In an impressive display by both the offense and the defense, the Steelers defeated the Cleveland Browns for the 12th consecutive time. A home crowd at Heinz Field saw the Steelers defeat their longtime rivals by a score of 27-14
The big news of the game was the return of Steelers safety Troy Polamalu. Polamalu has been out since suffering a knee injury during the first game of the season.
Polamalu made his presence known almost immediately when he intercepted a pass from Browns’ quarterback Derek Anderson. Unfortunately, he came down hard on his knee when making the interception, and came up limping. This gave Steelers fans a scare, but Polamalu stayed in the game.
Polamalu wasn’t the only member of the defense that had a good game. Linebacker Lawrence Timmons recorded 2 sacks during the game.
The entire Steelers defense played well as they held the Browns to only 197 net yards for the game. The defense was accountable for only 7 of the 14 points scored by the Browns. The other 7 points came on a 98 yard kickoff return by Joshua Cribbs.
While the Steelers defense turned in an excellent performance, the real heroes of the game were quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers offense.
The offense accumulated 543 net yards of offense. Nope, you didn’t read that wrong. I did say 543 yards of offense. That is a not a very Steeler-like output, but these are not your father’s Steelers. As Big Ben is so fond of telling reporters, this Steelers offense is primarily a passing attack.
As if to prove the point, Roethlisberger passed for 417 yards and 2 touchdowns. Even more unbelievably, Roethlisberger finds himself leading the NFL in passing yards. Roethlisberger is ahead of such prolific passers as Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, Philip Rivers, Kurt Warner, Tom Brady, and Brett Favre.
Big Ben has also completed more passes of 20+ yards than any quarterback in the NFL this season. This is a testament to the incredible receiving weapons that the Steelers have armed Roethlisberger with. Both Hines Ward and Santonio Holmes had over 100 receiving yards for the game. Tight end Heath Miller also contributed 80 receiving yards, and rookie Mike Wallace had 50 yards. Nope, these are definitely not your father’s Steelers.
To cap off an already great day, the Steelers got further help from each of their division rivals. While the Browns were losing to the Steelers, the Baltimore Ravens lost to the Minnesota Vikings and the Cincinnati Bengals lost to the Houston Texans. This leaves the Steelers tied with the Bengals for 1st place in the AFC North.
So the Steelers beat the Browns and are in first place in the AFC North. Sounds pretty typical to me. Wouldn’t you agree?