Sunday, October 13, 2013

Steelers Get Much Needed Win, Now Must Get Back To Work

"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." - Lao-tzu

The Pittsburgh Steelers did something they hadn't done in the previous eight games - they won.

Now the work begins.

After an ignominious start - left tackle Levi Brown tore his triceps muscle in pre-game warmups (I don't know, don't ask), and Kelvin Beachum's game looked as if it had been also - the defense kept the team in the game until the offense settled down. They expiated for a listless performance in the London loss to the Vikings where they missed 17 tackles. 

In doing so, they improved defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau's record against rookie quarterbacks to 16-2.

They also allowed the team as a whole to do things that led to the win.  Things that they can use to build momentum. Like head coach Mike Tomlin said in his post-game conference, "hopefully, it's a spring board of things to come." -

• Shaun Suisham's 48-yard field goal with :45 to go in the 1st half marked the largest lead the Steelers have had this season - Sushi is 42 of his last 43 inside 50 yards.

• After leading 9-6 at half and the offensive line actually giving Ben Roethlisberger some semblance of a pocket, Emmanuel Sanders victimized (as we said could happen with the receivers) cornerback Antonio Cromartie for a 55-yard touchdown pass from Big Ben - the longest of Manny's career.

• What did If It Ain't Steel say would happen if they could sustain a lead? With just under eight minutes to go in the 3rd quarter, the Steelers finally got a takeaway when safety Ryan Clark intercepted rookie QB Geno Smith at the 1-yard line - one of two on the day, the second by Lawrence Timmons.

• The win made the Steelers the first AFC team and only the fourth team in NFL history to reach 600 franchise wins (including the postseason).

• The win took the Steelers to an NFL best 146-2-1 (since 1992) when posting a lead of 11 or more points.

• On a more personal note, wide receiver Antonio Brown tied the club record receptions over a three-game stretch with 30 (he tied someone named after the stadium I think. "Heinz Ward" or something like that. Anyone know the guy?).

• Coach Tomlin improved to 18-6 in the month of October.

But...all this is now in the past. The Steelers still have MUCH work to do.

There are still OLine issues, especially now when considering Levi Brown's injury. They are really limited now when it comes to protecting Big Ben's blind side.

Though the effort and the blocking were there, the running game is still limited. That, however, was somewhat expected considering the Jets went into the game only allowing 76 yards per game. Still, the more efficient the running game, the better the passing game will be.

Speaking of which, Big Ben had a great game going 23-30 for 264 yards and a touchdown. More importantly, he had no turnovers.

The entire offense finally stopped being so charitable and, on top of that, the defense finally got greedy. More of each is needed. A lot more.

It's good to get the win, and they should enjoy that win. Today. Tomorrow is the next step in the journey back to respectability. A step that begins against the Baltimore Ravens. 'Nuff said.

Stats provided by Bob Labriola of Steelers Digest and Steelers PR guy Burt Lauten