When you really think about it, this game just seemed to fit everything the Pittsburgh Steelers needed in order to get win number one of the 2013 NFL season. The New York Jets were coming off a short week following their win in Atlanta.
They had a rookie QB going and historically Dick LeBeau does very well against them. Lastly, Mike Tomlin made good on his promise to sit guys who weren’t getting the job done and in one very important case he did.
We can look back at both the pre-game and early first quarter and laugh now following the 19-6 win. Newly acquired offensive tackle Levi Brown injured himself in pre-game warm-ups and then tight end David Johnson left with an injured wrist.
Thankfully the offensive line didn’t need any replacements today especially with Brown hurt and Mike Adams in sweats on the sidelines.
There was no single one thing that determined this outcome. The defense did some things as did the special teams and as did the offense. None of those three are getting awards for being perfect, far from it, but there were moments today that we haven’t seen yet in 2013.
There was rhythm on offense behind the throwing of Ben Roethlisberger that has been absent much of the season. The defense came with creative looks and packages including one that had Jason Worilds, Jarvis Jones and LaMarr Woodley on the field at the same time. Shaun Suisham continues to be an unsung hero for this team as he nailed all four field goal attempts.
Unfortunately there were still things that continue to haunt this team. Missed tackles are still a problem. Penalties on offense are still a problem too. Kelvin Beachum was flagged three times for holding and had a false start as well.
Let’s talk positively though because we haven’t had a chance to do that very often this year.
The defense earned their first two turnovers of the season in the form of red zone interceptions by Ryan Clark and then Lawrence Timmons whose pick sealed the game.
The story of this game could be many things but they begin and end with Roethlisberger who may have made the biggest play of the game in the first quarter. Roethlisberger was nailed in his own end zone but still managed to escape and get the ball away. The Steelers would eventually punt but a safety could have been damaging there.
Roethlisberger was 23 of 30 for 264 yards and a TD. Perhaps the biggest stat was his 8.8 yards per completion which seemed impossible considering the number of screens he threw today.
His decision-making was much better today and it was clear he made an effort to take care of the ball. Only one time did I think he held the ball too long.
We must keep things in perspective following this win because the team is still 1-4 on the season. Help was given when both Cleveland and Baltimore lost and there are still five divisional games left to play and a number of very good teams including New England, Green Bay and Detroit.
Enjoy the win Steelers’ fans but now it’s Ravens’ week. If things weren’t serious before, they really are now.
Marc Uhlmann writes for and co-owns www.steelcityblitz.com. Follow him on Twitter @steeldad and follow the website at @SCBlitz. He can be heard Mondays on Trib-Live Radio at 630pm ET talking Steelers and is a blogger for ESPN 970 in Pittsburgh.