It’s a sunny beautiful Monday in Steeler Nation following a 20-point win over the Ravens late Sunday night at Heinz Field.
There’s plenty of positives, and still things this teams needs to work on, which is scary considering the black and gold has scored 94 points the last two weeks.
Today we take a look at five things we took away from the win Sunday night, and a brief look ahead to the Jets this Sunday in New Jersey.
1. Ben at his Best – Many have talked about how ‘wide open’ the passing game has been the last two weeks, and it has resulted in Arena League like scoring. Even though they struggled early Sunday, the offense got hot in the second quarter and stayed that way the rest of the night. Bottom line – let Ben Roethlisberger run the show and have Todd Haley’s input be as a support system and not as the end of all when it comes to calling plays.
2. Will Injuries Catch Up To the Defense? – It remains to be seen how bad Troy Polamalu’s sprain is, but the team not only lost him for the time being, but also LB Ryan Shazier with an ankle injury and Shamarko Thomas to a hamstring injury. The defense got a huge boost from the veteran play of James Harrison and Brett Keisel, but bottom line is it’s the youth of the defense that is eventually going to have to lead this team on their playoff run, and that’s hard to do when you have a lot of players hurt.
3. The Steelers have Found their #2 WR – Martavis Bryant has 10 catches for 167 yards and five touchdowns. The fourth round pick tied former Steelers TE Eric Green’s NFL record for most receiving touchdowns (5) in the first three games of a NFL career. Bryant also became the first Steeler rookie to catch a touchdown in three straight games since tight end Heather Miller in 2005 (4 in a row). He looks to be the steal of the draft right now, and with this size he should be the Steelers #2 and the team should have Markus Wheaton in the slot as the number three in this offense.
4. Weaker Teams on the Schedule Does Not Mean Guaranteed Wins – The next two teams on the schedule, the Jets and Titans are a combined 3-14, but before you start putting the Steelers at 8-3, just remember that both games are on the road, and don’t forget what the Titans did to the Steelers on opening day a year ago. The Jets are a complete mess, but they will start Michael Vick at QB and he’s better right now than Geno Smith. The Titans may have just two wins, but have lost two games this year by a combined three points. The next two games SHOULD be wins, but sometimes that’s the most dangerous types of games.
5. Let’s Re-open the Talks of Extending Ben Right Now! – Ben Roethlisberger has already publicly stated he wants to retire a Steeler, but at age 32 he for sure has at least one good deal left in him if he stays healthy. He inked a 6-year deal worth over $87 million back in 2008, and with 10 years with the team under his belt , it’s going to take a 5-6 year deal to make him happy likely worth $120 million this time around. He’s a free agent in 2016, and Steelers fans should start to sweat if by the time this team takes the field in Latrobe in July of 2015 he doesn’t have a new deal in place. Start talking now (if they haven’t been), as he’s a player this franchise can’t lose.