Big Lead Sports Bar


10 Very Quick Thoughts on Steelers-Giants

With myself and my schedule squarely at odds this afternoon, here are some abbreviated thoughts on last night's Steelers-Giants contest:

1. Fear not, Ike Taylor has already apologized to Steeler fans for his fight and subsequent ejection last night. I'm guessing Steeler Nation will somehow be able to forgive him.

2. Speaking of forgiveness, Ben Roethlisberger took the field in a game for the first time since January, with what I would called mixed results. He was the only Steeler QB to not engineer a touchdown drive, he threw an interception on a poorly thrown ball to Mike Wallace that probably wouldn't happen during the regular season, he generated only three points in about 1 1/2 quarters of work, and his QB rating was an awful 64.6.

On the bright side, Roethlisberger engineered a 13-play, 58-yard scoring drive, he got the first road game out of his system, and he showed enough to make me think he'll be ready and rested once he's eligible to play in the regular season.

3. And speaking of mixed results, that's exactly what the Steeler running game gave us on Saturday, most likely because of unsettled issues along the O-line.

Rashard Mendenhall continued his awful preseason with eight carries for 11 yards, while Isaac Redman most likely solidified a roster spot with 34 yards on six carries. Justin Vincent went for 37 yards on six carries to lead the team, with 18 of those yards coming on one run, but he still is on the outside looking in.

All in all, the running game finished with 161 yards on 41 carries for a 3.9 average per carry, which is not too shabby.

4. Byron Leftwich should have ended any lingering QB controversy in the fans' minds by showing off his electric arm on a 68-yard touchdown pass to Mike Wallace in the second quarter. Leftwich finished the night 3-6 for 95 yards, the touchdown, and a QB rating of 135.4. I've seen enough to consider this case closed.

5. Dennis Dixon also played well, hitting on seven of eight passes for 82 yards and running five times for 27 yards, with a 22-yard scamper in that mix. While I don't like Dixon enough to be the starting QB in place of Roethlisberger, I think it's obvious that he has the athleticism to see the field in specially-designed packages to be unveiled at the proper times during the regular season.

6. It's hard to get a grasp on the job done by the Steeler defense, since they were facing a third-string QB all night in Rhett Bomar. Bomar hit Steve Smith for 45 yards during the first half, beating Bryant McFadden and setting up a nine-yard TD run from Ahmad Bradshaw, who I thought looked pretty sharp last night.

On the night, Bomar was just 13-26 for 167 yards, no TDs, one INT (by Joe Burnett), and a 54.5 rating, so I guess you can say the Steelers did get the best of him.

7. I'm still not getting bent out of shape about the offensive line, despite their struggles. The preseason and training camp is meant to develop a chemistry and to come together, and that's not always the case by the second game. But I think there's enough talent there (especially with the emergence of Maurkice Pouncey) to eventually develop into a cohesive, adequate unit.

8. Antonio Brown did a decent job on kick and punt returns last night to make me believe that Stefan Logan's spot on the roster is in serious jeopardy. The more you can do as a player, the more valuable you are to the team, and Brown's abilities as a receiver in addition to his skills as a returner outweigh those of Logan's.

9. The worst thing I saw last night from the Steelers was the management of play-calling and of the clock at the end of the first half, blowing an opportunity to score and leaving the ball at the Giants' one yard line. I know, it's only preseason, but that was sloppy.

10. The enjoyable KDKA broadcast team of Bob Pompeani and Edmund Nelson was back together for another week, and I must say, the Edmundisms may be worthy of their own blog in the near future.

Mondesi's House: The Director's Cut (more links, commentary, etc):


Jim said...

I was at the game last night at I was pretty surprised at the reception Giants fans gave Roethlisberger. When he came in the game, nobody really booed or anything. Maybe it was because it was an exhibition game or that Giants fans don't really dislike the Steelers. Some folks wearing 7 jerseys were treated to taunts of "Rapelisberger", but all and all it was pretty tame by Jersey standards.

The first team O looked bad and I'd place the blame on the line. Osi and Justin Tuck were pushing their blockers in the backfield, leaving little room to operate for Ben and Mendenhall.

The Leftwich to Wallace play was amazing to see in person. I watched Wallace the whole time and I had no doubt he would catch it if Leftwich threw it long enough.

Chip said...

So wait, those of us who like Dixon were being premature with our praise because he played "against third or fourth stringers?"

But you're anointing Leftwich as good to go based on a game where the Giants were clearly playing vanilla schemes and generating ZERO PASS RUSH?

Did you see the play where he SCRAMBLED for like 5 yards? Does anybody think he'd do that in a real game?

And yes the TD pass was sweet but it was a blown coverage. To steal a page from your Pirates rants, why are we crediting him for doing what he should be able to do?

I stand by my opinion that as soon as the season starts and he faces real honest to goodness pass rushes and pressure, his statue-like pocket presence will doom our offense.

Jonny Van Mundegaarde said...

I agree, I believe it was Edmund himself that pointed out that the player that was covering Wallace on that long bomb was a free agent safety and not to get too excited about it.

It's safe to say that you can take everything with a grain of salt in the preseason. Hard to say if taking two of the games away would tell more or less about the makeup of a team

BurressWithButterflywings said...

Our o-line is not good enough and Leftwich's ZERO mobility will cost us dearly.

Say whatever about Dixon, the kid played a solid game. He looked sharp, didn't let his run-first instincts take over,and threw nice passes.

BTW, what is the harm in having a mobile QB with that wet paper bag of an o-line? Just watch Ben vs. Leftwich; Ben rolls, steps up in the pocket, throws on the run .etc. Leftwich looks like he is running with cement blocks chained to his ankles. We don't have a good enough line to have a statue QB.

Steve said...

Ahh, people trying to create a QB controversy when there really isn't one. Depending on the results each manufacture, both Leftwich and Dixon will most likey share responsibilities until Ben comes back. I thought both Denny Dixon and Gary Coleman played well under the circumstances and neither should be looked at as an automatic no. 1 QB for the first 4 games at this point.

Just because Leftwich will probably get the nod to take the first snap of the season, doesn't mean Dixon won't be in there a series or two later to work with a package of plays better designed for his abilities.

Our offensive line looks more porous than ever and it will ultimately dictate how successful any QB will be.

HomeRunFromBehindTheMeatballs said...

Ike better be thanking God that it was just preseason... at least Joe Burnett & Keenan Lewis got the opportunity for extended looks because of his stupidity.

Byron to Mike Wallace TD was a thing of beauty. DD prob would have turned that play into a 6 yd scramble for a first down. (I like DD & i hope he gets on the field for trick plays this season, but, like MH said, shouldn't be any qb controversy.)

@Chip - who 'blew' coverage on the Mike Wallace TD? It's not called "blown coverage" is Mike "blows by" the CB. Maybe it was lesser competition, but it wasn't blown.

Several plays were completely blown up by the Giants DL too. Including a SENSELESS reverse call to Randle El that stalled a drive (rare whiffed block by Heath! Should he really be 1-on-1 with Tuck?)

Steve said...

Also something I hope to never see again...two missed tackles by Troy. Then again, this early in the season no one is wrapping up like they should...too many arm tackle attempts.

Poker Guru said...

PLEASE do an Edmund Nelson-ism list. One of the best ever was this week coming back from commercial. Pomp is doing the mandatory pitch for the CW lineup this fall - for Hellcats(?) or something - about competitive cheerleading. Edmund fires in something to the tune of "Wooooo - there's gonna be some catfightin' goin on there!"