You'll have to excuse the scantily clad Asian gal. I got all excited about photoshopping the whole "back on track" pun. I spent about a half hour searching for a picture of somebody on their back and this was really the only half decent one.
Anyways, game thoughts.
- Ben looked great. What a relief. When he dropped back to pass I didn't get that "oh shit" feeling in my gut. Always a good sign. Anyways, I don't want to talk to much about Ben or analyze his performance or predict what's going to happen next. I just know that he looked damn good on Sunday and I hope he keeps it up. Plus, the beard was back. Coincidence? I'm not so sure anymore. The boy could seriously have magic facial hair.
- O-line was so much better. Ben had all day back there and Willie and Najeh looked great. Speaking of -
- Willie. Still loving him. Consistently impressive. Always a threat. Willie's the man.
- Najeh. Looked decent. His numbers are gaudy, but when you break it down he wasn't so amazing. He had a lot more trouble working the goal line than I would have liked. Still, you have to be pretty pleased with his overall numbers. On a side note, his new nickname "The Dump Truck" is pretty much the greatest thing ever. Here's the story that led to the name...it's a good one. How'd you like to wake up to that at 3 am? Frightening. I can't help but picture Rick Moranis in Ghostbusters at his little party. "Ok, who brought the dog?" And then out busts Najeh. Good stuff.
- Our run D is absurdly good. Last week we held LT to 36 yards. This week it's Larry Johnson and 26 yards. I doubt we give up a 100 yard rusher all season.
- Santonio finally looked worthy of a first round pick. Showed that playmaker quality we've all heard so much about. If he doesn't slip on that horrific Heinz turf he goes all the way on that first drive. Of course, he did muff two punts. That's not good. But we won, so I'm going to forgive it. Hopefully Willie Reid's back soon and can take over punt return duties. I love Santonio on kick returns, not punts though.
- Our special teams still sucks. Pathetic. Needs to change fast.
- Troy might want to think about cutting the hair. I have mixed feelings. I love the hair. It looks badass. I like things that look badass. But it's a liability. If LJ doesn't get a hand on it Troy takes it to the house. His hair cost us 6 points. Can't be having that.
- Cedrick continues to be woefully underwhelming. The sooner Santonio locks up that number 2 spot the better.
- Ryan Clark continues to impress. He's not quite the ball hawk that Chris Hope was, but he tackles well, he doesn't get beat deep, and he hits hard.
- Last, but not least, we caught our first glimpse of a good old-fashioned Hines smile.
All in all, the game was great. But, as Cowher's so fond of saying, we haven't accomplished anything yet. And that's the truth. We beat up on a mediocre team. That's what the defending champs are supposed to do. We've got a losing record. We're in third place in our division. Still, I'm feeling a helluva lot better than I was last Monday.