow a single sack today. If I remember correctly, they didn't even allow Batch to be touched back there. My only problem was a little bit of inconsistency on running plays. They would seal off the outside or create a big hole up the middle, but on the next play defenders would be in the backfield like the Germans crossing the Maginot Line in 1940.
Coverage was tight all day. I can't remember a wide open receiver. Once a pass was completed, they swarmed to the ball. Ike Taylor dropped an easy interception, what a surprise.
Pass Rush B-
They finished with four sacks on the day, but it did take a quarter or so for them to garner any kind of pressure. Letting Josh Freeman dance around a few of the linebackers on third down scrambles didn't help their cause either.
Special Teams A-
Any game that there isn't a return for a touchdown is a victory for this team nowadays. The coverage unit held a dangerous Michael Spurlock, who is the only Buccaneer in team history to take a kickoff home for a score, in check. Does anyone else agree that it might be a good choice to insert Antonio Brown in for Antwaan Randle El on punt returns?
I loved the game that Bruce Arians called. It was a beautiful mix of plays. There wasn't much of that spread it out on third and short stuff today. They brought in the big boys and ran it down the defense's throat in those situations. I also loved that peel-off screen to Heath Miller, even though it only got them four yards. I want to see more of that.
Nothing stuck out to me in terms of what Mike Tomlin did today. He apparently has this team on a mission. In the third quarter, when the game was out of reach, the defense got lazy for a drive and he was irate on the sidelines. That's always a good sign.
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