The Pittsburgh Steelers came off a bye with Ben Roethlisberger back under center. His well-documented suspension over, Big Ben looked to get a good start on his 2010 campaign.
Luckily this week served up the equivalent of a homecoming opponent in the hapless Cleveland Browns. How did each part of the Steeler squad do? Let’s go to the grades.
Roethlisberger made a terrible throw on his opening drive that was picked off by Browns rookie DB Joe Haden. Luckily the Steeler D held the Browns only to a field goal and Ben for the most part settled down and made good throws for most of the afternoon.
He still tried to force the ball a few times and could have been a little better, but 257 yards and 3 TDs is a great day for the Steeler QB.
He could have had more if the Steelers didn’t resort to running the clock down in the second half.
Rashard Mendenhall ended up with 84 yards and a TD on the day. At times he was busting off big runs, including a dandy spin move to get away from the line in the shadow of his end zone.
The kid keeps getting better and better, and has clearly been a driving force in the Steeler offense so far this season. Isaac Redman added 31 yards on six carries.
The wide receivers did a great job getting open downfield all game. Mike Wallace caught three passes for 90 yards and a TD.
Hines Ward had one of his typical TDs by catching it short of the goal line, then willing himself into the end zone.
Rookie Emmanuel Sanders had two nice receptions to convert third downs. No complaints about this unit this week.
The hogs up front did a good job clearing some running room for Mendenhall and Redman, and I think overall they did a good job blocking for Ben.
I didn’t see too many breakdowns, other than on the plays where Ben held the ball too long trying to make a play. I think we’ve all learned who gets the blame for those.
Gotta give major props to Maurkice Pouncey yet again. I think people are forgetting the center is a rookie because he’s been so dominant this year.
The boys up front controlled the line of scrimmage for most of the afternoon.
Peyton Hillis was a non-factor, just like every other running back the Steelers have faced this year.
James Harrison laid the thunder on some hits, knocking both Josh Cribbs and Mohamed Massaquoi out of the game.
Five sacks for this unit proved who was boss.
The secondary did a good job of containing the Browns from making big plays.
Ryan Clark showed good focus on the deflection to make a crucial interception early in the game.
Most of Cleveland’s offense came on yards-after-catch yardage off screen plays. But when push came to shove the Steeler D held.
Jeff Reed didn’t miss an extra point.
Daniel Sepulveda pinned the Browns inside the 20-yard line four times, and the coverage teams did a good job containing the Browns, including a fumble recovery on a muffed punt.
The only knock is that Antwaan Randle El nearly lost another kick. It would be nice to actually see him actually return one every once in a while.