Going into Sunday’s game against the Tennessee Titans, most Steelers fans weren’t sure which team was going to show up. Would it be the REAL Pittsburgh Steelers, or would it be that group of imposters who donned the black and gold for the first 4 games of the season?
As if it weren’t bad enough that the Steelers had played badly to this point in the season, they were also going to have to face the Titans without James Harrison, Casey Hampton, Aaron Smith, Rashard Mendenhall, and Chris Kemoeatu. Gulp!
And to add an even greater degree of difficulty to the game, the Steelers were starting Max Starks at left tackle after less than a week of practice with the team.
Despite seemingly impossible odds, the patchwork group of Steelers delivered their most dominant performance of the season as the Steelers beat the Titans 38-17.
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger tied a Steelers record when he threw Five touchdown passes. But perhaps more important was the fact that the offensive line gave Big Ben plenty of time in the pocket. As a result, Ben was only sacked once during the game.
While the entire offensive line played well, special recognition has to go to Max Starks. This was Starks’ first game back since signing with the Steelers earlier in the week. Yet, Starks was not only forced to start, but also to play almost the entire game due to injuries among the Steelers’ offensive linemen. And Starks more than rose to the occasion.
The offensive line also did a great job of opening holes for the running backs. Without Rashard Mendenhall in the lineup, the Steelers had to rely on Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer to carry the running load. And carry it they did. The Steelers rushed for a total of 174 yards, with Dwyer leading the way with 107 yards.
The defense also did a stellar job. Prior to Sunday’s game, the Steeler were having difficulty stopping opponents from running on them. But they held Titans’ running back Chris Johnson to only 51 yards. They also kept pressure on Titans QB Matt Hasselbeck, and managed to sack him 3 times. Young defensive ends Ziggy Hood and Cameron Heyward each participated in a sack.
LaMarr Woodley, Hines Ward, Mike Wallace, Ike Taylor, and Antonio Brown also had good games. It was just a good overall game for the team.
Hopefully, this is the type of performance that we’ll be seeing for the rest of the year. I’m sure that Steeler Nation would love to believe that those imposters are a thing of the past, and the real Steelers are here to stay.