Last night the Steelers played their second preseason game. They played the self appointed "Dream Team" of the NFL, the Philadelphia Eagles. Well what I saw was a repeat of the NBA finals and the, you know, other "Dream Team" getting exposed.
The Steelers went from looking like hot garbage to looking like a contender again. Coach Mike Tomlin, after last week's loss, went off on the guys and they responded to the call. We had to listen to the talking heads all week saying that Michael Vick was better than Ben Roethlisberger, Philly was the team to beat, and so on and so forth. As a Steelers fan I am used to the skepticism of my team. But once again, as a Steelers fan, I was left a happy camper over the way my team responded.
First off I will address the Vick is better than Big Ben talk, which Big Ben pretty well squashed on his own last night. For one, what has Vick, done to deserve all this hype? Yes, he is a good player. One who came back from disgrace and had a good season. But so did Big Ben. I mean was Big Ben not suspended for four games and came back and led his team to another SB? Vick, on the other hand, made an early exit at the hands of the current champs. So there you go.
But still, Ben isn't all that great. Well as a fan ,again, I am used to it but it makes me furious. So now I am going to be Nancy Grace, so to speak, and defend a wronged person.That wronged person would be Ben Roethlisberger.
The talking heads have always done this to Big Ben and have never given him the accolades he deserves. They seem to forget the fact that in seven seasons Ben has been to 3 Super Bowls and has won 2 of them. He has the highest playoff win percentage of current quarterbacks, including Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees and Philip Rivers. You know, the other QBs the talking heads love to love. He played in 12 games last season and still had very impressive stats. I have to believe that, if he had played all 16 games, he would have been right up there with all the other media-appointed greats. Even though he lost in the SB, with the Steelers having turned the ball over 3 times, Big Ben was still only within six points of winning a third SB and tying Tom Brady in that department. But that will come. I have a feeling Big Ben will not only tie Brady , he will pass him and another Steelers QB in that category. Just sayin.
Last night Big Ben, being the champion he is, came out and made the so-called experts look foolish once again. He had a great showing, even after taking a hit to the knees that should have been flagged and was not. (Shocking, I know). Ben threw for 2 TDs and had no turnovers. He even ran the ball effectively to get out of a jam and did that scrambling, moving, shaking and making something happen when the play breaks down thing he does so well. You know, what the talking heads love to hate and bag on the guy for. He also had a passer rating of 140.6 to end the night, giving me and other Steeler fans that satisfaction of being proud he is our QB. I know that Big Ben's style of play isn't worthy of making him a fantasy darling or anything like that, but, the last time I checked, fantasy stats do not win Championships. Big Ben and his style have.
Now Vick on the other hand had, let's just say, not so good of a showing. He threw for 3 INTS and no TDs. So he is better than Ben, huh? Just to throw it out there, Vick is 2-4 in the playoffs. Big Ben is 10-3. So how is Vick better again?
Again I will say it, Vick did have a good season last year and impressed a lot of people. Even getting him into the MVP talks, an honor which Tom Brady earned and won. But is Vick better than Big Ben? I don't think so. Not yet anyway.
So before you go appointing him the best or even better than any other QB who has proven their worth, let him do...something. Let's see if he can come out and have another such season. Let him take another team to the playoffs and past the first round. If last night was any indication, and I know this is just preseason where teams look to work out the bugs, then frankly I wasn't impressed at all. Yes, he had a good showing against the Ravens D, but, then, maybe the Ravens aren't as good as people would like to believe either. But that is a whole other blog, not going there right now. But I will be addressing it, I am sure, as the season moves along.
The so-called experts already have the self-proclaimed "Dream Team" winning the SB this year, which is ridiculous. There are other noteworthy teams out there, including the reigning champs, that deserve that hype as well. All you hear about on the Steelers is they will have the SB hangover and how hard it is to get back after losing, again bagging on the Steelers any chance they get.
Now since I have that off my chest, on to the other highlights of the game. Antonio Brown once again impressed. He has been one those jewels that Kevin Colbert and Co. seem to find that comes up big for the Steelers. That kid is straight up ballin' and making his mark. They are also showing other teams around the league that the speedster Mike Wallace is not the only Steelers receiver that you are going to have account for. Brown also had an impressive end zone dance after his TD. Then the real man of Steel, Hines Ward, got in on the action and showed that, yes , he's still got game too, and you very well better account for him. And on a side note his dance at the end of his catch showed why he is also the Champ of Dancing with the Stars and me and my panel gave him 10's across the board. Mendy and Redzone Redman also had impressive showings. Newly acquired receiver Jerricho Cotchery also got in on the action with an impressive catch from Leftwich for 29 yards and showed that we have another weapon for Ben to work with. Underrated TE Heath Miller even had an impressive catch and Arnaz Battle made an impression with some of his catches. The only sore spot was the O-line. The injury bug hit once again for them. Jonathan Scott and Marcus Gilbert both went out with injuries and are making O-line coach Kugler earn his money once again this season. So if they get that issue corrected and keep Ben vertical, he has all the weapons to conten and even light up the scoreboard if needed.
Now onto our awesome Defense. Once again they impressed, Clark, Lewis and Troy came up with INTs and the line was in the quarterback's faces all night. They showed that they may be old, as the talking heads have been saying, but they have not missed a step. The first team completely dominated this game. So if that is what we get all season, I will take them old fellas any day of the week and twice on Sunday.
All in all after their showing against the Redskins, and, yes, they looked horrible, they have made the necessary adjustments to get things corrected as they always do and will only improve. So this fan is pumped up for the season ahead! I see big things for our underrated QB and our old defense.