A few quick thoughts…
Maybe we should mentally prepare for every Steelers game by hoping for the worst. For a team that consistently wins a lot of games from one season to the next, this might be one of Pittsburgh’s biggest regular-season victories in I don’t know how long.
We’ve whinged for years about Dick LeBeau’s inability to adjust to Tom Brady’s Magnificence. Well, that changed Sunday; the Steelers’ cornerbacks played A LOT of press coverage and had a ton of success with it, even without Deebo, Potsie and LaMarr for much of the second half (even though he did plenty in the first two quarters). It leads me to believe that LeBeau didn’t have much faith in previous season’s secondary’s ability in man coverage.
Today, Ike, Willie Gay, Keenan Lewis (!) and Cortez Allen all had solid afternoons. And for as much as we’ve panned Lewis in recent seasons, the dude’s shown up in 2011. Hats off to you, sir.
Offensively, Hines wasn’t missed (on the podcast, we figured Jerricho Cotchery could handle the zone-buster role) and Manny Sanders and Antonio Brown continue to present real matchup problems for opponents (particularly those that cut their best CB and then IR their second-round pick, all days before the game). And save Pittsburgh’s penultimate offensive drive that ended sack-sack-punt, the o-line was stellar. Yes, the Pats’ defense sucks, but that hadn’t stopped the o-line before.
My only concern — and I mention this weekly, no matter how well he plays — is Shaun Suisham. He made three short-ish kicks — all important — but he honked a makeable 40-something yarder in the fourth quarter. That would’ve given Pittsburgh a 16-point lead. Instead, Brady got the ball, marched down the field and scored a touchdown.
Thankfully, the Patriots are worse at executing onside kicks than the Steelers are at recovering them.
One last thought: Troy’s fumble punch might’ve been illegal, but it’s a heads-up play. And Brett Keisel is my homeboy for not giving up on the same play to force the fumble.
Enjoy Halloween, nerds.