After two weeks in the proverbial wilderness, Heinz Field must have been a welcome site. Even if the confines of home had no effect on the Steelers’ strange 4th quarter woes, the end result was favorable as they saved a gem of an offensive performance and held off the Chargers, 38-28.
Ben Roethlisberger was nearly perfect in throwing for 2 TDs and 333 yards on 33 attempts. He completed over 78% of his passes and kept those iffy (sometimes costly) throws out of his game. Truly, Ben was on fire and the offense as a whole efficiently decimated the ailing Chargers defensive unit.
For the fourth straight week, the offensive line protected the QB. Most would blame Roethlisberger for taking three sacks and he likely wouldn’t argue. Even the young Mendenhall chipped in, violently stuffing a blitzing linebacker to the turf.
When he wasn’t picking up blitzes in the passing game, Mendenhall led a resurgent Steelers’ running game, compiling 165 yards and 2 TDs on 29 carries for a 5.7 (!) ypc average. He combined vision, patience and power when attacking on the inside with speed and shiftiness when taking the ball outside the tackles.
One hates to use the term “must win” but indeed, sitting at 1-2 and already trailing the division leader by two games, the Steelers sorely needed the victory. As fortune would have it, the division-leading Baltimore Ravens fell to the New England Patriots, reducing their lead to one. Considering the two games still to come against the Ravens, the Steelers’ 2-2 record seems more manageable. Perhaps one can even consider it a motivational tool that Coach Tomlin will have at his disposal.
Super Bowl Hangover?
Not a chance.
Overconfidence against the Lions? Don’t bet on it.