Sunday, November 17, 2013

Focused Roethlisberger Transforms Deficit Into Comeback Win For Steelers, 37-27

The next in the Transformers movie franchise won't be out until 2014, but for one Sunday in Pittsburgh in 2013, one thing was made clear: Bumblebee was greater than Megatron.

After a week of controversy regarding the franchise quarterback being unhappy with the team and that he'll demand a trade, which he vehemently denied, Ben Roethlisberger came out focused and lead the Pittsburgh Steelers to just their fourth win of the season.

"False and false," Big Ben said regarding whether money and multiple losses will cause him to want out sooner rather than later. "I don't want to go anywhere for any reason."

Thank you, Ian Rapoport. If It Ain't Steel wrote about the trade talk nearly two weeks ago when this first started surfacing. - http://ifitaintsteel.blogspot.com/2013/11/addressing-trade-ben-roethlisberger.html

Big Ben used the rumors as motivation to focus him. His ability to pick apart the Detroit Lions secondary was evident right away as he went 5-for-5 with a 34-yard touchdown to his No. 1 wide receiver Antonio Brown, and was 2-for-2 on third downs on the first offensive possession - the first time all season they scored a touchdown on their opening drive. He then finished the first quarter going 7-for-8 for 121 yards and two touchdowns. That's a perfect 158.3 passer rating.

The determined quarterback was sharp all day completing 29 of 45 passes for 367 yards, with four touchdowns and no interceptions, finishing with a 119.4 QB rating. The Steelers are 49-4 when he surpasses 100.0 in passer rating.

The two-touchdown lead quickly dissipated, though, as Lions' QB Matthew Stafford threw for 327 and two touchdowns, mostly in the second quarter. His first-half 114.2 QB rating was mainly because of Megatron.

The Lions' All-Pro wide receiver Calvin Johnson, nicknamed "Megatron", had 163 of his 179 receiving yards and five of his six receptions in a resurgent second quarter. Johnson also saw six of his 10 targets in that quarter, with the Lions looking as if they were going to run away with the game.

Amazingly, the Lions never even threw a pass to Megatron in the third quarter and only two more targets the rest of the game. Stafford also threw for only 35 yards in the second half, finishing with a QB rating of 74.7.

The Steelers players, offensively and defensively, praised Big Ben for his play, with wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery saying pointedly that he "came here to play with (Ben), he has a lot of respect from the league and is a top-flight quarterback." -
http://tinyurl.com/kuhxqhm

Also worthy of praise was Brown who finished with 147 receiving yards and two touchdowns on seven receptions, and was the Steelers Digest Player of the Week.

Brown, probably hearing about Megatron all week, wanted it known that he's the NFL leader in receptions for a reason. Brown now has 74 catches for 952 yards through 10 weeks, both numbers are 2nd best all time in Steelers history (Hines Ward - '02 76 catches; Buddy Dial - '63 961 yards).

The defense also deserved a lot of credit. After surrendering 27 points in the second quarter and 379 yards in the first half, the Steelers stiffened allowing a total of only 72 yards the rest of the game, thanks in part to changing from a majority of Cover-3 defense to a Cover-2 with a man under.

Ike Taylor deserves much of this praise as he had a better second-half than any other cornerback has had against Megatron, completely shutting him out. -
http://tinyurl.com/l5uefye

But the main praise goes to the franchise QB who never faltered. But if Johnson is Megatron, then Big Ben was Optimus Prime this day. Even faced with a fourth-quarter deficit and 97 yards, after a questionable fake field goal failure, Optimus led them the length of the field for the go-ahead touchdown. The Steelers never looked back. 

The win pulled the Steelers within one game of the final Wild Card playoff spot. Not that we're looking that far ahead because too much needs to be done. It's one game at a time for sure. 

But if this team can be more consistent and put together more games like they did on Sunday, there could be more than meets the eye. 

UPDATE: The aforementioned performance and 97-yard drive earned Big Ben a Fed Ex Air Player of the Week nomination. Vote for him here! - http://www.nfl.com/voting/players-air-and-ground/2013/REG/11

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TIDBITS: After already playing without Ramon Foster, LaMarr Woodley and Brett Keisel, the Steelers faced injuries in the game. Most notably, Emmanuel Sanders left the game with a right foot injury. It will be evaluated Monday. Also, Stevenson Sylvester sustained a hamstring injury. The rest, as coach Tomlin said, were "normal bumps and bruises." - http://tinyurl.com/lp7gasp

Update: Manny didn't need an MRI and should be fine for Sunday, as should Foster, Woodley and Keisel.

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Big Ben improved to 17-2 against the NFC at home. In those 17 wins he has thrown just 4 Interceptions versus 8 in the two losses.

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It has been a rough two weeks for us, but we should be regular again now. Thanks for sticking by us.