For the first quarter of tonight’s opener in Washington, I couldn’t help but wonder if Steelers’ Head Coach Mike Tomlin had made a tactical error. Ben Roethlisberger, DeAngelo Williams and Antonio Brown all saw limited action in the preseason playing in just one of four games.
The Steelers started out sluggish and sloppy and looked like a team that was rusty. I could already hear the second guessers lining up to scream about these guys not playing more in the preseason.
Once the second quarter got rolling en route to the 38-16 win, wouldn’t ya just know who the guys were that led the offensive charge? Ben Roethlisberger finished 27 of 37 for 300 yards and three touchdowns and an interception. Antonio Brown caught eight balls for 126 yards and two scores while DeAngelo Williams rushed 26 times for 143 yards and two TDs of his own.
All three started slowly, each in his own way but by the time all of the shouting was over, the Steelers had themselves a huge opening week victory. Just the second in their last six opening day games.
Take into account how impressive this win was tonight. Besides the fact that Big Ben, AB and DWill were coming off very limited game action in the preseason, the Steelers were also without Le’Veon Bell and number two wide receiver Markus Wheaton. Tight end Ladarius Green continues to be AWOL too but still, this offense pounded away at the Redskins.
The aggressiveness of the offense (exemplified by solid fourth down conversations including one for a score) was matched by the pounding the offensive line put on the exhausted Redskins’ front. I don’t know how many times the Steelers ran the counter tonight but the ‘Skins will see it in their sleep.
Tonight is a good night to celebrate a Steelers’ week one victory but there’s a long way to go and every man in that locker room knows it. At some point between tonight and tomorrow though Mike Tomlin will find a second to grin widely and he should. His plan paid off.
Photo courtesy steelers.com