Sunday, October 20, 2013

Steelers Get Purple Hearts As They Notch 2nd Straight Win

courtesy of Billy Hartford

"What I'm most proud of is it was a team win. All three phases did something to contribute positively today. How it has to be." - Brett Keisel

The veteran defensive end was correct as the Pittsburgh Steelers had their first complete game of the season en route to a 19-16 over the hated Baltimore Ravens.

Le'Veon Bell, Lawrence Timmons and finally Shaun Suisham ran, tackled and kicked the Steelers to something Steelers' fans haven't seen yet this season - a winning streak.

Break up the Steelers!

They're actually looking now like the team we expected from the beginning of the season. The running game is finally looking like something worthy of the team that leads the entire NFL since the 1970 merger. The Steelers ran for 141 yards, which was the first time they went over 100 yards as a team since November 18, 2012 - against the Ravens.

Bell himself shown great patience and vision in running for 93 yards on just 19 carries, averaging 4.9 yards per carry. With doing so against the seventh-ranked run defense going into the game, Bell was assuredly pleased with his performance. Right?


"I'll go to a C-," Bell said laughingly, referencing the "D" he gave himself last week. - http://tinyurl.com/kv6xwte

The humble young running back received slightly higher praise from his teammates and coach.

"He did a great job! You know, he was patient when he needed to be, physical when he needed to be. He used his speed...I thought that he did a great job today," quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said. "He's got that patience, he's a good runner and he knows his surroundings.” - http://tinyurl.com/kns6p9l

Head coach Mike Tomlin looked a bit miffed that neither of the first two questions at his post-game press conference were about his running back.

"Any questions about Le'Veon Bell today? No?" Tomlin quipped. - http://tinyurl.com/lwxpxvn

Bell was who Tomlin wanted out of college and was practically glowing when talking about him back in April. Tomlin even went to Bell's defense during his weekly press conference last week after the running back came under criticism. Bell has finally now shown what Tomlin, and those few of us who had knowledge of him in college, knew he could do.

In averaging 4.9 YPC, 12 of Bell's 19 carries today went for four yards or more. Only two carries went for zero yards or less. Also, 62 of Bell's 93 yards came on first down.

The Steelers much-maligned offensive line opened holes and got push for the Steelers and Bell, but also in protecting Big Ben who played a turnover-free game and directed the game-winning drive. Point blank, the Steelers were simply the more physical team Sunday. Both on offense and defense.

The blitzes, the multiple looks, the push from the interior of the defensive line, Troy Polamalu lining up everywhere, LaMarr Woodley, who recorded another sack, and Jason Worilds bringing pressure on Joe Flacco and stuffing running backs, Cortez Allen being brought off of the slot on a run blitz throughout the game, William Gay providing good coverage...this was swarming Steelers defense.

But the one who should receive the most praise was inside  linebacker Lawrence Timmons who had a career-high tying 17 tackles. Not bringing any undue attention to himself, he summed up the overall performance succinctly, ultimately giving credit to the coaches.

"It's the Baltimore Ravens," he said. It's a defensive player's type of game....They're passing more because Flacco throws a great deep ball. The run-and-gun coaches prepped us well."

But, even with all provided by the aforementioned players, it came down to kicker Shaun Suisham.

Big Ben marched the Steelers downfield, after Emmanuel Sanders was one heel away from taking a kickoff all the way, to get into Sushi's range. As always, Sushi was as cool as a Canadian autumn as split the uprights for the last-second win.

Are the Steelers enjoying this? Are they exhaling?

"{No.} We're still a 2-4 football team," Sanders said, "{but} we're pointed in right direction."


Several quotes from Ken Laird of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

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TIDBITS: The only significant injury was Marcus Gilbert's deep quadriceps bruise. Brett Keisel's ribs were of the "minor bumps and bruises" category. 

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Ben Roethlisberger is 10-4 in his career vs. the Ravens (including playoffs), and ties Peyton Manning for most wins vs Ravens by starting quarterback.

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John Harbaugh on the onside kick: "We were struggling to get possessions and get our offense on the field. We needed a TD either way to tie or win."

"A guy offsides when we do a surprise onside kick...that's the part that ticks me off more than anything"

Harbaugh on Dumervil's face-mask of Big Ben: "You can't grab it but Ben ducks all the time. Biggest, strongest QB in the NFL. Have to wrap strong."

Harbaugh on the Steelers run offense: "Credit to them. Good job of scheming. The wildcat...extra OLinemen...give them credit."

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"@MarkKaboly_Trib: David DeCastro is quickly turning into one of the best guards in the AFC."

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Sunday was the fourth consecutive Steelers-Ravens game that was decided by three points.